No doubt the readers of this blog are aware I suffer from migraine headaches. I have had this plight for at least 16 years, probably longer. I have fought the battle of the headache with varying techniques as well as varying medications. The techniques I employ are basic…lie down, apply ice pack over forehead and eyes, and sleep. The medications are also basic…a cocktail mixture of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. I once tried a prescription medication which essentially numbed my brain and dulled the pain. Both my technique and medicinal regimens require my life to stop, or to slow to a pace unrealistic for a mother. So I have lived and worked, on many–many, occasions in severe pain.
I don’t know why I hadn’t considered acupuncture in the past…perhaps I wasn’t open to the suggestion, therefore no one suggested it. Perhaps I was just “making it through” and didn’t take the time to contemplate alternatives to western medicine suggestions. I don’t know, I can’t remember!
But yesterday I embarked on the road to recovery (hopefully) through the art of eastern medicine, acupuncture. Yes, I did receive one treatment of acupuncture from Dr. Zhu (www.scalpacupuncture.org) on our last day in northern California (see post title, “A New Believer”, http://wp.me/p1NK3O-29), and as nervous as I was to receive that treatment, it did take the migraine from me and made it possible for me to drive home without landing in the hospital. The needles from Dr. Zhu were placed on the top of my scalp only. The needles yesterday, from Dr. Li, were not.
According to Dr. Li (here in my local world of south Orange County, CA), my body is very blocked–my energies–whatever that means. I am honestly too scared to ask. I come from the following school of thought, “Ignorance Is Bliss”. I’m not exactly the ostrich with its head in the sand, I am more the ostrich who recognizes the beauty of the sand, its purpose, and its comfort. So while I have bombarded Dr. Li with many a question, concerning her East meets West practices, and other personal questions she has patiently obliged me enough to answer. I know when to keep my mouth shut…and that is in regard to my energies being blocked!
She did explain that the energies are like layers of an onion and need to be pulled back to reveal the true issue, and my treatment yesterday was the beginning of layer removal. So she had me lay down on my side, I held a small jar with a few vials of liquid in one hand. She strategically placed pillows in between my knees, and under my arm and head. Then she said she would have the other (male) doctor place the needles as “his technique is more relaxing”. “More relaxing?”, I asked. “Yes, more relaxing.” …at that point, my glands began to twinge and my nervous system moved from mach 1 to mach 5 (metaphorically speaking of course, for my nerves were not solely dependent upon temperature and atmospheric composition as in the aviation mach system—well come to think of it, maybe they were!).
Anyway, the other doctor placed the needles, put an infrared light over my back and feet, left me with an emergency pull chord, and then told me to relax before he left the room and closed the door behind him. There I was, lying on my side holding a vile filled jar, pillows in place, pull chord wrapped around my fingers, and needles placed in my hand, my legs, my back, my neck, and my ankles. Within 30 seconds of his departure and my alone state, I felt claustrophobic. All of a sudden, as I felt I couldn’t move without causing a problem for myself, my head was filled with questions…”how long do I stay here?” “under what circumstances do I pull the chord?” “what am I supposed to feel?”, etc.
Amidst the whirling of thoughts, questions, and anxiety, I somehow fell asleep for I awoke in a jolt which moved my entire body causing me to move some of the needles, causing me to feel a slight discomfort. Well since I didn’t know how long I had been lying there, and since Cole, my niece Hannah, and the dog Piper were waiting for me in the car, I decided it was a good time to pull the chord. …in came Dr. Li. She told me that is how they like it, for their patients to fall asleep and when they awake to pull the chord. I was relieved to know I chose correctly. Dr. Li would like me to have treatment twice a week for a couple of weeks, in order to make the migraines leave me permanently.
Funny thing is, as much as I want to be headache free, I am still a skeptic in my acupuncture pursuit…but I will forge on. I don’t think Hannah and Cole will accompany me to my next session, however. Apparently I kept them waiting for two hours, and they haven’t finished letting me hear about it!
So the voyage has begun, and we are traveling this “new” road of treatment together. Let us all stay hopeful.