Sunday, March 2, 2008

Alternative medicine.

The weather may have read my last post but my body did not.

I woke up Saturday to the most beautiful spring like day. It would have been perfect if I didn't feel completely AWFUL. It was like I hadn't already been sick for six weeks; like I was starting over from the beginning. My head throbbed, my voice was gone, my glands in my neck were all swollen and my entire body ached. WTF?!?

I was determined not to take this lying down. I got up and started the day. We took Liam to a free performance by the Nashville Ballet and then went to Dragon Park to enjoy the sunshine. Even though I was feeling less than 100%, it was WONDERFUL to be out of the house.

Afterwards, I came home to rest and take a bath before my acupuncture appointment with Dr. Gong. I knew if anyone could exercise this evil sickness from my body, it was The Gonger.

A friend introduced me to Dr. Gong about a year and a half ago. I had developed tendonitis in my right wrist during pregnancy and could not get rid of it. I spent the better part of a year going to doctor after doctor trying to fix it. I got cortisone shots from an orthopedic surgeon who happily scheduled me for surgery after two shots didn't work. Surgery? That totally freaked me out. I cancelled the surgery and starting shopping around to find something less invasive.

First I went to a chiropractor who, of course, cracked my bones. She also did something with a laser that was supposed to make the cells in my wrist correct to the proper frequency and therefore eliminate the inflammation causing the tendonitis. And she got me on several supplements, enzymes and pro-biotics. When none of that worked, she suggested I change my diet so I didn't eat proteins and carbohydrates together. Ever. Since that was obviously out of the question, I had to stop seeing her. Even though the tendonitis didn't budge, the rest of my body felt almost back to normal (pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding really messed me up!).

After that I tried a neurologist. He poked my arms and legs with sharp objects, used some sort of instrument to electrocute my body inch by inch and made me get an MRI. I found out that I have limited feeling in my feet (I had no idea!) but that's all I got out of it. I never even got the results of my MRI which sucks because how cool would it be to see the inside of your body? After calling the office several times I just figured no news is good news and moved on.

The neurologist referred me to a physical therapist who was really sweet but a complete waste of time (and money). I went twice a week for a month or two and tried everything from dipping my hand in paraffin wax to working out with really light weights to massage to little shock pads placed strategically along my shoulder and arm. When I wasn't at physical therapy, I had my hand in a huge hard plastic brace so I wouldn't be able to re-injure it. Unfortunately, as soon as I would take the brace off to shower, my thumb would move slightly and I'd be right back where I started.

I had pretty much given up and was starting to accept the fact that I just had tendonitis and that's the way it was going to be. That's when I met Dr. Gong.

Seeing her is like gaining access to a very exclusive club. It's not like you can just look her up in the phone book and call to make an appointment with the receptionist. Oh, no. It's like a speak easy in a dark alley. There is practically a secret hand shake involved. Here is how it works:

When you call, Dr. Gong answers. "Hello?" She doesn't speak much English so you have to be fairly direct. I always say, "I need acupuncture?" She never asks who I am or what is wrong or if I have been in before, she just says, "What time?" This isn't the opportunity to get out your day planner and pencil her in for a lunch break next week. It's more like, "how long will it take you to get here?" I have never made an appointment for anything other than the day I was calling.

Recently she moved to a different location. When I called to make an appointment, she had to explain that to me over the phone. Talk about a challenge. After a few minutes it finally dawned on me, "Oh! You moved! New building?" She kept repeating a street name and "CiCi Pizza" so I looked it up online and figured she must have rented the suite next to the pizza place. I drove through the parking lot slowly looking for an unmarked door that could possibly have an acupuncturist inside. No luck. I was about to give up when I happened to see her sitting in her car waiting for me. As soon as she saw me, she sped off. I followed her and she took me to her new space. I had not seen her in almost a year and I didn't tell her my name when I called (I don't even know if she knows my name) - I have no idea how she knew I was the person she was waiting for. It was very James Bond. Thirty minutes later, I was face down on her table with a dozen glass cups suctioned to my back when her cell phone rang. I heard the familiar, "CiCi Pizza?" a few times before she gave up and handed me the phone.

Her space is not unlike a massage therapy room. There's a massage table covered with a clean white sheet, dim lighting and soft soothing music that ranges between ocean sounds and new age chanting. That is where the similarities end. I have never been to a massage therapist who told me to "pee pee" before we got started or stood there in the room with me while I undressed (she doesn't even pretend to look away). This last time I went, she didn't even turn off the overhead light until after I had taken off my clothes and climbed onto the table. I don't care who you are, that is not a good look.

As soon as she gets to work though, all the awkward thoughts leave your mind as you realize she is pure magic. She somehow knows your body better than you do. The tendonitis I had feared was permanent was completely gone after three visits. GONE.

This weekend, she not only did acupuncture all over my body and head, she also gave me two shots of vitamin B12 in my neck. At least I think that's what it was. It could have been snake venom for all I know. Whatever it was, I started to feel better immediately.

Afterwards, I went to Wild Oats and bought everything the woman in the health section told me would help improve my immune system. And Liam's. If we don't get better soon, Bill is going to have to trade us in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, you f*&^ing crack me up! Keep the journals coming I totally look forward to them. I would like a Dr. Gong here in Reno, I have been unable to turn my neck 100% from side to side like I should be able too. I went to a chiropractor 2x a week for 3 months and no change. So, of course I quit going. xxoo katie