I have a coworker who is also a licensed acupuncturist, and works a few days a week at an integrative health clinic, thus splitting her time between stocking shelves with groceries and sticking people with needles. She’s been trying to get me to come see her for a while – not because she knows anything about me, just because she tries to convince all of us to come see her – but our schedules never lined up. That is, until yesterday.
I have to admit, too, that at first, I was a little apprehensive about letting this particular girl near me with any sharp objects. On first meeting, she’s upbeat and silly; she makes a lot of off-color jokes, and has a lot of cats. But a mutual friend, who’s gotten acupuncture from her before, convinced me that her demeanor really is much different in this other, more professional environment. So I went.
The last time I got acupunched, the practitioner was hyper-holistic, and I, since I was there with friends, was almost irreverent. We were taking pictures of each other with the needles in our legs and faces, and giggling nearly the whole time. This time, since I was by myself and had no one to giggle with, I was actually grateful for this more talkative practitioner.
Still, she was very respectful and professional. After reading my paperwork, in which my “chief complaint” was PTSD and fear of infertility following miscarriage, she put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry for your loss. That sounds so traumatic.” She asked me some questions – about my pregnancy, my periods, my past experiences with birth control.
“Were you trying to get pregnant?” she asked.
“No. But… We weren’t trying not to get pregnant, either.”
“I know some people who have done it that way,” she said, chuckling.
I went on. “Now – for now – we’re trying not to get pregnant. But I figure if I start coming to see you now, we can lay the groundwork, and then in another year or two, I’ll come in one day and start begging you to get me pregnant.”
Without missing a beat, she said, “Well, honey, I lack the proper equipment. And I’m pretty sure Doug would have something to say about that.” Then she added that of course she knew what I’d meant, and that she would definitely do her best to help. “I might end up prescribing you some herbs, too,” she said. Then, seeing the look on my face, “They’d be in pill form. I’m a firm believer in pills.”
She got down to business then, putting needles in my feet and legs, hands, stomach, and head, chatting with me the whole time she worked. After everything was in place, she said she’d let me rest for a while, left the room, and closed the curtain behind her.
I lay there, waiting for that scary/delightful swirly feeling I’ve gotten all (both) the other times I’ve tried acupuncture. The feeling never really came. I remained mostly conscious, alternately aware of the warmth of the heat lamp over my feet and the chill of the non-heated air on the backs of my bare thighs. (The bolster under my knees was keeping my legs from touching the table.)
After about half an hour, my coworker came back and quietly announced that she had to “interrupt my nap.” She took all the needles out, then warned me that, with her help, I might end up with cycles closer to 28 days than the 35-to-42-day cycles that come naturally to me. I told her that was fine. Then she said she’d like to see me once a week if I could swing it (financially? schedule-wise?), and I said that was fine, too.
I feel like I’m jumping on the acupuncture bandwagon here – a little late, if we consider the timeline of my project; or a little early, if we consider the time left until I hope to conceive a child. Either way – I feel better leaving no stone left unturned.
Then I went home, made myself a Hot Pocket for dinner, sent a few emails, and watched several episodes of Glee on Hulu. The combination – along with the walk Doug and I took before he went to work – made for a lovely Thursday.
Over the (52) Hill
I could never do this alone, on a bike.
With you, in my car,
with you at the wheel,
it’s much nicer.
For almost five miles, there are no signs of life.
(Except the other cars, and those masochistic cyclists.)
Off the road, though, there is nothing:
no houses, no stores, no power lines.
Just hills, green or brown with the seasons,
The ascent is long and strenuous –
even with a motor –
and there’s no way to see what’s over the top
until we’ve reached it.
But with my hand on your knee,
and the sun on my face,
this almost-endless stretch of uncertainty
has become my favorite part of the journey.