I went to see the Chinese medicine doctor on Monday.
He has a tiny clinic above a store on Queen Street. The first little room is the waiting room/office/dispensary, and the second and third little rooms are the treatment rooms. They are subdivided into cubicles with laundry line and bedsheets, I think there are six cubicles in all. Each cubicle has a massage table in it.
When I arrived I was greeted by the doctor's wife/nurse/receptionist.
Ah, you must be Isaac's mother! She grinned and nodded at me.
The signs said to turn off my cell phone and take off my shoes, there were plastic sandals for me to wear in the treatment room. She led me to a cubicle and directed me to undress and lie down on the table, with a sheet to cover me.
Soon the doctor came in, with his intern.
He said, Tell me everything. Where does it hurt?
I told him about the chest pain and the shortness of breath. I told him about my numb foot. I told him about the sore spot on my arm and the other one down low in my belly. He took my arm to feel my pulse, and he saw the bruising and scar from the angiogram.
He looked shocked. What is this?
I tried to explain about the angiogram, how the cardiologist ran into a blockage in my arm and had to try again elsewhere. The Chinese doctor rolled my wrist in his hand, examining the bruise and the scar. The scar was right where he wanted to feel my pulse.
Energy is blocked there, that's why the doctor couldn't do the angiogram there, he said.
Then he looked at my foot, asked me to point to exactly where it was numb.
Ah, he said, That is your kidney and your liver.
Then he told me to think of my mind getting bigger and bigger. Imagine that your mind is as big as the whole universe. Your mind is expanding to fill the universe and the energy is coming into your mind and into your body. The energy is flowing from your mind through your body and down to your feet. As he said this, he waved his arms slowly over my body to illustrate the flow of the energy. Keep your attention on this, your mind is expanding to fill the universe. The energy is flowing through you.
Then his voice got very quiet, I couldn't hear the words, but he was talking faster. I don't know if he was talking to his intern or himself or if he was reciting some healing incantation. But I was getting very relaxed and my eyes were closed and my mind was getting bigger.
He started inserting the needles. He would tap hard where he wanted to put a needle, and then insert it in that spot. Sometimes I only felt the tap, sometimes the needle hurt. Sometimes he fiddled with the needle, inserting it deeper or sideways or something. I looked at them later, they were long and very very thin, they flopped over when they were inserted.
After he and the intern were finished inserting all the needles, they left me alone. I had needles on my face, in my hair, on my stomach and up and down my arms and legs. In the background was soft soothing music. I heard him talking to another patient in another cubicle, and then later another patient. I felt very relaxed and tried to think of my mind getting as big as the universe.
He came back to me in a while and took out the needles and directed me to lie on my stomach so he could insert some needles in my back. Again he left me alone for awhile, and then came back to remove the needles.
You can get dressed now.
I felt very relaxed, as if I'd just had a really good massage. I dressed and gathered up my things and came back out to the waiting room. The doctor's wife started to write the bill for me.
The doctor said, You like some pills?
I shrugged and said, Sure.
He picked two boxes with fancy Chinese writing on them and put them on the desk beside the bill.
You take 8 pills of each, 3 times a day.
Holy shmoly, he wants me to take 50 pills a day!
He said, Next time, I treat your skin condition (there's a small scaly patch under my hair, he wants to put a needle in it).
Next time? When should I come back?
You need lots of treatment, you a mess. You come twice a week, then once a week. He grinned at me.
He showed me some exercises he wanted me to do, and also how to stomach-breathe.
Next time, he said, I show you how to meditate.
I walked out of there feeling just about as high as I could be. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I could get better.
Maybe acupuncture works, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. But all those doctors and nurses at the hospital could sure learn a thing or two from this guy about how to promote healing. He made me feel like getting better was very doable.
And when I was walking home I thought about all those things I told him about. About the breathing and the numb foot and the ache in my lower belly. I thought they were all unrelated, all different things. But they all started at the same time, and he made me see that they are all related. He made me feel like a whole person, nothing is unrelated, nothing is a coincidence.
And I can get better. My mind is as big as the universe.
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