AFTER MY FIRST FORAY into acupuncture yesterday afternoon, I am officially finished with Western medicine. It’s not going to be easy shaking off 60-plus years of constant indoctrination that took place on a daily basis, installing the belief that the Men in White are smarter than the rest of us. In fact, among the older Jews they are likely still seen as Gods. But now I know for sure: they are merely diligent students who got through med school, mostly from their lack of imagination and ability to blindly follow orders.
My personal bumblers include the chief of pulmonology at a major metropolitan hospital who diagnosed me with lung cancer and insisted I have surgery immediately, which I did, only it was a bacterial infection that would have cleared up on its own. There was the orthopedic surgeon who insisted I needed a new hip, but then I went to an “alternative medicine” practitioner who recommended I eat a lot of salmon and the pain disappeared. (I still have my old hip.) There was the anesthesiologist who couldn’t quite get the epidural right, so after three tries it turned out I would be having natural childbirth after all. The list goes on, including a 100 percent wrong surgery, a completely unnecessary breast lumpectomy and a doctor who said “Uh-oh,” when he realized too late that my supposed boil was really a cyst. (Turns out you can’t lance a cyst.)
But that is all ancient history. Most recently, and for the past six years, I have been suffering from a disease called labile hypertension, or vacillating high blood pressure. It has brought with it varying degrees of anxiety, depression, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, fainting spells and constant fear and loathing. A parade of doctors have tried in vain to ease my symptoms, each using his one and only weapon: The prescription pad. Every new drug has had its own crummy side effect, that tiresome litany we all know so well from seeing drug ads on TV. Yet not one pill — or doctor, for that matter — has helped in any real way.
As a last resort, I followed the advice of a counselor who I see to help me deal with this dreary situation and tried acupuncture. Skeptically, I made an appointment with a local practitioner, ready to laugh it off as a silly experience, but an experience nonetheless. To say I was unprepared for the result of my two-hour visit, one spent with needles stuck in various parts of my body, is an understatement: For the first time in years I felt great. I felt normal. Like my old self. I had energy. I was in a good mood. “This too shall pass,” I told myself as I drove home, assuming it was a temporary high.
But it wasn’t. I felt great for the rest of the day and all night long. Now it’s tomorrow and I still feel great. My blood feels richer. My breathing is purer. It’s like magic, only it isn’t magic; it’s simply another kind of medicine. The kind that works.
Andrea Rouda blogs at “The Daily Droid”