Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Taking the Plunge

A few years ago, back when they discovered that the problem in my hands wasn't carpal tunnel syndrome, they sent me back and forth to half a dozen specialists in an attempt to suss out the culprit. None of them had any real idea what was wrong but one doctor, a hand specialist (the one who finally did the test that determined a predisposition for rheumatic conditions) suggested that I should try acupuncture for the pain. He put through a referral to the acupuncture department for me, but I never followed through with it because A) It looked like we were going to get a real diagnoses soon, B) it's all the freakin' way in another city, and taking the bus to get there (we only have one car) for orientation would be a TWO HOUR trip through unfamiliar territory, and then require a half mile walk. And C) WHATEVER DUDES. I have a pretty low opinion of the pseudo-scientific "chi energy" rigamarole, and don't really want to listen to it.
But, things have changed in the last few years. For one, I hurt a lot more. And also, I don't appear to be getting any actual medical treatment, here. I'm just about at my wit's end, and at this point I would do darn near anything if there was any actual chance it would help me feel better, especially when I'm dancing. So, I looked in to it. There are real honest-and-for-true clinical studies that support the use of acupuncture, though of course no one actually knows why it works. They have theories ranging from triggering immune responses to counter-irritation to just plain old positive thinking. But... you know? At this point? *sigh* I don't even care WHY it works, just so long as it does, you know? And everyone I've talked to that has first-hand experience with it has been 100% sure it did something good for them. Of course, these are also the people who claim that it's painless and that you'll blissfully frolic through the experience with no blood loss. I have a friend who used to be a dogsbody at an acupuncture clinic, and among her grosser chores was cleaning up the large quantities of blood left behind after a session. UCKA. Fellow rheumy and blogger extraordinaire Jenny Lawson's book Let's Pretend This Never Happened contains her own account of acupuncture treatment. She lays it on the line and tells it very much like it is, pain and blood and all. But at this point unless they want to ram the damn pins in to my EYES they are totally welcome to give it a shot. So I'm signed up to take Kaiser's acupuncture orientation class at the end of November, and then we'll see how it shakes out.
Honestly, I am not amazingly happy with the idea because I don't like getting poked with needles, much. And I STILL don't want to listen to anyone regale me with wisdom about my chi. For crying out loud, people, you can't just make up something when you don't understand how it works!
I asked my (deep skeptic of a) husband what he thought about me trying it out and he has been supportive. Not that he's the sort of jerky husband who isn't supportive of most of my decisions or anything (he even lets me smudge the house, so long as he isn't there while I'm burning the sage), but I do so like to not make him think that I'm a crazy person on a regular basis.


  1. As a person with RA I have found myself trying many unusual things too. When you have chronic pain you reach the point where any relief, how ever odd or weird is welcome. I wish you good luck with your sessions. It has made me so sad to read your blog the past few months. As a nurse, seeing someone jerked around and treated (or actually NOT treated) as you have been is truly heartbreaking. Even though I also have pain at least I have a rheumatologist who listens and cares about me. The best of luck to you! Sending you many good thoughts. (I know another squishy pseudoscience but wanted to let you know I was thinking about you.)

    1. Thanks! I can use all the help I can get. Even squishy help ;) Good luck to you, as well!