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Electroshock Therapy

October 11, 2010

I decided to give up on my charming acupuncturist due to dwindling finances and questionable results. Our weekly visits had more than decimated my massage budget, and I needed one of those desperately. Meanwhile, as pleasant as my pincushion hours were (oddly, this is not sarcasm), I had gone there due to painful stiffness in my shoulders and my primary symptom had not improved.

I didn’t mention on my way in that this would be my last visit.  I’m terrible at break-ups.

She put me in a different room than usual and explained that she would be attaching electrodes to some of the pins to provide a mild electrical pulse.  She assured me that this would not hurt now, though I should expect it to hurt the next day.

If I were able to see myself while in this therapeutic situation, I would probably vomit, but then I keep my eyes closed at the dentist’s office, so I guess I’m a wuss.  In retrospect, it’s a good thing I didn’t study harder sophomore year in college.  Had I aced organic chemistry, I would have learned of this squeamishness during med school, and how embarrassing would my vomit be in a clinical setting? Dodged a bullet there, Past Me! Way to drink!

The treatment did not hurt, just as she promised.  She adjusted the dials so I could just barely feel a pulse in each shoulder.  A half hour (?) later, I took a look at the electroshock machine as I was putting my shirt back on.  It was labeled “Multi-Purpose Health Device,” specifically one of these:

Multi-Purpose Health Device: more uses than a Magic Bullet!

How very Engrish of this machine to think of itself in this way. Its title is at once accurate and misleading, providing a truthful description of its purpose with little to no insight into its intended or potential usage.  Its name lacks the panache of marketing-driven title the likes of which companies spend a small fortune for consultants to pull out of their overpriced asses, but at least it’s not overly clinical.  It’s a device – that much is certain – and it has multiple purposes, at least some of which are related to human health.  Not enough razzle-dazzle for the As-Seen-On-TV crowd, though, I fear.

Regardless of the lost branding potential on the housing of this little appliance, in the hands of a skilled acupuncturist (or at least I presume mine is skilled… how would I really know?), it might be magic.  When I laid down, my entire upper back was one solid mass of painful stiffness.  When I got up, the stiffness and immobility was  replaced with a general muscle soreness like that one might experience after a challenging new physical activity, such as rock climbing or dolphin-surfing.

The next morning I awoke able to move my neck, which I sadly realized hadn’t been part of my routine in some time.  Here I sit some four days later, having spent two of those days painting the clapboard on the back of my house and one of them cleaning the inside of the house (and one of them sitting around watching movies and getting drunk, in case you’re counting), and not only can I still move my neck in many of its intended ways, but the other sore parts of my back (read: the rest of it) are in good enough shape that today I undertook my first urdhva dhanurasana in weeks.  Tomorrow I’ll find out if that was stupid.

On my way out of this fateful appointment, I was doubly conflicted – I was still out of money, but now I was making definitive progress.  Luckily, she saved me the trouble of dumping her, as so many ex-boyfriends have done, when she told me I could just call her if I needed another appointment, rather than scheduling a follow-up before I left.  And like anyone I’ve ever planned to dump, once she did me this social favor, I instantly wanted her back.

I’ll call you again one day, Dr. Fu, you miraculous backstabber!

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