One of our physicians also practiced the ancient art of acupuncture. One afternoon as I drove to work, I developed a pounding, miserable headache. It was one of those horrible headaches that made me feel half sick to my stomach.
As I walked past him, he commented, “What’s wrong with you? You look like you’re not feeling well.”
I told him that I had a miserable headache. He said, “We’re not busy right now. Hop up on that bed and I’ll be right back.”
I didn’t know what to expect. At that point, I didn’t know that he did acupuncture. I didn’t care what he planned to do, as long as it helped to get rid of my headache. He came back to the cubicle with a small, black leather case. As I sat there, I was wondering what in the world does he have.
He took a handful on alcohol swabs and placed them beside the case on the mattress. When he opened the case, I could see an array of what looked like thin metal wires. Taking one of the needles from the burgundy velvet lined interior, he held the “knob handle” of the needle. He cleaned the length of the wire with the alcohol swab. The handle was just a thicker part of the wire that was about the thickness of a small wooden matchstick.
Next, he selected a short, slender metal tube and inserted the needle through the opening. He told me to put my hands on my lap with my palms upwards. When I complied, he placed the tube over one of my wrists and tapped the handle with his finger. He removed the tube and the needle was stuck in my wrist. It didn’t hurt. The needle was about as thin as a human hair.
Twirling the handle, he slid the needle deeper into my wrist and then withdrew it to a shallower position. It was odd feeling. It wasn’t painful, but it, had an electrical aspect along with the sensation of pushing and pulling. He left that one wire stuck in place and went to my other wrist, repeating the process. With those two in place, he worked the antecubital spaces, but didn’t keep a needle there. He moved on to needle my knees, calves, and ankles. He finished by pricking my scalp in several places across the top of my head, front to back and side to side. When he was through, he removed the needles from my wrists.
“Wow!” I thought. “He just cut my headache in half. The pain was bearable now and I could work the night without having the feeling of nausea.” I thanked him because I felt so much better.
A few weeks later on an unusually slow afternoon shift, He was on again and said, “Come with me.”
I followed him back the hallway to the nurses’ lounge. He said, “Have a seat. I’ll be right back.”
He returned with the same black case that held his acupuncture needles. “I will give you a more thorough treatment for your headaches.” And he did; more needles, different spots, and I began to felt so relaxed. I just knew I would have the relief he promised.
I was sitting in one of those plastic scoop chairs. It was bright orange and as slippery as a linoleum floor to socked feet. When he finished my treatment, he packed his needles and left the room. I felt so relaxed that if someone had thrown a hand grenade in the room and yelled, “BOMB!” I’m not sure I could have moved. As it was, I was having a hard enough time staying in the chair and not slipping out of it and onto the floor.
The acupuncture treatment worked. No more headaches for me until nearly six months later and it was only a mild one.