Have you been wondering what acupuncture is all about? Aside from being a form of Chinese medicine and you get needles stuck in you at various pressure points to assist in curing what ails you, I didn’t know much about acupuncture. Lately I’ve been wondering if acupuncture might help me, and seeing as how my plan at work covers some acupuncture treatments, I decided to give it a try. Here’s my adventure, my first time for acupuncture.
I’ll spare you any pictures of needles. I’m sure we all get the point. Pun intended!
I’ve wondered about acupuncture, if it might relieve lower back pain from a car crash (not my fault – a new driver ran a red light) that happened in 2008, plus some relief for osteoarthritis pain in my fingers. Generally it’s a very mild pain and I don’t normally require medicine for pain control. What I’m more worried about is rheumatoid arthritis. My blood work shows very high for it and my doctor sent me to a specialist two years ago, a rheumatologist, who examined me and ran more blood tests wondering if I might just be getting a false reading. One of the blood tests was for malaria, a disease transmitted by getting bitten by a mosquito, usually in Africa. A country I haven’t visited.
I went to the doctor’s office a few months ago, mainly due to pain just below my left knee. If I kneel down, it’s like I’m kneeling on a rock or something, quite painful. I went for x-rays plus they did x-rays of my hands again just to check the progress of the arthritis.
The knee area didn’t show anything and the doctor I saw that visit (only time I’ve seen him) prescribed medicine to help the arthritis in my fingers.
When I returned a month later for a prescription refill, I saw a doctor I’ve seen several times. He gave me a requisition for all kinds of blood work, like for a general exam, and even an EKG. Yikes! I’ve never done that before.
I got a call from the office, not urgent but the doctor would like to talk to me.
It’s tough getting in to the doctor because I work, so that leaves after work or weekends when only one doctor is on and there are usually lengthy waits.
In my case, after work, it was 90 minutes wait. Yikes! Good thing I had my Kindle with me.
News not too good. My rheumatoid arthritis score has gone up from 48 from two years ago to 52. A normal person who doesn’t have the RA factor would be below 10. The doctor is referring me to see a rheumatologist again.
My blood sugar is high. It’s in the normal range, but high, getting close to crossing into diabetes. My cholesterol is also high, enough that the doctor put me on a low dosage medicine.
The doctor gave me a requisition to go back for blood work again in 6 weeks. Also said I should be able to lower my blood sugar and cholesterol by losing weight. Watching what I eat. Avoiding chocolate and desserts and portion control. I might not be a big eater but I do like sweets.
Will power. Really hard for me. I mentioned acupuncture to the doctor who pretty much shrugged it off but said it might help. Watching what I eat and getting more exercise are probably what will help with the weight loss.
I decided to see if acupuncture could help and called an acupuncturist who was able to see me the same day. I’m hoping that acupuncture can take away my craving for sweet things, help me lose weight, provide arthritis help, and lower my blood sugar and cholesterol.
I went in and the acupuncturist talked with me about my areas of concern. Also saying weight loss will get some of the issues under control. He also suspects my metabolism isn’t right. I’m not a big eater and I do exercise but nothing seems to keep the weight off. I’ll take off 10 pounds and put them on again.
Then we went into a room, just like a room you’d go into at the doctor’s office. He said to take off my socks and shoes and lie down on the bed. And then he realized I was wearing sandals – no socks! It’s been very hot here lately. I was also wearing shorts so need to roll up my pants either. In other words, keep all my clothes on except the shoes.
I was confused by lying down on the bed. Whenever I hear or see anything about acupuncture, the patient is lying face down on the bed and needles are put in their back.
The acupuncturist showed me the needles that would be used, coming from a sealed package. He then put them into my calves, my foot, my wrists, ears, and stomach. There was a little initial pain, but the only area that was really bad was the pin going into my right wrist. It was like a bolt of electricity was going through my pinkie. But that settled down.
Then there was nothing to do but lie there for about 45 to 60 minutes. I didn’t check my watch. He came in and checked on me a few times. All good.
Then he used something that looked like scissors to remove the needles.
We went back to his desk and I put my hat on, and then I said “Hey, is there still a needle in my ear?” Sure enough he forgot the needles in my ears. Good thing about the hat, otherwise I might have been walking around for awhile with needles sticking out of my ears like some kind of funky piercing.
Then he recommends some herbal remedies that he’s put together for me. There are teabags and I make a cup of tea for breakfast and at dinner to drink. The other supplements are pill shaped and I take them 3 times a day at mealtime. There’s only about 3 or 4 days worth of these herbs.
Now it comes time to pay the piper. The consultation is $35 and the treatment is $90. Total $125. My work benefits cover $500/year for acupuncture so I know I’ll get that covered. I pay for treatment and then I go online and make a claim which is then deposited back into my bank account.
So this tells me I only have room for 4 more treatments. That’s just way too expensive for me to make a habit out of it. Especially since he wants to see me twice a week in the beginning, and I set up 2 more appointments.
This also tells me in a couple of weeks this treatment will end due to finances.
Let’s get back to the herbal supplements. They cost nearly as much as the accupuncture, about $123 and they’re only enough for a few days. Yikes! What that will do to my budget!
I can see this is something that will cost about $500/week to go twice a week. Who’s got that kind of money to spare when you don’t have a high paying job?
I can’t afford acupuncture treatment plus the herbs. I know there’s a lot of benefits to it, so we’ll see what the immediate results are after I hit my $500 limit that’s covered on my plan.
In the meantime I’ve been reading all kinds of articles on lowering my blood sugar.
Maybe I just need a jump start
Have you seen an acupuncturist? What were your visits like?