Previously on Ow Ow Ow Quit It Ow Ow Ow, I was in a drug-induced stupor and was feeling better. Then the holidays hit and I spiraled right back into the Valley of Ouchies (amazing what a little family get-together can do to bring on tension in me). So what's a boy to do? Go to an acupuncturist of course.
I had never been to one before (read: I'm from Malden) and so I didn't have any idea of what to expect. I wasn't even sure if I bought in to the whole premise. I knew I was coming from a place where my initial thoughts about acupuncture were that it is new-age bullshit bordering on quackery. I know this is wrong since this practice has been around for centuries and it must have some validity. Let's open ourselves up for a new experience ok? Ok. The Wiff said that I should first try a "community session" which I can now see is self-explanatory but at the time I had no idea that it meant "sit in a big room with other people with needles in your face". That was not the best approach as it turns out. I loathe people so why the hell would she think sitting in a room with them would be relaxing? Silly lady.
I scheduled a private session with the therapist dude for the following Tuesday night and reminded myself to have an open mind fer chrissakes. That night I made my way over to the studio (that's a problem right there for me for some reason. I'd feel better about this if they would call it an "office" or a "practice" or something more clinical like that. Damn hippies...No Mark! No! Open YOUR MIND damn you! Feel your chakras!) and my arm had been tweaking all day long, probably in anticipation of this very moment I guessed. I walked in and made my way over to the receptionist area. The guy behind the desk confirmed my appointment and then proceeded to get all chatty with me. Look, I'm sending out very clear DO NOT ENGAGE vibes here (and shouldn't he be more in-tuned with vibes and shit like that anyway?), so I'd appreciate it if you'd shut your face and allow me to sit here in this silly place and wait for my turn. Please? No? Oh ok. He went on and on about how he's just moved back after being away for a while and how everything in the studio (there's that word again) has changed. Oh, and it's weird because this piece of equipment never works when he's around. Is it cold out? (Yes. Yes it is. It's fucking January in New England. It tends to get a bit brisk). He rambled for what felt like 15 minutes (most likely 3-5 minutes) and I gave polite-ish monosyllabic responses at the socially accepted intervals while begging him in my head to please shut the fuck up.
Finally the receptionist guy shut his face and the therapist dude came out to let me know he would be just a few more minutes. Yea, I get it. You're busy. So am I. We have an appointment and I'm here on goddamn time. Step it up, Jimmy. Can you see that I may not have been in the right mindset for this? Yea. A couple minutes later he comes back out and has me follow him to one of the rooms. We chat for a little bit about what exactly I'm expecting from this (he's really soft spoken and reminds me of Bob Ross without the giant fuzzy 'fro). His whisper voice annoyed me and I had to make sure I didn't let it totally mess up my session. He talked about what he was going to be doing and his approach to this therapy and I was starting to dig the more clinical assessment of the procedure. Let's do this Bob. He says, "Ok, take your shirt off and lie face down please." Right away I'm instantly tense again. Look, it's not his fault right? He has to get to the skin and stuff right? But as a fat guy, taking my shirt off is never a comfortable thing. I hate the way I look, ok? Sure, I'm working on it but goddamn. Fine, shirt off it is. Now I'm super tense and sweaty. I hope you're happy with yourself sir.
I lie down on the table with my head in that loop thing on the end, arms down by my sides and right away my arm starts tweaking like mad. I told the guy about it and he was like "Oh, ok. Maybe we can adjust this here and then let me know..." all in his whispery voice. Ugh. Stop it. Stop the whisper talk. Let's just do the thing with the needles or whatever ok? So I'm lying on my stomach with my face in the yolk doodad, staring at the floor with my left eye because my right eye is smooshed in the faceloop (I tried adjusting but it was either left eye can see, right eye smooshed; the reverse of that; or both eyes smooshed with light sparkling on my eyelids. I chose the left eye to have first watch), and he starts poking at my back in and around my left shoulder blade. First thing I notice is that his hands are SUPER WARM. Like unnaturally so. Is this his normal body temperature? Am I just cold? Did he microwave his hands for 10 seconds? Is he Mr. Miyagi?
He starts a little massage thing and then he takes the needles out and starts putting them in the different locations. Then he sat down on this little wheeled chair thing and he rolled over to the left side of my head. He then started putting needles in my ear and neck area. Now this is supposed to be relaxing right? But the whole time he's doing this, the thought that's in my head was: "Wow, his balls sure are close to my face." I know. I KNOW. I'm clearly not taking this seriously. I started to giggle to myself a little. "Yea, they're like right there and he could be tea-bagging me right now and I wouldn't necessarily know the difference." I mentally shook myself out of that thought and told myself to CONCENTRATE on not thinking. Stop it you 15-year-old dummy. I let the mind wander and I was starting to relax again. Then he wanted to chat with me. "So, uh, how was your Christmas? You have a good New Year?" Seriously? Ok, I understand you're in a room with a client with his shirt off and your balls are near his face and maybe it feels awkward for you (it certainly feels awkward for me) but right now? I'm trying to clear my headspace or whatever you call it so that I can actually benefit from this and I really, REALLY don't want to talk. I didn't know how to tell him this though. I didn't know how to say "sshhhhhhh" without sounding like a dickbag. So I answered his questions. Of course I did. And I over shared and gave long rambling answers and holy shit why can't I just stop talking? I either don't talk at all or I over share. I have issues ok?
After a while he said, "Ok, that's all I want to do right now so I'm going to leave you for about 20 minutes is that ok?" Yeah, dude I guess...I mean, I dunno. This is your deal, not mine. Go do whatever. "Can you feel those at all?" Yeah, I can. There's fucking needles in my skin. Yes, I can feel them. And it's not like they hurt or anything but you know they are there. He leaves and closes the door to the room and I'm lying there face down, trying to relax. And my arm was kinda calming down cuz it's used to the position. During the community session that The Wiff conned me into, they had this Enya style music playing that featured this flute that kept hitting these notes that just drilled into my spine, carved out a nest, and proceeded to poke me in the nerve endings. It was the opposite of background music. This time there was no music but a faint sound of what was either a wave machine or a broken fan on the air handler of the heating system. For realz it was preferable.
The room that I was in was up near the front of the building and I don't know if they have a shitty sub-floor or if it's a just a super squeaky area but EVERY time someone walked by the room I was like "oh! Is this 20 minutes? Has it been 20 minutes yet? Is this now 20 minutes? Is he going to open the door now? How about now? Is this him? Who was that? Was that him? What happens next? I don't know what happens next". Basically every time I heard someone walk by (which was A LOT by the way) it snapped me out of my relaxed, peaceful state and slammed me right back into my normal slightly edgy state. He did eventually come back and proceeded to take the needles out. By this time his hands were frickin' freezing. WTF dude? Are you just fucking with me now? He then did a little acupressure for a bit on my left side and then he said "Ok, you can get dressed now and I'll meet you out front." Can do mister.
I got dressed (he had me take my shoes and socks off too but never once touched my feetsies so I'm guessing it's just a thing they do? I dunno) and made my way back up front. He was waiting for me at the reception desk and asked me how I was feeling. I was honest about it and said I wasn't really sure. I said that I don't think I got much out of this particular session but that's all on me not him. I didn't think that just one session was going to be the answer. We agreed to set up another session for the following week and I went back last Tuesday (the 10th) and it went much smoother. Now that I knew what to expect out of the actual session itself I was more able to relax and just let him do his work. Plus, and this is a BIG plus for me; he put me in a room that was further back than the previous one. This all but eliminated the foot traffic outside the door. He also turned the lights off this time (something he did not do before) when he left me alone and I very nearly fell asleep. It was an all-around better experience than the first.
Today at work there was an open session with the on-site massage lady (she comes every month I guess) and I was able to book some time with her. It was lovely and I feel quite sleepy now.