Though I have already lost a lot of work time at my new job, I decided to keep the appointment I’d made with a new acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic. I really hate going down to the mothership, and I’m pretty familiar with the “campus,” but it’s so huge and the traffic getting down there in the morning is awful, I hate it. I always walk in and see the giant, multimillion dollar art installations and remember what my Dad, who sold cars for 17 years, told me about fancy-looking car dealerships. He said if they have a coffee bar and a hot dog stand and free magazines and everything is really huge and fancy, that’s all customer profit you’re looking at.
And sat in traffic forever, finally getting into the parking structure 10 minutes before my appointment time. They had told me to go to the J building, 8th floor. I wandered around but couldn’t find it, so the front desk people directed me to a set of elevators that took me to a quiet, dead floor with what seemed to be mostly locked doors. Now it was after my appointment time, and I was annoyed, and I went storming back down to the desk and insisted someone walk me to wherever it said my appointment was. I lose my temper pretty easily these days (gee, wonder why) so the nice hospital officer offered to take me there himself. We went back to the elevators and the barren hallway, where he pulled open a door that only said “wellness” on it, and there was my needle lady. Wellness is something I’ve certainly been lacking, and wasn’t the name of the department the paper said my appointment was on, but ok. I was all sweaty and annoyed but the lady was very nice so I tried to calm down and be very nice back. I didn’t expect to get treatment today, since it was my first appointment, but after some discussion and since I’d had it before, we had at it. I had so many needles in me, if Keith Richards had come in, he would have wanted to to know who my supplier was. I had needles everywhere: both ears, backs of both knees, around both ankles, in all my fingers, and all across my lower back, which was also getting electronic stim. And now you relax, and I’ll be back in a half hour. HA.
Except I did relax. I knew I couldn’t answer my phone, so I had turned it off. I tried to visualize the needles acting as pathways for all of my pain to leave me; the spondy pain, the arthritis, the knee pain, all while I lay on a gently heated table, face-down, my head in one of those circular thingies like when you get a massage. Soon, my eyes swelled with tears and I began silently and unexpectedly crying, my tears as silent coming out as they were splashing onto the floor a couple of feet below my face. I thought about how many people have been reaching out to me, offering to help, offering their love and support and friendship if nothing else, which in itself is a huge gift, and cried some more. I thought about my Mom, and wondered if she would ever be completely back to normal, or understand or remember all the things she’s said and done. How she threatened me. How she said she didn’t trust me anymore and was changing her will. How weird it was when she asked for a hug three times at my son’s birthday party a few weeks ago, but I didn’t connect it up with anything else because I didn’t know what was going on. How many people I’ve talked to in the past week in the medical profession who asked if I work in the medical field (being sick for a long time makes you not only a good patient, but also another patient’s advocate, I guess).
I tried to imagine weakness leaving me and strength being allowed to flow in. My mind danced through music and holding hands with people and kisses exchanged and gazes held and friends’ broad shoulders to hug me and cry on and how lucky I’ve been to have had so much love in my life. About dancing to an 60s/bikini-type song with my son in the living room (Liar Liar by the Castaways) the night before. And I felt a little stronger, which was ironic as I was pretty helpless in that moment.
Moving forward, with your help. I have a picture in my head of all of my friends, like everyone’s hands are intertwined physically as when you play Red Rover, except in a circle, and wherever I bounce, they will gently throw me back in and won’t let me break free. I hope that’s right.