I should have been alerted by the big black needle. ‘I am doing microsurgery today,’ announces Dr Ang. ‘In America they have at least one nurse to help,’ he giggles. ‘But no need in Chinese Medicine if you have a good doctor.’
Well that’s the question, isn’t it? So far I have had too many sessions with Dr Ang to count, and there is no doubting that the scar on my leg and lack of radiation damage is nothing sort of miraculous, as is the mobility I have in the bad leg. But we also have the surgeon to thank for that!
But now, having treatment for my arthritic hip (five in all), I am not so sure. ‘This might give you shock,’ he says as he jabs the black one in. OW! ‘This one is Manager, these other ones are assistants,’ as he decorates my hip with some smaller sharps. ‘I can tell if it working by looking at your eyes. If they show pain, then is good.’ In fact, he tells me, that my high levels of pain are good – it means my body is reacting well. ‘If your body relax then you feel more pain; if brain full of thoughts then no pain. No pain, no gain!’. Yes, we know that old joke.
As I hobble home, my leg feels really tender – gosh, I thought I was meant to feel better! Three hours later, as I undress I feel a pull on my leg: there’s still a needle lodged in there. No wonder it felt sore. Next day I show it to him. ‘Oh that’s very good – longer it stay in, better for you’. No shame at all! I live in dread of the black needle every time – and with good reason. It is the most powerful, excruciating pain: the needle goes right down into the nervous system and gives it a good kick-start so that the energy zips right through the body, even to the other leg…
More advice on what to do for stagnant blood/qi. I am a cold person as we know, so have to make lots of chicken soup – the world-wide cross-cultural cure-all – plus soup from dates and dried longaans (lichee-like fruits). Have no intention of doing either of the latter, although Serena, my trainer, tells me pork and red date stew is very traditional, and her mother makes it. Also vinegar is bad for arthritis, despite what we think in the west. ‘Fish and rice soup also good’ – hmm, none of this sounding great.
But he looks at my tongue and pronounces that my diet is good, it is not red. Red it is a sign of congestion. So I am eating the right things: he even recommends red wine every night to help warm up the qi…but I resist teh pink ticket to drink during the week and stick to the dry days! He regales me in most of my sessions with stories of how Chinese Medicine has cured people of illnesses that western medicine has failed. I tend to believe him – he had lung cancer himself 10 years ago and is still standing!
So the microsurgery is now over; all that remains is for me rub in my home-made potion every night: vodka infused with chilli. ‘Need to send message to brain to keep healing. All bodies can heal themselves if you know how’.
Will let you know how I feel in a week or so!