A Dim View of Acupuncture

My physician had recommended a practitioner to me.  I was a bit surprised when I called his office and an Asian woman yelled, YEAH into the phone.  I explained that Dr. Powell had referred me to Dr. Wu and I wanted to make an appointment. Another YEAH.  Startled but pressing on, I made the appointment for the next day.

I must have driven past the seedy strip mall three times before I realized the address I had been given had to be there.  I drove past a bong shop and a tattoo parlor before I stopped in front of the shop that bore the address.  CHINESE HERBS AND GIFTS.  In minute letters at the bottom was the word “acupuncture.”  

Though disheartened, I entered the shop.  YEAH?  There she was again.

Around me were shelves and shelves and cases and piles and heaps of the aforementioned herbs and gifts.

After filling out a form that basically asked Why Are You Here, (oh, and paying $15 cash) I was told the doctor was ready.  I was ushered back behind a screen into an area that called to mind the words, BACK ALLEY ABORTION, but I will be kinder and call it Dingy

The doctor was about 110, nearly deaf, and did not seem to recognize the name of the physician who had referred me. Seated at a desk with an empty chair beside it, he gestured me to sit. He asked me to stick out my tongue and listened to the pulses in both wrists for a very long time.

Then he led me to a cubicle with a table, told me to take off my blouse, and lie face down. Then he shut the plastic curtain that I’m sure was used in someone’s bathroom earlier that day. I followed his suggestions, and he came back in, inserted some needles and covered me with a bath towel. A bath towel. I began to sense a decorating theme.

He came back 15 minutes later, took out the needles and said “come back tomorrow.” I almost said “no fucking way” out loud as I dressed, and fled to the relative safety of my car.

I would needle doctor Powell for years about this.


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