Saturday, March 31, 2012

Every Tunnel Has A Bright Spot....

You just have to keep your eyes open.  That goes for patients and acupuncturists at Stroger County Hospital.  For practitioners, the crush of unresolved cases, back surgeries, neck surgeries, cancer, migraines, gunshot wounds, they bring not just their unmitigated pain, but its history, day after bone-crushing day.  It is a dark tunnel which encourages one to squeeze closed the eyes of the mind, and the soul, to gut through the next moment, hanging on for relief, no matter how short.

It's easy to buy into the story. I preach ruthless compassion.  Starting with self.  Cultivating the spirit of the Warrior..for Wellness.  It to build on the last post, "You can't give it if you don't have it."  And you don't have it if you are not building your strength, your prudent use of it, every day, with every conscious breath. We move into the painful space of our patients as fire-keepers.  We have the secret knowledge of seeing our work, no matter the circumstance, work more than not.  Without attachment to outcome.  We come into the room smiling, bright, hopeful.  We listen with our heart.  We cut through the story, and with a nickel's worth of needles, chase away the dragon of pain, at least for a while.  Expanding the circle of light. Which we nurture within ourselves, moment by moment.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Don't Get It....Don't Spread It!

Last week I introduced  another acupuncturist to the Pain Clinic at Stroger County Hospital.  He was impressed with both the overwhelming size of the facility in general, and the suite of 4 treatment rooms staffed by our NUHS interns on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  As we met after the tour, and I searched for a governing message to convey, one that might be different than the fundamental concerns which guide us at our Teaching Clinic, on campus.  In these instances it is always good to do a reality check, and look closely at who we serve, and how well we serve them. Two thoughts came to mind: 1) the section in the Stroger Orientation Manual that covers in detail the risks, and prevention protocols to contain cross contamination; and 2) the absolutely frightening book I read last year, The Rising Plague, after I was exposed to,  and treated my  first patient with confirmed mersa.  (I actually had a pregnant acupuncture intern who called me in on the case  initially refuse to assist, which to me was both a breach of her duties, and a lack of understanding about what we are routinely exposed to in our work).

Here's what I said..  More than a thorough, accurate intake, more than a proper and logical Differential Diagnosis, based on proper tongue and pulse diagnosis, and the 4 Examinations, more than an appropriate treatment strategy, including the selection of correct points and their accurate placement, more than proper bedside manner and good rapport with our Western Medicine Colleagues,  more than all these things, if any of our staff has either become infected with mersa, HIV, hepatitis, staph or strep, or any other transmittable disease, or passed it on to another, we have failed our mission. For truly care of self leads to care of others, and abuse of self leads to abuse of others. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bringing Threefers to Hospital Based Acupuncture

This week I experimented with sequencing and combining acupuncture protocols to deliver more impact in our treatments that last 40 minutes and because of demand, are repeated every one to two weeks or more.  If the pain was concentrated in one part of the body I would start by finding the points on the microsystem of the hand that corresponded to area on the body that was at a 8 to 10 pain level, and insert 5 needles in a surround the dragon configuration.  Then I would do Tui Na massage on the area, usually the neck, back, shoulder or hips.  I would then remove the hand needles and explain how they can stimulate those hand points themselves for relief between return visits.  Finally I would place an ear tacks on the part of the ear analogous to the part of the body that is in pain.  All patients treated with this new protocol sequence had 2 or more point reductions in pain.  Next week we'll find out how long their relief lasted. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What has started with 2 interns and 12 patients on a Thursday from 7:30 to 3:30 in November at Stroger County Hospital ,has expanded to 4 interns and 40 patients on Thursdays and spread to a second, shift from 7 to 11 AM on Wednesdays.  Part of this expansion is from an influx of 10 to 15 new patients per shift.  Patients continue to teach us how to facilitate their healing (becoming whole) visit by visit.  We draw from a prodigious woodpile of  knowledge, accumulated over thousands of years,  to feed these flames fed by the desire to kindle the body's natural ability to heal itself.  .