Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Triple Header Friday

She was zoftig, with salt & pepper hair, hunched over her walker, every agonizing step a memory of how bad the next one would be. She had responded well to her first acupuncture treatmen, scrunched on the hard, high floroscopy table that doubles as an acupuncture bed. We went local on her back with e-stim on Bladder 23, 31, 57. A protocol I inherited from my second senior acupuncture mentor from Liaoning Provencial Hospital. We worked together for bubkas at the Westside Health Authority clinic in the hood in another life-time. Vanilla. Safe. The Plain Jane treatment had worked ok. No knee pain for 4 hours and no back pain for 4 days. Time to bring out the big guns. Zhou. Particularly after Monday's success. I peppered her head with a handful of Zhou's points and, to her surprise, asked her to stroll with me sans walker, down the corridor.  She took the leap of faith, and walked strong, first with the help of my hand clenching hers. And then free fall, re--learning what it is like to be self -powered again.

I told her the story of the grapholigist I called in Colorado decades ago. In my Mad Ad  days. To inquire about her classes in handwriting analysis. She didn't answer. I repeated the message she left for callers to hear. " When you get to the edge of the circle of light, and step off into the darkenss, one of two things will happen. Either your foot will hit solid ground, or you will fall, grow wings, and fly." My patient  flew that day. But it doesn'end there. While she was sitting in the room, getting well, I saw a second patient, the calligraphy of pain etching her face, and thought I would walk her back for some salt & pepper. With her consent. She sat their. Like the Queen of Cures. The angle of the chin. The sureness in her voice, Head tilted just so. Lips pursed to add emphassis to her pronouncements. I was mesmerized. I, and the patient beside me were charmed by what she saw and heard. How these slender needles blending into the black & white landscape, might also help her own condition. Lessen her pain. Take the hitch out of her get-along. We went back to the other treatment room. And it did. But not before we paid it forward. With a surley black sister who wasn't going to let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

When I suggested the flavor of the day to her, Zhu Scalp Acu[ncture,   she said "What ever."  Rolling her eyes at this frosty-haired white guy who had no idea how many miles of bad roadshe had traveled in this lifetime. Time for the hand off. A Black sister with terrible back and leg pain having a Hispanic sister tell her how those needles in her scalp had instantly made a difference in her pain level. And added a fluidity and grace to her gait. Somehow I felt separated from it all. Like a spectator. Someone in the audience of a play called "This works.  Pass it on." Or part of some kind of conspiracy. That needed secret passwords. And twisted finger handshakes. To gain access to hidden, life-changing knowledge.  Passed down through the centuries. Carried by Otzi up through the Alps 5,000 years ago. Shouldering his back pain and abdominal pain from the whip worms in his belly with him. To be found bled out in the Otzil Alps Glacier. By a honey-mooning Austrian couple. Waving up at them. Whispering "share my secrets." They did. And so did the Lancet British Medical Journal. Which postulated that the strokes and hatchmarks tattoed on Otzi were short-hand for the acupuncture points he used for his arthritic back, and wormy belly. pain. And now a varient of this Wisdom Medicine, had been passed on by another Time Bender,  from Northern Italy where Otzi had lived, to a busy Chicago clinic nested in a much larger vortex dedicated to easing pain. Offering people of all shapes, ages and color hope. And healing.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Single on Monday and a Triple Header on Friday.

He was Polish (still is). Young. And saddled with RSD and MERSA. Waiting for knee surgery he doesn't want. Right-sided pain from his neck to his knee. To much area to cover with needles. Unless you go Micro. Like in Microsystems. Like in scalp. I was convinces the first time I saw Dr. Zhu in action. At a training in Chicago in the '90's.
Upstairs in a bank building in Boystown. The kid was a victim of a drive-by. Carrying 6 bullets around his spine. He had to white-knnuckle the  arms of his wheelchair just to keeep from swaying side to side. In 5 minutes Zhu had him standing up for the first time in a couple of years. With the help of several of us. And an 8 needle mosaic, in the shape of a face-up homunculus, from the his hair line to the apex of his head. Found by putting one's thumbs on the tip of the ear, and stretching the index fingers to touch each other on top. "Think of the needle as a bucket you are pulling up and lowering down a well," Zhu said, through his translator, "And never pull the needle, and the patient's sick qi into the palm of your hand." Pointers I still practice.  But back to this past Monday, and the young tattooed Pole.

I decided to treat him Zhu style. Since it was his first time, I used only 4 needles. One at the Middle Warmer area, to amp up his energy. And then one slid along his right arm point and another along his right leg point. Then I did my favorite manuerver, jockying him, caneless, by the busy Pain Residents lined up at their work station, facing the corridor we treaded. He muttering, " I can't beleieve this, This is great."  From there I boldly displayed him, with his joyful consent, to the 10 new Pain Fellow Candidates gathered in the conference room, where Dr. Linda was talking about the integrateive aspect of our clinic. And voila, there I show up with evidence. They were Mesmerized.

Because treatment space in short supply, I'll tag team him with Dr. Linda nextime.  A Psychologist I do "Simutaneous Therapy" with. I work above the brain with acupuncture. She works on the brain with Mindfullness. At the same time. We work togther for addiction and Xerostomia patients as well. Using the Auricular Microsystem. I work on the ears. She works between them.

(to be continued, with Friday's 3 Zhu Scalp Aucupuncture Patients treated the same time. They actually interacted with each other, needles deployed)

Monday, March 12, 2018

How do you spell relief, when they turned off the opiod faucet?

This 38 year old African American male had 3 surgerieslast year. Right shoulder in April. Back in June.  And Neck in December. Five days before Christmas. His pain meds got shut off January 29th. Happy New Year. He showed up around Chinese New Years for Acupuncture. Year of the Dog.
 I love Dogs. It spells God backwards. The Asian Astrological virtues are incredible. I've raised and showed Ridgebacks, brought up Afghans, Collies, Labs, Blue Healers, Standard Poodles, Staffordshires, and now a Dutch Collie puppy that's smarter then most people I know. Sometimes. Scary. And definately smareter than the folks that would drug this guy up 3 times for surgery, and between surgeries,  in the space of 10 months, and then  say......
  "Surprise! We're turning off the joy juice. Because we have to. Sorry.  But let's see if acupunctue can pull the rabbit our of the hat for you."

He;s been ridden hard and put away wet. But your turn, go ahead now, put some needles in him. We used to call that a hospital pass  in sand-lot football.  Shove it off  to the sap next to you just before you get hit.We don't know how or if it's going to work. But give it a shot.

I did. It did. Work. About 10,000 worth of out-patients a day. In China we would see him 3 to 5 times a week for a month or more.

Over here my interns and I are lucky to see him monthly.  There it's 5 bucks a treatment. They're still trying to figure it out over here. A penny a needle and 10 minutes of time.  Go figure. I used Zhu's scalp system to jump start this patient to less pain. . And added Chinese Carryout of ASP needles on the ear  Battlefield Acupuncture Points for carryover. With a lttle sprinkle of Sotai Corrective Exercises on the side. Go figure.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Bull Horns Showed Up Yesterday in Our Waiting Room

There's a saying that the way to avoid getting impaled on the bull horns of a dilemma is to grab one of them vigorously, and hang on. A patient sat in a chair near the door gasping for air last night. I had just gotten the skinny from the Resident working with her. She had been to E.R. at a sister hospital for her pain the night before. She received an injection which she claimed did not work. 

I walked over to her and told her that I was ready to see her. She struggled to get up out of her chair, holding her legs, and gasping how bad they, and her back hurt her. We walked slowly to my office. I took her intake, delivered in shallow bursts of fitful information. I walked out to her Resident and said he was right, I could not do much for her. I told him  I was going to do Battlefield points on her ear, to try to take the edge off her pain, which might be contributing to her difficulty breathing.

But in the end I grabbed the "shortness of breath" horn, and after little relief to show from peppering her ear with ASP darts,  like a clove covered baked ham, had her transported by wheel chair to the Emergency Department to address her worsening struggle to breathe.

 This morning the Resident told me that the ER's dx. was anxiety. And that resolved, he planned to work her into his rotation for a procedure for  her pain later in the day.