Holy crap, New Mexico, SantaFe

The Magical Dr. Zhao

5/18/07

Bree told me about Dr. Zhao the acupuncturist a while ago. She was a regular victim and occasionally let me try the herbal remedies he gave her. One tasted like paint thinner, another like aspirin dissolved in melted lemon sorbet and a third like malted battery acid. I figured that anything that bad must be good for a person (unless Dr. Zhao actually enlisted battery acid, paint thinner and malt in his concoctions).

So fast-forward to now. I’ve had an annoying, frustrating cough for a week and I can’t shake it. I’m determined not to go to the doctor since I haven’t gone to one yet and I figure he’ll just look at me, listen to my chest and make me take antibiotics or something I could have prescribed myself.

So while at work today, our computer lady, Eli, heard me hacking and mentioned that I should get acupuncture.

I asked Eli who she goes to and when she mentioned Dr. Zhao, I decided I ought to pay a visit to the good doctor. Bree even said they made a documentary about him. If Bree and Eli say so, then I say go. They are my two most trusted confidants in town other than the haggard hobo I buy my paper from on Fridays.

I called Dr. Zhao and made an appointment.

Now mind you, I am deathly afraid of needles. I like to blame my travel bug on needles and giving blood. I love the idea of giving blood and try to give every time I can, but I can’t bear the thought of someone sticking a needle in me. So I discovered after my first trip overseas that if you go to the right country you can’t give blood for a year or two, but they still let you have cookies for stopping in. This motivated me to travel and explore tropical countries with exciting diseases.

Sorry for the tangent. Regardless, I hate needles.

I arrived at Dr. Zhao’s office and he had me fill out a form on what was troubling me. Then he took me into a small room with incubator lamps and a massage table. I began to imagine needles sticking out of my spine, shoving into uncomfortable spaces and nooks and crannies and me screaming in horror and no one around to hear except for the diabolical Dr. Zhao…

I laid face down in the weird circular pillow with the hole in the middle.

Dr. Zhao began methodically sticking needles in my back. I hardly noticed as I heard a click-clack-shunk, one more needle in. He stuck around 15 needles all around my back. Most didn’t hurt, but a few I could feel right away, not pain, but rather something moving and draining and strange. Then he got up to my head and stuck one right at the base of my skull and a couple behind my ears.

This is when I began to get nervous.

And then he left.

“I’ll be back in a while,” Dr. Zhao said. He set a little tick-tock timer and left the room.

But hey, wait, Dr. Zhao, seriously, there are needles sticking out of my skull. It was like a crazy trick.

For the first 10 minutes my mind was flying. I could feel weird things happening in my body as things moved about, shifted and weird tingles moved throughout my body. I tried to keep the image of my needle-studded back out of my head, but it kept creeping in.

I didn’t want to move a single muscle, didn’t want to breathe for fear that any muscle movement would break a needle off or move it to a different spot. Or I imagined what would happen if there were a fire and I’d have to roll off the table, pointy needles in my spine and all. Holy crap, this is insane.

He didn’t even say how long he would be gone.

But as the clock ticked and my mind settled down, it was as if my body was spreading out and I fell into a strange sleep.

Ten minutes later and the timer went off with a pleasant ‘ding.’ I woke up and realized that there were still needles in my back and head. This is not comfortable, well, wait, it is kind of comfortable.

Dr. Zhao came in and asked how I was. I wasn’t sure how I felt or where I was, but I think I was okay. He reset the timer and left again.

I couldn’t tell where he was, but then I felt slight pressure on one point and he swept his hands across my back and head pulling out the needles quickly and efficiently.

I thought he was actually pushing them in deeper, but when he finished he said, “Okay, put your shirt back on.”

Forty minutes had passed in five and I got up a little shaky and a little hazy.

“You got all the needles out, right?” I asked.

“You are finished,” he said. “Call me if anything else bothers you and we’ll help you.”

Then he gave me three bottles of magical elixir and I wretched.

P.S. I think it kind of worked. Actually, maybe not. I still have a bit of a cough. Well, maybe it helped. I don’t know. I’m still sorting things out.

Man, needles in my head! Wild. Find out more about Dr. Zhao here!!!!

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One thought on “The Magical Dr. Zhao

  1. Mark H says:

    First I had a great happy day after reading your BLT post (and have made a BLT’s since I read it), and once again, you’ve told a great story about acupuncture….I have NEVER been to one and have ALWAYS thought I would end up feeling exactly like you said: NOT SURE if I feel any different or not. I guess your cough went away…. Magic Elixir…yup, that’s how I see it….. THANKS for a great read. Your writing style is fabulous. My favorite? How you began your interest in going to new countries with exotic diseases…

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