October 15

I trade out for acupuncture health care

Alan O'Hashi
Core Spirit member since Oct 15, 2021
Reading time 6 min.

I write this story as an acupuncture patient. I'm an author and documentary filmmaker. This is an exerpt from my memoir "True Stories of a Mediocre Writer." It's about some of my life experiences that have informed my creative projects over the years. In 2013, I was working too much and my immune system wore down that sent me onto my deathbed for six months.

My rising from the dead experience is the basis of another memoir, Views from Atop My Bedpan (working title). I'm always looking for "one true sentence" fodder that now includes surviving the lung disease, the septic ulcer, and annoying shingles pain. Western medicine did its job and kept me on the right side of the grass.

Nonetheless, I attribute acupuncture for nurturing me back to health.

My docs were all a little vague with me. In my mind, Western medicine is generally pretty good at fix-up jobs up like sewing wounds closed, prescribing remedial drugs for measurable maladies like high blood pressure, and splinting broken bones.

As for my case, all that happened to me, in the end, was the leaky rubber tube protruding out of my abdomen for quick access to my surgically repaired intestines had there been a problem. The shingles settled on my left scalp, and the residual pain is bothersome. My rehab was good, and I ended up pretty much back to normal, but healing up wasn't without trying alternative practices like acupuncture for long-term maintenance.

The first day I was back from rehab was February 2, 2014, and Super Bowl XLVIII. I was homebound in a wheelchair for the next three months before I started to snap out of it.

A physical therapist taught me how to walk again. My lung doctor had me breathing supplemental oxygen for another four months. The occupational therapist showed me how to put the milk jug in the refrigerator to minimize the range of motion. Every summer after that, I made an appointment to get checked out by my pulmonologist. June 2020 was the last visit I made before he retired a few days after I saw him.

What's he going to be doing with his spare time? Writing the Great American novel. I invited him to my writing groups. We recalled the time I was just released from rehab. I was still pretty sick, and we talked about options, including a lung transplant. I asked why he didn't recommend pulling the plug on me.

"I had a feeling you were going to make it," he said. "You ended up having such a miraculous recovery. I don't know what I would have talked about at medical conferences."

In addition to my supportive lung doctor, I attribute my vascular surgeon as the guy who actually saved my life. He somehow figured out I had a slowly leaking septic ulcer that made me the sickest and repaired it during emergency surgery, a week before the lung biopsy.

My doctor sent those tissue samples to a laboratory at the University of Michigan. The lab technicians figured out my disease was caused by the same common fungus that debilitated AIDS patients back in the 1980s. Similarly, I was susceptible because of a fragile immune system.

The treatment that cleared out the fungus was simpler than imagined with ordinary sulfa drugs. When working in Mexico, I always had a supply of over-the-counter Bactrim tablets with me for various intestinal bugs.

Go Wolverines!

Now that I was stabilized and out of rehab, my doctors were amazed at my recovery but had no answers about the future. My lung doctor didn't know if pneumonia would return, if my lungs would deteriorate after I quit the steroids, or if I would be on supplemental oxygen for the rest of my life.

My primary care doctors are pretty good guessers about diseases that aren't obvious, like what might be wrong with my lungs at any moment. In my view, western medicine is inaccurate at best.

As long as my regular doctors were pretty good with medical game theory, I decided to integrate alternative practices. The acupuncture doctor from China I saw when I came to Boulder 30 years ago was still in practice.

This was well before Chinese medicine became generally known in the United States. In 1971, New York Times reporter James Reston traveled to China to cover Secretary of State Kissinger's advance trip that paved the Way for an upcoming visit by President Nixon.

Reston came down with acute appendicitis. Local surgeons used acupuncture as anesthesia during the appendectomy and after the surgery to control post-operative pain.

Based on the vague comments from my doctors, it was clear that western medicine had run its course. I booked an acupuncture appointment. Later, other practitioners characterized my acupuncture doctor as an "aggressive needler."

Thinking back, I thought it a bit over the top when he bled my big toe that developed gout from kicking too many soccer balls with lancets the size of ice picks. Now that's aggressive. I still have mild gout, but the joint loosened up.

The main reason I liked to see him was that his office was different. He kept track of patients by first name, hand-scrawled in a notebook.

His clinic pharmacy consisted of shelves lined with big pickle jars filled with dehydrated seahorses, various herbs, and weird animal parts like from centipedes.

Every treatment included a tea blend of herbs and critter parts for whatever was ailing me. The foul-smelling powder smelled like rotting fowl.

It could be mixed with any hot liquid. I started adding it to my coffee because it improved the flavor of both the tea and my coffee. Behind the check-in counter, the treatment room was cordoned off by clotheslines strung overhead.

The patient treatment areas were separated by bedsheets pinned onto the white ropes hanging above.

I didn't think his treatment was effective this time and switched over to the local acupuncture college. In the section about "getting old ain't for sissies," I mentioned that I was stricken by shingles when my health problems began.

Someone told me about the local acupuncture college. A student intern supervised by a licensed practitioner supervises the treatment. It’s akin to getting a haircut at a cosmetology school, except that it’s hard to mess up an acupuncture treatment, as opposed to whacking off too much hair.

"This college has much to offer to the wider community," I said to myself while in the middle of a treatment by the clinic manager. We were acquainted from one of our mutual past lives advocating to ban indoor tobacco use and second hand smoke. While she walked me to the front, I mentioned that they have a pretty good story to tell.

"I agree," she said. We sat down in the lobby and talked about how the power of a story told by video would be a powerful way to give prospective students and the ailing public a means to kick the acupuncture tires.

I ended up making a series of informational videos. They included interviews with students in internships like sports medicine, and at a long-term care facility. I recorded testimonials from patients, as well as from graduates who had established successful practices. One graduate had a mobile acupuncture clinic in a converted RV.

I liked the school's acupuncture clinic offerings. It was like a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) with a variety of treatment modalities available. I tried quite a few of them for my clogged-up lungs and the post-herpetic shingles pain.

The most effective for me is tuina (pronounced twee-nah). It's a combination of needles and physical hand manipulation. Another is guasha (pronounced gwah-shah). That's a smooth edge of a ceramic spoon or stone rubbed over various locations on the back that raises blood to the surface.

The effect is similar to cupping, made popular by swimmer Michael Phelps who, at the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, had a medical practitioner place cups on the skin and vacuumed out the air leaving distinct red bruises.

Students under the supervision of college faculty members treated my lungs and shingles pain beginning in May 2014.

According to acupuncture theory, the lungs and skin are closely related since they are both exposed to the air. I had an X-ray taken in March that showed my lungs as still being clogged up.

Over the next few months, I had various treatments before another x-ray a few months later. When I compared the two X-rays, there was a remarkable improvement.

I don't know if the treatments did any good, but it was more fun to tell people that acupuncture was a miracle.

"Whatever it is that they're doing for you over there, keep doing it," my pulmonologist said during my first check-up, and after he looked at the second X-ray he took after 12 weeks of acupuncture treatment.

My lung condition improved and would continue to do so. I was tapered off the steroids and continued weekly acupuncture treatments. Because of COVID-19, the clinic is closed for over a year and is now open for the time being.

Over the past few years, I've learned quite a bit about Eastern medicine through immersion. I ended up writing some informational stories about the acupuncture college and produced some videos.

Whether acupuncture helped me or not, becoming a part of the Chinese medicine community has since been a good diversion. Getting behind the scenes and meeting new people are intangible benefits of documentary filmmaking.

I learned some new and interesting insights, particularly from students. For many, they were reinventing themselves and beginning new careers. I could relate to that, particularly since I ended up trading out script writing and video production services in exchange for acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture not only improved my health, it taught me that it's okay to ask about bartering my creativity for useful goods and services that I would normally pay out money, like for weekly acupuncture treatements.

Comments

Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
or
Services
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
Sort
 
All categories
Shamanic Healing
$10 USD
Light the Path to Your Desired Life

If you want find what is that in life that makes you happy and fulfilled you need to heal all levels of your existence- Body, Mind, and Spirit. We are all ener…

Change Naturopathy
New Zealand flag icon
Emotional Freedom Technique
$10 USD
The Power Of Emotional Healing - EFT Program

“The Power of Emotional Healing” is energy psychology education in the Emotional Freedom Technique with the perfect balance of information, instructions, video…

Dawn Cady
Australia flag icon
Art Therapy
$50 USD
Artist Teacher Workshop Or Tutoring

“Life Force” guiding our history, our body and spirits. Self portrait art, life drawing from the live model, gesture, and plein air painting. And extended cont…

Bryan Prillwitz
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$100 USD
Timeline Reading

EGYPTIAN TAROT READINGS using unique methods developed by Nelise Carbonare, a Brazilian healer with more than 40 years of experience in tarot consultations, as…

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$120 USD
THE SYNERGY OF THE PYRAMID

THE SYNERGY OF THE PYRAMID focuses on a specific relationship: One side for the consultant and one for their partner. (the partner does not need to be present …

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Pick one card

Many questions can be answer with just one Arcane.

Do you want to try?

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$50 USD
Spiritual Coaching - Removing Energy Blocks - Expansion

> “Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens.” Jung

Spiritual coaching is about moving you into a profound state of empowerment and involution m…

Kimla Rose (Kim Desrosiers)
United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Life Purpose and Soul Wisdom

What is your deeper truth, your deeper knowing, your MOJO, your deepest desires, those feelings that you can’t explain but that are so pure and so clear…or may…

Anna Beale
United States of America flag icon
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Your Missing Manual for Health & Life!

Are you constantly reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts trying to figure out what to do to be healthy?

With so much conflicting information out ther…

Pamela Malo
United States of America flag icon
Nutritional Therapy
$150 USD
Nutritional Therapy Consultation

Hi my name is Aria and I am the founder of Heal with Nutrition. I am a registered Nutritional Therapist and a Naturopath who has a passion on Nutrition and Hea…

Aria Alexandrou
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
THOTH AND HERMETIC DECKS READING

With a deep knowledge of hermeticism and being introduced to the kabbalah tradition of the emanation process from the tree of life, I provide a deep insight co…

James Marchiori
Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$55 USD
The Bridge to Your Desired Life

This is were you get real help with your struggles and life challenges. As life gets harder to cope with, we tend to look for external ways to get through. And…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
Naturopathy
$10 USD
Intake Consult

short introduction consult to Integrative Medicine

Femke Neervoort
Netherlands flag icon
Career Coaching
$300 USD
Reset Coaching and Mentoring Programme

12 weeks of bi-weekly 90 minutes 1:1 Coaching and Mentoring. Total cost USD1800 (6x90minutes career coaching and mentoring session)

Are you returning to work …

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$120 USD
Spiritual Life Coach Session-Personalized Session

Personalized Sessions

Because Everyone Is Unique

Client-centered sessions based on the area of focus requested by the client.

Each session is a LIVE Sessio…

Deborah Lucero
United States of America flag icon
Reiki
$55 USD
Guidance, Inspiration & Healing

This type of session is a favorite among many of my clients, as it is often times one of the smoothest way to address a challenge to reach a happier and health…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
Mediumism
$10 USD
Psychic Readings

I specialize in love, past present future, future, past life, general, tarot, dream interpretation, specific, social, and career readings! Book today for clari…

Holly
United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Ascension
$88 USD
Ascension Mentor Support

In this session, we come together with similar to a healing session but face to face.

We talk about what issues you are facing at the moment and we delve deep…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
Spiritual Healing
$177 USD
Energy Healing

I am honored to assist you with intuitive channeled energy healings that support and nurture you on a physical level as well soul and energetic level, each ses…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
Reiki
$375 USD
Usui Reiki 1st Degree Course

FIRST DEGREE COURSE - The ultimate Reiki course.

Have you ever wondered if you can heal? Have you felt a burning desire to help others? Then you’ve come to th…

Step Into Your Light - Christina Moore
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Hand Analysis - Startup Session

What does a hand analysis do for me? ​

You will understand yourself and your life purpose. ​You will understand the roots of your triggers and reactionary be…

Brent Bruning, Master Hand Analyst
Switzerland flag icon
Shamanism
$10 USD
Sample Akashic Records Reading for Your Burning Issue

I connect to your Akashic Records and listen to what your guides want to bring to your conscoius attention at this time. Perhaps, it is an insight into why you…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$300 USD
Shamanic Healing Art

What is Shamanic Healing Art?

It is a physical artwork (usually a pastel drawing) I make for you based on the outcome of our online session. This artwork will…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon