Friday, September 14, 2007

Adventures in Chinese Medicine

So yesterday Anjoli had a day off from school. (She has today off also).
My goal since arriving is to start mega treatments of acupuncture to speed along the healing of my facial paralysis (it looks like Bell's Palsy). Our friend and Sujoy's partner's mom recommended I visit a Buddhist run hospital - it's VERY FAR from our apartment.

Getting there was a bit of an tricky, but fun! I told Anjoli it's like finding buried treasure via the subway! I love the challenge of going somewhere new. First we took a cab to the MRT (subway) station. Of course he took the long way but whatever. Five NT more big deal.

Anjoli and I checked out the route - I thought I figured it out but it was a bit confusing. While looking at a map while on the train, I asked someone if I needed to get off the train at the next stop to change lines. She said yes, (then I remembered that even when people don't really understand you, they often just nod and say yes to save face- even though I am the dope that should know Mandarin).

When we got off the train, it still didn't seem right, so I asked ANOTHER woman if she knew the route to Dapinglin station. "What? She said, "you want to eat dumplings? You hungry?" NO! I need acupuncture! Hospital! No dumplings!!! I didn't say that, of course, I just led her to the subway map and pointed to our destination. "Oh!" she said, "you needed to stay on the train!"

So we waitied for the next (correct) train, got off at our stop, then had trouble exiting. Turns out I didn't pay enough for the fare, so we went to a worker there and I had to pay $10NT each more for our tokens. It's so cool - they have these plastic tokens that you scan and it reads the fare. Weird.

So we went up to the street and looked for a shuttle for the hospital. Um...I neglected to find out exactly WHERE to take the shuttle, so we just took another cab. I pointed to the address on their brochure/schedule and we got there in less than 5 minutes.

The hospital was HUGE and BEAUTIFUL. As we entered there were lots of plants, a huge mural of the Buddha smiling over ill folks and lovely, serene flute music playing in the background. I have never felt so good to be in a hospital. No sign of concrete anywhere - just wood (looked like bamboo) and gorgeous Asian art and Chinese calligraphy. (Made me realize I would LOVE to learn Chinese brush painting which looks deceptively easy but it is so beautiful and soothing to the eye).
The registration forms were in English, but a volunteer led me right to the front of the line and a woman behind the counter walked me through the form. Immediately a patient in line chimed in to help as her English wasn't so great. At one point, I thought they asked me: "white?" So I said, "yes, I'm white!" as in Caucasian. "No no! they said, "Do you drink wine?" OH!!! "Nope," I proudly answered, "no more!" no no no. It's not even a thought at this stage in my life. No smoking either. Angelic Sue, c'est moi.

So we made our way to the Chinese/Integrated medicine floor (the hospital is mainly a Western Medicine/Conventional hospital). We had to wait over 2 and a half hours to see the doctor. Poor Anjoli! Good thing I fed her a big grilled cheese sandwich before coming....and she had a snack.

The doctor (a woman) was excellent. Very kind and efficent. I showed her my surgical report. She was kind of taken aback, I could tell. I told her the doctors said it "may" take 6-8 months for my face to come back (the left side). That was unacceptable to her. She told me she wanted me to come see her 3 times a week, but to ALSO go for Rehabilitation Therapy (Physical Therapy) on the same days and they would do muscle stimulation on my face (which is exactly what I had done in Massachusetts, but I only made one appointment).

I had one half hour of acupuncture - she used electrodes on the needles on my face as well, so it was a weird sensation. The good news was I felt an itch coming on on my left side of my face! I took that as an excellent sign. She also inserted a needle in my left hand between my thumb and index finger - I believe that is to help with my insomnia. She told me she can help me with my insomnia- phew! I did sleep REALLY well too, but I still took my Ativan, which I will wean myself off of very very soon, now that I will be busy and on a good sleep schedule. I am asleep by 10:30 now and up every day at 6:30. Perfect.

We didn't get home until 7:00 - we left at 12:45! Oh well. Next time it will be quicker. I have a yellow card which I show to the nurse and I just will immediately go for acupuncture (with an appointment of course).

I am HUGELY relieved that I will get a combination of eastern and western medicine. It's a huge trek but that's fine by me. I have all the time in the world to heal! I have been eating a "caveman's diet," lots of organic grains, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, coconut water, veggies (not enough probably), fruit,plain yogurt, fish. Barely any meat but I did have chicken and a bit of shaved meat in my hot pot dinner the other night. Eggs, salmon. ALL good stuff. I also started, yes, I know people think it's freaky, but I am taking coffee enemas. They helped me get pregnant I swear (I also cleaned up my diet).
It's an adventure in healing.

I'm drinking organic apple cider vinegar in water - two caps full in a cup of water. It's supposed to give you energy. I feel a little more awake, but I sure would love a cup of coffee! I am too paranoid to drink it now for fear that I won't be able to sleep at night. I just want to cut out all caffeine.

Oh another thing, I have been BUGGING out because my left eye is SO dry since it doesn't blink that often due to the palsy. The weight helps a bit. This morning, I am happy to report that it is pretty teary (it still feels odd with the weight in my eyelid- I hope to have it removed ASAP).

Oh and of course, I pray like crazy. I am still confused about religion and going to/finding a church. I have DEEP faith on my own, but I do recognize that it is important to give thanks and praise to God and show respect by making the effort of going to church. Plus it is nice to be a part of a community. Being surrounded by Buddhist nuns and volunteers, I felt so much at home. I am very eastern minded, spiritually. I want to explore Buddhism, but still hold onto my love for Christ. While waiting for the doctor, I realized I can of course do both. Buddhism is more of a philosophy, a way of life. People do not pray to Buddha (I don't think) he wasn't God. But they DO believe in God, they just do not believe in an afterlife - they believe in reincarnation. That's the rub for me, because so do I! Yikes.
That would really set off a die hard Christian. Oh well. This is Sue. I never do things the easy way.

This is long, I know. I don't expect anyone to read it all! If you do, bless your heart.
Lots of love to you all,


Anonymous said...

Hey Sue, great to hear you are in routine with regards to your recovery. That is very important, as it will certainly accelerate your recovery. Loved reading the adventure getting there and hope you are doing well. Please take care, and keep posting. It's good to know how you are doing.

Suesjoy said...

Thanks sweetie!xx

ginab said...

Bless my heart, I read it all! So happy you're able to receive acupunture in an ideal and a peaceful (mindful) setting. You detail the clinic so well I felt at points as though I was walking through.

Kudos to the Allen School's recording on Crashing the Attic. I believe you shared the recording with 'us' for a spell, as I swear I have heard it and I know I wasn't dreaming. Just precious, like you and Anjoli.

You sound well and I'm wondering about the enimas. Given they allowed you to become pregnant, not that you haven't so much ahead as is.

You're truly an inspiration. East and West!

-ginab+bb xo

Suesjoy said...

Hey Gina!
Aw...thanks for reading it all (oh and thanks Rance too!).
Oh I take the coffee breaks to detox! No more babes for Sue!!
Thanks for your sweet comment.
Lots of love,

Ahvarahn said...

A great tale, and I love Bhuddist pholosophy too. I guess you still have a plan - does it include learning Mandarin? I love that you are determined and look forward to more of your posts.

I have a minor Op next wednesday to fix a hernia, poke some of my lining back in and sew it back up again. No big shakes, but it will be the first time I get cut. But I get a few days off work and a week working from home thrown into the bargain. But after reading all your accounts of the Fred incident this equates to having a teeth cleaning.

Your mood sounds better, and I cannot wait to hear the 'full' versions of your songs on CAT.

take care, love to you and the family,

Ahvarahn said...

hmm I guess I meant songs on CTA :)

Gary said...

You should write a book Sue, your perseverance and determination are an inspiration.

I've often thought about acupuncture, it's something that makes a lot of scientific sense to me.

Well, continued power in your recovery Sue.

JLee said...

Hi Sue! I am a big fan of acupuncture and think you are on the right track. I have faith that you will be as good as new in no time! :))

LMS said...

I think you can tell alot about a culture by it's hospitals... not that that's how I want to do my exploring!

I'm glad you're really working to clean up your diet and life! You're making the rest of us look lazy!

Suesjoy said...

Oh good luck on Wednesday Paul. I will be praying and thinking of you.

Gary (and Gina)- I find it difficult to believe that I am inspiring, but I am glad to hear that. I would love to write a book but hmmm....I don't think I am that talented of a writer. Paul could be my ghostwriter maybe!

JLee - so good to see you. I will visit your blog soon! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Laura! Yeah angelic Sue...sorta. Just had Indian food...including lamb curry...oh well. Just a little. I will slowly wean myself off meat. I have to have ONE vice, right?

Cathy with a C said...

Hi, Sue, glad things are continuing to go well for you.

I don't think God cares whether you pray to him/her in a church or at home alone. But I find that the feeling of community helps grow my faith when I am in small group discussions or worshipping in a larger group. Organized religion is created by humans and therefore corrupted by humans. I don't believe the Bible is God's literal word. It was shaped and distorted by the men who wrote it and who chose what should be included in it. The same is true with the Koran and any other religious text. But I do believe in God and worship him/her as part of my daily life. And, I believe in reincarnation as well.

Keep us posted on your adventures and your recovery.

Cathy xox

Suesjoy said...

I like the way you think Cathy.

I have been realizing that I can worship God any way I please. I have this thing about following rules (and then breaking them, of course).
I went to a Catholic Mass was ok. It's familiar to me so that's comforting, but I kept looking at my watch! :(
I'll keep church shopping...I guess!
Thanks so much for always checking in on me - I appreciate your thoughful comments.

Anne-Marie said...

HI Sue,
Glad to read you have a schedule for recovery. I've had acupuncture a few times for sports injuries on my wrist and hands, and it does work. I also find lying there with needles coming out of my head, hands and arms incredibly relaxing. I fell asleep once.

Wishing you all the best, my dear!


Anonymous said...

What an adventure! I am so glad you found a way to get help at that hospital. I am wondering how long it will take before you see a difference in your face and eye lid movement. I love reading your stories and am glad to see you are back to blogging! That is a good sign. And it sounds like your diet is great. I'm still working on drinking enough water over here. Anjoli is quite the trooper. Well, time to go, the chitlins will be waiting. Monday mornings are always fun since they are a new beginning to the work week. Love ya bunches. Chelice and Leo

Gina said...

I had bells palsey when I was sixteen. It was strange, I can wiggle my ears you see, one at a time even and one day I was demonstrating and I was told that it wasn't working. At the doctors, they did a nerve test and you could see on the computer screen a picture of the normal nerve moving about and the bad nerve being perfectly still, in a straight line. It was actually the good side of my body that had the bad nerve, controlling the other side. It went away after a few months. The oddest thing. What a story!! I'm glad that the dr was nice to you and that Buddha was smiling down upon you : ) You've been through so much, and we all love you dearly.