Thursday, March 15, 2012

The One Where I Lose All Respect For Myself

Sometimes it's hard to decide what to post, because I have a "Moral Compass" and I was raised to be a "Good person" and shit. But you know what? It's either post this shit now, or whoever finds my body and fat stack of spiral notebooks will, and really, I'd rather you heard it from me first.

My Evil Muse recently told me "Don't be afraid of your inner slore." So in the interest of trying to step out of my comfort zone and not becoming stagnant in my life and whatnot, I've been giving it some thought. This is seriously straight out of my green spiral notebook, the latest journal to capture my thoughts and adventures:

I see a lot of specialists. It usually takes a while for a referral to go through the big, bad paperwork monster and get approval, so I was excited to finally get a referral and appointment with a new Doctor (I'm not sure if they're actual PhDs) for Acupuncture.

I may have been single for over three years now. I may know something about being frustrated to the point of hoping for a Dr to be inappropriate, and also something about enjoying the shameless flirts that 99.95% of all Vietnam Vets are. These things happen.

Every time I get referred to a new doc, there's an air of mystery, a spike in curiosity, a minor raising of slorey hope. You may or may not be aware that the Seattle VA's Acupuncture Clinic is staffed by a very attractive, white-lab-coat-wearing nurse-lady (did I mention I love lab coats? And shut up everyone who went to Acu with me, she is NOT a hippie. ...Or maybe she is. Maybe I like that.)

So on the morning of my new Acupuncture Appt I of course shower, and shave, and lotion. I paint my nails and make sure everything is soft and pretty smelling, without appearing like I'm trying to be soft and pretty smelling. It's a very delicate balancing act, and I am rocking the shit out of it.

I wait patiently in the exam room (admittedly not an easy task for me, Queen of the ADHD), curiously taking in all parts of the office to try to form a mental image of the Doc. And then a mid-40s white man walks in. This is the Acupuncturist. I don't even bother looking for a wedding ring. Game Over. What a waste of a shave.

"Neck or lower back?" he asks.

"...Ummmm." I was unprepared for this. Apparently this was not to be a full-body-stabbing like my last Acupuncture Clinic. I could really go for either, but since I suspect answering 'neck' will land me in one of those hideous hospital gowns (and after Radiation I've really gone out of my way to avoid ever having to wear one of those again), I answer "Lower back?" I know I sound like I'm guessing, but at this point I realize I have no idea what I'm in for.

"Ok." Frumpy Man says. "I'm going to step out. Undo the top button of your jeans and belt if you're wearing one and hop up on the table. Lay on your stomach please."

"Ok." Curiouser and curiouser. Whatever, off come the glasses, I unfasten the belt and top buton of my jeans. What the hell, I unzip them too. I already know nothing inappropriate will happen, might as well have a bit of fun. I hop up on the table (a normal exam table, not a comfortable massage table, strike 2 Sacramento), and shimmy my jeans down on my hips a few inches, and my shirt up a few more.

Dr Bland knocks, "Ready?"


He walks in and asks if I've done this before. I explain that it's my first time here (Shouldn't he know this from my chart?!) but that I've had Acupuncture in Seattle.

He says nothing of the three tattoos that I know have to be visible, and explains that he's going to touch my hip now.

*sigh* This is so clinical.

He tells me to take a deep breath in, and stabs me on the out breath. "I'm sorry, this may hurt."

I laugh. He can clearly see my tramp stamp. Tiny acupuncture needles aren't going to phase me. "I've had steroid injections and RFA in my back, several times," I explain. "This is fine."

Dr Blandy McFrumpypants immediately picks up on the other medical procedures and asks where I had them done, then asks about the Doctors involved. What a nerd. He babbles on about surgeons at the hospital I had them done at while I struggle to remember the name of the particular Doc who took such great joy in stabbing me (now he was fun. Much more personality than Dr Blandy here.)

It suddenly occurs to me that maybe Dr Blandy is religious. Ohhh. That could explain his impersonal attitude. Or maybe Aspergers? 8 pins are in my back and apparently that's all we're getting. I take a deep breath in to try to relax and stop thinking. Breathe out.

I wait for Blandy to wiggle the pins and create more pain. This doesn't happen. Now he's grabbing something else and talking about electric eels in Egypt or some shit.

"Oh?" I don't want to play flirty slore anymore if he's religious. That's mean.

Next thing I know he's draping some weird grid of straps over my back and he turns something on. My back is pulsing. Right where all the needles are. What kind of kinky shit is this?!

I tune back in to hear Dr McFrumpyPants say "...We blend the two, Chinese Acupuncture with Egyptian Electrowhatever."

"Oh. Ok." My Back Is Pulsing. I am so confused.

"Is that too high?"


He turns it up. "How about now?"

"Hmmmm." I try to focus. A small part of me still believes we can slore this situation, and she's making it difficult for the rest of my brain to focus on what the eff is happening. "No?"

He turns it up again.

"Whoa, Skippy! Yeah, that's too high."

Dr Frump clicks it back down. "Alright. Someone will be back to check on you in a bit." And he leaves.

WTF just happened? I'm left wondering as I try to relax into a state of zen, back spasming and twitching.

Two different people poke their heads in to check on me, neither is Dr Blandy McFrumpyPants, though I do hear him talking in the hall. There's no soft music here, no one dims the lights, and I really don't think I could have lulled myself into the restful state of half-sleep had I not already been familiar with acupuncture and meditation for chronic pain management. The needle in the center of my back pulsed and twitched like a son of a bitch and ended up leaving a nice red mark right below the stinger of my bee.

The lady who came in to remove my needles noticed my tattoos, and commented on them in a friendly non-creepy manner. We then discussed the addictive nature of tattoos, and that she wanted a few more, but that I felt I was done with them, at least for now.

When all equipment and needles were gone, she said I was good to go and I politely thanked her for her assistance. (Removing needles from oneself seems rather dangerous, since you cannot actually see them, not to mention they were pulsing with electricity, so I did genuinely mean my thanks), and she seemed rather shocked as she told me I was welcome.

I sat up, but she was already gone. She was far more polite than Dr Blandy and I didn't even know who this lady was.

Upon exiting the room, I found myself a bit turned around. Back hallways in medical buildings all kind of look the same to me, and I turned first to the left, then the right, not sure how I'd come to this room. A very nice man in scrubs chuckled and pointed me towards the exit door, making sure I had follow-up appointments before wishing me a good afternoon.

I've decided that Dr Blandy's just an arrogant asshole, since everyone else I've met at that clinic, (as well as the entire hospital) has been amazingly sweet. My two follow-up appointments have done little to persuade me differently, since Dr Blandy does not even pretend to know my name, always asks if we're doing the back or the neck (You have my chart in your hand dude), and after the initial "Hop up on the table" he doesn't even speak to me. I would suspect it's me personally he has a problem with, but I can hear him when he's across the hall or in the next room, he treats everyone the same. He must have a very compelling game of Words With Friends to get back to. I'm pretty sure whores are treated in a more friendly manner. No Evil Muse, I will not test that theory out.

I then made my way to the travel office where I participated in some polite conversation, some impolite eavesdropping (it's nearly impossible to not eavesdrop while waiting in line though) where I tried not to laugh too loudly when the Vets talked trash about each other's service branches, and some utterly shameless flirting with (of course) a Vietnam Vet. We were in line for nearly an hour, what else are you going to do? Bald Morgan Freeman and Mr Cowboy Boots in line ahead of me kept giggling at Vietnam Vet's comments, which then caused me to giggle too. I fucking love vets. After it was finally my turn at the window, another Vet literally jumped up to open the door for me. If you're nice and smile every now and then, strangers have a lovely habit of making your day.


Michelle said...

YAY! I actually quite enjoy electric acupunctrue. How does your back feel now?

Dr. Blandy sounds like a whore barrel of fun. I bet he googles "shingle porn."

Kay said...

Missed my appt this week. It hurts for a couple of days, but overall I like what it's doing. It's just very different from traditional acupuncture.