A different kind of journey
Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
129Trip End Ongoing
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Today isn't normally the sort of day that I would write about - but I just want my memory of today noted somewhere.
Originally we were going Christmas shopping today - we were later getting to the shops to start off with because we've had no hot water in the house since Wednesday and went to Johns mums to have showers first.
By the time we reached the shopping centre it was already coming on for 11.30 and the crowds were just horrendous - I have a bad cough and streaming cold at the moment and really didn't feel like battling my way round, so we made a half hearted attempt in a couple of shops and then decided to go to a Spanish tapas restaurant that we know. So we went to the restaurant, it's lovely in there, it's small, cosy, candlelit and decorated with all things Spanish. We have bread, oil and olives followed by a selection of tapas - all extremely tasty and delicious and finish off with a coffee each. It's so relaxing and warm in there that we stay for a couple of hours and then decide that we really can't be bothered with the crowds and decide to give it a miss and go home.
On the way back to the car we pass by a small shop unit which advertises Traditional Chinese Medicine - we've passed this shop many, many times and we've discussed the fact that maybe John should go in there as he has a skin complaint that he has had for the last 20 years, which is never satisfactorily cleared with modern medicine - but John is always very sceptical about these matters and says he doesn't think they will work. Today as we were walking past he asked if I thought he should go in and see if they have anything to help - of course I say yes and tell him we've nothing to lose. I could tell he was faltering, so I thought I'd better act quick before he got chance to talk himself out of it - so I start walking toward the door and he follows.
Inside we are greeted by a young Chinese lady, who gets a quick idea from John as to his complaint and recommends a consultation with their doctor, which John agrees to. We sit at a small table with the doctor and the young girl joins us, she is to be our translator as the doctor doesn't speak any English. Various questions go back and forth from John and the doctor, via their translator - which I thought was completely awesome, and while he talks to John he's feeling his pulse and then asks him to stick his tongue out.
Eventually the doctor gives his prognosis and the Chinese lady relays to us what he has and says it is due to blocked energies in the chi channels in his body. Acupuncture and some special herbal teas are recommended and John looks at me - "What do you think?" he says "I think you've been irritated by it for 20 years and modern creams have done nothing - what do you have to lose?" John then agrees with the Chinese lady that yes, he'll try it - really it was quite funny because I think John assumed he would make an appointment and come back some other day. "You can have your acupuncture now" the lady says, now John looks really apprehensive bless him, his face was a complete picture. Well, he'd committed to it now and the lady said that I could watch if I wanted, I'm really intrigued by this sort of thing so didn't hesitate and followed John and the doctor into a cubicle out the back of the shop.
It was just totally amazing watching this doctor in action, he got these needles out, had a quick feel of the top of Johns head and in seconds he's jabbing these needles, seemingly randomly, but obviously not, into Johns head and face - John didn't flinch at all so I assumed he couldn't feel it and later he told me that he couldn't. He then had a couple placed strategically in his arms and his hands and then he just had to lay there for about 35 minutes.
You have to remember that John doesn't believe in any of this sort of stuff, but within a very short time of these needles being placed he seemed oddly quiet, his breathing seemed much, much slower and he was just staring at the ceiling. At first I was actually quite concerned and asked him several times over if he was okay - because John never stops talking, when other people meet John he probably comes across as shy with not a lot to say, but when we are alone or with good friends he just never stops talking and comes up with the most random of conversations - which inevitably make me laugh, now though, he's laying there almost transfixed and his face starts to go red, like its radiating heat - it was the strangest thing. After he said he was okay I decided I'd leave him to relax and just watch his breathing to make sure it didn't stop - it may sound like an overreaction, but I'm telling you, he was that quiet and that much out of character that I was beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. I got used to it after about 10 to 15 minutes and realised that nothing bad was going to happen, so just sat and relaxed myself.
After the 35 minutes pass the doctor comes back and takes the needles out - at which point John tries to get up, I thought it was over too, but the doctor indicates with his hands that he wants John to flip over - so he turns over and then the doctor gets these small glass bowl things and one at a time he heats the inside of it with a lighter and turns it, open side down on the skin, onto Johns back - he places 6 of these at various places on Johns back and each one that gets placed down then sucks up a huge great bump of skin into it and the skin goes a real red/purple type colour - I have no idea what this is meant to do, but it was absolutely fascinating to watch. Doc disappears again and after a short time returns to take the glass off of Johns back and then starts giving him what I guess you could call a massage, but he was really rough with him, he was using his knuckles, his elbows at times and his forearms. Finally he gives John a neck massage, which can only be described as like grabbing a dog by the scruff of its neck and shaking it - most strange. I want it to work, I sooooo want it to work. John is booked in again next week for another session and has these herb teas that he has to boil up in a pan all week.
We leave the shop and John is bright red in the face, I have so many questions to ask him and John seemed very confused - it turns out that his confusion was with what he believed before we went in and the experience he had just had. Before we went in he would have said that it would have no effect on him whatsoever, but he said that he could feel something happening to him, although he's not quite sure what - he said he felt completely relaxed, not in a oh that was relaxing type way, but he said he could think of absolutely nothing, his mind was completely blank, completely clear, no thoughts would come to him at all and he eventually gave up trying. He said that he had the feeling of something leaving his body - again he doesn't know what or how. I can't stress enough that John is totally sceptical about these sorts of things and would probably crack jokes if someone else told him something like that - it is not the sort of thing he would normally say - usually it'd be 'nah, couldn't feel anything', so this really interested me and it led to more and more questions, he said that his whole face was tingling and he couldn't move his hands - because if he did it caused pain in other parts of his body. I've no idea if this WILL clear his skin condition, but for the first time since I've known John he is actually willing to contemplate the idea that it could possibly actually do something.
Only time will tell I guess.