I was lying face down with my bare ass sticking up, and I grimaced each time she poked me with those needles. I kept thinking about my mother who would drop dead in front of the azaleas in her Dallas yard if she could see me now. My mom had lots of dreams for me, but none of them included me hanging out thong-side-up in an acupuncture clinic.
Growing up, my mother peppered our dinnertime conversations with cautionary tales from her medical mal-practice firm job.
“Never see a chiropractor. We just got a case where a woman is paralyzed because she went to a chiropractor.”
“Whatever you do, do not see a doctor who has a last name you cannot spell. You should see the names of these doctors who almost killed our clients.”
I remembered every story my mother told about the perils of quasi-medical treatment. The details were always graphic (“he left the sponge inside the patient”), and the theme was always the same (“go see Dr. Smith or Jones at the most prestigious university within a 2-mile radius”). She was adamant that failure to follow her rules would result in certain death and protracted legal battles for your next of kin.
When it came time to have my babies, I avoided midwives as if they practiced voodoo, and I was proud that my babies were born in state-of-the-art hospitals. I knew how to spell my doctors’ names forward and backwards. I was my mother’s girl.
But, I pulled a muscle in my rear that wouldn’t heal, and I got desperate when mainstream medicine failed me. My ass-ache was debilitating, and I spent weeks limping, trying to explain to my children why I couldn’t possibly pick them up. When I saw my two-year-old daughter holding her butt cheek imitating my limp, I knew I had to do something.
But what? All of the suggestions that friends offered were forbidden under my mother’s code.
My healthiest friend (a yoga teacher!) insisted acupuncture would help. I made an appointment.
I feigned confidence when I was introducing myself and my posterior ailment to the acupuncturist. It was not easy to pull off, since I was afraid I would die on the table.
She told me to relax. She had to tell me several times. I finally decided I might as well relax, because either I would leave there in a body bag, never having to witness the disappointment in my mom’s eyes or my ass would stop aching and it would be our little secret.
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Have you done something that would give your mother a heart attack? Did you tell her about it? Is she ok?