Cancer, Diabetes and Shopping! Also, a “Crime Scene”

Today I finally arrived on time to the shift by biking with Grant. The traffic was crazy but you get used to it. Road rage is a little more personal on a bike or scooter, so I was glad to see very little of that.
In the clinic, our patient with diabetes and foot numbness was feeling less numb, so we continued to use abdominal acupuncture as well as various other points for her. The yellow dots are the iodine we use to disinfect the site before needling. The needles are only a few centimeters in, making abdominal acupuncture very comfortable as well as effective. Why are we treating the stomach area you ask? The abdomen is one good place to access the energy of the body as a whole because it is the center of the body and many major meridians (pathways for Qi) run through there. Diabetic neuropathy (as well as many other symptoms) is a manifestation of a condition affecting the whole body. (Call it high blood sugar levels, yin xu with heat, it doesn’t matter.) Thus, in addition to treating the local area, it is always important to treat the underlying condition. In some cases, patients can even end up reducing the amount of insulin they are taking or avoiding it in the first place. For serious disorders like diabetes it is always important that a patient’s western doctor is on board and monitoring the patient’s blood sugar levels and symptoms to adjust their medications appropriately.

Our neurodermatitis patient seemed to be getting good results as well. We outlined the numb area with iodine and surrounded it with 5 needles hooked up to electro. Dr. Qiao showed us how to do very superficial needles for this sort of thing so there is no pain for the patient. She emphasized the importance of treating skin diseases both locally and finding the underlying problem with the body.

We had a new patient who was very complex. He had had cancer and chemotherapy as well as cerebral thrombosis and two separate attacks of facial paralysis which was his complaint today. We could not use abdominal acupuncture due to the lymph cancer, but Dr. Qiao recommended ST36, DU14 and BL23 as the best points to support patients with cancer. She also stated that with weak patients if you needle too deeply you miss the point and the qi is consumed. Her needling style is shockingly shallow compared to the other Chinese doctors but she gets great results.
Our sudden deafness patient was starting to feel less tinnitus, which is amazing after only one day of treatment. Tinnitus can be very difficult to treat but apparently the bleeding therapy we did yesterday was quite helpful. In China, the patients seem to fear needles more than blood letting, but I think the opposite is true in the U.S. Our facial paralysis patient reports that food no longer gets trapped in his cheek when he eats. We had been using abdominal acupuncture, wrist zone four, ear seeds and local bleeding. Our nurse with sinus pain had no more pain or rhinitis but was getting some eye itching and a tension headache after the treatments due to her fear of needles. So we bled GB6 for the tension headache. This makes sense in China. There were four more patients with various run of the mill complaints like coughs and shoulder pain that were improved or nearly gone.

For the lunch break I managed to bike to Fu Zi Miao, the Confucius temple area with lots of shopping. I lunched on various things like takoyaki (Octopus balls), an egg custard, a rice and bean cake, watermelon on a stick and a pork sandwich.

Yes. I made a pig of myself, but I wanted to try a lot of things and they were mostly small. I also managed to haggle for some headphones. I am listening to them right now and it doesn’t sound like I got ripped off, which I was worried about. So that three U.S. dollars was worth it. I also bought a beautiful “Broider” with red leaves and a river boat scene that reminded me of the area.

The nice thing about that area is that there were ten other shops selling the same sort of thing so I had a bargaining tool. Our conversation was all in Chinese, but I was still able to tell her that everyone else had the same thing, so I would only buy it for 50 yuan instead of the 80 she wanted. I probably I could have gotten it for less but at least I got the price I named. In the malls here prices are usually the same as in the U.S., but the shops in the side streets are much cheaper if you are willing to look for them and haggle. I also got some shoes for 35 yuan, after the saleswoman helped me to within an inch of my life. As a foreigner, it is impossible to go into a store without at least one person following you around the entire time you shop. I hate that even in the U.S., but here they seem curious as much as anything.

After shift I still had a ton of phlegm in my lungs, so Grant and I went to get cupping. The people who did it were some of the blind massage therapists. They do good work, but according to Grant my back looked like “a bleeping crime scene” afterwards. It does look very purple in some spots, but since I am sick and have had back pain that makes sense. The idea is that the more stagnation and pain you have, the darker the color that will come up after cupping. A purple/blue color rather than a red color can also indicate that cold and dampness has invaded the body. As a Portland Oregon native I defiantly had some of that. The massage place we went to used plastic pump cups instead of the glass ones, which are much less comfortable.

I use glass cups instead for that kind of cupping, but it did seem to work just as well. Dinner was the same grill we went to last night, which was good but they continue to try to kill me by putting hot spice on my food when I ask for no spice. My mouth was numb, actually NUMB for at least half an hour at the end of the meal. I continue to search for shirts with weird English on them, but otherwise that’s it for today. Beth found a shirt with a picture of a salt shaker on it that said “Shake it like a booty”. Ok, so it didn’t say “booty”, but I am trying to keep this blog relatively family friendly. The back said “shake, shake”, so that is what I am trying to top.

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