I like to think of myself as a person who will try (almost) anything once. So today, I went along with my mom for my first acupuncture session. We drove an hour out to Pomona – according to mom, this doctor was highly recommended and had an excellent reputation. So I was a little surprised when we pulled into a rundown corner strip mall. In the “waiting room” (i.e. two folding chairs) I was asked to write down my name, birthdate, employer (?), social security number (definitely no) and emergency contact. I paid in cash and the “receptionist” took out a wad of bills from his pocket to give me my $10 in change. By now, a giant red flag was waving in my head – picture the marching rebel students in that climactic scene in Les Miserables. I was led to a room with temporary walls, two rickety cots and a layer of used plastic needle covers on the floor. The doctor came in, grunted “allergies?” and proceeded to jab me unceremoniously with needles on the side of my nose, forehead, inner elbow, and the webbing between my fingers. Then he set a kitchen timer and left. I was supposed to lay still and “relax” for twenty minutes, which is very hard to do when your body is telling you “OH HELL NO!” How this could possibly improve my allergies?? An image popped into my head of my immune system amoebas diligently attacking a grain of pollen and then suddenly a red alert going off (just like on the bridge of the Enterprise, fyi) because I’ve just been stabbed in half a dozen places. I guess maybe they’d go tend to that first and stop launching post nasal drip missiles against the harmless little pollen grains. I’m pretty sure this is inaccurate and my brain probably stole it from an episode of House (or, more embarrassingly, Osmosis Jones). But Western medicine doesn’t have the answers to everything and I did feel less congested after the whole affair, so do I give this acupuncture stuff a chance? They told me I need to come back tomorrow morning for another “treatment” – which road to take at this juncture?

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