Acupuncturist or Therapist?

I kept my appointment with my acupuncturist today.  With the last miscarriage, I was so scattered that I totally forgot I had the appointment until I was leaving work at 5:30, well after they’d closed. I scrambled to make the apologetic phone call and she answered it with grace and understanding.

I’d seen her the week prior before the ultrasound where no heartbeat was seen.  She and the receptionist were happy to see me as I crossed the threshold into the office. Last week I shared that the morning sickness, or feeling like I was constantly carsick, was taking a toll on me. She was eager to hear how I was feeling and whether my symptoms were getting better.  I hadn’t planned to have the conversation in the middle of the waiting room, but no one else was there and I just couldn’t pretend until I got back to the treatment room to share what had taken place in just a short 7 days.

They were both devastated and sincerely concerned, which I appreciate.  She asked about where that left us and what the RE had shared. I explained that we’d get the pathology back in a few weeks, so until then it was sort of a waiting game.  I shared concerns about my thyroid and how I wanted to be sure to have them run blood work on it and she agreed.  Then we headed back to the exam room.

As she began to place needles in various symmetrical locations on my body, she asked how my husband was doing and if we were talking.  What I intended to be a short explanation of how immediately we hadn’t been able to really talk, but that we were talking and dealing with it together, turned into a long detour about my parents’ health.

Friday following my D&C I had plans to go home. I’d made these plans well before we knew about the lost pregnancy. My mother called and shared that my step-father had a scan for other medical concerns, but in the process they found nodules on his lungs.  He’s smoked since he was fifteen and even with all the pleading in the world and hypnosis, he’s not been able to quit. He’s now 72.  My mother has early signs of dementia.  She started forgetting her words about two years ago.  Her longterm memory is great, but short term and simple words are a struggle.  I went home to sit with my mother in the waiting room and to help with bringing my stepfather home from the procedure.  I talk and talk about their health problems and my concerns for a good 25 minutes with my acupuncturist.  She listens intently to how they have purchased a dream retirement home, but have not made headway to actually move into it and sell their other home. How they live in limbo and neither is a home, a place of refuge and protection, but rather a burden they struggle to maintain. How they spend hours driving between these homes and the effect this non-move has had on their lives and social connections. She listens as I share how I’ve pleaded with my mother to get a specialist to treat her instead of her regular doctor. How my stepfather acknowledges the issue, but his depression and drinking have him and my mother trapped in an eternal state of stagnation and have left me beating my head against a very stubborn wall.

As I dry up, I realize that I simply wanted to say that I had to go home Friday to help my mother with my stepfather’s surgery, so my husband and I had just been able to really talk on Sunday. I feel guilty for unloading all of this on her. She’s my acupuncturist after all, not my therapist.  I apologize and she says, “you haven’t unloaded anything on me and there is no need to be sorry.”

I am thankful I didn’t cancel the appointment. I am grateful for this woman who heals me not only with eastern medicine, but also with grace and understanding.

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