In my pursuit of pregnancy I have done many strange things. I have taken pills, given blood, peed on sticks, eaten foods I normally wouldn't touch, read books with awful titles like "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", worn a wrist watch that was supposed to predict ovulation, and slept with my legs above my head to keep blood going to my lady parts all night. Today though, I topped them all: I paid someone sixty bucks to stick pins in me in order to up my chances of getting knocked up.
I have been hearing about the benefits of acupuncture since we started trying to have a baby 18 months ago. I just lumped it in with all the other weird advice I was getting, like taking hot showers, or cold showers, or eating only things that are yellow. To be honest, I was a little nervous about entering into the realm of Chinese medicine. I guess that somewhere in the back of my Caucasian middle class mind I pictured a dark opium den of an office with dried frogs in jars and a 300 year old practitioner who would harshly judge my western ways. Call me racist if you want, but the impact of Indiana Jones movies is strong. They're also the reason I'm in no hurry to travel to Germany.
The office actually looked more like an Instacare than an opium den. The man who greeted me maybe 25 and wearing a white coat and a tie. He had me fill out forms very similar to those I have filled out for every other doctor. And then he asked to look at my tongue.
"Hmmm," he said, "are you cold?"
"No," I said.
"Your feet aren't cold?"
"Not at all"
He called over another man, the "Master Lu" I had been hearing so much about. Again, I was asked to stick out my tongue. Then he took my pulse on both wrists and my ankles.
"You're cold," Master Lu said.
"No, I'm actually quite comfortable," I insisted.
"You are too cold to have a baby right now. No more icy drinks. And no soda, it makes you cold."
That was the end of that, so Master Lu turned to the younger man and pointed at the various areas where needles were to be put in order to warm me up.
The needles actually weren't that bad. He put them in my shins, my stomach, my chest, my forehead, my elbow, and my ear. The ones in the ear stung a bit, but only for a second. And the one in my forehead was weird because I kept looking up and seeing it. Weird. The hardest part of having pins stuck into me was having to lay there trying to relax and not think about the pins stuck into me. I kept touching them just to make sure they hadn't magically slipped through my skin and into my spleen. I don't think I was supposed to do that.
After about 20 minutes the younger man came back in and removed the needles, repeated the advice about staying away from cold drinks, and told me that Ryan and I should start trying to conceive tonight. He was really bossy. When I got up I felt a little light headed, but I didn't feel any more fertile. On the way out I saw Master Lu, who again repeated the no cold drinks instruction and promised me that I would "get warm" soon.
The bill hurt more than the needles. Yes, 60 bucks is perfectly reasonable for competent medical help. But I'm supposed to go back twice a week for at least five weeks before they think I'll be "warmed up." And there's no guarantee. If I am going to pay that kind of money for a multiple session treatment that isn't covered by insurance it's going to be to laser my upper lip and bikini line. It may hurt more, but I'll have visible results and they won't tell me to give up Diet Pepsi.
Maybe I'll buy a heating pad. They're only $19.99 at Walgreens -- next to the vibrators.