On a drive from Minnesota to Wyoming a few years ago, Jason and I hit a deer. I don’t know if the deer lived or not since it was dark and I was too afraid to go looking for it if it wasn’t. I know that may seem heartless but I couldn’t image having to kill it if it was close to death and suffering. We didn’t have a gun or any other type of weapon, so it wouldn’t have been a merciful thing to do. I’ll spare you the thoughts I had on how I might have to do it. Instead I’ll tell you this, it screwed up my back pretty good. I went to a chiropractor in Wyoming for a few weeks (and had many nice massages) to deal with the impact. (haha)
It had been pretty good since then – only occasional stiffness in the morning and the usual back pain from my waitressing days in college. Then a few days ago I did quite a number on it. I’m not sure if it’s due to the deer injury or not, but my back seized and I was in some serious pain. Since I don’t know any chiropractors in Korea I decided to try the local way to cure pain. Acupuncture.
My co-worker Heather took me to a place very close to where we live. After an initial consultation, I was put on a table with a heating pad on my back. So far – so good. Then they placed a dozen clear plastic cup thingy’s on my back which were attached to a machine. When the machine was turned on my flesh was sucked up inside them. I probably don’t have to tell you that this hurt…but I do probably have to tell you it looked like I had udders on the wrong side.
After that fun, the doctor then inserted a seemingly unending supply of needles into the strained muscles in my back. It hurt must less than the nipple creator did. After about 10 minutes, the needles were removed. Then I was hooked up to a machine that massaged my back via electric shocks delivered through small circular disks attached to my skin. It wasn't quite the relaxing meditative Asian experience I'd anticipated - no trickling water fountains, paper screens, or strange twangy music.
Even so, I went back the next day. The nipple things were bypassed this time - probably due to the horrific bruises that hung around for over a week. Instead electrodes were attached to the needles that were again put in my back. The needles allowed the electric shocks to penetrate deep into my muscles. Every time a shock was delivered it made my whole body tense up and I made a strange gasping sound. When the nurse told me that I would have to deal with this for ten minutes I cursed aloud, albeit softly. And yes, after this I still went back one more time.
Surprisingly all that pain has paid off – either that or it distracted me enough to forget my earlier whining. Luckily it costs much less than it does in the states. I only paid about ten dollars (spread over three visits) for this new experience. I’m quite the bargain hunter these days.
(Photos curtesy of Heather)