Puns and Needles

spine candle

I pinched a nerve in my neck, in a rare fit of real gardening,  as opposed to telling Fran where to dig. I raise my own seed and weed a little but found out I can’t wield a hoe like a hillbilly anymore.

Anyhoo, pain and agony for three weeks, without let up. Couldn’t exercise, so quickly de-conditioned, became more breathless and got a lung infection. The old trifecta!

Physio shook her head sadly—12 weeks usually, she said, handing me a neck collar straight out of Doc Martin. (I already feel like I’m choking and hate anything tight round my throat).

chris me & fran, sept. 2014.

Oh brother . . . Chris, me and Fran, September, 2014.

One of the world’s best muscular skeletal specialists just happens to be married to my sister, but he lives in another country, damn. He gave me some email help and suggestions, which included acupuncture.  Thanks Grant. Next, my oldest brother Chris called, concerned, and shared an amazing story I hadn’t heard before:

In South Korea, where, in another life,  he was a Columban missionary priest, he crawled a kilometre  or three down a mine shaft on his belly to see for himself the wretched conditions in which men and children were working and dying.

‘You did what?!’

‘You never told Mum that!’

Nekminnit . . . deep inside the earth, a support beam fell, landing on his neck. (I blame the devil).

Chris got out of the mine alive  but was in terrible pain.  Being in  Asia  he got great and instant relief for his neck from acupuncture. He hardly ever recommends medical procedures so I was easily persuaded by his enthusiasm. Frankly I’d lick a cane toad if it would help.

This led me to find an acupuncturist, who turned out to be a trained GP, a yoga teacher who  studied Chinese medicine in India. (That’s Berry for you). I arrive,  limping with a bad hip, a cricked neck, frozen shoulder, numbed fingers, 40 pounds wringing wet, and wearing oxygen and she’s smiled like a buddha and said, ‘I can help you. The lungs I mean.’

Praise the Lord and pass the prescription!

‘You like a challenge?’ I said (eventually).

I detected the faintest Yorkshire accent and she picked my Kiwi, which 34 years on I still relapse into when in  pain. Sux instead of six. Which is does.

In my beloved Raymond Chandler paperbacks, this  lady doc would be described variously as ‘a long cool drink of water’, or ‘a classy dame’ ‘easy on the eye’.

‘I cannot change the rigidity of your lungs’, she said.  ‘Your poor neck and spine. You are already using your neck muscles to breathe instead of your diaphragm, which is squashed by your big lungs’.

OK, so instead of my diaphragm acting like a bellows and fanning the breath upwards, I laboriously draw up each breath with my neck muscles, like hauling water from a deep well. (Just a cheerio to Big Tobacco at this point).

‘I know’, I said.   ‘You nor anybody can change the architecture of my lungs.’ Game over.
She said solemnly, ‘I can help you use what you have more efficiently. I have clinical experience of this.’
‘I can also teach you a yogic breathing technique that helps people even in the late stages of lung cancer.’

I was putty.

My leg looked like a porcupine in no time as she peppered me with needles.

Hurt? Nah. When it comes to needles, hurt is when you get a blood /gas drawn from your wrist artery. And it’s a common procedure in lung disease. Insist on a local anaesthetic, people. You’re already suffering enough.

Acupuncture needles are easy-peasey.

My cervical radiculopathy was almost immediately improved by the treatment. I’ve signed up for 5 treatments for my lungs, so will let you know if, as I suspect, acupuncture is of great and immediate benefit to us.

As I left, I told her I believed in regeneration.
‘So do I,’ she said. ‘I’ve seen it with my own eyes.’

To leave a comment, click on the title. Cheers.



Miner for a heart of gold . . . Neil Young, Harvest, 1972



11 thoughts on “Puns and Needles

  1. Oh Barb, what a message of hope for all of us: you never, ever say die and more often than not, your faith in the universe is justified. I am delighted you found such a wonderful acupuncturist and I hope and pray you will continue to improve with the treatment she gives you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benzeknees: I gratefully accept your best wishes! Acupuncture might be something you can try down the track.
      I hope you have some really good air days this week. Maybe do something utterly unexpected and nice for yourself. Bill would concur.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, we got snow & a cold snap today so my time outside will be severely limited for a few months. But I am planning on trying to do some light shopping by myself later this week as a reward for getting my flu shot & pneumo vacc!

        Liked by 2 people

      • We actually have seats that warm up in our Jeep so it’s not the travelling to & fro that gets to me it’s breathing the cold air as I make my way to & from my Jeep. We can get temps as low as minus 40 degrees celsius where I live & it’s pretty hard to breathe air that cold even for people without lung disease. So I get like a bear & hibernate in the winter, hahahaha!


  2. Hi beautiful Barb ,
    you must be Soooo relieved to have some relief. Squished nerves
    anywhere are the * puts*.I’ll e-mail KT to make sure she gets her direct link to the powers that be happening FAST ! I swear her prayers ,yours & others are finally working.A MIRACLE.We could never thank you enough for your dedication.
    Barb your belief ,prayers love selflessness guidance & acceptance over such a LONG
    LONG time seems finally to be paying off.
    We honestly think we have our daughter back again after such desperation &
    & devastating loss. What’s more she has dropped 17 kg’s & looks alive well groomed & has rejoined the family.
    I do not believe my message to you re the loss of your lovely friend Bill ever reached you. I am sorry i did not persevere ,hard enough ..
    As usual I was grappling with technology & more * ops* etc.
    Whenever I find myself complaining I think of you & your stoicism & role modelling.
    HOLY cow you & Barb sure have had more than enough to deal with.
    Thank heavens you have each other .Had a revision of my r hip 3 wks ago
    Smooth sailing until a clot appeared in my r calf ,decreasing in size now thankfully .Hoping for a good report in am. so back to gentle pool exercise.
    So much we take for granted ,you bring me back to reality so often.
    I so badly want a magic wand to give you the breath of life
    Barb you you inspire us all to the hilt .
    Please know as always our family think of you both very often
    LOve you both heaps
    love the photo & neil Young music THANKS for yet another gift
    PS THX a mill also for your last entry from the DEPARTURE LOUNGE
    you express yourself superbly
    FRAN Thinking of you too with admiration


    • And I want to wave a magic wand over you, Jules. You’ve had a lot to bear. I’m sorry not to have seen your message after Bill died. You are always so thoughtful and I love hearing from you. Yes! I hear Kate is blooming and I intend to clap my own eyes on that little petal very soon. We have doves living in our garden, white ones with ring necks. They are soooo sweet and remind me of you when they coo; and they buzz Fran for seed in the mornings. Now a little nest has been built, but the Goshawk also circles. Thus as it ever was. Thanks for dropping by the Lounge. You brighten my day. Stay hip!


  3. Hi Barb,
    So pleased you have found a practitioner who is providing some relief and hope holistically! So lovely to see the photo of you, Chris and Frances – all a bit more gray that I remember!! Sending love and best wishes. Karolle 🙂 XX

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s