Fear and Gratitude
I did it. After 16 years practicing acupuncture I finally did it. A colleague who had never sent me an acupuncture referral called me about a guy who had tried everything for his pain. He was a very busy team manager for a high-tech startup, and his pregnant wife had constant “morning” sickness. It took weeks to get him in. He was better on amitriptyline, but he wanted to try acupuncture to reduce pain further and wean off meds. During those weeks I stewed about how to treat him. I knew what he needed, but I tried to come up with an alternative. His referring physician is a urologist, and he had pelvic pain. And you probably know where I’m going.
The first visit was typical for an acupuncture-naive patient, mostly history followed by ear points and the Koffman cocktail (GV 20, Yintang, and the 4 Gates), and scheduling a series of weekly visits to get down to business. Another week of stewing. I reviewed my notes from Larissa Bresler’s Symposium presentation on male pelvic pain. This gentleman was counting on me to give him the best possible treatment, so the next week, with great trepidation, I used GV1. And it was a non-event — one needle among several, and he’s better.
Which has led me to reflect on fear and gratitude. If we’ve learned anything from the past 18-20 months it should be not to sweat the small stuff. There is plenty of big stuff to worry about. And we should have learned perspective. In 35 years of internal medicine practice I’ve done much more in the neighborhood of GV 1 than placing an acupuncture needle in a prone patient.
If we haven’t lost a loved one or a patient to COVID or anything else during this time we should be grateful. If we have been able to help a fearful patient or exhausted co-worker through all this with acupuncture we should be grateful. There is so much for which to be grateful. Practicing gratitude goes a long way toward banishing the fear of the small stuff.
But CV 1 is going to have to wait a while.
Sue Sorensen, MD, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors