Pincushion

The cause of my hives has not yet been identified. Maybe they are novel-writing hives. I wonder if other novelists have suffered so? But no matter—I am actively trying to figure out the whys and hows. Tomorrow, first thing in the morning before work, I have allergy testing. As I told my boss when I emailed him to let him know I will be in late: If I am allergic to chocolate I will die.

I’ve already faced quite a few needles this week. To try and get rid of the hives, at the recommendation of my doctor, I went for acupuncture. I first had acupuncture about nine or ten years ago when I was in grad school and saddled with terrible migraines that pulsed from a single point on the side of my head. The university health center tried everything, prescriptions included, and nothing helped. E insisted I try acupuncture—I was reluctant, and not happy that my insurance wouldn’t cover it, but I went for a consultation and forced E to stay in the room with me while I was stuck full of needles and made to lie there for a half hour. I did a full treatment and… It worked.

So I had two sessions for acupuncture this week. Needles were placed on my legs and feet, on my arms, on the very top of my head, and in one ear. I was left alone in a dim room, unable to move for fear of stabbing myself. During the first session I had a hard time relaxing. I knew I was the last appointment of the night, so I wondered, What if they forget I am in here with the door closed? What if they go home and leave me here with all these needles in me? How will I get them all out!

Of course, they did not forget about me. The needles don’t hurt at all—they feel, well, they feel pretty awesome. And afterward I felt that incredible high you get from acupuncture. You float. You tingle. You feel alive. Oh, I’d be back.

Second session I was able to relax. I drifted. I felt the vibration in the spots where the needles were, and in spots where the needles weren’t. My heart lulled. I did not itch, not once.

Two sessions. The doctor said that’s all I’ll need. Let me just say this: The hives that would not go away are almost gone. Maybe totally gone. I thought I had a hive last night, but it’s still here so it’s apparently a bug bite. She said they may not go away entirely, but I should feel at least 85 percent better. I do. And I have not taken antihistimines in days.

And, get this: I’ve noticed something a bit odd this week. I haven’t been too hungry. I’m not wanting to snack every second. I’m not wanting second or third helpings. I’m not over-eating as I have been when I get stressed. So, curious, I looked up acupuncture points online, to see if anything might have helped with that. The doctor did mention she’d treat some of my other issues while she was at it… And, lo and behold, the acupuncture point for hunger cravings is apparently in the left ear. I had about five needles in there. Added bonus!

Seriously, if you live in New York and need a recommendation for acupuncture, email me. She helps with stress and illness and quitting smoking and fertility treatments. I never pay out of pocket for healthcare, but this was worth it. I hope it lasts because my novel is due in one month and I lost about two weeks dealing with this.

I now wonder if I should go back to this doctor with some other ailments in mind. Creative ailments, I mean. If I’m having trouble finishing my novel, is there an acupuncture point to help with that? A point to help with scattered, messy plot? A point for stilted dialogue? A point to help me reach chapter 18?

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