Thursday, September 11, 2008

More TCM

I experienced yet another first in my journey through TCM... yesterday the doctor tried out cupping. Basically what happens is the doctor heats the air inside a glass jar quickly (with, and then the jar is placed against the skin, creating a vacuum and sucking the skin and muscle up into the jar. This is to release the toxins and congestion in an area. This process has a tendency to leave some pretty nasty hickeys on your person. Supposedly, the darker the bruising, the more toxins there are in the area. If my "love bites" are any indication of this, then I would have to say this is true. I had cups all along my spine, from my neck to my tailbone, but the only ones that seriously bruised were over my lower lungs.

I've been having some pretty serious coughing/breathing difficulties for the past 4 weeks. After this treatment yesterday, I figured I'd better rule out pneumonia. So off Iwent to the hospital to get a chest x-ray. Good news, no pneumonia. Bad news, all this living in heavily polluted countries (Kosovo, India, China) is doing a real number on my asthma, which used to only pop up for an hour or so twice a year. It seems that what I thought was a cold, was actually a 4-week long asthma attack. Oops. I'm on an assortment of 8 different steroids, antibiotics, inhalers, antihistimines and anti-asthma crap. I may be feeling a bit tweaky, but man, after one dose of the steroids, I slept through the night for the first time in weeks, and I only coughed twice today!! You have absolutely no idea how exciting that it for me right now.

I feel a little like I cheated, and didn't give the TCM a chance to really do it's thing. But I'm sorry, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was ready to do anything to make it stop. I say attack the thing from all directions!!


As defined on
vin·di·cate Audio Help [vin-di-keyt] Pronunciation Key –verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing. clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like: to vindicate someone's honor. afford justification for; justify: Subsequent events vindicated his policy. uphold or justify by argument or evidence: to vindicate a claim. assert, maintain, or defend (a right, cause, etc.) against opposition. claim for oneself or another.
6.Roman and Civil Law. to regain possession, under claim of title of property through legal procedure, or to assert one's right to possession. get revenge for; avenge.
8.Obsolete. to deliver from; liberate.
9.Obsolete. to punish.
So... could someone please tell me what this poor machine could possibly be expecting??

Ticket machine in the metro stop near my office

Saturday, September 06, 2008

TCM to the rescue

I had my first acupuncture experience today. I've been struggling with asthma/bronchitis/I-can't-freakin'-breathe issues for the past 3 and a half weeks. Countless sleepless nights, one trip to the emergency room and 200 tissues later, I decided it was time to try something new. The old inhaler/alergy meds just werent doing the trick this time. I opted for a highly recommended Traditional Chinese Medicine doctore.

Dr. Zhang, who speaks absolutely perfect English, operates out of an old Chinese hotel in one of the few parts of town that doesn't look like it gets spit shined every morning. It still has a little bit of character and you actually feel like you're in China. The building itself is over 100 years old and has that old building smell, even though it has been renovated a bit. After she felt my pulse in both arms and looked at the coating on my tongue (both things are very important to a TCM diagnosis), we chatted for a little bit about my general health, the kinds of things I do, what my diet is like (I deliberately downplayed the role McDonald's has taken in my world these days), general stuff. So, from all that she gathered that I have a complicated constitution (which still means absolutely nothing to me.) I needed acupuncture to help my lungs and sinuses. Three sessions and I should be good to go.

Now, I'm not one who gets terribly squeamish around needles, but the only images I've ever seen of acupncture have been with these gigantic things shoved way under the skin sticking out all over the place where you end up looking like a human pin cushion. I was a hair nervous when I laid down on the table. She placed me on my side so she could put needles both in my backside and my front. The needles in actuality were only about an inch and a half long, including the handle bit. I didn't even feel it when she inserted them, and she placed exactly six on my back, three on my neck and chest, and two on each arm. Then I took a nap for twenty minutes. She came back, took them out, gave me some herbal goodies to help clear out my congestion, and that was that. Easy peasy!

Oh, right, and she taped some sort of seeds to the back of my ear to help with the quitting smoking. I'm supposed to rub them a couple of times a day to stimulate the pressure points. Honestly, the damn seeds hurt 20 times worse than the acupuncture. It's ridiculous.

I'm really hoping this does the trick, because frankly, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I want to get back into the gym... I've got 3 weeks left to train for my big trip (which I am still teasing you all about... buuuahahahahahahahaha).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I'm back!!

Thailand 003
Originally uploaded by mgaston123.

So I got chastised today, and rightly so, for not having written in my blog in ages. I keep telling myself that the last thing I want to do after sitting and staring at my computer all day at work that the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit down in front of my computer. But that's not really it. I have just been lazy. I've got about 6 months worth of pictures that I haven't posted, tons of stories that haven't been told, and loads of news to tell. I have avoided doing any of this so that I can watch any number of TV series on DVD (purchased for a mere $1 per disc). I have a floor to ceiling bookshelf full of box sets of dvds. Oops.

Anyway, the photo... it's from Koh Samui, Thailand. I met up with Captain Canadian, who was on a little well-deserved R&R from Afghanistan, to raise a little hell in heaven. I wasn't in the country for more than half an hour before I went for a massage. Bless Thai massage. It's the greatest thing in the world. We rented slcooters, zip lined through tree tops, rode elephants, went sea kayaking and snorkeling, took yoga classes, saw drag shows, laid on the beach and did nothing, ate amazing food, took a cooking class, and most of all just hung out as if it had been a week or two since we'd seen each other. In reality, it had been well over a year, but it felt like no time at all. We had such an amazing adventure. Click on the photo above to see the rest of the pictures.

And i don't want to spoil it yet, but there's a new adventure afoot... coming up in only a few weeks. It deserves it's own post, so for now, I'll just tease you a little... tease tease... mock mock... tease tease