Sucking up the possible cost and realising that I needed to do this to help things progress and leave no stone unturned, I booked an accupuncture appointment one Saturday afternoon in August.
After not hearing back from an acupuncture specialist recommended by a friend who used her for fertility, another friend recommended an international hospitals TCM department.
I had woken up that morning and felt really weird, a bit off, which is weird for me but not unheard of. When I am like this I need to either keep to myself or get out and about and do things. After lazing in bed for a few hours, I decided that the latter was the best approach….hmmmm……wrong move Martin, wrong move!
I was already a bit dark at the hospital as they had not responded to my online appointment request I had done earlier in the week but being the stubborn person I am was determined to forget that and get this started.
After an easy Uber ride over I was greeted by a very stark, hotel like vibe, with absolutely no other patients around. Very strange, nothing like the private hospitals of home. I had to ‘check in’ and show my passport, fill in some forms – standard – and then was picked up by a concierge type person and escorted through the hospital and onto the elevator….I think I saw one other person on that journey….and they worked there.
I was told how much the appointment would cost (around Y700), and was happy to pay that to see what would happen. I was expecting more to be honest. After a 30 minute wait, I was finally able to see the doctor.
She asked me why I was here, felt my pulse, looked at my tongue and promptly told me that my kidneys weren’t functioning properly and that they are linked with my uterus. She also told me that my liver is linked with those also. Ofcourse it is! She then proceeded to tell me absolutely no alcohol. I should have left right then and there.
The next thing I knew, I was in the next room, changed into loose clothing and had 20 needles in my stomach and legs. The ones in the legs hurt the most….apparently my channels were extremely blocked.
I was supposed to be left for 20 minutes……5o minutes later and one very interesting consultation (I could hear everything from the room next door – very inappropriate), she was back and finally removing the needles. 20 minutes with 20 needles seemed doable but 50 was not so fun to a needle phobic. She was not my favourite person at this point.
The doctor proceeded to tell me that I needed to pair this with Chinese medicine and I was happy to do what she recommended (I was in China, so why not go the whole hog, it shouldn’t be too expensive).
Kindly she recognised that my insurance was about to change and told me that she would charge me for the acupuncture on the 1st and for now I would just pay for the Chinese medicine. I was so grateful and super relieved – this took a lot of pressure off me and especially off my credit card.
Next I was asked to wait for a short while, while she prepared the list for my medicine so she could tell the pharmacy downstairs what to ‘boil up’ (her words,not mine). Another 30 minutes later and my patience was wearing very thin. An appointment that should have taken an hour tops was well on it’s way to becoming 3 hours.
Finally they had it sorted and I was again escorted down to the cashier. I was annoyed at the time everything had taken but was very thankful for the delay of payment so was happy to pay and get out of there.
The cashier then announced my bill total of over Y2000 (NZD$400). Wide eyed with surprise I asked him to repeat it. That poor, poor boy! I then open mouthed (open and closing like a fishes does), asked him for a print out. You should have seen the list of ingredients in the medication AND I have also been charged a fee for the appointment.
Tears welled up and I was DONE being punished. I had no idea what to do. This is time that I really felt the effects of doing this on my own. I had no one to bounce this off to see if I was being absolutely played. Already feeling the financial brunt of the change in insurances and also not being able to verbalise how I was feeling, everything came crashing down around me.
I managed to collect myself enough to say – “No way” was I paying that. The poor boy gave me a discount on the appointment price (20% off….what the hell….how can they do that…I found that very weird but took it anyway…usually I would be super embarrassed and say ‘don’t worry about it’….but stuff that!! I took the discount).
Quickly I realised that maybe the medication was for a month or 2, so after I told them to stop ‘boiling it up’, I went to check with the pharmacist to see and turns out it was only for a week!!! Later, on reflection, I was very proud of myself that I had said no and not paid for that. At the time though, I had felt awful about it all and had thought the doctor would think badly about it – god, I need to stop caring about others and more about myself!
On the way out I stopped to try and get good wifi to get an Uber home (that wasn’t happening) and I broke down in the deserted hallways.
Collecting myself I managed to get to the front desk to ask for a taxi – that would take anther 15 minutes, sick of waiting and upset I walked out….onto a busy and congested road and willed Uber to work. I started walking towards places I knew (I wasn’t anywhere near my house, so that was out). The best stroke of luck I had all day was an Uber was stuck in traffic literally 10 metres from me and I was able to jump in. After 10 minutes of being stuck in 200m of traffic, we were on the highway and I was home within another 10 minutes.
Closing the door behind me, I burst into tears and proceeded to hyperventilate and cry. I had finally reached the pinnacle of what I could take. I could be pushed no further, I had finally after all this time reached my absolute breaking point. I now knew my limits and the consequences weren’t pretty. This was like nothing I had ever experienced before, this was a first for me.
After a few hours of on and off crying and hyperventilating and a call to my sister (thank god for her being able to help pull me out of the pit of despair), I was able to calm down. I never want to see the bottom of that pit of despair ever again.
All I could think about was why the hell was I being punished for trying to do the right thing? It’s a hard thing to grasp and to come to terms with and even though I constantly try to see the positive in everything, I’m not sure I ever will understand why.
At least it had happened – I had hit rock bottom and there was nothing to do but climb out.
**On a lighter note – If you know me you will know that the fact that I missed seeing an All Blacks rugby game demonstrates how rock bottom I was that day!