HomeWayne's WorldWeighing the Benefits of a Smelly Solution

Weighing the Benefits of a Smelly Solution

By Wayne Chan

I consider myself an open-minded person. Even when it comes to my health. 

I’ve had acupuncture before. I had a bad case of tennis elbow, and a friend suggested that I see an acupuncture specialist to see if that would help. I was game.

He started off putting in some very fine needles in my arm and surprisingly, I hardly felt a thing. Then, he said that the needles would be more effective if he attached some electrodes to the needles as that would stimulate the nerves a bit more and accelerate the healing. I was game for that too.

Right before he turned the electrodes on, he said, “Now, let me know if I turn it on too high and if it hurts or anything.” I quietly nodded but I was thinking, “Shouldn’t he know how much electricity should be coursing through my body? What do they even call this – controlled electrocution?”

He turned the machine on and immediately, my right elbow started involuntarily twitching up and down as if I was doing a one-armed impression of Mick Jagger performing. “Umm…I think this is a bit much.”

But, what can I say? After weeks of pain and trying all the usual remedies – heat, ice, massage, rest, the jolts of lightning surging through my arm seemed to do the trick.

That was a few years ago, and about three months ago, I turned 60. 

I feel like I’ve lived a pretty healthy life, but when I turned 60, it’s like somebody flicked a switch and all of a sudden, I’ve been dealing with a myriad of health issues. Nothing too serious, more irritating reminders that, well, I’m now 60.

Let’s see. Immediately after turning 60, I got Covid for the 2nd time while on a cruise even though among our group, I was the only one to put on a mask when we were in tight quarters on the ship. Next, also during the same cruise, I was chewing on a piece of beef jerky and a molar popped out and I inadvertently swallowed it.

Finally, after I get home, I recover from Covid, get my tooth fixed, but I feel some pain in my back and after some tests, I discover that I have some kidney stones that need to be removed.

After all of this, my wife Maya turns to me and says, “Your body is a mess. I want you to go see a Chinese herbal doctor.”

Now, I know that I said that I’m open-minded, but the thing is, I have a memory too.

When I was a kid, my parents would occasionally see a Chinese herbal doctor for various health issues too. The doctor would usually prescribe a range of herbs and exotic powders and roots that needed to be boiled before drinking. And the one thing I’ll never forget was the smell.

How would I describe the smell? I really can’t describe it. All I know is that whatever that smell came from, it has now died. Rest assured that whatever it was when it was alive, it definitely didn’t smell that good back then either. 

I think of the potential concoction that the doctor is going to get me to imbibe, and I imagine introducing that smell back into my life. I start to bargain with myself.

On a scale of 1-10, how bad is this smell? Is that a higher number than this pain in my back? If I smell it first and then immediately pass out, can someone just pour the rest down my throat while I’m still unconscious? 

Turns out I’m seeing my doctor to have the kidney stones removed tomorrow. If that doesn’t work, maybe I should invest in an industrial-strength clothespin for my nose.

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