- At the second acupuncture session, I get an assistant to do my acupressure. This is not a good idea for two reasons. Although she is also Chinese, is a university student in economics, has been in the UK for six years, she is a bit of a lost soul. And, well, she is studying economics, not Chinese medical techniques. Dr. Fei leaves the room after a few instructions which I do not understand, as they are spoken in Chinese. The assistant sticks out her tongue and makes a face at her back. I am surprised, and ask her if Dr. Fei is not a good boss. "She was mad at me for leaving the lights on last night," she says. She begins the acupressure, but it is too light. I ask her to press harder, so she does, but presses too hard. It’s okay, but not as good as Dr. Fei.
The assistant tells me she has been working here for 2-l/2 weeks, worked before at the phone shop and loved it, and had a miscarriage two weeks ago. The work at the clinic tires her out. I am not
reassured by this admission. I wonder if I should stop and give her acupressure. Finally I ask her why she doesn’t quit. "Oh", she says, "I am learning a lot. I can give acupressure and reflexology to my girl friends." I am seriously questioning why I signed up for the acupressure. I feel pretty sure the effects I am getting are from the ancient art of acupuncture, and the acupressure is a money-maker for the clinic. I am also ripped from my illusion of peace and safety in hallowed rooms by the assistant’s complaints about her boss, the work, and the misfortunes of her young body. Of course, I don’t want her to lose her job, so I will not complain to her boss, but I also don’t want her to do my acupressure anymore.
- After the session I get my cookie and 3 green grapes and descend to the bright, noisy street to do some shopping. I cross the cobbled street to Marks and Spencer’s to look for a party frock for our Saturday night do. Three hours later I have checked out the lingerie department, the separates, the dresses, the shoes, the nightwear, and had a snack lunch. It has been months since I have been in shopping trim, my foot and ankle would have been screaming long before. My knees and ankle are sore, but not killing me. I leave M & S with a black and white polka dot skirt, a white linen top, and some things from the lingerie department. I can’t believe I have made it this far.
I plan to go home now, but I pass JIGSAW, a shop I like but don’t buy much from. The clothes are a little too trendy and quirky for a woman of my ripeness, but I’d like something attractive to put over my shoulders in case it’s cold on Saturday. I try on a few things but nothing works. Now I really am going home, with a quick stop at Sainsbury’s for dinner fixings.
The next morning after another full night’s sleep I step onto the scales. I have shed another two pounds. I can’t believe it. I feel like dancing around the room, a light-footed, sylph-like creature such as I used to be 30 pounds ago. Okay, 35. Okay, 40.
- MATTERS OF THE HEART —
- Acupuncture Again