PUMPING IRONY: Unintended Consequences

Just back from my fourth acupuncture session, during which I noticed that the cicadas between my ears had shifted slightly to the right (an ominous sign for the Obama administration?), leaving my left ear mostly quiet.

They’ve since returned to occupy their former space, but I’m holding out hope that eventually this whole needling thing will offer some respite from the incessant ringing in my ears.

Katherine, my acupuncturist, is a little inscrutable — partly because we have to whisper during the treatment due to the fact that the room is full of people snoozing in Lazy-Boys, and my hearing is such that whispered wisdom often doesn’t make it through the flock of cicadas she’s attempting to disperse; plus, I really don’t have any clue about what questions to ask. This much I’ve been able to grasp, though: any sign of movement is a good thing.

I’m a patient guy, anyway, and I understand that the healing arts — unlike the pharmaceutical sciences — can take time. I wouldn’t mind getting a prescription specially formulated to evict the cicadas from between my ears (“Ask your doctor if Silencium is right for you. . . .”), but these sorts of solutions tend to have unintended consequences (“Side effects may include headache, dizziness, dry mouth, aneurysms . . .”) and they tend to leave untreated the actual cause of the condition, which in the case of my cicadas probably had something to do with a lack of effective stress management when my newspaper went under four years ago.

I know, there’s a pill for that. . . .

Anyway, while I’ve been waiting for the needles to rout my cicadas, a couple of interesting things have occurred: A painful kink in my shoulder and a more mysterious — and worrisome — problem in my hip have both disappeared.

The hip thing actually had me hobbling over the weekend and threatened to derail my Tuesday evening tennis match with M.E. I decided to go for it despite the pain, because . . . well, because I’m a guy, and guys just figure that if something hurts the best way to cure it is to pound on it until it gets better. So, M.E. and I whacked it back and forth for 90 minutes (6-2 in his favor; then 7-7 when my ailing hip finally gave in). Wednesday morning, to nobody’s surprise except perhaps my own, I could barely walk.

My shoulder felt pretty good, though.

I was moderately more mobile on Thursday, when I got needled again. And by this morning, the pain in my hip had vanished and my gait was back to its jaunty self. Was this a byproduct of my cicada treatment? Who knows? You start getting your qi rearranged and, before you know it, maybe everything else starts to fall into place (can’t wait to see how the brakes on the Crapmobile are working now). Let’s just call it unintended consequences.

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