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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, June 08, 2007

A needling doubt...

Regular readers will be aware (possibly to the point of severely-strained tolerance) of my current impairment-related problems.

Should anyone reading this particular post be new to this blog, however, here is a potted history of The Story So Far:-

After 15 years of taking NSAIDs for lower back pain, I developed gastritis. NSAIDs now = death. NSAIDs swapped for combination of Tramadol + Paracetamol. Gastritis now quiescent. Pain levels, however, hugely increased. Tramadol of limited analgesic effect, but the bee's bum at inducing brain fog so debilitating that a return to work is out of the question. GP's response to complaints of continued brain fog is suggestion to reduce dosage of Tramadol. Which leaves me with a choice between intolerable levels of pain and intolerable levels of brain fog. Isn't life fun?

Anyroad up (as we say Oop North. No, really: we do), when I regaled the latest additions to this sorry tale to my osteopath when I saw him last week, he asked me whether I had considered acupuncture.

Which I hadn't. Or, at least, not seriously. I didn't know all that much about it, and I hadn't realised that one of its chief applications is in the field of pain relief. So I read up on it a bit when I got home. And I was intrigued. And I decided to give it a go.

Which is how I found myself at a local clinic yesterday morning being bossed about by a suprisingly large and imposing Chinese lady doctor whose English is so heavily-accented that, once I had my back to her, I had very little chance of understanding what she was saying. Not that she says a great deal. However, she clearly knows what she's about.

"There is a lot of pressure across your lower back, resulting in inflammation and pain", she said, after only half a minute or so of pressing her hand against it. Having been well brought up by parents to whom courtesy is important, I resisted the temptation to reply, "No shit, Sherlock". (Actually, put anyone within easy prodding distance of my lower back and I become remarkably and uncharacteristically docile and compliant. Right up until the moment when they move out of reach. But I digress.)

Ok, so I know only too well that the soft tissues in my lower back are permanently inflamed and extremely painful, but that doesn't mean I'm not impressed that Dr Liu can reach a firm conclusion to that effect after only a few seconds spent manually examining the area in question.

"We can't relieve this immediately", she continued. "It will take several sessions." Not being exactly a novice in the whole chronic pain area, I really hadn't been expecting an overnight cure. In fact, I don't expect a cure at all. So this was fine by me. After all, what else would I be spending my salary on? (Er, that's a rhetorical question, obviously. In case Boogaloo Dude was about to leap in with suggestions.)

So, I'm lying on a fairly hard treatment couch on my right side. I'm not very good on my right side. I certainly can't sleep on that side. I tend to feel vaguely car-sick. I suspect it's an inner ear issue. Anyway, I can't see what the doctor is doing. I assume she's inserting needles into my lower back. In fact, I can feel one of them going in. She asks me to let her know when I feel "a tingling". Which I soon do. It's a very odd sensation. Satisfied with her work, she leaves me plugged into the mains for half an hour.

Now, not only am I not very good on my right side, I'm also not very good at staying immobile in any position for thirty minutes. Bits of me are already starting to complain before the thirty minutes have even started. However, if I want to move, I've got two choices. I can roll onto my back and embed the needles rather deeply. Or I can roll onto my front and off the treatment couch onto the floor. Neither of these options attracts me greatly. So I lie there. And I lie there some more. My neck hurts. My knees are stiff. My left shoulder Isn't Happy At All. My lower back is horribly exposed to anyone who might break into the surgery and decide to give me a good kicking.

Despite the discomfort (none of which, I should add, is coming from the needles themselves), the half hour passes much more quickly than I would have anticipated. The doctor comes back in, removes the needles, and helps me off the couch. I am dizzy and disoriented. She tells me that I am to come back on Monday, and that I won't need as long as thirty minutes the next time. Once the dizziness has abated a little, I head off to the bus stop. One of the first things I realise is that my stride is longer. (This won't mean anything to you if you don't have joint problems in your lower spine and pelvis. But it's a Good Thing.)

Ok, so there's one thing I haven't told you. But I must. Because there's no way on God's green earth that I'm going to do this without the assistance of my trusty team of diabetes police. (The people who make sure I've taken my meds and that I've eaten. They know who they are.)

"I want you to drink as much warm water as you can", said Dr Liu. (She knows warm water is disgusting. But she's told me to think about the long-term benefits.)

Pop, always on the look-out for a new and entertaining (for him, at least) nag, has swung smoothly into action. And has made himself remarkably unpopular in the process. Poor man got himself seriously snarled at last night. (Although I still don't believe 8 litres is a realistic goal for a day's warm-water consumption.)

As I would really very much rather not fall out with Pop - or, at least, not over something this trivial - I hereby grant permission to all those readers who are in touch with me by phone, email, text message or IM to nag me mercilessly to drink more warm water. Despite the fact that drinking it makes me feel sick. Despite the fact that being female, having diabetes, and taking diuretic tablets for blood pressure every morning mean that - even without the additional x litres of warm water - I'm very fortunate that I don't live in a multi-person household in which there might be a queue for the bathroom.

Go ahead: make my day.

The Editor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should drink a glass of warm water now.
How much warm water have you drunk so far this morning?
It's probably not enough.
Drink some more warm water now, and when you've done that, have a nice refreshing glass of warm water.
Have you been yet?
Oh no, I'm turning into my mother.

1:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. So you want someone to stick needles in you for a fee? You should have said. And I'll do it for half what you're paying at the moment!!

Anyroad up, it's past midday, so you should be up to at least 4 litres by now.

Well, are you???

Mmmm warm water! In Summer!! Luverly!!!

(Heh heh; I'm going to enjoy this!!)

1:32 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I've had one since I published this blog entry.

Just in case the first comment was that I should have one.

I've had a grand total of two so far today.

I'm working up to larger quantities...

1:33 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


Pop is very keen to treat me with knitting needles and a mallet.

He claims to be a trained acupuncturist.

I have my doubts.

1:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to favour porridge spirtles and a lump hammer.

Have another drink...

1:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a pity you used "Result!" for yesterday's post title. That longer stride is a really fine result, indeed. Good luck with Monday's session.

Are you allowed to flavour the water? With tea, or something?

1:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enjoy this video of Nora the Piano Cat with your hot beverage. There is a sequel up as well. Nora appears to be staggeringly popular on the YouTubes. She even has her own range of Cafepress merchandise. Including mugs for hot beverages! Fancy that.

2:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I drink lots of tea - that's made with hot water, so presumably does you twice as much good!? Since nobody can imagine your particular levels of discomfort, it was great to hear that the session left you walking better. Here's to amazing 'strides' on Monday.
Does your practitioner recommend acupuncture for MS? Some people have tried it with positive results, but like everything else, I don't know if it would work for me. Still, needs must...

ps I hope you've had your quota of tepid water for the day!

4:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have another glass of warm water!

Perhaps you could flavor it with a little lemon juice and non-calorie sweetener?

How warm does it need to be? Can it be tea-hot?

5:43 pm  
Blogger Mr Chuckles said...

8 litres - no indeed, I quite agree with you, That;s ridiculous.

Should be at least 12.

Have a nice cup of warm water, dear heart.

8:34 pm  
Blogger Mr Chuckles said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...






12:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it helps to try to always keep a nice, tall glass or a decent sized bottle (maybe one liter) full of water within my reach no matter where I am (home or work). I'm more likely to remember to drink some more if it's already right there waiting for me and not all the way over at the kitchen sink.

Go get a drink of water!

Are you able to substitute fruit juice from time to time? (Though I can't imagine drinking it warm!)


1:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warm water IS disgusting, and 8 litres seems a preposterous amount. Are you at liberty to at least drag an herbal teabag through it a couple of times?

2:02 am  
Blogger Mary said...

8 litres? I have enough trouble drinking the 8 pints!

Go on, another glass. Just drink it down like medicine.

Oooh. Get some shot glasses and make Pop/Dude/whoever match you for warm-water-intake.

Or try drinking games with warm water rather than alcohol... not quite as likely to get a cheer at a party, but here's to get you started.

10:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So: have you had a nice, tall, warm glass of water in the last 10 minutes? If not, go drink one! :-)


12:25 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Ok, just to clarify: I was not told to drink 8 litres a day by Dr Liu.

Insisting on 8 litres a day is Pop's idea of a joke.

Having been necking as much of the vile stuff as I can keep down for the last two days, I can now report that drinking it in the first place is not the worst bit.

Without going into too much unsavoury detail, the body has two methods of eliminating excess water. And mine's eliminating it like nobody's business.

It is, of course, presumably also eliminating the large quantities of toxins which were shaken loose by the needles on Friday. Which might explain why I feel like a limp rag. A damp one.

12:41 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

Surely The Dude knows that it is far betterer to drink warm drinks in hot weather rather than cold ones. You'll be doing yourself a favour drinking warm water.

Might I make a suggestion? I recommend that you fill up yer hotwater bottle and you drink from that save you keep getting up to fill yer glass. Makes sense in my view.

2:04 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

I'm assuming you would consider the resultant rubbery undertaste to be something of a bonus, then?

2:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does Father Jack's post bear a remarkable resemblance to Boogaloo Dude's?

Bottoms up!

2:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A double edged sword Lady Bracknell!! A double edged sword!

I assume you are aware of the benefits of acupuncture as a treatment equally as good as ACE inhibitors for reducing blood pressure? A by-product but nevertheless a positive one of the needling, results however dwindle once the treatment is stopped.

Pop however seems somewhat mischievous in his recommendation of warm water. I can see little value in this unless you have an enlarged prostate, which would prove interesting in such a fine specimen of a woman as yourself

May I suggest a few whiskys before bed to ease the pain?

3:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider yourself lucky. A friend of mine undergoing acupuncture treatment was prescribed a concoction of evil-looking herbs with which to make tea. The revolting stuff stunk the house out while it was boiling, and, I am reliably assured, tasted as nasty as it smelt.She reamians convinced, however, of the efficacity of the treatment.

6:58 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Pints and pints of unadulterated warm water suddenly seem strangely attractive...

9:23 am  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

Indeed. Nothing like a rubbery aftertaste with water. Gives you somethimng to chew on ;-)

12:54 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

I have to drink vast quantities, warm, hot, cold, whatever. Strategically placed 75ml mineral water bottles can at least ensure a mixed intake of cold and warm. Shame its not iced. Then you get to stick a 2ltr bottle in freezer night before, and drink through day as it defrosts on counter in kitchen. Iced water all day. Good in hot weather. You could alternate.

12:01 am  

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