starting in the clinic
The acupuncture clinic is just over the way from our accommodation (a disused hospital) - there’s a pretty little path that winds its way there through neem and sandlewood trees.
The first day was pretty intense I thought I’d probably ease my way in by observing in the diagnosis room for the first day or so. I was wrong. After being introduced to some of the team we shuffled into the diagnosis room which was already full of patients and their families. The main dr was taking a diagnosis and beckoned us to join in. He was very helpful and translated what the main complaints were, we then took pulses and looked at tongues. From time to time he would tell everyone who wasn’t the patient to leave the room but this never lasted very long - and before long half the village were crowded in the small diagnosis room again. All was going fine and we were invited to suggest treatments which were generally accepted and added to. After about an hour one of the other practitioners working in the treatment room next door came in and told me to start treating as there were so many patients now waiting to be treated. I was immediately terrified - this had not been the plan.
The practitioner handed me the point prescription and some needles in a tray with bits of cotton wool drenched in detol and waved at a patient for me to jump in. I was completely flumoxed and looked at the point prescription without being able to remember where any of these points where - my brain was apparently frozen. My old habit of referring to the points guide was clearly not going to work here and I regretted not being a more conscientious student. Well I managed to get my act together enough to muddle my way through . The local practitioners kept on coming over to make adjustments to my point location and one of them said - ‘you are so slow!’. But they gave me some great tips on and after treating a few patients things began to start to click and I felt more confident.
Since then we’ve been extremely busy in the clinic but its getting easier. The range of patients we see is really interesting and shocking at times too. I really feel like I am learning a lot.