On the morning of my second visit to Eve Soldinger, my Medical Qi Gong practitioner/miracle-worker, I knew my mission from the moment my eyelids slid open. It propelled me to arrive in Dupont Circle twenty minutes early. There is no question that I can get out of bed and move quickly when I am motivated by something so powerful, so good, so so….delicious as a bakery that makes Gluten-Free, Vegan pastries.
Yum-yum gimme some.
At the end of our first visit, Eve and I had spoken some about the vegan diet we had in common. I told her that it was tricky to find foods that were as highly specialized as my dietary restrictions required. She mentioned that she thought a local bakery made Gluten-free and Vegan treats. “Both?” I asked her. She wasn’t sure, but she thought so. She told me it was just around the corner.
That was all I needed to hear. In fact, all week long I fantasized about potential creamy, flaky, pastries that I inhale in clouds of powdered sugar the way addicts inhale….well creamy, flaky pastries. You must understand that for one who never gets to eat such delicacies, the urges can become reasonably faint; but when the potential to eat the foods seems imminent, fantasies can overcome.
So I got out of my car and walked around the block from 18th Street to Connecticut Avenue; it’s one of those funky little diagonal blocks that occurs nearing a traffic circle, the likes of which we have all over the District of Columbia. The folklore about their origins is that Pierre L’Enfant, the architect of the city, was a big drunk who frequently rested his drink on the city plans; wherever he rested his drink landed a circle. But I digress. (See the map.)
It was not hard for me to walk around the acute angle of the block and up the Connecticut Avenue side. I was like a dog with his tongue hanging out, “Duh, where’s the bakery, where’s the bakery?” Well, there was no bakery.
The sun was exquisite, the wind cool, and the sky the most perfect azure, a rare perfect day in Washington. It could not have been a better day to walk. Not only that, but I love that neighborhood. My Dad & Stepmother used to live down there when I was in high school, and I have so many happy memories of walking around; it used to be incredibly hip. Now it’s still pretty, cool store fronts. So I kept walking.
“Duh, where’s the bakery, where’s the bakery?”
No bakery. So I ended up walking all the way around the block. Way, way, way too far for me. I’m about a five-minute-r. This was fifteen minutes. When I came upon Eve’s building, I was relieved, excited, and in tears, all at once.
The best comparison is always the base: we all measure up to the most common denominator, or she-nominator. You know how you can have to pee something fierce, but somehow you manage to keep a cork in your vast keg as you ride or drive up to your building. No matter how bad it is, it is manageable until you get to your front door. Then, suddenly, there is no more cork. It’s just your finger and that hole, and good luck keeping the enormous keg plugged until it matters.
Stop shaking your head in disapproval (you know who you are!). You know exactly what I am talking about.
Well, this was precisely my misery when I stumbled up to Eve’s building— only my bladder was fine. I just rather fell apart pain-wise. I had had to keep it together walking around that vast triangle of a block, because once I had started the walk toward gustatory paradise, it was too far to turn back. Then, to have begun to concentrate on the misery of the pain would have made it impossible to continue.
If you think, “Well, Heidi, why didn’t you just hail a cab?” you have clearly never been to D.C. I won’t laugh at you. Cabs are decorative in D.C. They are not used for transportation, that I have experienced; mostly, they are used to soak tourists. Until 2008, they didn’t even have meters!
Anyway, I started to cry when I got to Eve’s building, and when you’re in pain, everything falls apart at once. I looked ahead at the week: busy — oh God, I’ve got to go to Baltimore to see a very important doctor on Friday and I’ve probably destroyed that, and it takes four months to get an appointment with her, and the weekend is probably blown, too. Ugh.
Eve’s groovy antique elevator cheered me up, and I realized I couldn’t walk into her office blubbering like a fool, so I composed myself. I think now about a friend in college who always asked, “Why are you so positive???” I used to admire her ability to be genuinely pissed off, without liking someone any less, necessarily. There is something so Wonderbread, Shiksa, deadly dull about my predictably perky, “Well How Dee Dooo, Eve, how are you?”
A cooler person would have said, Where was the &**))#(**^%ing bakery?
We did get there. But I really did want to talk to Eve. I like her, and I wanted to know how she was….and we had to talk first about the fact that the previous week really didn’t work.
So then I almost started to cry again when she responded to that. You’ll never believe it: “You had a migraine? You should have called me! I would have fixed it over the phone!”
Really? I wasn’t tracking so well. My “journalistic” mind was plugged by the bath of neurotransmitters involved in the pain cycle. I remember looking up and seeing her shake her head at me earnestly as in, “No joke, fool.” Eve is not one to be tangled with. I’ll believe it until proved otherwise, because when you’re in my position, well, why the hell not. (There’s more logic to my logic than this, but that’s all I had at the moment—think back to the magnet analogy I used last time I wrote.)
Finally, I explained to her about my long walk and that I was in pain. Eve was sorry—she had used the euphemism “around the block” the way I would, in my normal suburbanite, car-fueled way, to describe the locale of the bakery. Now she drew a map for me (for the record it is Le Pain Quotidien — like the one in West Hollywood where Margie & I ate — This one at 20th & P, where the old costume store used to be, if that makes sense to you. You know you are old when you start defining your city in terms of where things used to be….).
Eve said, “Well, then, let’s treat this pain.”
This time when I was on the table, I wasn’t so afraid; I opened my eyes a few times and saw big hand movements above my body, bigger than ones used, typically, in a Reiki treatment. Eve spoke to me and explained what she was doing, trying to repair my energy. She said that there was a big tear in my energy where the aneurysm ruptured, over my left leg, that the energy there is “in ribbons.” It makes sense.
Unlike last week, she was working very, very slowly. My body does not seem to be able to handle even the most incremental energetic changes. That is true when we are talking about Western Medicine as well. I don’t manage PT or anything else. So not surprising that she encountered this in Medical Qi Gong.
Eve reported as she worked up that body that the energy over the aneurysms in my superior mesenteric artery & renal arteries is not ruptured. That’s very good news. We want to keep it that way. The energy shoulder-level and above is frenetic, whereas below shoulder-level is stagnant. That certainly describes the status of my physical ability. I asked her if there was any reason she could find that would explain my trouble focusing to write. She said, that the situation she had described was precisely the problem: I am not grounded, meaning that the frenetic energy transpiring in my head doesn’t have any connection with the earth.
“So we’ll work on that,” she said. Yes. Yes. Yes.
By the time she finished, the pain in my legs and feet had not only improved; it had stopped.
….All this time, I have to say, I have not suspended disbelief. I’m still thinking, well, this can’t really be happening, right? I want it to be happening, but anyone with a three graduate degrees should question this more, right? What do you mean, “The pain just stopped.” Wish fulfillment, Heidi. I’m thinking that there is no way this is working….
As Eve was completing her work I continued to get a few electric shock pains on my left leg, so I showed her where they were. She did some more work right there and stopped them. I still would give it a level 2 on that nutty pain inventory for a sort of all over electric shock readiness general misery that I was still feeling from my walk. But the awful pain that had been making me cry, the kind that I could have expected for easily the next five days? She turned it off like a light switch.
How does that happen? …..Well, for the most part, WHO CARES?
It was remarkable, people. Pain control is one part of the fight. Fatigue is another I don’t even know how to bring into this argument.
It is still staggering to me that I had the energy, then, to go do a list of stuff right after my session with Eve. I went to Mom’s Organic Market to kill some time before I went to get my daily tan. So that involved walking a whole grocery store, and carrying two way too heavy grocery sacks. Then I walked a couple of blocks and back to the tanning studio, and I walked up to the apartment and back for the cart, and then schlepped my groceries. Even after I got home, it seems as though I set myself rather feverishly at completing a mountain of small tasks around the house, never sitting myself down until evening, at which time I was in some considerable pain. But I would not have been able to move past noon before, and would still be lost now from that long walk, before.
So there was hyperactive Tuesday, a more restful Wednesday because I needed it, but the pain was manageable. Remarkably, I had another hypomanic Thursday, in terms of frenetic expenditures of work. Then I traveled to Baltimore on Friday. This is Saturday. A pace like this usually puts me in the hospital. Today, Saturday, I’m having to rest, but I’m capable of writing. That’s because I’m still feeling Eve’s effects from Tuesday.
I have already recommended it to a cancer-stricken friend, who is in serious pain. What better medicine could anyone take? Medical Qi Gong has no side-effects, theoretically, although we do have to take into account the migraine I got. This is rivaling narcotics in effectiveness.
I would recommend it to you. It’s certainly been validated and tested over many more thousand years than any modality any of us is using in Western Medicine!
I can’t wait to go back on Tuesday. What can she do next?
Hot tip: Do yourself a favor and read my new favorite blog, A Taxi Dog Diary. The author’s tag line is, “After I died, I got a whole new appreciation of life.” That was enough to capture me as a reader. Instead of what you are expecting—another hearts and flowers tale of realizing life’s beauty and thanking God for a fantabulous disability—Dr. Taxi Dog takes a New Yorker’s approach to life after death—darkly comic. His discussions range from the brilliant to the artsy; today’s was Disney’s animation of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue followed by some interesting info. Be sure to check it out!
Coming next: I went to see the magical Dr. Francomano on Friday, and…what a relief…she was just as wonderful as she was the first time. Sometimes you go back to wonder-doc and find out that first wonder-visit was an anomaly (particularly when you turn up with as many incurable illnesses as before). Turns out, Dr. Francomano truly is the real McCoy! More this week…