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FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY EXISTENCE

I feel a little better. Doctors told me that the reason for my neck pain, and my migraine headaches, my mood changes, and my irregular heartbeats is all the result of stress.

Stress, word commonly used nowadays by most of the population in a city that wants to be like the one that never sleeps. I know about the one that never sleeps. There is no comparison.

Kidney sonogram, checked, negative; electrocardiogram, checked, negative; cervical x-rays, checked, negative; bone density test, checked, negative; electroencephalogram, checked, negative; blood tests, checked, negative. I am as healthy as a healthy person can be eating the junk and the elaborated products one buys in supermarkets these days. It's all stress, stress, stress! Make sure you walk; eat your vegetables, your fruits, your fiber, you drink your water; exercise, have your vitamins; relax. Is my doctor kidding me? I wonder if he does all those things and also takes care of children, a family, work and cleaning, prays, and never indulges. His big frame certainly doesn't attest to that; neither does his head who is lacking hair and his face who is lacking a smile of bliss and peace.

--Don't drink coke, sodas, coffee. --I don't! Don't eat fatty products, canned food, sweets, carbohydrates, vending machine items. --I don't, doctor. --Okay. Great! You are fine.

I'm fine; well, that's good to hear because I certainly don't feel that way (I think, but don't say out loud).

--Bye, until next time, just remember to pass by the nurse at front and pay your visit copayment. --Oh, by the way. I got charged about $1,000 from my insurance. They say your office underpaid, I'm not paying one more penny when I have decent medical coverage. --Don't stress on that, it'll be taken care of. --Yeah! But I already received a letter from the collection agency threatening me with filing a suit for not paying what your office didn't pay. --Oh, really? We'll see... nurse who's the next patient. Have a nice day now. --Nice day doctor.

I told my friend about my awkward encounter with my general doctor. She recommended I pay a visit to a chiropractor who will fix my neck pain in a couple o visits. I went to see him, even though my insurance does not cover outside network treatments.

--Don't worry about a thing, I'll just ask my secretary to prepare a couple of extra bills so you can send them to the insurance company. You pay the $300 deductible and they'll reimburse some money; please come in. Lay down here. Lift your right arm; push it back against mine. Okay! Lift your leg. Push it down against my hand! You're strong. --I know. --Sit down. Breath for me...no, no, no! Big, deep, breath. He tells me as he puts on my chest some kind of tiny glass bottle filled with some herbs. --Aha! Aha! --What!? --You have a liver problem. Lay down again; he says as he chooses another little bottle with the 'sambumbia' inside. --Your ovary, he says as he presses down the bottle on my lower abdomen. It’s telling me you have to take care of your ovary, this one, the right one. --Telling you? Who? I thought. I’ve never had ovary problems. --Com’on, let’s go, he invites. I’ll apply some needles (acupuncture).

We walk to another room passing through a narrow hall decorated with apple green walls and candles on either side on the floor to light up the path. He asks me to lie down on a massage bed and starts poking me with the needles.

--Here on your ankle. --What does that do, doctor? -- And here on the top of your head. --Energy points I know. But each point is linked to a part of the body that is aching? --Yeah! And another one here on your temples and one on your belly. Oh, wait. Here on your hands. --Ouch! That one hurts. --Relax! You’re too stressed.

He leaves the room. I stay in the dim light of candles and I feel transported into a world of peace I haven’t been to in while. I start crying, tears cleansing my eyes until he walks into the room 10 minutes later.

--What’s wrong? Are you okay? --Yeah! Why? --You’re crying so hard I can hear you outside. --But doctor. I barely made a sound. --You really need some more time here. I’m going to leave you.

He passes his hand ever so slightly by my hair line, accommodates one or two needles, takes my hands and places them one on top of the other on my chest. Uncomfortable. I bring them down by my side when he leaves. My tears just pour out and I can’t detain them. I wipe my face; this time making sure I don’t make a sound. I fall into the hole again. I feel myself rolling down, down, down, way under a place I have been before. Desperation and irrationality. I realize I am exhausted, tired, confused. I need to come back, get out. Be worth it, one more time.


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