Birth of a Clinic, part 2: Love Letter to a Rolling Stool

Last Thursday marked the one-month anniversary (monthiversary?) of Guelph Community Acupuncture. Naomi was right, once the clinic is set up there’s still a mountain of work to be done – but, this mountain is a lot more fun. I am endlessly pleased to be spending the majority of my time now forming and maintaining relationships with other people.

…A LOT of people. Other tenants in the building, building management, other business owners downtown, other health care providers in Guelph, volunteers, prospective volunteers, my bookkeeper friend who loves acupuncture (and who is somehow managing to make the numbers seem fun, probably because she’s so damn charming) and patients.

…A LOT of patients. Well over 100 different patients since our first day. (One of whom is already a POCA member!) Looking back over the schedule for the last month, I can track loyal regulars who are enjoying significant improvement in their quality of life, coming several times a week as well, as others who come not when I’ve recommended it but when they feel like they need it.

This has been one of the more affirming things for me this month; noting that my patients are feeling empowered to make that decision for themselves; “I’ve had a headache all day, so I’m going to drop in for an acupuncture nap after work.” Booyah!

So on the topic of empowerment, self-care, community care, and the little rolling stool, I’m going to share a piece of advice, something I learned the hard way this month: when opening a clinic, do not skimp on office furniture, i.e. the things that will be, quite literally, supporting you while you work.

Even if you can’t believe the amount of STUFF you need for clinic set-up, even if buying things new kinda freaks you out because the same thing must be available second-hand…for chrissakes, do not sit your butt on a broken-down second-hand chair which puts one hip higher than the other! Seriously!

Because what might happen is, you might develop sciatica for the first time in your life, just in time to work a wonderfully busy Bring A Friend For Free holiday Monday. You might finish that shift buzzed on community qi and how beautiful Guelphers (Guelphites? Still not sure about that one) are as they sleep, and also, quite disassociated from your Foot Yangming channel.

(For the non-punks reading this, that’s a fancy-ass way of saying Dealing With Burning Leg Pain By Exiting Your Body.)

You might have been meaning to replace that crappy office furniture for weeks now. But when you’ve got a mountain of things to do, sometimes the self-care stuff is last on the list. Even if you’d be the first to tell one of your patients to prioritize a decent seat. Funny how easy it is to forget about your own body, when you’re busy taking caring of a lot of other people’s bodies.

This particular lesson I’m sharing is nothing new. Just something that I apparently need to learn again and again: self-care is important because without it, I’m not ok, and ultimately, much less available to my community – and they really do not need me to sacrifice myself on some acupuncture altar. They do need me to show up, consistently.

So here's to the zippy little stool that is making me so happy by being comfy, quiet, and small enough to let me slip between almost every recliner in the clinic, making for about 90% less bending-while-needling. My Yangming meridian is still thanking me.

Lisa B.
Author: Lisa B.

Lisa prefers fireflies to fireworks, reverts to bluntness in stressful moments, would happily wear legwarmers year-round, and probably wants to be your friend.

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  1. oh yay! when we first started our clinic, two of our fellow acu students came to our open house and gave us a $100 donation towards our start-up. We used it to buy two rolling stools. When a few friends of ours opened their clinics, we “punked it forward” and sent gifts for them, extolling the benefits of the rolling stool. Maybe we can start that train back up again.

    I love popping onto the stool in my shifts, it feels like another part of the CA fractal: the sliding flexibility, utilitarianian-ness, the meeting people where they are, the punk support and self-care, the possible goofy fun. Time to resurrect the stool games for a POCAfest?

  2. There is nothing unnatural about love for a stool! I think about mine when I’m at home. So great to hear you are off to a good start and that you’re squeaking out a little time and money to care for yourself too.

  3. Congratulations, Lisa! Exciting to hear your first month has gone so well, and that you’re networking in your community and seeing a lot of patients already. Sounds like you were born to be a punk!

    Very wise to use a rolling stool! That was my plan because I have a very, very bad back but, ironically, there’s no room in my clinic for a rolling stool when treating patients, although I do keep one there. It has a back support. Patients sit in it more than I do. I place them there when I do guasha. Anyway, in lieu of the stool, I keep my back happy by never bending at the waist and never reaching across a patient’s midline. Instead, I bend my knees and stoop down while keeping my torso vertical. I highly recommend that to any punks who don’t have room for a stool, even if you have a healthy back. Oh, gotta have good knees for that.

    Wishing you continued success in patient-poking and community outreach!

  4. Just a quick note for the Canadians! Canadian Tire has rolling stools for about $25 on sale every once in a while. I just picked up four of them.

    For the rest of you, check out the automotive shops. We use the little rolling stools with hydraulic lifts that have the tray under them to work at our clinic. Works fantastic!