D. is ten. His mother had called a week ago, explaining that he has retinitis pigmentosis, something I had never heard of before, but upon briefly researching, learned to be a genetic disease that may lead to blindness.
D. was obviously nervous about acupuncture. He’d been under the hypodermic needle many times, in and out of hospitals for unrelated health issues. His mom intuitively understood that if she got treated first (she has allergies), that would reassure him that acupuncture is safe, gentle, and relatively painless.
I put about 10 needles in mom. I would’ve put more, but with the little guy watching, I didn’t want to overwhelm him. I told him that we could go one at a time. Maybe 4 needles would be enough. But he started crying, and wanted to wait for dad. I said, sure, no problem, and he called dad on the cell phone. He was right outside in the hallway of the community center.
Dad showed up, and D. said he would try it. I asked him to take a deep breath and then blow the air out, doing the same with him. I put in a point on his hand, between the thumb and forefinger. He didn’t even blink. Then another on the opposite side. Then I put in one on the lateral corner of the eye. That one got a little grimace, but he let me put one more.
His tears were all dry now and he was sitting there, eyes open, beginning to accept the possibility that this might just help him. I left the treatment room and when I returned in ten minutes, he was sleeping. Dad was seated nearby, watching. Mom was still relaxing with needles helping open up her sinuses. 45 minutes more passed and D. was still sleeping. I decided it was time to pull his needles, and still, he did not wake up until dad roused him gently.
We talked. I told him that I thought that I could help him if he could come in twice a week with his mom. Would that be okay? I asked. He said “okay.”