Why We Did This CAN Thing

Last night at work I had one of those lovely moments of gratitude and fulfillment — courtesy, of course, of a patient.  Bethany has been seeing me since early 2005; she just graduated from law school, so she’s been dealing with all the different kinds of stress associated with that (physical, mental, etc.) for the last few years.  Acupuncture has worked really well for her.  When her stepmother and her little sister came to visit her last year, she brought them in to WCA too.  They live in Ashland; her stepmother was having some acute pain that really required a series of treatments right in a row, more than I could give in her brief visit to Portland, so I was very happy to be able to refer her to People’s Choice Community Acupuncture in Ashland. “Go see Chad as soon as you get back home!” I suggested — and she did!  

I heard through Bethany that she had a really good experience and became a community acupuncture convert.  Then, a few weeks ago, Bethany graduated, and her mom, who lives in Healdsburg, CA, came up for the ceremony. Her mom has been dealing with some significant chronic pain…so of course Bethany brought her in to WCA. We had a conversation about how what her mom needed was probably twice-weekly acupuncture for a couple of months — and it turns out that Healdsburg is only twenty minutes from Sebastopol, and Sebastopol Community Acupuncture! Anyway, last night Bethany came in for her treatment, and told me that her mom has had two treatments at Sebastopol Community Acupuncture, and is sleeping through the night for the first time in a long time. She called Bethany to tell her how much better she was feeling, but then she added that she was worried about having to interrupt her acupuncture routine, because she was going to visit Bethany’s grandfather…who also happens to live in…wait for it…yes, Ashland!

Bethany gave her the information for People’s Choice, and her mom was very relieved. Isn’t that beautiful?  And when Bethany told me this last night, I thought, this is the perfect story to explain why we did CAN. This is EXACTLY what I wanted. So hurray for all of you, hurray for the fruition of all the hard work everyone has been doing, hurray for extended community, and hurray most of all for our patients, who are the means and the reason and the be-all and end-all of everything as far as I’m concerned.

Author: lisafer

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  1. so many thanks

    I just wanted to say thanks Lisa for posting this and thanks to everyone who has worked to make CA and the community what it is. I am a very new grad (about 2 weeks!) and as I had been going through the last of my clinical rotations I was feeling more and more discouraged and isolated and holy-crap-how’m-I-ever-gonna-pull-this-off and just alone, full stop. I can’t tell you how wonderful and re-energizing and inspiring it feels to find that there’s not only an already-growing community of acu folks so generous and willing to help each other, but also that it’s totally possible to have a CA-style clinic and thrive. In my former life as a high school teacher, the precept that nothing happens in a vacuum was hammered home to me every day–that the economic and social frameworks of our lives cannot be divorced from our lives themselves. Access and inclusion were huge and guiding deals for me.
    I carried this with me when I undertook to study acupuncture, which I chose not only because I flat-out fell in love with the medicine but also because I saw it as an important health care alternative that could really directly make my community (and not just the people in it) a better place. However as I went through my studies and even my clinical rotations the politics of health care and health policy were rarely mentioned let alone related to what I was being trained to do, and I have continuously been left with a feeling of “Yes, but….”
    So again, thank-you for creating such a wonderful thing and working so hard to make it grow! I am honored to soon take my place and play my part.

  2. international meridians

    Lisa, I was just going to write about the same thing.
    I’ve been appreciating the way CAN has facilitated these connections between clinics all over the country, and beyond.
    Yesterday, I treated a young woman visiting from Providence who is a regular patient (and big fan) of Chris M. at Providence Community Acupuncture. Her treatments there have obviously made a huge difference in her life. She came in with a regular patient of mine who she was visiting; and the two of them were able to team up on encouraging another Philly friend of theirs to come in.
    Twenty minutes after treating these three, I met another new patient referred in a similar way. He was a friend of a patient who had moved here temporarily from Seattle. This woman was a regular patient here for a few months, having moved from Seattle and on her way to New York. She had been going to Communichi in Seattle, and given her great experience there and the terrific results of treatment, she was thrilled to start seeing us here. I was able to refer her to places and people in NY when she went on her way with a big teary appreciative hug.
    Last week, I treated a woman 3 times in the week she was visiting Philly from Providence. She was referred by a regular patient of ours who is her friend and artistic collaborator. It was her first experience with community acupuncture and she left excited to look up Providence Community Acupuncture when she returned.

    We’ve referred our patients who were moving or traveling to clinics in Oakland, Santa Cruz, Bradenton, Chicago, Vancouver, Portland, Boston, Manchester. Those are the ones i can remember.

    One important point to be made explicitly here is that, if I don’t know the practitioners personally or professionally, I’m confident referring to the extent that CAN maintains the guidelines for inclusion into clinic listings.

    It’d be great to hear other people’s stories about referrals and connections between clinics.

  3. Long distance referrals

    This really is an amazing community.  I’ve made referrals to clinics in Minneapolis, Manchester, Seattle and San Marcos (TX); while receiving patients referred from other CAN clinics.  The really wonderful thing about this is having connectivity that feels like “no big deal” to the patients.  In a world dominated by feelings of alienation and aloneness, this is truly remarkable.


  4. local community

    It is true that the feeling of being able to refer patients for affordable acupuncture when we cannot be there is wonderful. I do it with two other CAN clinics. When I am going to be gone for a vacation, I give out cards to Communi-Chi and PinCushion and know that the patients I care about well be well taken care of. Hurrah for our community!

  5. community networks (of acupuncture)

    Well, we’ve certainly been on the receiving end of several referals from Portland, the Bay Area and of course, other parts of SEattle (thanks Jill, Julie, Miranda and others) – those are the ones I remember.

    Earlier this year, we had a twice a week patient who moved to Denver and I put here in touch with Lisa and Jessica at Meeting Point. She was very happy to find them and keep the continuity of treatments. 

    “Consciously restrain your mind from recollecting the past or anticipating, fearing, or hoping about the future. Simply focus on the present moment and do not allow your mind to chase after external objects or events. Do not objectify things, but rat

  6. call for more cards

    We recently upgraded the cork-board that our CAN map is on to figure more prominently in the office.  We have fliers and cards from some NE clinics, but we need more from all of you.  PLEASE SEND your cards, celebration invites, whatever,  our bulletin board is HUGE.  (send to PCA  144 Waterman Street #2,  Providence, RI 02906)  Thanks!

    I LOVE all of the cross country referring that CAN does.  Several grad students that are regulars at PCA were headed off to cities with CAN clinics this summer and we were so happy to be able to refer them.  We have a patient who recently has started volunteering who was a regular in one of the Austin clinics.  Another volunteer has a good friend in Philly who is working on opening a CAP (hi Sue!) and attended the WCA training at Philly CA.  We’ve had folks going on vacation in Portland, Philly, Boulder,  and Seattle, who have left with phone numbers and addresses of CAN clinics in those cities.  

    My friend Phil from acupuncture school just recently opened Mission CA in SF and I can’t help but think that we’ve been a big influence on him.  NOt to mention that his mom, Arline, has been one of my star office people for almost 9 months.  Arline was recently listening to some AM talk radio when a local BA practitioner came on for an hour long interview.  She called in and asked if there were any affordable acupuncture options locally….amazingly he made a plug for PCA!  Ariline rocks!



  7. A Really Awesome Network…

    This past week was the 2nd week my clinic was open, and lo and behold I was graced with a patient whose in-law does massage therapy at one of the Portland CAN clinics and so, with her help, was able to suggest that she find a community clinic in the Boston area.  And so with our wonderful CAN LOC page she found it!  It is amazing how all across the country this network works.  Very nifty stuff!  I’m also very glad I can tell others how and where to find a community clinic in their corner of the world…