Over one month ago I was eagerly picking Satsuma oranges off the drooping branches of the tree in my backyard. I was excited to have a big bowl of this delicious fruit in the office to give to patients as they checked out. I had my arms full with harvest and was walking over to put the oranges into a nearby bag when I tripped over a brick and twisted my ankle. Historically, when I’ve stepped funny or slightly twisted my ankle, I’ve been able to shake or walk it off. But this time was different. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot and I had that sick feeling that I did some damage.

I was scheduled to start seeing patients shortly after I fell, so I quickly iced the ankle and then wrapped it in an ace bandage. I hobbled to the office and remembered that my associate David would be there seeing some patients. What a stroke of good luck, as I knew I was in trouble and needed to have my ankle treated ASAP.

So, like a good girl, I had David treat my ankle two times that week and just assumed the healing would take place and it would be better in no time. I did go to the podiatrist the next day who confirmed my fears of having done ligament damage to the outer ankle and also to the inside tendons. He put me in a soft cast for a week and then told me to keep it iced and wrapped.

Since I rarely get sick or hurt, I just assumed after a couple of weeks I’d be back and up to my usual walking ability. Well, a good month or so later, I was still in pain. Not only was the outside of my ankle still swollen and tender, I was having horrible pain along the inside part of my arch and heel. I was having great difficulty walking as well as finding shoes that did not hurt as I am on my feet pretty much all day long.

I decided to go back to the podiatrist and suggest an x-ray since I was in so much pain. He did a few movements with my foot and concluded that there were no stress fractures or broken bones, but that the ligament damage would take months—emphasis on the “s”—to fully heal. His suggestion to me was, (get this): get acupuncture treatments two times per week for a few weeks and it will speed up the healing process.

Of course I laughed because that is exactly what I would tell my patients. I started off right with two treatments immediately after the fall, but I didn’t stay with it. Silly me, thinking I would be different and would heal faster than most people. After the doctor’s wise counsel, I went back to the office with my tail between my legs and told David what the podiatrist told me. We all had a good laugh at the obvious recommendation.

As I was lying on the table yesterday during my treatment, it occurred to me that I needed to share this experience about the healer needing to heal herself. After four treatments and taking the ankle herbal formula, I suddenly realized that I had not taken any Aleve in two days and that I wasn’t limping quite as much.

I am not completely pain free, but I can honestly say that my pain is down from a seven or eight out of ten to a two out of ten, and that it is no longer necessary to take pain pills. The moral of the story is that the healer as well as the patient must follow up and be consistent with acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture is a wonderful facilitator of healing; I know it to be true from my patients. I just had not needed it myself until now. It’s what I tell patients all the time. I just needed to listen to my own advice.

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