Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why Celery is Bad for Sperm and Other Delusions...

I was unceremoniously bent over the lap of the patron saint of 'customer service' so many times over the holiday season I started to lose count. Everything turned out to be either a colossal waste of money, time, or both. It started with the 3 separate trips to pharmacies made on Christmas Eve for a medication whose price made me burst into heart palpitations at each and every counter I stood before. On top of that, one Christmas present intended for my MIL did not arrive in time, thus forcing me to the stores on Christmas Eve (horror of horrors). After a few miscellaneous issues here and there with returning shoes and of course the requisite health insurance woes that needed to be straightened out (never knew a beta could cost $300!), I went headlong into my first acupuncture appointment a few Saturdays ago and let me sum it up this way:


Word to the wise (as I will never be accused of this now): Never, ever find your practitioners solely based on the fact that their website is pretty and boasts links to infertility/acupuncture research. And just because they have several credentials after their names and happen to be an in-network provider for your health insurance is not a guarantee of competence. The lady turned out to be pure wackadoodle quack. She did nothing less than the following:

  • Asked me, in such broken English that I had to listen so closely to decipher her words my ears were practically bleeding, "why you rush babies? you too young to rush." She was not satisfied when I explained our 4 1/2 year stint in infertility and being in the emotional space of 'just wanting it over with'.
  • Shook her head disapprovingly when I detailed our treatment history. Explained that 'when sperm no good, IUI not work' without ever asking any specifics on count/motility, etc. When I explained that one of them had in fact worked but ended in miscarriage, she said:
  • "Sperm no good, baby not healthy. If sperm bad, you have baby that sick...or stupid or miscarriage."
  • Shook her head disapprovingly once again (this was a habit of hers) when I told her that I was doing back-to-back treatments, stating, "It not healthy."
  • When I told her that we were married in 2000, she literally had to count on her hand to figure out how many years ago that was. If that wasn't enough, I got shit about getting married too young, except that she said, "why you get married at 20?" I was 22 lady. The math is not that challenging. My guess: her Dad's sperm wasn't too healthy.
  • Asked very little about my health. Instead, chose to focus on asking about Mr. S's health, who is NEVER EVER going to be an acupuncture client, especially after this story, so don't bother.
  • Told me we have sex too often and that is why "sperm not healthy." Wow. Didn't know sex actually led to male infertility. We better stop that right quick.
  • Instructed Mr. S. to stay away from celery as it "not good, stop sperm from grow."
  • Instead instructed Mr. S. to eat the head of boiled shrimp that weekend.
At that point, you think I would've walked out, right? Wrong. I'm too chicken s$%#. Plus I knew I was going to have to pony up the money either way you slice it, so I was there to get poked with needles and I was going to get what I came for.

She continued:
  • Got the dreaded 'book of babies' out to show me all the miracles she was responsible for. Apparently there were a lot of celery eaters in the bunch.
  • With the door hanging open, had a conversation with one of the male acupuncturists while I was on the table with my pants down around my hips.
  • Proceeded to heat up Chinese food and eat it in the room next to us while I lay under a circa 1969 heating lamp. Oh, and the door was still open-while other clients were walking back and forth in the hallway. Not exactly the aura of relaxation I always imagined acupuncture to be.

I assure you this is a true story. Granted, I have an active imagination, but you couldn't make this stuff up, even if you tried. Of course, I had enough semblance to not return and I haven't given up on acupuncture. I've heard too many amazing things about it from friends who are practically on the verge of proposing marriage to their acupuncturists. So, I'll try someone who has actually been recommended and let you know how it goes. Next up: tales about our Mind/Body for Infertility instructor that will equally shock and amaze you!


Another Dreamer said...

OMG, I would have not-so-politely walked right on out the door. Sorry that you ended up with such a loon!

And yup, betas sure are freakin' expensive. Every time I get blood drawn I look at that tiny needle and think, "There's at least $100 down the drain." (I've exceeded my insurance's allotment... I have to pay for ALL blood work out of pocket now, instead of just my infertility blood work... grrrrr.)

Cassandra said...

I have dealt with many acupuncturists (well over a dozen) and have never had one like that! You sure got lucky, kiddo.

I have had several acupuncturists tell me that I need to eat meat, despite having been a vegetarian for almost 20 years. A couple made a strong recommendation with the understanding that they would not interfere with my ethical practices, but one kept insisting that I had to start eating meat. And not fish or even poultry, for which many "vegetarians" make exceptions, but lamb and organ meat.

I have made a lot of dietary changes because of TCM suggestions, but the suggestions came from people that I don't think are quacks.

Better luck with the next one!

Confessions of a Wandering Soul said...

You are amazing.And your future bundle of joy will be blessed to have you as a mothr :). We are in the same boat. The only diff is that we have yet to embark on any treatments yet. We are still letting nature take its course though it has been 3 years since we got married. Keeping my fingers crossed for both of us. Would someone be kind enough to blow some baby dust along our way??? :)

Anonymous said...

Woah, what the hell is wrong with this person!! I'm SO sorry you had to deal with her. At least you know she was completely insane, so you don't have to worry about anything she told you.

However, I just cooked up a bowl of boiled shrimp heads for my husband *just in case*.

Nikki said...

Aaaah, now I know! DH has never been fed a bowl of boiled shrimp heads!!

My word - what a nut job! I hope you're not going back to her!!??? :-)

luna said...

and you got to PAY for that privilege?! how awful.

Sarang said...

It sounds like a bad dream, no a nightmare more precisely. I'm so sorry you had to go through that!

Okay, I have to put out a reco for my acupuncturist who I love, love, love and would totally move into my house. She's Caylie See at Pacific Fertility Center in San Fran for any Bay Area folks interested. She is a godsend. She also has her own clinic, Nest, in the city. Before I ever went to a support group or found any empathetic IF bloggers, I had her. She "gets it" and will always be one of the most compassionate people I've encountered in my journey.

Shelby, if you do try again (tho I wouldn't blame you if you never let another person stick a needle in you again), I hope you get someone like Caylie!

'Murgdan' said...

Oh GAWD. It's so horrible I shouldn't even be laughing...but I am...and at 5:30 in the morning no less.

*shaking head* *why you rush baby?* *why you get married so young?* *why you come to me for acupuncture--I'm a seamstress*

Sorry it sucked. Better luck next time. (which for me will be never).

Martha said...

Wow, I have had acupuncture and it's never been like this. I hope you find a good acupuncturist and soon.

Michelle said...

OMG that is crazy!!! Seriously, what is wrong with her?

My guess: her Dad's sperm wasn't too healthy. ----HILARIOUS! and I agree!

The Swann's said...

Oh my goodness!!! I can't believe she's still in business!!! So sorry you endured that but something did come about it... you maintained your sense of humor and have a hilarious blog post to write! :-)

BTW. Have you read the book, "The Infertility Cure"??? If not, I highly suggest it! It's provided some valuable info to me and I'm still seeking out an acu that I trust enough to go to here in Missouri! *I found a fantastic one in Georgia who I saw for about six months before moving... Ugh!*

I do hope you give acu a try again and have great success as I thoroughly enjoyed it for sure!

Tara said...

OMG!!! If it wasn't so disturbing, this might be funny. I am glad you haven't given up on Accupuncture, though. I used to go and really enjoyed it.

Lost in Space said...

Dear God, what a nightmare. Celery?!? Seriously?!? Okay, that lady is a total quack. I do think most of them are, but this was a bit extreme. I hope you are able to find a new one who actually relaxes you. Hugs, hun. (And sorry I had to chuckle at parts of this, but you are just too funny.)

Just Me. said...

Oh gosh! the horror of all horrors! I hope you get a better acupuncturist dear.

ps I was giggling at some parts too. Funny. heh.

banditgirl said...

Yeeey, I hate celery, finally my EasternEuro-self feels vindicated! :)

banditgirl said...

P.s. If you need some fieldnotes from the day you weren't at the mind-body class, the day I learned to explore my divine femininity, gimme a holla'.