adventures in corporeality

1) Whenever the local police station hosts a blood drive, I always at least attempt to donate (full disclosure: this time I was also interested in getting the incidental free anemia screening).  A few weeks ago, during one of those vile, scorching New England days, they were indeed hosting a drive, so I headed over in the morning.  While the blood was being collected I noted an unusual queasy feeling that donation had never before induced.  I remembered that my blood pressure had been lower than normal when they checked it during the interview, but it wasn’t dangerously low; I also noted that for a breastfeeding woman I hadn’t hydrated terribly well before heading over.

Alas, I filled my blood-bag and was released to the canteen area for some bottled water.  I downed a bottle, glanced with disinterest at the snack options (Lorna Doones?  Surely you jest) and decided to fetch some juice.  When I sat back down I was overcome with a familiar feeling.  A nurse who was eating her lunch nearby dropped her sandwich and asked if I was ok; I mumbled something in reply and she dashed over.  She yelled “DAVE!” and grabbed my shoulders.  As soon as she touched me I promptly ate shit.

Several minutes later I heard people yelling my name but, having no idea where I was or what was going on, resisted a full return to consciousness for a moment due to a vague feeling of embarrassment.  Had I been…singing along to the radio?  Touching myself?  Why did I feel so weird?  Whose floor is this?

2)  For a couple of years I’ve been wearing a custom mouthguard every night.  It had started to feel slightly out of whack, so I made an appointment with my TMJ doctor for an adjustment.  When I handed him the mouthguard he said, “Oh, I can see exactly what you’ve done,” and gnarled his hand into a tense claw.  “You’ve dug a groove into the acrylic with your teeth.  You’ve changed the shape.  We’ll fix it.”

He made some adjustments with his magical machines and then returned to feel my jaw muscles.  After determining that they were tight and not releasing, he decided to do some quick acupuncture.  I had previously tried acupuncture for this very medical issue with no success, but this is the man who made it possible for me to eat food without having to smush it through the barely five-millimeter gap between my top and bottom teeth; i.e., he unlocked my jaw after it had been locked mostly shut for eight months.  Needless to say I pretty much let him do what he wants.

He put one needle superficially into my cheek, warned “This is going to be uncomfortable” as he advanced it into the muscle, and repeated on the other side.  I thought we were done, but then to my considerable surprise he produced and fired up a small blow torch.  He used the flame to heat up what appeared to be a large moxa stick.  When the stick was hot he used it to heat the ends of the needles that were protruding from my face (offering reassurance that he wasn’t going to burn me).   I sat and relaxed for a few minutes, agreed to come back and do it again in two weeks (for an hour, next time), and then left, feeling not so bad, in fact.

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