Sunday, 3 July 2011

Dr. Crackling

I woke up the other night with the most terrible crick in my neck and, after a sleepless night, staring at the ceiling and moaning every time my head moved, I went to work armed with my box of Panadol Muscle Relief. My team took one look at me and ordered me to a)stop-taking-pointless-drugs and b)to go immediately to Mr. M who's known-as-the-crackling-doctor.

It was a particularly rainy, miserable day and so I very reluctantly headed off to Wan Chai to find this Crackling Doctor. I squelched upstairs and into Mr. M's clinic (read: one-bedroom-flat-with-two-hospital beds, a TV-and-a-wooden stool). There stood a rather ancient Chinese man in a white coat who took one look at me, asked me a few critical questions and with a perfunctory nod, pointed me towards the bed, where I guessed I had to take my shoes off etc. Bed side manner not a strong point here.

First of all, he tenderised the area in question with some acupuncture for 20 minutes. After what felt like an eternity, face down, listening to the TV and hearing him potter around, he pulls out the needles (no pain), and then proceeds with the "massage".

If there were an instruction manual, this is what it might read:

- Put on boxing gloves
- Punch patient (read victim) in head and neck. Aim every so often right on the most unbearably painful and tight bit. Do so with urgency and quick, erratic movements
- Remove gloves and vigorously pinch patient on neck. Punch shoulders
- Dive down onto legs and without stopping for air, grab opposite leg to where you are standing and rock patient's entire body (with feeling), rock until patient looks like she's about to roll off bed
- Repeat with other leg
- While patient is still shaking, imagine yourself bouncing back against wrestling ring ropes (think WWF), as you jump on patient and CRACK the side of her neck. Repeat with other side after shaking patient's head and forcing it to look the other way
- Use metaphorical ring ropes again to jump and CRACK shoulders
- Shake and pull both arms with violent insistence
- CRACK clavicular
- Flip patient over and repeat

If patient blubs like a baby. Ignore. This is a normal release of tension, emotion and sometimes fear.

Patient, by the way, left completely cured. Before leaving, patient asked him when how she would know if the crick was really cured. He replied, "Move your head from side to side if it still hurts after three days, come back." Sensible.

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