Whew! I made it to Beijing all safe and sound. The flight to Seattle was pretty good, with the exception of some really crabby passengers and a potential scrap over reclined seats and laptops! But the flight from Seattle to Beijing was full of activity…at least for some of us in our group.
First of all, I didn’t realize we were going to fly north and follow the coast of Alaska. That was really cool to see as I’ve never seen glaciers before. But shortly before approaching Anchorage, there was a male Chinese passenger who started having very acute lumbar pain.
Since I was sitting in the 40th row out of 41, I was privy to all the hustle and bustle in the rear flight attendant area of the plane. There was a doctor on board who checked the man over and thought he had a kidney stone. After about 15 minutes, I glanced over and noticed that one of my former Chinese acupuncture instructors, Tao Gong, was working on him along with a couple of other women. So naturally, I decide to go offer my services.
The man was sitting in an attendant seat and looked VERY uncomfortable. The women were doing Tuina (Chinese massage) on his legs. I asked Tao if she needed me to help, and of course she said yes because her hands were getting very tired. I continued Tao’s work and followed her instructions. At this point flight attendants were deciding to make an emergency landing in Anchorage for him, but about ten minutes after I got involved the man decided he was feeling well enough to not stop the plane and continue with the flight. We got him to lay down in a back row of seats (the only three empty seats on the plane) and I continued to work on him for about 45 more minutes. His pain went from a 10/10 on a pain scale to a 4/10, and he asked me to stop massaging him. (And BTW, none of us acupuncturists had any needles with us!) Then about 20 minutes later, Tao came to find me because the pain returned and the man wanted me to massage him again. For about three hours, a few of us alternated with him so he was continually treated.
To make a long story short, he was well enough to continue the flight and was even able to sleep a few hours. He was SO happy and appreciative for everything we did! And as it turns out, he’s a prominent professor at Peking University and offered to have us visit him this week on campus! Unfortunately our schedule won’t allow the time for this, but we exchanged information regardless.
It’s moments like this when I feel so fulfilled as an acupuncturist. :)
Below is a photo of our whole group in the Seattle airport. I’m going to hit the hay now as we have a busy day tomorrow of sight seeing! Good night!