Mrs Hora and Jose recently decided that the store Dr China in Hounslow’s ‘Treaty Centre’ would potentially be the perfect treat for me, or perhaps that should be perfect treatment for my depression.
I believe in God, I go to church most weeks, I have my beliefs, loads of them: Ipswich are better than Norwich, Spearmint are the best band in the world, the best films come out of France, being a board-game collector doesn’t mean you have to play everything in your collection, ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’, all of those and more. As I have become educated about my illness, and have researched it more and more, I have realised how little is certain. Prescribed medication is a huge game of trial and error and I don’t think you will ever discover the optimum meds. For starters, what state of mind are you willing to accept?
That non-depressives do not comprehend the illness is all too obvious - sorry for the sweeping generalisation. Had the situation been different I would definitely found it difficult to empathise sufficiently with sufferers. My expectations of others are therefore laid back. I have lost some friends, and gained some new ones. That would have happened anyway I guess.
It’s much more complex with the family though. They have to live with you, in a changed state, and almost six years on from my ‘episode’, I’m not convinced they believe I will remain unwell for the foreseeable future. My belief is that they expect me to wake up one morning and be fine again, whatever that might mean. It’s tough to dent their hopes.
But. Dr China. Seriously?
In we go and Mrs Hora relates some facts about my illness. The two Chinese ladies ask all the usual questions and I answer them. They decide that fixing my depression is the first course of action. Then we can deal with my obesity. Like all good sales staff they mention the 20% discounts available and start with the most expensive treatments. Acupuncture. Mrs Hora’s father stopped smoking after acupuncture. He was much more malleable to different cures than I will ever be. My cynicism and sarcasm are raring to explode inside the shop.
Apparently, I will need a course of twelve acupuncture sessions, twice or once weekly depending on which of the two ladies answer my wife’s question. The cost is huge in my opinion. Imagine the amount of food and alcohol that would buy. Imagine how many new CDs I could get, DVDs, etc. And that materialism becomes lodged inside my already tormented brain. Off it goes again..
For today I have a session of Acu-massage provided for me. I am laid on a typical doctor’s bed facing the wall. My feet and back are the areas that take the grinding, the poking, the bruising performance of my host. More questions come thick and fast, more thick the cynical me decides.
‘Are your ankles swollen?’ I’ve just told her I weigh twenty-three stones, every single bit of me is swollen - barring that special little place, naturellement. Talking French reminds me that the closer to my shoulders she works the stronger the eau de garlic is. And despite me lying there as still as I can, with my eyes closed in resigned relaxed mode, she’s suddenly got her breasts in my face. I dare not open my eyes and the natural stirrings one might expect do not follow. Since taking the medication I am an asexual being; can you imagine?
Never mind. Losing track of time, or being mind-numbed maybe, the session eventually ends. Returned to the shop front and the largest chairs I’ve sat in we complete a form while lady number two puts together a concoction of twelve different parcels of dust that I must consume twice daily ahead of next Thursday’s first acupuncture therapy. No details provided about the contents but at a further £39 - less the 20% discount - it’s going to taste supreme, I know it!