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February 23rd, 2006

Ngoh ge yi saang*

*=My doctor

I'm currently seeing a traditional Chinese doctor in hopes of solving the sinus problems that have waylaid me for the last twenty years. I'm normally the world's biggest skeptic on anything that smacks of the holistic or metaphysical, but doggone if this isn't working (and believe me, I've tried every western medicine solution in the world, including about two dozen different drugs and one utterly pointless surgery). Besides, visiting Dr. Tsai at the T.S. Emporium in Monterey Park is fun! After I meet with him, he writes my prescription, which is a mix of powdered herbs; I then take the prescription across the large room to the pharmacist, and it takes about fifteen minutes to mix my herbs. In the meantime, I get to study some of the interesting things being offered behind the pharmacists counter. Here are my faves:

- Dried sea horses
- A foot-wide black mushroom cap called ling zhi
- Deglued antler powder
- Asses's [sic] glue (made from donkey-hide extract)
- 3-foot tall, 4-inch wide chunks of cinnamon
- Pseudoginseng (this is in addition to dozens of varieties of real ginseng, of course)

Some of the herbs are roasted or baked while you wait, filling the place with fabulous smells. After I picked up my prescription and was standing in line to check out, the man in front of me bought over $630 worth of herbs.

And I haven't had one of my excruciating sinus headaches in two weeks, which is a record for me. I'm a believer...

...and trying to figure out how to use all of this in a story!