I don’t want to be assimilated

By Mir
January 9, 2006

I have been meaning to give an update on the further adventures with the chiroquactor, and other things kept getting in the way. Plus, I think I was a little bit embarrassed to admit that… well… hang on; I’m getting ahead of myself.

My neck is ALL BETTER. It moves everwhere it used to move, and it doesn’t hurt. Ditto for my shoulder. So it’s safe to say that the earnest little man with his sandals and dress socks and pogo stick in his pocket is on to SOMETHING. No, I don’t think I would’ve improved on my own, as I waited quite a while after the accident to see him, in the first place. The treatment is making me better.

I still think he’s… weird. Helpful, yes. Overly-earnest, absolutely. And the socks with sandals thing is unforgiveable. But did I mention how my neck is better?

Okay. Here it is. I took the kids to see him.

The chiroquactor had brought it up to me on my 3rd visit or so. Mentioned how kids bounce back so quickly, but still, you just never know what sort of spinal injury they might’ve suffered from such a traumatic crash. “If there was an impact hard enough to warrant stitches, chances are there’s some spinal trauma,” he said matter-of-factly as he worked around my left shoulderblade. “They really must be checked out, you know.” Oh, sure. Remind me about the stitches, otherwise known as “the trigger word for the greatest mother-guilt I’ve ever experienced.”

With my face firmly planted in the table, while he adjusted me somewhere around T3 to cap off this declaration of how the children MUST be seen, I muttered something about how they really seemed fine. Dr. Chirowitz chuckled and agreed with me that they probably SEEM fine. But kids rarely feel the kind of pain that adults do, and an accident like this can cause misalignments that cause problems down the road. Probably worth having them checked out! Just to be on the safe side! God you are the world’s lousiest parent, not wanting to bring them in right away!

He didn’t say that last line. Not out loud, anyway.

Again, I demurred as best I could, and by then the table was on its way back up, and I beat a hasty retreat.

At my next appointment, the secretary started in on me as soon as I walked in. “Mir, HI!” she chirped. “Dr. Chirowitz wanted to be sure that we get your kids scheduled! Let me have a look on the computer here and see when we have available!”

Now I was miffed. I was not going to be strong-armed into this. I stated, rather too loudly, that I had not agreed to bringing in the kids and I didn’t think that at this point it was going to be necessary. Thank you, anyway.

The secretary looked crestfallen. It was as if I’d just told her that her butt looked REALLY big in those pants. Or that there was no God. Or that if God did exist, he would totally make fun of her butt in those pants. It was pitiful. And I felt terrible. Or like maybe I was going to laugh, very soon, at the absurdity of this, if she didn’t say something to break the awkward silence.

“Well,” she said, shuffling some papers on her desk, “you know the initial consultation for them would be FREE. Just to look them over. For their HEALTH.” I nodded, and smiled, and tried to think of an appropriate response.

“Yes, well,” I managed, “that sounds… great. But, um, I think we’re all set for now. Thanks.” I smiled again. Sometimes I try to distract people with my freakishly large teeth.

“Oh, you know,” she countered, peering at the computer screen again, “you already have an appointment next week and school’s out… won’t you have the kids with you, anyway?” My smile faltered. She grinned triumphantly. I was backed into a corner.

“Okay, I’ll bring them in then,” I agreed. I half-expected her to clap with glee. She settled for prattling on about how it would turn out to be the best parenting decision I’d ever made, blah blah blah.

I discussed it with my ex, who was skeptical, and I pointed out that 1) it was free and 2) I was not going to sign the kids up for months of treatment or anything. I promised to report back on the findings and we’d discuss where to go from there.

Well, the day of the evaluation came and the kids thought this was just splendid. It became apparent to me in the first 30 seconds of the chiroquactor’s interaction with my children why that earnest manner had seemed so familiar to me–he’s a lot like an overly intellectual 7-year-old. Both kids adored him instantly, and giggled as he called Monkey Chickadee and called Chickadee Monkey.

I watched as he put them through the same sort of “turn this way,” “bend that way” sort of evaluation that I’d been through. Monkey appeared to be fine, and the doctor said so. Chickadee had some limited mobility in her neck. The chiro suggested that she might need 3 or 4 treatments to resolve her issues. It seemed reasonable to me; had he declared Monkey all out of whack or talked about seeing them for months of treatment, I would’ve refused. But just a few adjustments. Okay. We moved into a treatment room and the kids watched me get my adjustment, then each had a turn. Monkey only had 1 spot done (“we’ll just recheck that next week,” said the doc) and Chickadee ended up having almost as many spots CH-CHKed as I usually do. I made another appointment for them to come back the following week. Easy.

When I filled in my ex on how it had gone, he was still skeptical. This time I pointed out that I was already feeling better, that I had seen for myself the ways in which Chickadee’s alignment was clearly off (I don’t know if all chiropractors do this, but he continually draws up the lower legs by bending the knees, and comparing the evenness of the feet when he does so–after each spot adjustment, the previous unevenness would level out), and that the treatments were covered by insurance. He agreed to let me take them back.

I was actually feeling better about my decision to take them, after that appointment. It’s not weird, I told myself. It’s fine! It’s helping me, it’ll help them! No problems!

Well, at the second appointment, I checked us in as usual and was filling out the sheets where you detail your current pain/issues, and the children were creating sonic booms by tapping on the fish tank and scaring the crap out of the fish, and suddenly the secretary was coming at us with a Polaroid.

“Guess what, guys!” she said with a tone of voice normally reserved by most people for an announcement such as an imminent trip to Disneyworld, “Today I get to TAKE YOUR PICTURES!”

“YAY!” screeched my offspring, immediately turning to her and putting on their biggest cheesy grins.

“Uh,” I managed, as the clipboard I’d been working on clattered to the floor while my arms shot out to catch a child in each hand, “Wait. What? No. Pictures? Why?” I’m so eloquent when I’m stunned, dontcha agree? The children sagged in my grip, and the secretary–oh, the poor secretary, who just doesn’t understand why I am such a killjoy–faltered.

“It’s for the WALL!” she said, pointing. The wall contained Polaroids of other victims, er, patients, underneath a banner that read WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY. What a nice idea. For a preschool. A little creepy at a doctor’s office, in my opinion, but whatever. “We just LOVE to have family shots for THE WALL,” she explained.

“Yeeeaaaaaah…” I had to think quickly, “um, no. I would have to discuss that with their father.” Well, that was sort of true. And probably more polite than blurting out that the idea of having my children’s picture up on the wall there just sort of squicked me out. The kids started in with the “AWWW”ing and I tightened my resolve. “Yup, sorry, I can’t agree to that today. You know how it is!”

Clearly she did NOT know how it is. Clearly I had crushed her joy one too many times, and all of the sunshine had gone out of her happy little life. And then a little lightbulb went off over her head. I could see it; it was a 7 volt bulb like nightlights take. Again her sunny smile took over her face and she said, “Well I can take YOUR picture for the wall, at least.” She was sure she had me trumped.

I couldn’t help it. I laughed. So did the kids, actually. And the poor dear, she looked confused. “Sorry,” I said, “I hate to have my picture taken. Not gonna happen.” That one was, at least, 100% true. I went back to the clipboard and realized she was still standing there, all dejected-like. I sighed. “I’m not wearing any make-up and my hair’s a mess. I’m not going to let you take my picture. Nothing personal.” She slunk back behind her desk.

Doubtless she now believes I murder kittens for sport.

Whatever. We had our appointments. Today we went for the third time, and Chickadee is much improved. One more check and she should be done. As for me, I think I’m about a week away from saying “Hey, all fixed now, thanks!” Because it’s confusing, this. It helps, and progress is being made, but I just cannot escape the feeling that if I’m not careful, there, I’ll be whisked away into the cult of chiro. I hear they worship a gigantic spine upon which is written all of the secrets of the universe. Somewhere around C4 is “buy more sandals.”

He had a new pair, today. You’d think a single pair of sandals for wear with your suits would be sufficient, but you’d be wrong, apparently. See, I think FIRST they put your picture on the wall, and then they start telling you that the path to greater health is better walked in a pair of Tevas.

And then? Then the electroshock therapy begins. And the plans to blow up the doctors with the good drugs. Hell, I don’t know. I just know that as happy as I am to be feeling better, I’m still just a little scared.


  1. Jen-Again

    Have to say, the Chiro did wonders for my migraines. I stopped after the sessions got all of my kinks out and fixed my daily headaches, then found that about 8 weeks later they came back. What works for me is to come back every 4-6 weeks for an adjustment- that seems to keep everything in place.

    However, since your problems started with trauma, and not just mis-alignment of the muscles, maybe you won’t ever have to go back. Just wanted to throw in a voice for maybe not keeping the weekly appts, but if your pains/aches come back maybe going for bi-monthly tune-ups.

  2. buffi

    Yes, well, you photo-phobic weirdo…just so you know, we like for TEVA to be in all caps. It’s a sign of respect, really.

    *some people*

  3. Cele

    Mir, I swear you could turn teeth pulling into a humorous event. I must say the picture taking…is way too weird for me…and the sandles…well shivers.

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  4. danelle

    My daughter has been looking for an admin job and we saw one for a Chiropractor’s secretary. I thought it was odd that the desired characteristics were “organized, reliable, personable and aggressive.” I thought the word aggressive was weird in there, but now I can totally see why. I’ve never been to a chiropractor, and I think I’m glad.

  5. Zee

    You said: “I don’t know if all chiropractors do this, but he continually draws up the lower legs by bending the knees, and comparing the evenness of the feet when he does so…”

    Every chiroquackter (*love* that) I’ve ever been to (uh, 4 of ’em now…) does that. They teach it in chiroquacktic school. (HHAHAH!) OK, sorry. I think they might actually teach the sandal-and-sock thing too, because the first chiro I went to worse his sandals that way. And yes, WITH a suit.

    Anyway – they all are a little bit loopy, but I happen to think the “science” behind chiropractic is fairly sound. I’ve always been helped by chiropractic, especially for headaches. Still, I draw the line at taking my dog to a chiroquackter and I know there are people who do that.

  6. Sheryl

    Glad you’re feeling better, just don’t drink from the water fountain when you visit, it may be drugged.

  7. Shari

    Argh!! Chiropractors are gifts from GOD! The good ones, of course. Mir, if you have found a good chiro, you have been blessed. BLESSED.

    When I was 9, I was so badly pigeon-toed that I would trip myself when I ran. My left foot pointed in almost entirely. I was only 9, but my knee already felt the strain and one day I woke up with a sore hip. My Mom, bless her exploring and inquisitive mind, took me to a chiro. This was back in the early 80s, in rural Canada, so I can’t even imagine where she would have heard about it.

    It took nine months, but my FOOT TURNED BACK OUT. All the way. Both feet straight as pins. Pain gone. Athletic ability increased. LOL

    Fast forward to high school. I awake with a wrenching pain going down my back. NO mobility in my neck. In tears over the pain. We found a chiro (living in a city by then) and after a few days, right as rain. Turned out my neck had completely lost its curve due to the way I wrote. Took a few months to get it back.

    I am now in my thirties and very rarely have trouble with my neck/shoulders. I go fairly regularly, and my foot never turned back in again. But my Dad’s left foot? Still turns in. And he refuses to see a chiro.

    Sorry for the overly enthusiastic testimonial but chiropractors (the good ones) really are a gift from God!

    Oh, and Danelle… aggressive? You bet. Because it’s so easy for us to think “Well, I don’t HURT anymore, so I’m OK.” When in fact, the healing has not completed. It’s like antibiotics. Doctors were not aggressive about FINISHING your course of antibiotics and look what happened!

    Just my .02 ~_^

  8. MoMMY

    Happy De-Lurking Week!

    Just thought I’d de-lurk and say hello.

    Chiros make me a little nervous. Never been to one. Not to say I never will though. Glad you are feeling better.

  9. Laurie

    Just wanted to throw in my two cents about dog chiropractors… I worked at a vet hospital where the two vets mixed traditional medicine with chiropractic and acupuncture. They would suggest traditional pain meds first, and if that didn’t work or the side effects were too bad, they would start adjustments or acupuncture treatments.
    I saw dogs being carried in for treatment, then WALKING out of the office on their own. It didn’t work that well for all of them, but it made an improvement on most.

  10. Kris

    See, you’ve been to enough visits now to support his buying another pair of sandals. That is akin to us needing so many scripts for our asthma (because there are three of us) that we’re putting our pharmacist’s kids through college. College. Sandals. What’s really the diff? *snork*

    I have metal in my back. There ain’t no way a chiro is touching me. Once you start cracking stuff, you have to keep it up. Much like dying your hair. Once you do it, you have to keep doing it or you have to deal with that painful “growing it out” phase where, the people who told you not to dye it in the first place start to say, “I told you so”

  11. Amy-GO

    The whole thing squicks me out. But I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  12. Chris

    My chiro comes to my house and I’d be willing to bet has never worn sandals in his life. He isn’t a “crack and kill” guy and belives chiro is just *part* of a healthy medical plan. And I second the dog thing, I have a circus dog that likes to jump up and walk on things he shouldn’t which has resulted in more than one fall- and adjustments to put everything back in place.
    Bottom line, it can be helpful if you get the right dr.

  13. Melanie Lynne Hauser

    Oh, I totally feel for you – for some reason, I get really itchy about some medical practices, suspicious about stuff that in another place of business I wouldn’t. I have no idea why. And there’s a woman at my son’s orthodontist who sounds like the receptionist in your blog – OMG, she’s just too perky and happy. She just has to be on some kind of wonderful drug, to be that damn happy about orthodontia.

  14. Theresa

    I’ve heard the same thing…that once you start feeling better, they still try to get you to come in, and for everything, from nose bleeds to hang nails.

  15. Jenn

    That is exactly how I feel about my chiroquactor, I feel like I’ll be wearing referring all my friends and going “but it’s for your HEALTH, don’t you want to be HEALTHY? Don’t we all want to be HEALTHY?”

  16. Fraulein N

    I know he’s done ya a lot of good, but … your chiroquactor’s office creeps me out, just a little bit.

  17. ben

    That sounds almost like the beginning of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, where the next week you would be shown into a DIFFERENT room for your ‘adjustment’ and then never be seen again (at least, not without special glasses)

  18. Latte Man

    It would seem Jenn-Again and Shari are prime examples of what happens once you fall under a chiroquators “spell”.

    “No, of course you don’t need to continue to go FOREVER… just come back in for adjustments twice a week” ;)

    “He didn’t say that last line. Not out loud, anyway.”

    He didn’t have to, he knew how to play you, and he did so like a fine violin.

    I must admit, Your ex is a far more trusting man than I, who would have gone completely ballistic at the though of my child being “adjusted”. There is just no way that is going to happen.

    And not to be a smart-aleck here, but of course he didn’t suggest that the kids needed long term treatment, he already knew of your reluctance, so he is going to work it in slowly. Nothing wrong with Monkey? Then what is there to “check” next time? To find a “little something” that can be taken care of, “in just a couple of appointments.” Bah.

    The “picture wall” to me has always been far too much like a Cult Recuiting Technique. “How could it be wrong, look at all our happy members” (that we have sucessfully brainwashed).

  19. The Other Leanne

    I’m pretty sure the picture wall of the “family” violates some patient privacy laws. Why don’t they also include a short bio, history of your problem and treatment, and phone number in the display?

  20. Sabrina

    Wow. Took me forever to read all that (kid interuptions) but what an ordeal. I would be really uncomfortable about the kid pics too.

  21. ben

    Next time, take YOUR camera and insist on taking THEIR picture.

    “It’s for the INTERNET!” you can shout at them, with a maniacal cackle….

  22. Carolyn R.

    Happy Delurking week! I have been reading you for awhile and I love how you express yourself. My kids can be as funny but I sure can’t say it so others would even WANT to read it. On the chiropracter note – The New York Times did an article on the efficacy of chiropractic vs. physical therapy vs. accupuncture. Chiropractic helped patients recover about 40 – 50 % of the time – about as much as physical therapy. Accupuncture was less. Spinal manipulation has been around since the first painful back. You’ll be fine. And so will the kids. And no, I’m not a chiropracter – I use one every blue moon when I or a member of my family needs one – like a specialist. Good luck – and Great Blog. I’m going back to lurking now.

  23. pink

    delurking to say that i enjoy your site and your sense of humor!

  24. julie

    I, too, was helped by a chiroquactor. He had family pics in his office in a big photo album on the coffee table in the waiting room. The album included pictures of weeks old babies who “needed adjustments due to the trauma of being born”…

  25. Jenn

    Ooh, what Julie said reminded me, our chiroquactor has a picture of him adjusting his newborn daughter. I just thought “ooookay then.”

  26. Marti

    Glad you are seeing improvement!

  27. SheilaC

    Be afraid, be very afraid… These people sound creepy, and also way too pushy with their sales pitch. Next they’ll be asking you to bring in your ex too. Ya think they have quotas for how many new patients each month?

    I would never allow a chiroquacktor to work on my neck and especially not on my kids. A family I know from church lost their beloved daughter from a “rare” chiropractic incident. She was getting neck manipulations done for pain after a car accident. Something caused a blood clot, and then the next time she went in the blood clot broke free and went to her brain. She collapsed at the chiro’s office, and died three days later of a massive stroke. (Her name was Laurie Mathiason, and if you Google her you can find news stories about her death in 1998.
    like this one http://www.canoe.ca/chiroYork/lana_lewis.html I know scary anecdotes don’t prove anything, but this one is personal enough for me to say “no way” to chiropractic.)

    Mathiason’s mother sued the chiro guy, and has been lobbying against chiropractors for several years now, trying to get their licensing regulations tightened up, and to raise public awareness of the risks of chiropractic neck manipulation. Scary stuff.

    Anyway I second Ben’s suggestion. Go take their pictures and post them here! Ha.

    Best wishes,

  28. Shiz

    Poor dear. I happen to have a great chiro that wears JEANS and is freaking hilarious. And she HAS convinced me that chiro is the way, but not all cult-like. Normal-like. It’s weird. I’m sure your doctor would squick me out.

    Here’s the thing: I went to see Dr. Awesome for depression when I was about to go into the hospital. And she helped me. A lot. And I’d been treated and treated and treated by doctors for 4 years. Suddenly I was feeling GREAT, even at my sucky job I could still have a wonderful day. Weird.

    It’s gone so far that, when I had a recent bout of bad tummyaches, my first thought was to see HER and not my GP. Because she knows what she’s doing. And I had overextended my what’s-it at the very bottom of my spine which was causing cramping and build-up of acids and blah-blah-blah and I’d see her weekly for the rest of my life if only I could afford it.

    My personal recommendation? Find one that isn’t weird, one who is normal and human and who you LIKE (ask on Craigslist, even) and keep going in at least as often as you’d see a dentist (or as often as you SHOULD see a dentist, every 6 months). Because there’s something to it, and if you find one without the crazy picture wall and overly sensitive receptionist you’re all set.

    I go about once every 3-4 weeks. My Quacktor is my hero.

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