So, as I may have mentioned, I’ve been having a little trouble with my neck. On the one hand, it’s handy for sniping at the children. “STOP BEING A PAIN IN MY NECK!” I can grouse, pointing at my poor neck, ensuring their therapist can buy a boat as well as a summer home. Sadly, I have only availed myself of that option in my mind, because I fear to do otherwise would be poor parenting.
Also, who has time to say such things when the little darlings are busy scrubbing the floor with toothbrushes and need whipping?
But, yeah, it’s been kind of a drag. I don’t know what I did, either. I mean, yes, I have a pre-existing condition from having had whiplash years ago, but I was totally fine. And then I woke up one day in pain. Very weird.
And chiropractic care had helped once before, so I figured I’d do it again.
Now—as I mentioned yesterday—although dear Dr. Chirowitz helped my neck lo those many years ago, he did sort of creep me out. I stopped seeing him not because I was in tip-top health, but because as my neck improved, my tolerance for his weirdness dropped. So. But I’d been assured by multiple COMPLETELY SANE people that OTHER chiropractors are nice! And normal! And not creepy! So I figured that I would find a new one and it would be a similar experience, treatment-wise, although the new doctor would hopefully not make me feel like I had stumbled into a cult induction meeting.
After a DELIGHTFUL dance with my insurance company, and then a waltz with my primary care physician’s office to get a referral, I found myself, yesterday, at the office of a local chiropractor. I had high hopes.
Inside, I filled out some forms. And then I did some paperwork. And after that, there were just a few (hundred) things I needed to sign. And finally, I agreed to spin some straw into gold OR present my first-born as payment for the day’s visit.
After all of that, I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.
Eventually a doctor came out into the waiting room… and called someone else.
Finally I was called back and parked in a lovely little room with water sculptures and a big plush recliner and multiple bamboo plants and soothing music. The nurse (?) took my temperature and my blood pressure, and asked if I needed anything before the doctor came in. I didn’t answer, because I’d already fallen asleep in the recliner.
A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on the door. The door swung inward, and the chiropractor stepped into the room.
I looked up. And then I looked WAAYYYYYYYY up. The new chiropractor is approximately eight feet tall.
“Hi, Mir. I’m Dr. Paul Bunyan
(Well OF COURSE he is.)
We shook hands, and I couldn’t help noticing that Dr. Paul was wearing a really nice wristwatch. In fact, we’ve been looking for a nice wall clock for our family room, and his watch would be perfect. I’d just have to saw off the straps. (Seriously, I have NEVER SEEN such an enormous watch in my entire life. He must’ve special-ordered it from the Fancy Gigantic People catalog. This guy is HUGE and the watch covered the entire topside of his wrist.)
You’d think such a big person would be intimidating, but in fact he was fairly soft-spoken and very nice and—perhaps most importantly—very NORMAL-SEEMING, and notably lacking in the brainwashed earnestness of my previous chiropractor. Talking to Dr. Paul about my neck issues was sort of like just chatting with a friend. You know, if my friend was an eight foot tall linebacker and wearing a wall clock on his wrist.
He took a detailed history, and then ran me through a series of little tests, like checking to see if I could balance on one foot and such. I told him my Wii Fit asks me if I trip on my own feet a lot, and he assured me that my ability to stand there like a flamingo was actually pretty impressive. I stood up and sat down and bent this way and that, and finally Dr. Paul finished writing and said, “Well, I usually don’t do adjustments on the first visit. But I can see you’re really in a lot of discomfort, so, let’s see what we can do. I’ll see if I can’t do a couple little things here.”
Let’s pause here and review my previous chiropractic experience: Dr. Chirowitz adjusts via instrument, and I had told Dr. Paul about that. He’d nodded and said that he’s also trained to adjust that way, but that that method is generally something he only uses on the old and infirm, who might find a traditional adjustment too uncomfortable. “I can feel what I’m doing a lot better if I adjust through hands-on spine manipulation,” he explained. “Is that okay with you? I can use the instrument if you’d rather, but I do prefer not to.”
“Oh, that’s fine,” I said, waving my hand. “Do whatever’s going to work best.”
I lay down on the table and Dr. Paul checked this and that. My right leg is longer than my left, he explained, because one of my hip joints was too tight. So he artfully arranged one leg across this way, and my arms angled up just so, and he stood beside the table, bracing my extended leg, and then he leaned down over my hip and *pop*, something broke.
Well, no. Nothing broke. It felt kinda neat, actually. Not unlike what I can do on my own during yoga. Just a little *pop*, after all.
Dr. Paul rechecked my legs, after that. Same length! Success!
Then he felt along my spine, and noted that it felt like “something was going on” in the middle of my back. I admitted that it was sort of tight in there, as well. “I think I can fix that,” he said, very matter-of-factly.
He had me turn over onto my back, then cross my arms on my chest, and he sort of rolled me to the side and I thought he was going to drop me on the floor, but he assured me that he wasn’t, and he slipped a hand under my middle back and then laid me flat again. I followed his instructions to curl upwards with my chin on my chest, and then he told me to exhale as I relaxed back down.
I can’t tell you for sure what he did while I was exhaling and lowering my head, because it was kind of a blur, but he sort of went all Jackie Chan above my crossed arms and just before my head landed back on the table, my back went poppopPOPPOP!.
For a moment I lay there, stunned, wondering if I was paralyzed for life.
And then, a moment later, I realized I was okay. And that’s when it happened.
I started laughing. Not, like, “Oh, heehee, that was funny,” sort of laughing. More like hysterical braying. More like “OH MY GOD PAUL BUNYAN IS GOING TO SNAP ME IN HALF BUT I SORT OF LIKE IT BUT THE ABSURDITY IS TAXING MY BRAIN” sort of laughing. I laughed and laughed and laughed and put my hands over my face because I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING.
Dr. Paul regarded me with mild amusement. “Sometimes people laugh,” he offered, no doubt trying to make me feel better.
“Oh GOOD!” I sputtered, inbetween giggles, “THAT’S GOOD TO KNOW!” And I kept laughing. Dr. Paul waited a few seconds. As my giggles tapered off to snorts, he asked if I was ready for another one. I said “Sure!” and resumed giggling.
He arranged me, again, by rolling me sideways, placing one hand under my spine (higher, though, this time), and having me cross my arms on my chest. This time when I exhaled and lowered my head I was ready for the *CRUNCH* of pressure and the resultant pops, and so I didn’t become hysterical again.
(Dude. TOTAL LIE. I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. I was horrified and yet I COULD NOT STOP.)
Dr. Paul then repositioned himself at the head of the table and took my head in his giant hands. “Just relax,” he told me. “Relax into my hand as if it were a pillow.” I was finding that sort of hard to do, though, because my pillow is a lot smaller than Dr. Paul’s hand.
With his other hand, and with the fingertips of the hand cradling my skull, he felt along my neck for a bit, and he probably said a few things, and then he turned my head a little and said, “Okay, now, I want you to wiggle your toes.”
And I complied, thinking: “Huh, that’s weird, why am I wiggling my t—”
While I had been pondering my toes, Dr. Paul had removed my head from my neck. Rather, it certainly felt that way. I reacted as anyone would, in such a situation. I burst out laughing. Again.
Only this time, I felt the need to justify it. “OH MY GOD!” I sputtered. “You just! I mean! And it was LOUD! Holy hell that is LOUD INSIDE MY HEAD! The popping! And you just! AHHHHHH!”
He chuckled. “Yeah, I have you wiggle your toes so you won’t realize it’s coming,” he admitted.
“Well that’s just GREAT,” I replied, “except that now you can NEVER ADJUST MY NECK A—”
He did it again. Sonofabitch.
This time I laughed so hard I was on the verge of crying.
“Are you okay?” Dr. Paul finally asked.
“Yeah! Great! Never better!”
“Okay, well, we’re done for today. Drink plenty of water for the rest of the day—you’re likely to be kind of sore, and water will help with that.”
“Okay! Lots of water! Hey! You know what? That is all REALLY DIFFERENT than getting adjusted with the little pogo stick thingie!”
He chuckled again. “Was it okay, though? You feel alright?”
“Yes! It’s good! Fine! Though I do seem to sort of be shouting!”
I went home and drank a lot of water. Interestingly, my back was sore, but my neck was not. (This morning, my back is fine and my neck is sore again. But less sore than it’s been. Progress!)
I’m going back tomorrow. I’m going to try really hard not to cackle like a deranged mental patient, but I make no promises.