A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my back/left leg pain and my first visit to massage therapy. I did so with an eye toward humour.
I’m not laughing anymore.
I’ve now been in real pain the entire month of May. After two treatments with massage, the therapist suggested I go back to my family doctor (who had told me to go to the massage therapist). Last Friday morning, I finally arrived at my wit’s end (little did I know it would get worse) and called to make an appointment to go see a physician. That afternoon, I went in and was told to, “Take ibuprofen and go see a physiotherapist.”
Translation: Take a pill.
Now, this is a family blog. So I will not tell you in plain words what my opinion is of that diagnosis. After all, it’s the same bloody diagnosis you get for everything.
Take a pill.
To be fair, there was the physiotherapy thing. I’ve done that too. They gave me exercises. They gave me ultrasound treatment on my sore back. And guess what? I did what they told me, religiously, for a long time. I never got any better. And at that, my current pain is so bad that I can’t manage a stretch or any sort of an exercise anyway, so what’d be the point?
Still, I asked the doctor, “What do you expect a physiotherapist to do?”
He said, “Well, they may be able to manipulate your spine and if it’s a slipped disc or something, they might be able to pop it back into place.”
I said, “Moving bones around? So you mean a chiropractor.”
“Oh no,” he recoiled. “No, no.”
Friends, here’s some free advice. Wanna know how you can tell when you’ve found the truth? Look for the people squirming. It never fails. When I mentioned “chiropractor” I may as well have yelled “SHARK!!!” I knew right then I’d probably be going to see Alan from Two and Half Men before long.
I left the doctor’s office entirely unsatisfied, popped my ibuprofen and went off to the race track for my night’s work there.
An aside: Try to remember that I live a pretty active life. Or at least I try to. Squash, golf, push-ups, street hockey, stretches; it’s not like I never move around. I’ve been eating better, quit my radio (part-time) radio job to have more room to breathe, have kept up regular visits to the gym for over four years and still have ended up here. Frustrating.
I somehow muddled through the weekend but it wasn’t much fun. And then Monday morning arrived and I knew I was in serious trouble. I talked to a good friend of mine in Toronto who specializes in wellness and works with some physiotherapists in his clinic. He told me I was welcome to come to Toronto for an assessment. Much as I love him, I needed help that very day and I wasn’t feeling up to a two-hour drive. I asked him his thoughts on chiropractors. His answer was, “Brother, it all depends on the chiropractor; what kind of person they are, how they feel about their patients, all of that.”
My two business partners, along with one of my good friends and co-workers, have sworn by chiropractic since I’ve known them. I’ve never begrudged their feelings, but I’d never been particularly interested either. Until Monday.
I called the chiro that treats my business buddies and she welcomed me in that day.
Let me tell you: that was an experience.
After the first “adjustment” I began laughing uncontrollably. I felt like I was in the middle of sitcom. I could only think of Seinfeld, and Kramer getting set to jerk Elaine’s head while saying “From pain will come pleasure” and then you hear that cartoonish crrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaccccckkkkk sound. Well I heard that sound coming from my own body and it struck me funny.
Also, I was a little scared. But I tried to roll with it. And I did, until she turned me on my right side (thereby exposing my sore left butt cheek) and said, “Now, this is going to hurt.”
Coolly, I replied, “It already hurts, so go ahead and ARROOOOWWWHHOOGHHAHHHAGGAA!!!!!!!!!!!”
As she dug her elbow fiercely into the sorest part of my body, she cooed, “Deep breaths.”
And so it went.
And it got worse.
I was back for my second “adjustment” yesterday (Wednesday) and actually felt pretty good afterward. I foolishly thought I’d turned the corner. In fact, I vividly remember waking at 2:00 a.m. and thinking, “Hey – my leg doesn’t hurt at all! This is bliss!” And I happily went back to sleep. Never mind that I awoke every hour on the hour from that point with pain and discomfort. I still felt I was making progress.
Then I woke for the day and tried to get out of bed. I put my left leg on the floor and cried out in such a way that I believe I scared the daylights out Tracey. I could not walk. She looked over me with pain in her eyes and pleaded, “What can I do for you?”
I asked, “Please bring me TWIKI (my phone) and my ice pack.” She did. I used TWIKI to let my business partner know I was an “if” for our 9:30 a.m. meeting and I used the ice to ease the pain in my leg. And then I started doing mental gymnastics.
‘Don’t panic’ I said to myself. ‘Don’t get frustrated. Be patient. Give it time. Listen to your body.’
Listen to my body. I’m about ready to hang the damn thing for treason, except that that’d ruin a lot of my other plans!
But I digress.
I pumped some ibuprofen into me and waited. After a while, I was able to hobble to the washroom for a shower. No shaving today (I hacked my face up pretty good the other day because I could hardly stand over the sink. I was putting cream on my neck afterward and found my hands covered in blood. It took me two band aids to stop the bleeding).
I made the meeting. I was exhausted after the fact, but I was there.
And so here I sit, speaking with you and knowing that I need to somehow make my way through working at two racing events in the next two days (quick aside: someone at a related business asked me for something early today because they were “in long weekend mode.” Sheesh. Must be nice. We don’t have those here in the real world where if you don’t do the work, you don’t get paid and the government doesn’t do a damn thing to help you along the way. But I digress again).
And, oh yeah: I’m supposed to release a CD three weeks from Saturday. I can’t even play my acoustic right now because I can’t even sit in the position I need to and hold guitar, let alone sing. I’ve got artwork to finish and print, CD cases to buy, the songs to master and send off to duplicate, merchandise designs to approve and print and rehearsals to do. It’s hard to believe that I actually have been working at this for a year, wanting this. And now my body has abandoned me.
But here’s the thing: When the time comes, I will be ready. I’m not sure how, but I will be ready. You watch.
See you on June 12th.