We have a record-setting heatwave going on as I write this essay, which will be months after this essay publishes, but, through the heatwave, I had to figure out the physicality behind making sure not to overheat myself. Getting into and out of my bathtub is an acrobatic exercise because of how tall the bathtub is, but if it’s that or overheating, I’ll pick dealing with the familiar pain of movement over unfamiliar heat exhaustion.
I feel like every doctor I’ve seen has played a game of hot potato with my health. Some doctors will hold onto the potato – me – for longer than others. This was the most outrageous between the number of sports medicine or spine doctors hot potatoing between pain management doctors, and some even going in a circle. If I’m being honest, it’s made the last week frustrating enough to where I didn’t want to keep trying.
Over the past few days, some of the neighbor kids have been screaming at the top of their lungs to celebrate the change in weather from cold and miserable to hot and miserable, and I’ve wondered – what would I do if I borrowed some of their energy? What if I had that amount of energy to scream and yell without consideration for anyone around me? I would use that borrowed energy to… get outta town.
More than a week after my last session with my chiropractor, he asked me how I was doing. I honestly haven’t been doing well, so, I told him, then I told everyone almost the same. I censored the names of guilty parties – the doctors that treated me, or I should better say, didn’t – but, otherwise, it was important for me to write that email. If that check-in wasn’t merely fee-hunting, it should be doing something.
I donated some old clothes today in a long-overdue errand. Each time I went to the chiropractor, I brought some bagged clothes, but toward the end of my visits, I wouldn’t be able to get groceries before going home, drop off anything, or even get my mail. I was so tired after my last appointment it took nearly a week to drive anywhere, but I was able to clear out my trunk for more donations.
During my final appointment with my chiropractor today, I told him that I am currently unable to do jumping jacks. Throughout our conversation about who to transfer my care to, navigating through transitioning insurance policies, I told him that I’m not really interested in doing jumping jacks. Sure, it’d be nice to do them, along with all the physical fitness that implies, but if I can’t – if I can only operate pain-free, I’d be happy.
I talked to my chiropractor today about how I experienced my tailbone dagger sensation. While we talked, I told him that I was OK with never going hiking again, and I don’t think I’ll ever do any sort of heavy lifting again. My days of being able to perform activities traditionally considered hyper-masculine like moving heavy shit, doing heavy labor, and other extreme physical activities are behind me. I’m not interested in all that, anyways.
I’ve made many significant physical improvements over the past week. A majority of that was the chiropractic work to decrease the inflammation around the muscles that had tightened so much that I could barely even walk. Now, I can walk around my apartment without a cane. I still use crutches to get out and around, but I can buy groceries all while using a cart, bring them home, and not feel terrible doing so. Success?
I had my two-week, six-appointment review at the chiropractor today, and as will happen invariably for chronic pain patients if you tell a doctor that you’re feeling less pain and increased mobility, they might accidentally forget the third part – “going too far will cause my body to snap back, like a rubber band” – and after I was done, my pain had increased, my mobility decreased, and my overall physicality snapped back some units of progress.
I’ve been to three chiropractic appointments out of the twenty that my insurance will cover per year, and, this route has made a substantial improvement on my health! Many of the muscles around my spine had become so tight that they were causing massive amounts of pain in my tailbone and sides. It was surprising it took from August 2020 to December 2020 to get to physical therapy, let alone chiropractcy in late April 2021, but, I’m here.