“Claus,” I said, “My shoulder hurts really bad.”
In May, the dull ache in my shoulder had gotten bad enough that I had to say something. It had hurt for a couple weeks and just when I’d think, “Aw, I’ll be alright,” I’d move it in some totally acceptable way and realize it was not getting better. Claus gave me a couple massages and that helped, but then he moved back to Germany and now what? I thought.
When I was working in Iowa, I saw my friend Julie, an orthopaedic surgeon. “Julie,” I said. “My shoulder hurts really bad.” She gave me some stretches to do and that helped, but then I went back to Chicago and now what? I thought.
Then a tiny section of my thumb went slightly numb. That was about a month back. Not numb exactly, but numb kind of. Then I woke up in the night from the ache. Then I realized when writing in my journal in the morning that my hand was not quite as strong as I remembered it being. Then, the last straw: the terrible ache extended to my upper arm and I woke up three times in the night from the pain. It’s hard for me to find a good position in bed at night. Okay. I call. It’s time.
Instead of taking the bus up to the hospital where I get all my glamorous medical care, I thought I’d try something else first. Because it’ll be my luck that I get an MRI and suddenly have surgery scheduled for next month. I’m good like that. I decided to get a first opinion and made an appointment at a chiropractor downtown. I’ve never seen a chiropractor before.
My step-dad swears by his; he’ll holler upstairs to me when I’m home at the house, “Mar! I’m headed to the chiro to get cracked! You need anything at the store, honey?” Mark’s back is considerably bigger than my shoulder and he gets good results, so why not.
It’s wild how divided people are about chiropractors. I wrote day before yesterday how I won’t comment on political issues on my blog; this includes my official position on chiropractic care. All I’ll say is that when I left, after stimulation nodes had been placed on my shoulder for 30 minutes, after the nice lady had made my spine do its best impression of Jiffy Pop, and after I opted-in for a 30 minute chiro-massage, my shoulder did feel better and I’m grateful. But I also emailed Julie; chiro or not, I’m going to get a third opinion. (The second opinion came from my neighbor; we were chatting in the elevator this morning and I told her about my shoulder. “Oh, just get a cortisone shot,” she said. “You’ll be fine.” Janine is a real estate agent and has nine earrings in her left ear.)
I took a picture of the chiro’s computer screen when she left the examination room. That’s my shoulder/neck x-ray. Isn’t it amazing? I’ve had a string of a few bad days this week and it was strange: when I saw my straight spine and that there wasn’t broken glass in my shoulder, I felt better. When you’re stressed about this or that, when you walk around with chronic pain and dread that it’s worse than you think, think on this: the back of your skull is lovely.