Alt title: You Think Your Back Hurts Now?
My back hurt. The muscles in the middle of the left side of my back were sore, and would act up every time I moved.
It started when I was sick. I was trying to sleep in an upright position so that it would be easier to breathe. Somehow, this messed up my back, and it’s been hurting every since.
My self-diagnosing cure of 'ignore it and it will go away' didn't seem to be working.
I was afraid to go to the chiropractor. I was afraid he’d hurt me. Or worse, that I would become addicted to the treatment, and not feel good ever again unless I went regularly.
But I couldn’t take it any longer, so I made an appointment with Dr. Ron.
(NOTE: Dr. Ron does not go by a last name. Even his business card says “Dr. Ron” on it.)
Now I’ve known Dr. Ron by name for many years, as he treats everyone in my husband’s family for multiple ailments.
Fall and hurt your leg? Go see Dr. Ron.
Stiff neck? Go see Dr. Ron.
Weird rash on your arm? Go see Dr. Ron.
Not only did Dr. Ron carry a medical degree, he also made his own wine. Many of our donated empty wine bottles would show up at our holidays or dinners, sans labels, filled with Dr. Ron’s homemade vino.
(If you loved a super-grape flavor and sediment, this was the wine for you!)
So even though he and I had never met, he was no stranger to me. And, come to find out, he knew a lot about me, too.
I make an appointment for the following night. Traffic is on my side and I arrive on time. Not surprisingly, I’m the only patient in the office at 6:30pm.
Dr. Ron is sitting behind the desk when I walk in. He hands me a clip board and I start filling out the 17 pages of paperwork.
Before coming here my mother-in-law warned me about Dr. Ron.
MIL: “He's a really nice guy, but he’s a talker. He LOVES to talk. He’ll talk your ear off. But he also talks to other people. So don’t tell him anything you don’t want everybody else to know.”
A big mouth is an odd trait for a doctor to have.
So as I’m filling out the forms and answering questions and revealing all of my medical secrets, I wonder if Dr. Ron will tell people about my allergy to raw fruit or my abdominal surgery.
The Doctor in on the short side and built like a linebacker. He catches me eyeing up his big, meaty hands.
DR: “You ever been to a chiropractor before?”
ME: “Nope. You’re my first.”
DR: "You have nothing to worry about.” Said the wolf to Little Red Riding Hood.
ME: “I’m not going to become addicted to your therapy and need to see you every other day, am I?”
DR: “I don’t know why people think that. I’m going to make you feel better.”
We’ll see about that.
DR: "I hear you're a good cook. You made soup and put it in the gourds. And you lived in Boston. Do you miss Boston? Are you a Red Sox fan? I can't stand the Red Sox. But you go to lots of games. With your friends. And you have a long commute to work, right?"
After 20 minutes of Dr. Ron recapping my life and best characteristics back to me (proving that's he's not the only one with a big mouth), he takes me back to a room.
A strange woman appeared in the doorway.
SW: “Hi. I’m Sheila. I live upstairs and sometimes help the doctor out.”
Hey, I don’t care.
ME: “Oh, hi. Nice to meet you.”
SW: “I like your shoes! They are so nice!” (I look down at my black BCBG stiletto boots) “NO WONDER why you have back pain!” Sheila laughs at her own joke.
ME (slightly annoyed): “Yeah, they aren’t the reason for my back ache.”
Sheila leaves and Dr. Ron comes in. We spend another 10 minutes going over my forms. I’m afraid to answer any additional questions fearing my responses will show up in the Town Journal.
FINALLY, after being there for almost 40 minutes, we get down to business. I put on the little gown and Dr. Ron starts poking and prodding me in various places, from my neck to the base of my spine. After 27 rounds of “Does this hurt?” he finds the magic spot and I jump and squeal in pain.
ME: “Right there. That’s it. You found it.”
He has me lay (lie?) face down on the little bed and sticks little nodules on my back.
DR: “I’m going to turn this machine on. You tell me when you can feel it, but you can still stand it. It shouldn’t hurt.”
He’s turning and turning. I still don’t feel anything.
DR: “How about now?”
ME: “A little more.”
DR: “Wow – you’re small, but you’re tough.”
In my head, I reply, ‘same goes for you!’ and we both crack up over my crazy-funny joke. In real life, I keep my mouth shut.
Dr. Ron puts a warm heating pad over my entire back and tells me he’ll be right back.
I never lay (lie?) on my stomach because it’s SO uncomfortable for me. Even at the beach I can’t stay on my stomach for more than 15 minutes without being in pain. I look around for something to put under my stomach and relieve my lower back, like a towel or even my shirt, but nothing is within reach.
I try and focus on something to forget about my new back pain. So I focus on the fact that my face is squished into the table. My cheeks and nose are pushed up like they’re pressed against a window. My eyes are watering, causing my mascara to run.
After what seems like an eternity Dr. Ron reappears. He removes the heating pad (now I’m freezing!) and nodules and gets to work on my back.
His meaty hands are kneading my skin and muscles like dough. I can barely stay still from the pain. He’s pressing so hard that I can hear my spine cracking. My ribs are flattened against the bed. He turns my head to one side and with one quick motion gives my neck a crack. Then he does the same thing on the other side.
One hour and forty five minutes after I walked through the door, I walked back out into the cold night.
I could barely move; it was a struggle to get my arms through the sleeves of my shirt.
DR: “You might be a little sore tonight. Might want to ice down your back. When do you want to come in again?"
No, wait, that's too soon.
DR: "Come see me in a few days. I’ll give you some wine.”
Got any in the back room now? I could use something to numb the pain.
I hang on for one more visit. That’s all I can handle.
After my second trip to Dr. Ron my back started hurting every time I sneezed, which was a new development.
But I can’t go back. It just hurts too much.
I’ll just suffer in silence.
(And by silence, I mean screaming “OW!” every time I move, breathe or blink.)