I went to the chiropractor the other day. For the duration of this post, I will refer to him as “the doctor,” because I really hate typing out the word “chiropractor.” It’s a long and ugly word, and it doesn’t make sense. Oh, and while I’m discussing the problems I have with words: to express that you’re being fixed by a chiropractor, you would say “chiropractic.” I mention this only because no one I’ve talked to knows how to say it. The first instinct is to say something like “chiropracty.” That’s wrong. The chiropractor does not practice chiropracty—the chiropractor practices chiropractic. It seems weird to me. It just sounds wrong. As my princess put it, “It feels like there should be a word after it.” The chiropractor practices chiropractic…stuff. See?
So my shit’s still all messed up, and I have heard from several people that I should go to a chiropractor. I made an appointment, not knowing what to expect. The lady I spoke to told me I could go online and get the paperwork so I wouldn’t have to fill it out in the office. Most of it was the standard crap about health history, insurance stuff, and that kind of thing. Two things seemed weird to me. One, it asked for my driver’s license number. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this, but I couldn’t’ figure it out.
The other thing that struck me as odd was when I was reading the final paragraph. You know, the one that goes, “I swear the above information is factual to the best of my knowledge,” blah blah blah. And then I see a line, still within this last paragraph, that says, “I give them permission to use my photo.” What the hell?
As you may have noticed by reading some of the other Strangeland posts, I’m not all that concerned with my personal privacy. If you hadn’t noticed yet, you probably will by the time you finish reading this article (spoiler: I talk about my underwear here in a minute). But the thing is, I like to know when and where things about me are going to pop up, including my photo. Like, am I going to be the “before” picture? And there’s some thin, muscled, super-attractive guy as the “after?” It was really vague—all I know is, I had to give them permission to use my photo if I wanted help. I thought about it long and hard.
Does this mean these people can take pictures through my windows and post them on the internet? Or worse, yet, what about in the little room where they made me change into my humiliating little dress/gown thing? Did they take pictures with a hidden camera, and are there plans to blackmail me?
My back and leg were killing me, so I finally decided to sign and deal with the consequences later.
I’m neurotic when it comes to going to doctors. Eye doctor, allergy doctor, back doctor, it doesn’t matter. My sister used to laugh at me because before I went to get my eyes checked, I would spray myself with Febreeze, brush my teeth, and then chew a piece of gum. This was back when I smoked, of course, so there was good reason for all of this, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t give me shit about it. The thing is, I don’t want to be the skanky guy that shows up. Like, where I leave and they all gather around and go, “Oh my gosh! Did you smell him?”
“How could I not! It was like week-old shit coming out of a dead elephant. But on fire!”
I don’t want to be that guy. I’m already the fat guy who sweats too much and stutters. Too many more disgusting features to be remembered by, they’ll just call me the All Of The Above guy.
So I took a shower before I went to the back doctor. I shaved. None of this was a big deal. But then it came time to dress. The thing is, I didn’t know if I was going to be taking my pants off in front of strangers or not. You might not realize this, going about your day to day life, but the question of “who will see me without my pants today?” is a really important one. Do I go with the comfortable ones (aka the Scooby Doo ones with the torn elastic and the holes under the crotch), or do I go for style? I opted for good looks, and took out the dark blue boxer-briefs without any holes. They aren’t comfortable at all, I think because fat guys aren’t meant to wear boxer-briefs. Boxers or briefs, that’s what fat men get—you start mixing it up, you end up with a fat roll where your balls should be, and your balls up near your elbow somehow.
Also, there was the question of eating. My princess had made a delicious roast—seriously, man, her roast rocks all kinds of wicked ass—and I wanted to eat some. I had a plate out and everything. Then I remembered something. I’m going to tell you about it, even though it’s none of your business, and you probably don’t care to know. Roast beef gives me gas. I don’t know why. It just does. I’m generally very discreet about passing gas, choosing to hold it until I go to the bathroom, or maybe outside. Or, if I’m in a busy store, in the baby section, because at least then everyone just thinks a kid crapped their pants.
So I’m standing there, looking at this big pot of roast, and I suddenly realize that maybe this isn’t a good idea. Again: never been to a back doctor, but it seems like I’ve heard that they push and press you and stuff. I chose to pass on the roast, thank goodness.
I get to the doctor’s office a full thirty minutes early, because I’m also neurotic about time, and I’d rather arrive thirty minutes early than two minutes late.
I’ll spare you the details about the waiting room, and because I’m a hell of a guy, I’ll even spare you the details of the little room that they made me wait in after I’d waited in the waiting room.
One thing about that little room, though: While I was sitting in there, I was just thinking about things, and I realized that it’s probably a good idea that there’s so much documentation about our culture, because if it ever collapses, the archaeologists that dig our shit up would probably be really perplexed. Think about it—you find a big building with a lot of bones hanging in random places. Future archaeologists might have a hard time distinguishing between a doctor’s office and serial killer’s house. That little room I was sitting in, there was a spine just hanging there. I wasn’t sure if it was there for me to play with or just to psyche me out. I was tempted to put it down the back of my shirt, and then when the doctor came in and asked what was wrong, I’d just turn around and be like, “It came out, I think,” and he’d see the impression of the spine against my t-shirt, and he’d pee.
But then I realized that maybe that’s not how I wanted to start the relationship with a man who could probably paralyze me with any number of the weird tools on the cart by the hanging backbone.
He came in and asked me a few questions, and then he assaulted me for a while. I’m sure he was determining something, but it felt like he was just working out some aggression. He jabbed me in the back with his fingers, right where it hurt. “That hurt?”
“Yeah,” I grunted, because it hurt like hell.
He poked the other side. “That?”
Back to the pain center. “But that does?”
“Yeah.” I bit a hole in my lip. He jabbed me again.
“Yeah, man!” I would have cussed, but while waiting in the waiting room, I had noticed a Bible sitting there, and a “Jesus” woodcraft behind the counter. One chance to make a first impression, and all that.
He jabbed me again. “Yeah?”
“Yep.” I was waiting for him to go, “Say uncle! Say it!”
Instead, he told me his assistant would be in to give me some preliminary tests. She came in, and told me to do some things. Some of them I could do, others, I couldn’t. One thing that screwed with me was when she told me to take a couple of steps on my heels. I took a step on my left heel, and then went to take a step on my right heel and almost tipped over. Apparently, whatever’s wrong with my back, it makes it where I can’t walk around on my heels. The right one, anyway.
This is the kind of information that never would have bothered me until I realized it. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve walked around on my heels since I was a little kid, bored in the line at the grocery store. Since my doctor appointment, I’ve been obsessed with it. Seriously. Every couple of hours, I’ll give it a try. I’m completely amazed that although it’s something so simple, my body won’t obey. Because it’s a dastardly fat bastard, my body is, and it never gets tired of betraying me.
She gets done with my tests, which were all a little embarrassing, because I was so lousy at them: touching toes without bending legs, leaning down to the side and touching the floor, getting up from the bed unassisted—okay, that last one wasn’t true. But what is true is that that lousy piece of paper they put down to protect you from germs when you lay down? Stuck to my face when I sat up. Like I need more help looking like a jackass—seriously, world, can you just chill the fuck out?
Then it was time for the gown. She stepped out of the room. I should mention now that the assistant was an attractive woman. I’ve run this theory by pretty much all of my guy friends, and they all agree—the humiliation factor is multiplied by approximately ten in front of an attractive woman. You don’t have to have an interest in her or anything—but every stupid thing you do, it’s ten times more humiliating if there’s an attractive woman around to see it.
I looked at the gown. Three strips of Velcro running along the back, and it was weak-ass Velcro, too. I put the gown on, squeezed the bottom Velcro closed, and reached for the middle one. RRRIIIIP! That would be the bottom one coming undone because I had to reach for the middle one. I should mention now that I’m at this place because I have a screwed up back. So twisting my body all around to try to get the damn gown shut enough so that my ass isn’t sticking out, it’s quite a challenge.
I finally manage, through sheer determination and a large vocabulary of swear words. I open the door a crack like she instructed, and she takes me to the X-Ray room. I step to the side, allowing her to take the lead, because I’m a gentlemen—you know, ladies first and all that. Plus, if my ass is hanging out, I don’t want her to see. Of course, she doesn’t go first. “Just down the hall, last door there.”
So I go, limping along like an old man, hoping with all of my might that the gown is securely closed, her walking just behind me, probably hoping just as hard that it stays closed. I’m going to skip ahead here, because this post is getting out of hand. But two things about the X-Ray session. To adjust the thing, she had to have her face right by my ass. I still have no idea if it was covered by the gown, or if she got a close up my sexy-on-another-man boxer-briefs. The second thing: to do the side shot, she had me turn and then cross my arms over my chest, sleeping-Dracula style.
I lift my arms, RRIIIP! I have no idea which Velcro came undone, but hopefully it’s the one at the top, because I’m still in my t-shirt. I have to stand there while she looks at me from various angles, and I have no idea what she can see.
The first set of X-Rays didn’t turn out, so I had to go back in for another side-shot. I’d already dressed by this point, so I had to take my pants off again and don yet another gown. This X-Ray turned out, though, so I was on my way.
The doctor took me into a room and pointed out a lot of things on the X-Ray that I couldn’t see, and then he told me to lay down on the bench, and he kicked me in the back a couple of times. There was all kinds of technical jargon while this was going on, but I’m boiling down:
He goes, “Lay here, just like this, put your arm here.” He said some technical stuff, and then he kicked me in the back with his knee. He said he was bracing me with his hip, but I’ve been kicked in the back before, so I know what it feels like. That doctor, he was kicking me in the back.
Then he told me to stand up, and I wasn’t about to argue—all those certificates and degrees on the wall, they’re like permission slips for this guy to beat the shit out of me.
He asked me if I felt better. Oddly enough, I did feel a little better. I’ll be honest with you, though—after getting kicked in the back a few times, just standing there is going to feel better, even if your sciatic nerve is getting mangled by your spine.
I talked to Trey the night before my appointment, and he’s a little skeptical of chiropractors, to say the least. In fact, I believe he compared it to voodoo and called the chiropractor a witch. To tell you the truth, I am, too. Skeptical, I mean—not a witch.
Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t.
All I can tell you about it so far is that you should wear pants without any metals (I had to take mine off because of the zipper), and don’t eat stuff that makes you fart.
Also, be prepared to get your ass kicked.