What a Pain in the Neck

You know how when you find five dollars in your laundry or maybe on the street, you almost can’t wait to spend it? It’s as though, suddenly, everything costs only $5.00 and you have exactly that unexpected amount in your pocket.

My real-job medical benefits kicked in 6 days ago. That’s right, I no longer am relegated to the VA, reading Guns & Brides in a waiting room that smells not unlike an OTB. Apparently my body was ready to try something new and while I was on my foam roller Monday morning working out a kink in my back I threw my neck out.

I am not sure how I did it. All I know is that one second I was getting off the foam roller and the next I was supporting my neck with my arm and whimpering. I lay there for several minutes trying to relax and convince myself that it was all just a figment of my imagination that it was impossible to move. After about 10 minutes I started to cry, not from the pain, but because I realized I would have to call Andrew to help me get up, and I hate asking for help.

Andrew grabbed my phone and my work computer, where I let everyone know I would be late and rearranged my first meetings of the day. He gave me a light massage until I was able to get up and take a hot shower.

I sat at my desk and started calling around for emergency reparative services. Acupuncture, massage, chiropractor, Jiffy Lube, I called everyone that was open at 8. It all seemed expensive – or would be too long a wait. That was when I remembered I had medical insurance. I called my provider and found out that I needed to select a “home base.” Then I called that place and found out that since I don’t have a primary care physician and they couldn’t get me one in short order that I just needed to go to immediate care.

Meanwhile, the cleaning ladies Andrew and I have come every other Monday finished up and one of them left me the number for an acupuncturist she used to work for. I called him up too. He could get me in quickly, but was also mildly expensive.

I had Andrew pack up my work computer and some workout clothes (for when I was all better so I could go to CrossFit) in my new backpack and borrowed his car to head to the immediate care facility. The immediate care facility was immaculate and looked pretty newly minted. Which begs the question, why do I have to wait in a waiting room with no WiFi like an animal? Also, let’s rename the facility to eventual care, immediate care is more of a “goal.”

Eventually, I was beckoned into the medical office and my vitals were taken, my issue noted, my allergies confirmed. The doctor came in and mispronounced my name so badly I though he was introducing himself as Ed. Turns out his name is Julius. I told him what I’d done and how I’d done it. He made sure I didn’t have nerve damage, then he offered me drugs. Et tu Brute? I don’t want drugs, I want you to fix me. I told him I wouldn’t take medicine and could I just see a chiropractor or something and his already guarded and irritable tone turned for the worse. “Well, a chiropractor won’t fix you, and if you were my sister I would tell you to rest and take pain medication.”

“And I would tell you that you were adopted.”

As an aside – What did he mean by if I was his sister? I mean, I am his patient and he told me the same thing. But, aside from that, am I to think that as a patient he would take less care of me than he would his sister? I would assume that the level of care would be the same. Do doctors only have a limited amount of available “good” medical advice and they hoard it for the use of their family members? From now on I will wait for the medical advice and then say, “Yes, but what would you tell me if I was your sister?”

I left without any pain medication or relief.

That’s when I remembered I’d seen a chiropractor a little less than a year ago. He was well priced and could always get me in quickly. I called them up and made an appointment for twenty minutes away (the exact amount of time it would take me to drive there). An echoing ring of anguish hit my ears. Then I realized that was me screaming as he adjusted me “gently”. Within ten minutes I was on my way. I picked the wrong career. 10 minute appointments at $50.00 a pop (literally)! A person could work half a week.

Sadly I did not make it to Crossfit yesterday. I am going running today (I don’t need to turn my head for running, I can just jump into traffic – it’s how I do it even when my neck doesn’t hurt). Tomorrow I will have a massage. I imagine by Thursday I will be ready for overhead squats.

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