He Loves Me, He Loves My Back

25 Sep


I’m in love with my chiropractor. My new, French chiropractor.

This is what I told my mom when she asked me how my visit to the chiropractor had gone and if I was “still in pain.”

Clearly, I wasn’t.

Let me back up, though.

Earlier this week, I became someone who actively uses the waist strap of her backpack.

I don’t mean that I used it once because I happened to have a heavy load and then immediately removed it…I mean that I wore it around all week, like a commuting Earth Science teacher.

Remember the high school stigma that came along with that damn waist strap? It held the potential to ruin lives. If you were caught wearing your backpack in a responsible, back-healthy way, it didn’t matter if you were quarterback of the football team, or if you played strip poker in hot tubs at parties (two things I only know from “the movies”). You were a loser.

I’ve had the same backpack since freshman year of college. It’s a North Face, which was trendy when I was 18 and also can fit a ton of books, without looking obviously stuffed to the brim (as opposed to LL Bean’s backpacks, which make you look like you’re hauling a potato-carrying little person around, no matter how much you’re actually carrying). I know my backpacks.

So, I’ve been running around with this backpack for the last few weeks of graduate school because when you’re busy and it’s 90 degrees outside, and the students for whom you’re a teaching assistant call you “Mrs.” and ask if that costume jewelry you’re wearing is a wedding ring (IT’S NOT), you just feel too damn lame to give a flying fuck about looking cool or fashionable or trendy.


Well, things took a turn this week when my backpack injured me.

Actually, it could have been the intense Pure Barre class I took that injured me. But the backpack also played a role.

In addition to my usual aches and pains, I’d been having some aching neck pain for a few weeks. I attributed this to hauling around my backpack and texting a lot. According to Web MD, I had a yet-to-be-discovered form of cancer. So nothing was really going as planned.

Instead of cutting back on my backpack use, or trying to text less, I decided to go to a physically strenuous barre class. (See my post about barre classes to understand what this entails.)

Halfway through the shoulder workout, I felt a searing pain run from my neck to my shoulder. I assumed this meant it was working, and I was on my way to Kelly Ripa arms.

Kelly Ripa arms and the joints of an elderly coal miner – a truly compelling dichotomy.

I guess I assumed incorrectly because, a few days later, my arms looked the same and my neck was aching even worse than before.

Enter chiropractor number 1: The $100 Truth Concealer.

The first chiropractor I went to asked me about my year in France, looked at my spine, told me to stop carrying a backpack, and then asked me how I’d like to pay for his $100 services.

QUOI??? (That’s French for “WHAT” – pronounced “kwa” and sounds a lot harsher and more animalistic than “what.”)

“Um,” I said. “Is there anything wrong with my spine?”

“Oh yes,” he answered. “It’s messed up.”

Expensive and scientific! What a combo.

He seemed incapable and/or unwilling to divulge any more.

He was, however, eager to show me the collection of “Thank You” cards he’d received from patients, and I was eager to write a “No” in front of each “Thank You” and be on my way.

But what did I do instead? I thanked him for robbing me blind and then set up an appointment the next day. (Which I later cancelled, by telling him I needed to “get my parents’ permission” before continuing with his services. When in doubt, act 12 and make NO mention of autonomy.)

So there I was, in pain, out $100, and still carrying that fucking backpack.

As I lay in bed, using old Trader Joe’s frozen green beans to ice my neck, I considered my options.

Then, I got tired of considering my options, and asked my mom to consider them for me, while I caught up on the season three premiere of Black-ish.

After EVER SO KINDLY calling our insurance company, my mom had made friends with the customer service agent and had the scoop. There was another chiropractor I could see and he came highly recommended.

And now, I know why.

So here we are: I am in love with my chiropractor.

Without revealing too much, I will reveal that he is French and charming and cool. I will also reveal that I showed up to his office at 8:30am on Saturday morning, having eaten a pint of ice cream at 2:30am and fallen asleep in my clothes. I also had a cold, greasy hair, and five hours of sleep under my belt.

McDreamy gave me some paperwork to fill out, and then took said paperwork away from me because I was taking too long to answer the questions. He’s very time-conscious – it’s one of the things I love about him.

Next came the exam.

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here – this guy is extremely professional and not untoward in any way.

I, however, am unprofessional and very “toward.”

McDreamy asked me if I’d ever been “adjusted” before. (Woah, that’s a little much for a first date, don’t you think??)

I had, in fact, been adjusted. I’m relatively experienced, in that area.

He leaned over me and for a moment, his chest was near my face. I thanked Jesus I hadn’t had time to drink coffee that morning, and tried to ease my beating heart.

He also told me I have misaligned hips, one leg that’s shorter than the other, and compressed vertebrae. Sexy can I, am I right?

We chatted about France and life, all while he was cracking and adjusting my neck and back.

He made a joke; I laughed. I made a joke; he laughed.

I felt like an elderly woman getting a sponge bath – vulnerable and exposed, in need of medical attention, a wee bit sexy, and excited for my dessert pudding.

When all was said and done, he told me to take Vitamin C and drink lots of water. Whether this advice pertains to my back or my cold, I’m not sure – I’m just happy to know he’s concerned for my well-being.

He asked if I was good at swimming and had access to a pool, since swimming is really the only non-impact sport my brittle bones can handle. I said “no” and asked if that was an invitation. (I didn’t and it wasn’t.)

We agreed I’d come in a few times a week for regular adjustments, and then I’d have to work to maintain my own spinal health.

As I was on my way out, he added one more instruction to my care regimen: “Oh,” he said. “And NO MORE backpack!”

Yeah, ok. We’ll see about that, doc.



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