Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Due to relative physical inactivity over the last few months, my body has gotten to feeling a bit neglected. We all like to be left alone sometimes, but after awhile, we want someone to come throw us a ball and take us for a walk. And, like a terrier who's been left at home alone one too many times in a week and in return decides to pee in your bed, my back decided to knot up on me.

Starting Friday, it was so tight that I could barely stand upright. No pain while lying down or sitting, but the latissimus dorsi in my lumbar region simply did not want to see me standing erect, and gave me to understand that, while the tightness was just a warning shot across the bow, further attempts to get active would result in Pain.

I puttered about my weekend activities, having coffee with my brother, meeting my friend Paula the SculptureLady for dinner, and shooting a plate match with my dad. But always, always, the tightness and growing imminent threat of pain. Actually, I'll just have to admit that sore aching was indeed occurring, which I'll have to grant counts as pain. Technically.

But I was trying to put it off. I put it off because I get this about once a year, and after a few days, it usually goes away without intervention. But my wife got tired of watching me creak around making old man sounds, and told me to check on a chiropractor today.

_ _ _
I appreciate that a chiropractor can do great things for an ailing back. My late uncle was a doctor of chiropractic, who on one occasion provided me with a treatment. I was to leave for my vacation in 4 hours, and I was in a bad way. A disc had displaced enough that I was in serious pain, even while sitting. My uncle saw me on zero notice, manipulated my back for about 45 minutes, and sent me on my way, with my pain gone. At the very least, my vacation was saved. So I know that it can be done.

Then, too, are the guys that are in it for the long haul. The return visit and the recurring appointment is all they're interested in. My wife, after a significant car crash, decided just to have herself checked out. I encouraged her to do so, not wanting her to miss a subtle injury if she had been hurt. Insurance would cover the cost. After her third frustrating visit of leaving the "injury clinic" and telling them repeatedly "I'm not actually feeling any pain, thank you. The treatments are nice, but I just want to be released with the assurance that I'm not injured," I accompanied her to the office, and we put our foot down-- there would be no more treatments without a diagnosis. (Ending treatment before medically recommended would of course have meant that we would have to pay, instead of the insurance, we were told.) The medical doctor gave the nod, and finally my wife was free-- and she'd never even been injured to begin with. The cost went to over $1000.
_ _ _

So this morning I walked into a conveniently local chiropractic clinic to see about the possibility of a quick back manipulation. Oh, heavens, no. That would take an appointment for one-- no, two-- weeks distant. Well, I thought as I leaned over the counter-- I'm glad I'm not in any real pain (ache). I asked about the cost. Did I have insurance? Oh, sure. Blue Cross. The lady behind the counter worked it up and cheerfully informed me that my first visit would be $176 with insurance, but $182 without. Future visits could be discounted without insurance, at only $46 per visit.

As my eyes glazed over, I noticed that this woman was wearing scrubs.
The woman behind her, pasting labels onto manila folders and doing some kind of billing tasks on a computer, was wearing scrubs.
Why do simple office clerks wear scrubs in doctors' offices, hospitals, veterinary clinics, dentist's offices, and, I now see, chiropractic offices? Seriously...? What's the point? Why can't they just dress professionally, and leave the attire of medical professionals to the medical people? Why do I have to read the little tag (that's always flipped over backwards anyway) to read the 4 point type under their name to learn that they are either a D.O. or a D.C. (Heh. Don't make the mistake of calling the former the latter, mm'kay?) or an LVN or an RN or a PA or a professional toilet backup maintenance specialist? Look, I understand that the days of the cap and pin with white uniforms and white hosiery is gone for nurses, and that the white lab coat is on its way out for doctors, but can't we just agree that the person making my appointments and swiping my credit card is an office clerk, and not a Medical Professional? There is nothing wrong with being "just a clerk." Nothing at all. This world would stop running without them. But let's not put on airs and call them medical staff; they're not.

I came out of my fog to hear the chirpy clerk-in-scrubs ask if a Thursday afternoon would be sufficient, two weeks from now. Fine. As she filled out an appointment card, she told me that I would be assessed a penalty charge for failing to notify them that I was cancelling the appointment with less than 24 hours' notice. Well, at least she got that part right-- my plan was to cancel in a couple of days, as soon as my back pain tightness subsided.

"Sir, while you're here, do you mind if I photocopy your driver's license and insurance card?" the chipper clerk asked me as I turned away to hobble toward the door.

I stopped and turned around just enough to make eye contact with her. "Yes. I do," I said evenly, and went out the door.

Eh. I think my tightness is beginning to subside, anyway.


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At Monday, May 19, 2008 3:15:00 PM, Blogger breda said...

beer is a great muscle relaxant =)

At Monday, May 19, 2008 3:41:00 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

I can categorically state for the record that in my entire nursing career (and for that matter, at any other time) have I worn a white cap, white dress, and white hose.

I did buck my instructors and wore a long labcoat, instead of the doofy white 'waiter's jacket' thing.

I'm not encouraging anything which could be construed as improper, but I'll say that a guy who could get his hands on a Flexeril and some moist heat would feel a lot better in the morning.


At Monday, May 19, 2008 6:06:00 PM, Blogger Rogue Medic said...

My back is feeling less tight after reading this.

I do need to do some stretching. :-)

At Tuesday, May 20, 2008 12:38:00 AM, Blogger Christina RN LMT said...

What about a massage? It'll help, for sure!

At Tuesday, May 20, 2008 1:56:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

"What about a massage? It'll help, for sure!"

I had thought that y'all didn't work on backs with displacement of bones and stuff? I would still be a candidate? What style do you suggest I look/ask for, Christina?

At Tuesday, May 20, 2008 10:04:00 AM, Blogger John B said...

At my doctor's office, only the one nurse wears "Scrubs" the other nurse, the doc, and the office staff wear professional office attire. NEVER has a medical facility asked for my driver's license. My Lawyer would appear in a cloud of smoke and magically make all their credentials disappear......

I got PT at 1:00 today, than Diabetic Dr. @3
Hatin life here Matt.....

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 9:51:00 AM, Blogger Christina RN LMT said...

We don't mess with the skeletal structure, BUT we do lengthen the connective tissue and work those muscles! If you've never had massage before, I'd suggest a Swedish massage, if you're not a newbie, then definitely go for a deep-tissue or sports massage. If you want to be stretched out, try Thai massage (and you don't have to undress for that one). Make sure the therapist you choose is certified (maybe get a referral from the chiropractor). Or ask around if someone recommends a therapist. That's my two cents!

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 9:05:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I went to a LMT for Swedish, today. It was nice, but I need a little deeper press to things. Maybe try that deep sports massage later. In the mean time, I've hit the regular Doc up for a small RX of Flexoril, which is apparently doing the trick. I doubt I'll need to even take a 4th dose.

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Christina RN LMT said...

Outstanding, Matt! Yeah, I kinda figured the Swedish wouldn't be enough, I know you're a big guy. But for the first massage, it's a good idea to start out that way. A deep tissue massage is certainly a good choice for your next one. Just make sure you tell the therapist if you are taking a muscle relaxant or pain killers, otherwise he/she could injure you. And that would be bad!

Re: Scrubs. I can tell you that I wore scrubs (though I was doing front AND back office work) because they are comfortable, cheap, you don't have to worry about what to wear, and they brought uniformity into the office. We all wore the same scrub color. Worked out great!

At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 5:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are close enough Dr. Lee Black in Mansfield is the chiropractor of chiropractors. And he's a gun-guy to boot. I'm not sure about which insurance he takes. Blue Cross wouldn't cover my treatments a few years back but he worked with me on that.


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