We punish ourselves in many ways. It may start with simple vices and progress to the realm of debauchery. As a child, I remember my first vice was foregoing sleep for the words in books, spending many dark hours with a dim lamp as I travelled the worlds of non-fiction. As I grew older, peer pressure and the quest to explore new feelings grew with me; I sampled cigarettes, booze and, yes, the pursuit of the opposite sex. Some, I still partake in while others have fallen to the sidelines of better judgment. With my recent quest, I have taken to exploring the methods of inflicting pain on myself. Yes, I have chosen someone to inflict moments of pain and pleasure, a chiropractor.
I knew that it would someday come to this, the desire to wake without the agonizing ache in my lower back or the end of the day pain from poor posture. On recommendation from my loving better half, I set my first appointment with little expectations, just, the hope that the pain will all magically disappear. The understanding escaped me as to what this truly had in store for me. From the first few moments of my visit, I was lured into this dark world.
It starts with being led into a dimly lit room. Soft music plays from a small CD player in the corner of the room. The scent of calming candles burn on what might have been a decorative shelf from Good Housekeeping. The receptionist, in her soft but cheerful voice informs me to prepare myself for the massage then quickly leaves the room. My first thought was bordering on confusion. How does one prepare for a massage? I grew up in an era that massage parlors were quite different from the retail strip mall salons of today. They were rumored to have something called a “happy ending” but being a little bashful, I never confirmed it. I half hoped that this was not the case in this situation or I will be disappointed that my insurance would have been covering such things for the past 20 years. In my confusion, I just sat there and opted to wait for further instruction.
Unlike my other medical visits, the wait was not long. Within minutes, my adolescent images of the seductive masseuse crumbled as a middle-aged woman with a gravelly voice enters. She instructs me to lay face down on what; I would later view as the initial torture bed, and relax wearing only my pants. It could not be truly considered a bed as there was a donut shaped pillow at the end that my face rested in as I stared down at the shadowed commercial carpet. As she starts, I relax to the gentle massage, thinking that I had been missing out on this all along. Then, when I was lulled into a false sense of security, the pain begins.
Her fingers change from the gentle massage to a piercing pain as she started to work on my trouble areas. The digging and kneading of my lower back made me reconsider my morning aches as an acceptable price to pay. I wanted to call out but bit my lower lip for fear of retaliation. The torture only lasted for tem minutes but an eternity passed in my mind as I reconsidered my Last Will and Testament. As quickly as it began, it stopped.
Let it be said that I have a new-found respect for electricity. My Florence Nightingale proceeded to lay warm towels on my newly traumatized back. The mild comfort was quickly replaced by an increasing, rhythmic blast of good old fashion electric current. After this little procedure, I might examine my feeling as to whether the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment. For the next ten minutes, Ol’ Sparky did its number on me. I say ten minutes but I am not sure when it stopped. Even after it was removed, I still felt the pulsing through my body. Like a STD, it was the gift that kept on giving long after you thought it was gone. On one of these visits, they forgot to turn off the machine before touching the little pads. Let’s just say that the pain is like nothing I could put into words but I do wonder if that is what a prison shank might feel like as it punches through your kidneys.
As I was considering if I should get my clothes back on or whether to run out the front door, they instructed me to move across the hall to another torture rack. Unlike the first room, this one was brightly lit and without doors. The doctor comes in to ask a few questions on my pain levels. A sense of humor is something he must not have been sharing with me as I explained that I came in with a three that is now a pulsing seven. For the record, I will remember not to make flippant comments before he does the procedure in the future.
I will say that I have never heard the sound of so many bones popping as he moved me through the twist that even a contortionists would be impressed. I have to admit, I did feel a little better after that. In fact, at this time, I am almost addicted to going in there to be “adjusted”. Maybe, I will find a 12-step to fix that.
Until next time…