July 3, 2008

First Person:

El Chiropractor

By Al Carlos Hernandez

I injured my shoulder playing basketball with my sons and their Homies. Despite the real threat of injury we obstinately persevered, while informed by a library of ‘Don’t do its’ from my wife, and lucid others from my demographic.

Our Sunday afternoon hubris filled, smack talking fueled three on three’s hoop wars ended for me, when the ball crushed two fingers, causing them to blow up like polish sausages, involuntarily tossing up a cartoonist balloon puppet peace sign, impossible to conceal.

The shoulder more painfully severe didn’t become an issue until my wife moved the shoulder in the middle of the night and I screamed like a rabid hyena setting off a few car alarms and possibly opening a few garage doors.

We agreed that I had a pinched nerve and so was scheduled to visit her Chiropractor with whom she was well pleased, who helped her get instant relief from many painful situations, none of which were of a domestic nature. Mi Vida did not want to sleep with ear plugs and was afraid she would have to sucker punch me if I did that howling wolf thing again.

Chiropractic is big business. The huge office is filled with Chiropractic information on how the spine works, why adjustments were necessary, how getting twisted can cure most ailments. I felt the propaganda to be redundant; they were preaching to the choir if folks were already on site postured to be put into a full nelson. I was comforted by the conspicuous absence of WWF turn buckles.

Dispassionate, I filled out some forms, watched a video, explained how stupid I was for getting injured in the first place, then, quoting from the video, apologized for not getting hurt sooner because I never been to a chiropractor before, ergo, spent my entire life maladjusted.

Once the glad-handing was out of the way the first question to the young hip handsome Doctor was, what kind of car do you drive? If and since Chiropractic is not a traditional HMO based type medical service, I did not want someone working on me who could only afford to drive a Kia or Hyundai. Dr. S Class 600 Mercedes reassured me, then closed the deal by saying he rode a VFR Honda race bike, time to go to work.

I was dismissed to another room where I had to put on a tie in the back, which I couldn’t, gown for a full body x ray. The X Ray Doc, a hip urbanite, made me walk across the hall in my boxers and gown into the glum dark room. You are directed to put on some huge Adam Ant-looking Erkel glasses stand at attention in front of a while plastic wall, with a lead fanny pack thing over your, your, valuables?

He then handed me a wooden pole turning me sideways, holding the pole like I was churning butter. It occurred to me that if I was being punked, standing there with the geek glasses holding the stick, in the gown. I would pay up to ten thousand dollars to get those pictures back.

The first thing the next morning I was back on site and we looked at the X rays. Am I the only one who thinks it funny that skeletons are always smiling? I could see the recent dental fillings from Dr. Play date.

Neck bones of a 21 year old, spine of a thirty something no arthritis, one lower back disc misaligned. A body like this should be able to dance. The shoulder thing which felt like a hot needle stuck into the joint while dancing a cumbia was a soft tissue injury. It was now time to get Crackin’.

Laid on my back he massaged the neck, told me he was going to release some pressure, with that he whipped my head to the side, the crack in THX Dolby sounded like an elephant sat on a crate of walnuts. In a visceral response I yelled something in Spanish, and then remembered that Doctor Benzo fluent in Spanish spent a few years helping folks in El Salvador. The phase was a favorite of his while playing tennis. In a series of snap shot moments he had me in a head lock, full nelson, half nelson, and at one point he looked like Ricky Nelson.

Dazed and confused feeling big headed and like a hung over circus acrobat, I was dismissed to get an MRI. Chiropractic can only do so much, when a muscle is torn, or if middle age biker husbands don’t listen to their wives.

Not going back, getting cracked is whacked.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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