So, because I am apparently trapped in the body of a 90-year-old woman, I started going to a chiropractor because I am having low back pain, combined with the joy of shooting sciatic nerve pain. Add that to the PT I'm going to for the knee, and I'm seeing almost as many medical professionals as my grandmother, who actually IS going to be 90 on Tuesday.
Today marked the 5th appointment with the chiropractor. The first appointment was a consultation with x-rays. I met the chiropractor and his associate. From there, my next three appointments, I was with just the chiropractor. The associate, whose name I am not sure of, was "around," but I didn't have any contact with him, although he waved at me once when I was in the office.
Today when I went in, the chiropractor wasn't there or wasn't around, and the associate was handling patients. He adjusted me, then told me it was time for "traction."
Let me take a time out here and explain "traction." Traction, in this office, is laying on a table with your head hanging off the end. Your neck rests on a metal bar covered in foam, but essentially, you are hanging your head off the bed. There were two other tables I also assume were "traction," but where, I kid you not, the patients strapped something to their heads that looked like bungee cords, then hung their heads off the beds! I did this exactly once, then said "forget it." I ended up in so much pain in my neck and my shoulder muscles that it was distracting me at work. Monday, when I was in for an appointment, I told the chiropractor that I wasn't going to do traction, and explained. He gave me a slightly guilt-ridden speech about how he wants what I want, but I down the road he'd really like me to think about doing it if I want to "restore the curve in my neck." I apparently don't have enough curve, which is about the only place on me that doesn't have enough curve, but I digress.
Oh, one more thing before I go on: so, while he's adjusting me, he does this thing where he pulls on my head. Then he said something I couldn't understand. He pulled me up, and I said, "I'm sorry, you had your hands over my ears, I couldn't hear what you said." And he smiles, and repeats in a whisper, "You got your power turned on." Ok...weird. But whatever, right?
Anyway, associate says it's time for traction. The conversation goes like this:
Me: I don't do traction.
Associate: Why not?
Me: Because I don't like it and it hurts.
Associate: Well, I want you to do traction.
Me: I'm not doing it.
Associate: Have you ever worked out?
Me, slightly ticked: <<Swallows an alternate word for "donkey" before it can come out.>> Yes.
Associate: Did you feel sore after that?
Me: <<Thinking, you have no idea where I run>> Listen, the last time I did traction, I was in so much pain in my neck and shoulder muscles that it impacted my productivity at work. I have way too much to do this week and next week to have that kind of distraction.
Associate: Well, if you haven't done it, of course you are going to be sore. I want you to do traction.
Me: <<Traces a box in the air with fingers - pointer fingers, in case you were wondering.>> Ok, I am going to put this treatment in a box. And that box is my lower back, which is what I came here for. If you can get that fixed, we can talk about restoring the curve in my neck, but until then, that's what I'm here for and I'm not interested in anything else.
Associate: Ok. <<slight pause>> I'm on your side.
Me: <<Thinking, what the heck is that crap?>> Ok, good. So, we're on the same page then? I'm not doing traction.
Associate: <<quietly>> Yes.
Me: Good. <<Turns to leave>>
Associate: Can I have a hug?
Me: <<ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? You're not. You're not kidding!>> No, you can't have a hug!
Associate: Why not?
Me: <<Seriously, I have to explain this??>> Because I don't hug strangers!
Holy. Cow. You can't make this stuff up! This guy, who I have met ONCE, and have (barely) a professional, practitioner-patient relationship with, is asking for a hug? I'm sorry, it is NOT my job to manage your feelings, make you feel better about being on the losing end of my right NOT to engage in treatment, or make you feel that we are "ok." Really, what I should have said, had I been able to think faster, was "Because it is inappropriate for doctors to ask patients for hugs!"
As if that wasn't enough, the receptionist at the front desk (which is really in the same room as the treatment area - its all one big, open space), said to me, just as I was leaving: "Oh, we should probably get you a home traction kit if you don't have time to do it in the office."
To which I replied, "No, we don't." And walked out of the office...
For the last time.