Gone are the days when I could make do with a reasonably switched on GP and a dentist who was generous with topical anesthetic, now I seem to be assembling a veritable army of ancillary health professionals to assist with my gradual disintegration.
First port of call for all serious health concerns is always Dr. McDowell, a mature woman with a faintly Irish lilt, who performs the most apologetic of pap smears. She’s thorough and pragmatic with a no nonsense approach that rarely buys into my occasional hypochondria.
A few years ago back pain led me to a bayside Chiropractor. I’d historically harboured a quiet mistrust of chiro’s (based on no experience whatsoever) but a friend who swore he alone kept her limber made an appointment for me.
Dr. Steve was a chatty chap whose crisply ironed shirts were tightly tucked into very high pants.
At the insistence of Milla, his manic Serbian wife and part time receptionist, I made regular appointments and bought an ergonomic pillow. It was and remains, singularly the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever slept on but apparently my neck is aligned.
Eventually the back pain abated and gradually dissipated altogether.
Milla would send me monthly newsletters peppered with the myriad ailments modern chiropractic techniques could cure. They always ended with a series of affirmations from Louise Hay.
“I now receive the treatment I need in the perfect time, place and way for me”
“I lovingly do everything I can to assist my body in maintaining perfect health.”
Ok! Ok! I get it.
At each session Dr Steve engaged in the same seven or so signature manipulations. Conversations with others revealed that we all seemed to undergo an identical treatment. I couldn’t help thinking that while our bodies were fundamentally similar; it was the kind of dodgy science that sees us ascribing the personality traits of the entire earth’s population to twelve astrological signs.
Eventually thrice weekly personal training sessions obviated the need for monthly chiropractic adjustments. All that resistance work was assisting with bone density, flexibility and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Until I buggered up my shoulder.
We walked past a Spinal and sports Physiotherapy practice on our way back from the gym and I made an appointment.
My physiotherapist was Shane. He was a distracted little guy hepped up on coffee who talked over the top of me.
So where does it hurt?
Ok, well it started up here, but my elbow is really…
Yep, yep. Right. Got it. So I’m going to do some dry needling and just loosen things up a bit.
Shane, it emerged, did a lot of work with the North Melbourne football club. He spent hours palpating the AC joints of huge men with forearms like the roots of a Moreton Bay Fig. Their tolerance for his bruising brand of manipulation was much greater than mine.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAN, STOP THAT!!!!
Two painful sessions and a haematoma later I abandoned Shane and moved onto an osteopath.
My practitioner was another Shane who began the session with a comprehensive health analysis. Politely waving away my complaint of shoulder and elbow pain he assured me that we would eventually get to the reason I was there when he had explored every conceivable health condition I had ever had.
An hour and a half later we had charted my medical history for the past fifty years, identified the current issue, undergone some judicious massage and dry needling, locked in an additional three appointments and I had shared my blog address.
Ok, so we’re both shameless.
Along with my lovely new optician , a sometime dentist and my hairdresser (or follicular therapist) I can now add Shane the Osteopath to this stable of professionals Learning the Hard Way. I’m quite sure they will do much more for my deteriorating corporeal form than I will do for their respective businesses but you never know.