Wednesday, October 20, 2010

X-Ray the Thinking

Over the past year, I’ve been to 3 physical therapists and 3 chiropractors, one rehab doc and a massage therapist. I go to yoga and Pilates and Feldenkrais classes every week. I do Egoscue exercises every morning. I’m the most active person I know. I have a little more mobility than I had a year ago – no where near what I hoped for with all this work. And the pain level is about the same.

I decided to try one more chiropractor – the guy who helps the bicycle couriers who get hit in traffic.  He insisted on doing an x-ray. He said that my insurance would not pay for the x-ray, so I’d have to pay him $85.  Silly me – I believed him.  I paid him for the x-ray.  When I got home, I called my insurance company. They do pay for x-rays, but not at chiropractors’ offices.  The chiropractor must write a prescription for the x-ray to be done at a hospital.

I decided that if this is how the man takes care of my finances, I don’t trust him with my health. I called up and cancelled my follow-up appointment at which he was supposed to explain the x-ray to me, picked up my disk, and asked for a detailed receipt so I could try to get some sort of reimbursement from my insurance company.  The chiropractor refunded my $85, which still amazes me. And told me that I have “a lot of arthritis.” 

According to the x-ray taken about a year ago, right after the accident, I have “mild arthritis.”  I took the new x-ray to my regular chiropractor.  He said that the accident x-ray was taken while I was unconscious and lying down. The new one was taken while I was standing up. It looks different. It doesn’t mean that my arthritis has gotten worse during the year.  The fact that I have greater mobility now than right after the accident would indicate that it hasn’t gotten worse.  He also said that arthritis rarely gets better.

Basically, he thinks I should be happy that I have as much mobility as I do. And I should be happy that I don’t have lung cancer, like he does.  He’s taking 3 weeks off to go for treatment for his lung cancer.  He’s younger than I am, so I expect him to be around to help me keep my body working.  I hope his cancer treatment is a success.

The thing is though – when he thought the damage was just from the accident, he was optimistic about helping me have less pain and more mobility.  Now that he thinks my problems are from the accident plus arthritis, he’s no longer optimistic. Now he thinks I will have to live with pain and limited mobility for the rest of my life – all because of an x-ray. He even said if it gets any worse, I should consider hip replacement.  

An x-ray doesn’t change anything except how people think about things. It is a diagnostic tool, not a treatment. I’d rather x-ray my thinking and find the strength to keep on finding ways to get through my days and get my body to do what I want. In my view, the body heals itself. It has always done so before.  I just need to keep trying.

In Pilates this morning, the teacher had us do some exercises with our eyes closed and picture what our vertebrae were doing.  That made the exercise more comfortable and more effective.  Maybe if I picture my femur moving in my hip socket moving as I do hip movements, I’ll get progress there, too.  All I can do is keep trying!

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