Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thanks, but no thanks

Let me begin by saying that pregnancy, miscarriage and I'm sure birth, have a near-total deadening effect on modesty. Working for March of Dimes accelerates that process even further! I've had incredibly detailed conversations with strangers about timing sexual intercourse, labor positions, vaginal tearing and surgery, and much, much more. It takes a lot to shock me - and today, that standard was met.

See, Josh and I went to get adjusted at the chiropractor today. I've been having some shooting pains down my lower back and leg (hello, little baby medicine ball), and Josh is a big time weight lifter now, and we've both had good luck with chiropractic in the past. This time was a new guy, a man we've both met but hadn't been to for adjustment before. We were glad to get in to see him, since I got a super creepy vibe from the other practice I've been to here, and we both have a great feeling about this guy. We'll call him Dr. B.

So we walk in, get into the system, and meet for our consultation. Since I've had several creepy experiences with body care professionals in the past, I was glad that Josh and I would be evaluated and adjusted together. After a short wait, Dr. B. comes in and starts asking me questions. Pretty basic questions: how far along are you, age, weight, normal weight, have you been having any pain or headaches, etc. We're going strong. And let me repeat: I'm there to get my back and neck cracked, and my posture evaluated. That's all.

Well, Dr. B. has plans to assist me further, as it turns out! He starts talking about pregnancy-specific techniques to relieve pain, has me lift my shirt (showing belly only) and teaches Josh how to massage the round ligaments around my hips. No biggie - that's not really what I was after, but I don't mind. Then, out of nowhere, he starts talking about how he knows a really great technique to massage the perineal floor to prepare it for birth. See, your perineum plays a huge part in crowning and pushing, hence the near-universal Kegel advice during pregnancy. Makes sense that a health professional would know about that and perhaps offer tips, right? Stay with me here. Still waiting to get my spine worked on.

"So, let's go to the other room and I'll show you on the dummy what this looks like." We follow him, he pulls out a model spine and pelvis, and flips it upside down.

"Here's the base of your spine, the tailbone, and this is where the baby comes out. Here's where your anus would be, your vagina, your urethra. So if this is your anus," he says, making a little "OK" sign with his left hand, "I'm going to put pressure here," (a quarter inch from Ground Zero on the left) "and here," (the right).

At this point I'm completely flabbergasted. Surely, surely, this neck-snapping witch doctor is not suggesting that I GRANT HIM ACCESS TO MY BUTTHOLE. Right?! That would be absurd. I AM HERE FOR MY NECK. But just in case it's not completely, 100%, crystal clear, he keeps elaborating! "So for this procedure we'd take your pants down to your thighs, you'll lay on your side, and I'll start and then teach Josh how to do the technique so you can do it at home. Remember, this is your anus" (ok sign) "and I'll be pressing on either side to loosen the tension of your perineal floor. Let's see which side is tighter."

At this point, naturally, whether to do the procedure is moot, as my perineum has clenched into my ribcage. But for some reason I'm not saying anything! When he has me stand up so he can evaluate the tension around my hips - through pants, thank God - I glare at Josh with pleading eyes and vigorously shake my head NO!

He, I later discovered, was using all of his available faculties to avoid cracking up at the absurdity of it all, and at my discomfort. In fact, if you want to make Josh laugh at inappropriate times, just say "now here's your anus" and you've got him. He did not jump to my rescue.

Still, despite my overpowering and misplaced sense of politeness, there was no way this guy was getting my pants off. Finally I said "I need to wrap my mind around this before I try it. Do you have a brochure?" He produced one, reminded me that his wife used to model this procedure in front of 20 students at a time, and then gave me and Josh each an effective, helpful, simple little chiropractic adjustment.

I have developed finely honed radar for creeps, perverts, and opportunists, and Dr. B. truly does not seem to be any of those. He has a new baby and like many alternative medicine pros, he is kind of an evangelist about what chiropractic can do for the human body. He was so painfully earnest about the whole thing that I will probably return next time I need and adjustment - but I'll go with Josh, and I intend to be very, very clear about the services I'm interested in.

And if, at my regular cleaning next month, the dentist offers to check my breastmilk, I am never seeing another doctor again.

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