Drugs & Perspective
The only night I can remember spent in that much pain was the day I heard my dad had died. That kind of emotional pain can at times feel physical. But at least there is an ebb and flow, good memories are mixed in with the despair. And with childbirth, there is an ebb and flow as well, there is rest between contractions, and the knowing that it won't hurt forever gave me the wherewithal to plow through. But there was no respite this night.
I was up early out of bed, showered and ready to make an appointment with my general practitioner. I needed something to make the pain go away. Just give me drugs. Make it stop hurting. When they heard I had been in an accident, they agreed to see me right away. After a brief discussion of what happened, he wrote me a script and I was on my way to being pain free. I may have even cracked a smile feeling the anticipation of being normal again. Only, I didn't feel normal. The drugs didn't really take away the pain, they just made me stupid. I was numb all over. The pain was there, but I didn't care. That was about the extent of it... the meds took away my ability to care... Oh yeah, and to speak in complete sentences. My staff... the people I managed at work, laughed at me for two days straight before they said enough was enough. Not only should I not be working, but I shouldn't be driving while taking the drugs either. I went home early that night and went straight to bed.
The following morning I attended a weekly bible study where we broke up into small groups and shared our answers to questions that we had worked on the previous week. The group leader asked me to answer a question. I began with an apology and a chuckle that explained the events of the week and that my answers probably wouldn't make much sense due to my drug induced state. After our group time, one of the ladies came up to me and asked if I had ever considered chiropractic care. She felt that her husband would be able to help me and offered to make the appointment right then. Within minutes I had an appointment scheduled right after our study time. To be honest, the only things I had ever heard about chiropractors were they were quacks and that whatever they did, you had to keep coming back to have it done. It was a never ending cycle. You see that's how they make their money, or so I had been told.
I made my way to the office, handled paperwork, answered questions and waited. Not for long though, apparently I had an "in" and I was ushered to the back part of the office where they did a scan on my spine, x-rays and I answered more questions. I finally met the doctor and he asked me more questions. My GP never asked me any of this stuff. I had never met a doctor like this. He didn't speak. He thought. He contemplated. He mulled. He processed. After what seemed an amazing amount of silence, I was about ready to ask him if HE was alright when he finally spoke. As the appointment progressed, he started to educate me on why the medicine wasn't helping me improve. The medicine wasn't designed to fix what was wrong, it was designed to target the pain and make what hurt, seem like it didn't hurt. It was like taking a massive ibuprofen for a pulled muscle. The muscle is still injured, the ibuprofen just makes the brain think it doesn't hurt so you can keep doing what you want to do without much interference (in a nutshell & in my verbiage). The injury is still there, you just don't think about it as much. He had described my experience exactly. He also explained that if any part of your spine is not in perfect alignment, it can block the nervous system from functioning properly and that can have adverse effects on any number of things depending on where you are out of alignment. That explained a lot of other weirdness I was experiencing besides the drug induced stupidity.
He conveyed his plan to me on how he was going to proceed with treatment. At that point, I didn't much care what he did as long as "pain free" was in my near future. I can't remember everything he did that day, but I did leave his office with a new perspective on how the body worked and that meds really weren't the answer for anything I was going through. I quit taking the medicine (I threw it away actually) and followed his orders on how to manage my pain. I remember laying in bed a few days later in just as much agony as I had the night of the accident. I picked up the phone to see if I could get an appointment before their office closed. But when they answered all I could get out was my name and I just started crying. They had told me not to worry about a thing. The doctor was getting ready to leave for the day and would stop by my house in a few minutes. WHAT?! I almost laughed. A house call in 2002. Did they still do that? You betcha.
This was the kind of care I was given on a consistent basis. But with him, it was never just about fixing what was wrong or out of alignment, he wanted me to understand and learn through this process. I just couldn't believe I had never questioned the whole "health care" thing before. What he was teaching me made so much sense and what I had been doing most of my adult life didn't. Take care of the root of the problem, don't just treat the symptoms. It's so simple. It is a shift in perspective. It is a whole different thought process that in American society does not come naturally. This is not second nature to our generation.
It took a while for me to heal. I did physical therapy to strengthen and build my muscles back up. When I was done with my appointments, I remember hugging my doctor. For those of you who know me well, I'm not a hugger. Not. But this was a time of celebration, and gratefulness. I left with a new hope and new purpose. I wanted to change the way I looked at our health. I wasn't going to blindly take what was given to me anymore. I was going to make the choices that were best for our family.
A friend of mine, Rob Hill, posted this the other day...
"Don't let unforgiveness keep you from the healing and restoration God has for you. Besides forgiving others and yourself, check to see if you need to remove any hurt, blame, anger or hardness of heart you feel towards God. If you are mad at God confess it to Him and release it."
I don't hate that young man anymore. In fact, I hope that he didn't have problems because of the accident. I'm not mad at God either for allowing me to get hurt. It is evident to me that God has a plan for my life. If I had never had that accident I believe I would have blindly moved forward and that our family would be among the masses of Americans that are on the road to poor health. My perspective would never have changed.
I still wake up each morning in pain. There are some days that my shoulder muscles never release. There are days I wake up and can tell that at some point in my day I will have a migraine because that one specific vertebrae is out of alignment again. And most times if I just keep moving, at some point the muscles may relax on their own and I'll have a good day. Other days, not so much. And so each morning I have to put myself into a state of gratefulness that I am where I am on this journey. It doesn't always feel good, but it sure is a whole lot better than where I was.
And so the next few blogs will be me sharing briefly what I have learned along the way these past eight years. I'll share why we do what we do as a family with the resources so you can search it out on your own if you're interested.
Please know this... this is a path we have chosen for our family. We don't always get it right. We don't expect what we choose as a family to be what is best for everyone. We don't judge others for making different choices and we don't offer our opinions or share what we've learned unless someone asks. If you are reading this, consider yourself asking :) This is what's best for us right now. And what's best for us right now may change in the future based on further education.
It's a journey and I welcome you to join me as I learn and grow in my understanding.