All Cracked Up

back-pain-clipartI recently pulled my back out. I wasn’t lifting anything heavy or doing anything strenuous. Instead, I was standing at the self-checkout machine at the CVS. I remember standing there complaining in my head about how there were employees standing around, but not doing anything to help anyone. As I swiped my credit card, I was prompted to then sign for my purchase. EXCEPT…there wasn’t a pen. There was no pen to be found. I looked high, I looked low, and I looked side to side, but nada. Nothing. As I slowly turned to get the employee standing there’s attention, I felt a horrible pain in my upper back. In fact, at the time I thought I’d been stabbed. I thought it was a robbery and I was the first person to be made an example of if CVS didn’t pay up. As I started to speak my voice trembled and my knees buckled. My hands quickly went from waving the employee over to bracing myself. I gasped with both hands on my lower back to hold myself up and stop myself from falling forward as if I was pregnant. The employee walked over and just looked at me. With tears in my eyes, I said, “there’s no….there’s….no PEN!” He looked at me as if I was a piece of garbage. Like I was literally a trash bag (not the one from American Beauty) that had blown in with the wind and landed near the register. “Just press okay” he rambled as he walked away. I remember thinking I can’t do that. I had felt like a broken Butterfinger bar with pieces of me falling and breaking off inside my candy wrapper body.  I put every ounce of strength I had into lifting my hand and pressing “Okay.” The irony of such a word considering in this situation I was everything but okay.

Flash forward to the next morning and me whimpering in pain in bed. Moving hurt. Breathing hurt. Getting out of the bed hurt. Every movement was pure and utter pain. I got to my feet and reached for the phone, more pain, so I laid down on the floor. I searched on Google for a chiropractor or a funeral home and called the first one I found. The call lasted about 2 minutes with me just saying “please” and “kill me” while laying on my studio apartment floor. They said to come in for an appointment in a few hours to which I thanked them and told them they were God Kings.A few hours later I was walking into the chiropractor’s office after the most painful car ride of my life. As soon as I stumbled in, I looked for the nearest chair, but I was quickly intercepted by numerous people who worked at the office. “Heyyyyy Ryan, thanks for coming in, here’s a gift bag, here’s some coffee, let me take your coat, here come on we’re going to take a tour and introduce you to everybody.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of hospitality and appreciative of the kindness, but at that moment all I wanted was to be put out of my misery. I probably should have gone to the emergency room so they could put me into a self-induced coma rather than trying my luck at the chiropractor’s office. In my mind, I pictured myself walking into the office and a giant bodybuilder who looked like Bane to pick me up and smash me over his knee. Then, me living out the rest of the plot of The Dark Knight Rises. In actuality, they introduced me to everyone as I hobbled around the office wincing with every turn and then returned me to the lobby area to sit and wait for the doctors. While sitting there a random woman who was there to get her back cracked grabbed my gift bag and walked out. After meeting the doctor’s I told them all about the incident and they said it was very common. They said we’d take some x-rays and then they put some pads on me which were like mini electrical currents attacking my pain. In the end, everyone was great and I actually felt better walking out. Walking out without a gift bag.

Flash forward to the next day as the doctor and I looked over the x-rays. At first I didn’t know what I was looking at. It was an ultra-violet rendering of what looked like tetris pieces all misaligned on top of vertical rows of frisbees. He told me that I had numerous compressed discs in my upper back as well as in my lower back. Basically, it was equivalent to the spine of a test car dummy. He told me it could be treated, but it would take a while and would require multiple treatments. I obliged and was sent into another room to lay inside of a chair that had a roller go up and down my back. Then, more electric pads and then the doctor cracked my back. Just picture a ragdoll being tossed around the room. Yeah that’s what happened. On my way out, they stopped me to show me the turn of the century touch screen check-in process and how to check-in next time I came into the office for my appointment. Why? Because human interaction is a thing of the past. Staring at the screen, I said, “How do I do this?” to which the woman at the desk replied,

“Just press okay.”

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