I can't breathe.
Sometimes this thing happens where my ribs get all wonky and out of place and it feels like someone is prying my shoulder blade up off my back with a crowbar and then, when I inhale, my ribs stab into my lungs from the front and the back and it hurts real bad. Do you ever get that?
Or is it just me?
I've tried to cut back on my breathing to help solve the problem, but it hasn't proven very effective. I'm evidently some kind of an oxygen addict. (First Step: Admit we have a problem.) So then I tried only breathing out since that is much less painful than breathing in. No luck with that either.
This happens about every three months. Stress might be a contributing factor. Why can't I just get a headache like everyone else? Whine, whine, whine.
I usually go to a chiropractor in Big Flat City to get un-wonkied. I like him because he can take walk-ins. I go pay my $40 and sit down on the slippery leather couch. Before I've even had a chance to peruse the collection of Popular Mechanics, his assistant is calling my name. What service! But, its a 45 mile drive to Big Fat City and gas prices are making that less and less attractive.
An aside: I have to admit that my chiropractor of choice is an accused sex offender. He was accused of some sort of dalliance with a 17-year-old girl. He plead no contest to a much-reduced charge and although gossip says it was consensual until somebody got mad about something, I have no idea of the circumstances.
The reasons I use him are: His practice is evidently greatly reduced and I can walk in off the street with no prior notice and be seen within 10 minutes. His practice is in a small house converted to an office. No doors are ever closed. He never, ever, ever asks that I remove any article of clothing. (Perhaps I should be offended?) He just works around whatever you have on. And he works cheap. Their misfortune has worked out swell for me.
Anyway. This time I knew I needed to get hooked up with help here in town. Did I mention I have tried this before? We had a chiropractic office that was part of a national chain here for a few months. I went there once and a nice guy with a ball-peen hammer gently whacked my back a few times. It worked ok. But not great. And there is always a line of people willing to whack me with a hammer free of charge whenever I want, so why pay for him to do it?
Then I tried the guy with the funky old office way out of the edge of town. He had taken over the practice from a local chiropractor who retired. His name is Dr. Bert. Dr. Bert was perfectly nice, but he really wanted me to sign up for a membership to use some sort of workout equipment that he had not yet purchased. Dr. Bert was fairly competent, but his walls were pretty much falling down around him and his receptionist reminded me for Juno the caseworker from Beetlejuice.
Earlier this summer when I was again all out of whack, I called Dr. Bert's office. Dr. Bert himself answered the phone. He said: "Hellooo." I assumed I had the right number and explained that I wanted to make an appointment.
Bert: Well. I can't shee you today. Maybe tomorrow.
Me: Ookaayy. Tomorow would be all right. What time?
Bert: What time do you wanna be here?
Me: ...9:00 a.m.?
Bert: Umm... How 'bout 10:00?
Bert: Ok. Bye.
Evidently Dr. Bert had been nipping at the rubbing alcohol. I figured that since he never asked for my name, he wouldn't know who to be mad at when I didn't show up for my appointment the next day.
That left only one local chiropractor for me to call. I'd tried to see him before, but there was always at least a two week wait before he had an opening. I now know why he has such a busy practice - the franchise guys closed up shop and left town and Dr. Bert is "liquidating" his practice. When I called this time, they could get me in with only a week's wait.
I told the receptionist that was ok, but if I didn't show up, it will be because I died over the weekend. She laughed sort of uncertainly and hung up the phone. She called me back early the next morning: "We have a cancellation at 9:30 this morning! I thought I would call you because you sounded really desperate yesterday." I guess I really shouldn't make such outrageous statements to total strangers. But, hey - my ribs are getting fixed!
Breathe-in. B r e a t h e o u t . Don't sneeze!!