Well, mostly just bruised.
This all started when I got a new chiropractor. I’m still going to the same clinic, but the previous owner, Dr. Nelson, sold it “so I can be a kid again”. According to his theory, the point of working is to eventually be a kid again: have lots of money and time and play however you want. I’m a tad skeptical, but whatever. It’s not like I was going to do anything to try to keep him from retiring.
During my appointment and for about a month overall, he was bringing around the new doc so she could meet the clientele, get to know them a little, find out why they were coming to the chiropractor, etc. After getting my adjustment, I asked Dr. Halbe if her technique was the same as Dr. Nelson’s. Even though they went to different schools, she confirmed that they were pretty much the same. She lied.
My next visit to Dakota County Clinic wasn’t to Dakota County Clinic: I walked through the doors into Exuberance Chiropractic and Wellness Center. They have new appointment reminder cards with pretty colors and designs on them and everything.
They brought me to my little room, Dr. Halbe walked in a couple minutes later, we exchanged pleasantries, then I laid down on the table so she could check my back. I think it’s the L4 and L5 vertebrae that are slightly out of alignment—I know it’s right above the pelvis—so that’s where she was going to do the adjustment. That in itself wasn’t a surprise.
The surprise was because she’s significantly shorter than Dr. Nelson. Where he was able to stand above me, then use his body weight when thrusting down to adjust the spot, Dr. Halbe couldn’t do that. I used to roll onto my left side, wrap my arms up in kind of a self-hug, then rotate my hips a little to get the proper angle. This time, I had to roll on my left side, then she had me stick my leg out so she could leverage that to get the twisting or pressing or whatever motion she needed to make the adjustment. It felt like it worked, but it was waaaaaay different than what Dr. Nelson did.
As we were talking afterward, I told her about a problem I had a while ago that was starting to come back a little bit: I’d occasionally feel some random pain on the outside of my lower left leg. Very infrequent, but noticeable. A physical therapist gave me an exercise that made the pain stop coming back, but naturally, I stopped doing it after a while. Dr. Halbe listened to the story, then took a look at my leg and said… I don’t remember the terminology she used, but she basically said that my foot was turned to the outside.
I already knew that. I’ve known that for years. It came from playing soccer when I was younger. There was one time in high school—I think it might have been during a debate tournament—when some girl asked out of the blue if I played soccer. I said yes and asked how she knew. It’s because my feet were pointed outward. Rotating your feet out to trap the ball and kick it with the arch of your foot… “Keep making that face and it’ll stay that way!” Apparently, that theory works with feet, too.
So the doc thought that straightening my foot might help the pain go away. According to my totally unprofessional theory, my feet pointed the way they were wasn’t a problem for a really long time. However, because I haven’t been playing soccer for a while (and haven’t been up on my feet much, for that matter), I don’t have the musculature to support the awkward angle of my feet and I’m starting to feel how it’s putting pressure where it doesn’t belong.
Whether that’s the case or not, she had me sit down, then twisted and tugged my lower leg around so that when I stood up, my left foot was pointed at a different angle than my right. That was weird. It felt fine, but definitely looked weird. And did I mention that Dr. Nelson never looked at anything besides my back? Yeah, Dr. Halbe totally lied.
She made my next appointment a couple days later to check to see if my leg stayed adjusted properly. She had advised me that whenever I turn, I should be sure to lift my feet instead of keeping them planted and turning my leg. I apparently rotate at the hips instead of the legs because there were a handful of times when I thought, “Shit, I forgot to lift my foot when I moved like that!” When the doctor checked my leg, though, she said it had stayed in its adjusted position.
My next request? Straighten the other foot. I’d prefer to have them at the same angle in comparison to the rest of my body. I don’t want to stand upright, look down and see one foot pointed at noon and the other at 2:00, you know?
I think what she did next was so my pelvis would be aligned properly. I was laying on my stomach and she would hold my leg below the calf, then thrust it forward up towards my head. I asked her if she was trying to make me shorter, but she said it was to make sure my legs were the same length. That’s what she said, but I wonder…
That all popped into my head this afternoon when I was getting some exercise at the Y. I was wearing shorts during my workout, so when I sat down on the floor to stretch afterward, I saw a handful of small bruises on my lower legs. Again, this is my totally unprofessional theory: when Dr. Halbe squeezed her hands at the bottom of my calf and then thrust my leg forward, it sometimes burst tiny blood vessels and voila! A bunch of small bruises that are all below the knee!
The next time I go in for an appointment, I’ll probably have to tease her about it: I can pull up the legs of my jeans, show her the results of her handiwork, then say, “It looks like I’m in an abusive relationship with a dwarf!”