How my eye-rolls and bad experiences get an attitude check when Dr. Wendy sees me again
After that glorious moment–the one on Dr. Shimer’s borrowed table in her substitute shop–I spent a month wondering Where did my Dr. Wendy go? Right alongside that question was, Did she really fix me as thoroughly as I think she did? I spent a month wandering around the house, rolling and popping my hips from side to side, Jazzercise-style. I over-squatted while going up and down the stairs. I wrote my name in cursive with my torso, just to prove that I could. My kids thought I was having a midlife crisis. But I knew better; even though I could still feel where my broken tailbone was healing, the rest of my body could move like I was twenty-two!
It took me another month to figure out what it would take for me to consider seeing a chiropractor of her caliber. I knew I’d have to rethink my opinion of back-crackers. I’d have to list out the complaints I had, flesh them out, and then find someone who acknowledged, addressed, and had a different philosophy about them than the usual suspects. Then, I’d need to know that this person and her staff had the chops to follow through. Consistently.
THAT’s what it would take for me to take a chiropractor seriously. And so far, the only one that had made me wanna reconsider was Dr. Wendy Shimer. And she didn’t have a practice. Yet.
It took me six months to track her down, once she opened her doors in Longmont. I’d sent out feelers every month to see if she popped up on any of the doctor-specific yellow-page websites. I googled the crap out of her name, hoping I’d get a little glimmer of where she’d land. Finally, FINALLY, Shimer Chiropractic, PC opened its doors, and I called to make an appointment.
The Check List
When I met with Dr. Wendy in her own office, I brought that list of qualifications and more. It was important to see if she was too good to be true, or if I could count on her to help me with what had, after six months, once again become an uncomfortable stabbing in my buttcheek and tailbone.
Wanna see the list? It’s down below. You probably have one of your own, after all. Dr. Wendy wanted to see it, too, humbly looking to make her practice better, and I showed her my concerns with seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis.
“Look, Dr. Wendy,” I said when we sat down together in her waiting room area, “We shared a moment. You fixed my ability to sit without a blow-up donut in between myself and my chair. For that, thanks. I had some glorious months of pain-free living, and I would love it if you could do it again, but I’m worried that either you are a one-hit-wonder and had an exceptionally lucky day with me, or maybe I’ve given my logic, reason and reliable skepticism over to a roving band of gypsies. Have I sold out to something as flimsy as ‘hope’? I need to know if this ability you have is truly something you can do, over and over again.”
“I understand,” she said with a smile. “I get that reaction quite a bit. All I can say is that I know how to feel where the bones are off, and I know how to get them back where they want to be in the first place. I have the foundational education in place to back up what I say, and the experience as well. But I have a knack for finding and fixing that not everyone has. I love doing this, and I’m good at it. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.”
With that, I gave her my list:
- Competent, intuitive, and able to go off the beaten path if needed. (I’m a bit high-maintenance, I admit, and I need to know that you can hang with me if I don’t do things by the book.
- Professional, yet approachable.
- A firm, yet safe and flexible touch. I don’t need to wonder if I’ll be paralyzed by being roughed up.
- Explain in layman’s terms what the hell is going on, as it’s going on. And leave the charts for your fridge; I don’t know what the hell it means anyway.
- Get to know me as a person. Don’t call me a patient, or refer to me as “the patient”. I’ve got a name.
- Have an office that I feel comfortable in. If I think I’m in a dentist or doctor’s realm, I’m outta here. This is elective stuff, remember. Dumb down the cold, antiseptic office feel, yo.
- Make your prices realistic. For both of us. Don’t hide fees, explain them. I don’t wanna cheat you, and I don’t want you to cheat me. Just be transparent and realistic so I can come back when and as I need to.
- Knock it off with the three times a week crap, as a rule. I understand that its a case by case need, so don’t throw it in there as a cookie-cutter solution. Most people don’t have the time and money to do it, anyway.
- Laugh or cry with me, when needed. Life is going to happen to me, and you’ll probably see it. Don’t be a friggin robot about when I’m having a bad day. And let me know you’re human, too.
“Yeah,” I said, watching her go through my list. “I know it’s a long list, but is that too much to ask?”
Dr. Wendy just laughed. Then I looked around at her office. Oh yeah, I thought. I’m already looking at my wish list. It’s pretty much Just. Like. This.