Three Simple Questions
What’s the value of a one-time-only visit? What do I really get with regularly scheduled visits? What would it take for me to keep those appointments, if I can’t even bring myself to use a gym membership consistently?
Those are simple questions to ask, but not so simple to answer. I can boil it down to one thing, though: Dignity. Self-Respect that comes from experiencing self-worth.
Getting some dignity back is the difference between a one-time-only visit and keeping a regularly-scheduled visit with Dr. Wendy Shimer, or any chiropractor, I’d say. Dignity is the aspect I experience that keeps me keeping my appointments with her staff, her partners, and my plan. It’s not her office anymore; it’s mine.
It’s my personal area for aligning my dignity and keeping it in place. And now that I’ve seen her more than a few times, I feel qualified to talk about the dignity aspect of ongoing self-care.
Where’s that sash again?
I now understand why it’s important for self-care in my daily routine. Believe me, I get it. What I struggled with initially is the follow through of self-care because…I’m busy. Are you busy too? Of course you are. Being busy is a mental sash of accomplishment that qualifies any of us to work through breaks, eat at our desk, and work late hours. I’m so. So. Busy. But heads up: THERE IS NO SASH. Just a sad excuse, a pain in our neck, and a desk plant that desperately needs watering.
So who am I to speak about dignity or self-care? I’m glad you asked.
As a writer, I am also a professional sitter. Not a babysitter or a couch potato, but I sit in good company with keyboard folk. Those who make their living eyeballing computer screens, sipping a mug of coffee, and who conquer the business world from their cubicle. (I work from home, not in a cubicle, but am sequestered in an office space, nonetheless.) I sympathize with computer and IT folk, accountants, receptionists, and insurance agents. Customer service scrappers whose secret quest is to find the ultimate office chair and experience ongoing back relief.
As a professional sitter, I feel pretty qualified to know what would make my butt and back feel better after a long day hanging out in one position:
- A massage
- Some stretching
- A spa trip with a fruity, umbrella-laden drink
- A horseback ride on a beach somewhere.
My rolling, slightly squeaky, over-meshed office chair doesn’t compensate for any of those things. Nor is it very dignified when I roll my shoulders or flex my back to relieve the discomfort of the day.
I can’t always access beach-ee, umbrella-drink-ee, massage-ee things, but the least I can do for my body is to schedule my weekly time with Dr. Shimer. I used to weigh the sash against my discomfort and then it was up to my calendar. Then I’d wonder what could ever trump my busy routine? Everything else seemed more urgent than indulging in self-care. So I’d see her sporadically.
I’d schedule her when things got so bad that I could justify hobbling into her office, knowing she could bring me back to an acceptable amount of discomfort. And I could live with an acceptable level of discomfort. It’s what busy, busy sash-wearers do for their family, their career, and their life, right? I just needed an acceptable level of discomfort. I could make room in my schedule for that.
Who needs dignity when I can have a back full of pain?
Except, I fell in love with how great I felt for the two or three days after seeing Dr. Shimer. Her advice was simple. “Come see me on a more regular basis. Let’s get your muscles to hold the adjustments longer. It took you awhile to get yourself into this spot. It will take you a little bit to get out of it, but we can do it together.”
Dr. Shimer wasn’t looking for an acceptable level of discomfort for her patients, even that’s as far as I could see. She wanted dignity for me, and every person she sees. She was willing to walk alongside me so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed or lonely. I wanted that option, but…what about being too busy?
Going from an every-once-in-a-while session in her office to a weekly visit as needed would mess up my schedule so much! I’d have to reprioritize my own health above my family, my career, and … well, life. Could I do that? I’d have to be as important to me as my family, life, and career. I’d also have to believe she was qualified enough to help me. Not just the general “us” population, but me specifically.
I took a leap of faith and decided to start doing things her way, which just happened to be, after all, my way.
One small step for me. One giant leap pain-free.
Again, I’m not you. You’ve got your own busy schedule and needs, but I’ll tell you what made the difference for me, each time I walked into Shimer Chiropractic, PC. Results.
Dr. Shimer has, as part of her check-in process, a computer form that lets me know what’s aching, where, and how the pain or ache feels. It is a record of progress based on my own experience in my body.
As I started going to get adjusted, sporadically at first, I noticed a pattern emerge. Nobody was telling me I was getting better, straighter, having more energy, moving in different ways. I noticed it myself. So when I went on a more consistent basis, the check-in process showed where I was before, and recorded what I felt that day. It provided me with the proof that I’d touch on during a day or week, and then forget because (drum roll please…) I’m busy.
Dr. Shimer would continue to give me guidance in ways for me to improve at a faster rate, or to keep strengthening my core so her adjustments would hold longer, but that simple little screen confirmed what I felt, over and over again: When I waited too long, I felt and moved worse. When I kept my appointments and took her advice, I felt better, stronger, and more flexible.
As a professional sitter, I hopped on the dignity plan. (Um…no, there is no actual plan called the Dignity Plan. But now that I’ve said it, don’t you think there should be one?) I’m seeing a much better level of dignity. My acceptable level of discomfort is much lower now because I experience freedom of movement, a stronger core, and a higher level of energy.
Stop reading and start doing. Yes you!
We want to feel good, get strong and healthy so we can do the things we want to do, right? When our day ends, we want to get the heck out of our place of work and into the fresh air without feeling run down. We want to take our family into nature, go have a drink with friends, and lift boxes when we have to. And to do those things without straining, pulling a muscle, or being sore at the end of the day, right?
A lot of accountability for our health is on us. Stretching, hydrating, and correct posture is a good start. Strengthening my core smacks closely of using that gym membership, in my mind, but I can tolerate the wording and am still working on it. I’m saying that if I can start, in the circumstances I already was balancing, then I’m betting you can, too. The small shift in our lives is dignity: Self-respect that comes as a result of prioritizing self-care. We are able to be better, stronger, more energetic, and able when we prioritize ourselves as much as we care for our family, our home life, and our careers.
I’m learning to trust that the advice Dr. Shimer gives, right along with her joking and actual adjustment, is a process that works for my specific, individual body. Also, I’m learning that I can move and reprioritize the bling on my busy, busy sash so that I have more energy at the end of the day to do the things I want to do. That’s what I wanted in the first place, I reason, and my way wasn’t working. Dr. Shimer’s way works, so I’ll let her be the expert.