God but they’re brilliant. I’m so fragile I can’t even push the door open* and reason that it must be locked (I’m not thinking straight, unsurprisingly). The nice lady opens the door for me and I tiptoe in, all zombie-brained and twisted like a rope and contemplate sitting down but feel it will be too much effort – it’s the getting up again that hurts. Michelle comes to get me and her room is the furthest away, of course, but says cheerfully I can stand if that’s easier, so I do. She’s also about 12 years old and I find it hard to believe she can know anything about bad backs, young whippersnapper that she is. But she’s fab. She nods sagely when I outline the History of the Back Twinge, explain how I’ve just been skiing for a week and did ten lengths in the pool yesterday (woo hoo). When I mention the weirdly heavy periods, the headaches, the nightly pins and needles in my right hand and arm, the constant ache in my elbow, she smiles and says oh yes, that’s all related and probably stems from that neck injury we saw you for last year. I’m floored. All that because of a crick in my neck? Which was so insignificant I thought I would go running anyway and thus turned it into the second most frightening thing that ever happened to me? When I thought I may never be able to move my head again and almost fainted from the pain and had to go and see Michelle at the Apex Clinic for the very first time? Well, I never.
Somehow I am able to lie on my side, after much gentle manoeuvring and with Michelle holding my legs for me as they are too heavy for my back to carry. She works her way up my spine, manipulating joints and making notes with her pen straight on to my skin. Once I wince and once I yell out and when she asks my pain score it is 11 out of 10 when I ‘catch’ the twinge and 8 when I can avoid it. Then she starts manipulating a space between my ribs (it feels like) and I feel a correlation on the other side of my back, like miles away, very odd. Then she moves to another place and I feel distinctly nauseous. But I also feel safe and able to relax, just a little bit and I’m flooded with relief because I know that it’s fixable and I will be OK and I’m not crippled forever. In Michelle’s hands I’m OK and begin to cry – again.
*this follows my earlier post on back pain, which you can read here and for which I received a great deal of Facebook love, thank you! Much better now, more posts to follow.