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Laughing at failure

March 11, 2014

Weight LossFat HealthExerciseMy Boring-Ass LifeDiet Talk

I hurt my back in a freak skating accident recently. Not wanting to do cortisone shots or surgery, I’m looking into chiropractic care. Whether it works or not is up for debate, and I’m Chirocertainly skeptical myself. After my consultation, I could go either way.

My assessment entailed several self-report surveys, a motion test, a set of X-rays, and some chiropractic evaluation/hand-waving, depending on which side of the debate you fall on. I hadn’t expected my overall health grade to be high because I’m fat and new doctors are unknown quantities. I’d predicted a D, so when I saw my F, I had to laugh. I suppose an F is supposed to be scary, intimidating, or whatever, but to me it stood for funny. I ended up two points away from a D for duh.

I thought the funniest part was the definition of the “Health Continuum,” which places people between death and life. It’s further broken down into letter grades. My comments are in pink.

  • A = Optimal health Read: where people have no need to see a doctor.
    • 100% function
    • Further development What does this even mean?
    • Active participation or this?  Who is a passive participant in their life?
    • Wellness lifestyle I think I know what this means and it’s unlikely I’d ever pass this unless I lost half my mass.
  • B = Good health Read: where you fell down and might be worried, but it turns out to be nothing.
    • Regular exercise Check!
    • Good nutrition Check!
    • Wellness education Whether we want it or not. Isn’t it “standard of care” to “educate” fat patients on ELMM and the VFHT?
    • Nerve interference
  • C = Maintaining health Read: an average person. In that respect, C is the appropriate grade.
    • No symptoms
    • Inconsistent nutrition
    • Sporadic exercise
    • Health is low priority I object to this phrasing. “Health is prioritized differently than practitioner thinks it should be,” is more accurate. I don’t think the typical person decides to be unhealthy.
  • D = Poor health Read: where most of us see a doctor.
    • Symptoms D for duh.  Why see a doctor when you don’t have symptoms?
    • Drug therapy I could write a whole other post on my objection to pharmaceuticals being inherently bad.  
    • Surgery Again, not inherently bad. I had a wisdom tooth removed when it got a cavity, then I had two more removed when they were degrading their adjacent teeth. I think surgery beats rotting mouth.
    • Losing function Isn’t this why we see doctors?
  • F = Disease I have a problem with this. According to their continuum, F should be for finished (aka expired, aka dead). D should be for disease. Everybody dies sometime, but I’m pretty sure corpses aren’t going to doctors. That’s usually reserved for live people, though now I really want to see a dramedy series about a doctor who specializes in zombie patients.

    • Multiple medications See above. Thanks to my multiple medications I’m not freezing cold, permanauseated, or suffering from vitamin deficiencies.
    • Poor quality of life Yet again, why people see doctors. Something is affecting their ability to live the way they’d like. In my case, the pain keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep and the deprivation affects all aspects of my waking life.
    • Limited potential Does anyone have unlimited potential? I know I’m never going to be a Grammy-winning singer for instance.
    • Limited body function Might this be why I sought help in the first place? Nah!

When it came to “Functional Fitness,” I got my highest score of B+. In other words, I passed all but one of the exercises they wanted me to do. The one I failed involved getting up from a lunge, which I’ve had trouble with since one of my first skating injuries over ten years ago as a 135-pound, size-12 teenager. I mention those stats because even without the bias of my weight, no doctor could figure out what was wrong. I eventually learned it was jumper’s knee, and while my tendon was prone to inflammation, skating had strengthened the ligament to compensate. Given the amount of time I spend doing lunges in my daily life, it’s not something I’ve felt compelled to work on.

I got my lowest F in “General Health.” This took my weight, blood pressure, and self-reported survey answers into account. I thought my weight was the biggest score drop, but it turns out to be my mental survey. I work long hours with a lot of deadlines. Stressful? Sure. Hazardous environments? You betcha. A problem? Definitely not. After four years on the job, I can still say I love my work and I haven’t been able to say that after two years at other jobs. My sex life was null, but I’m also asexual so I don’t see it as a problem. I really object to my zero.

Even with my various issues, I’m pretty happy with my life. I’ve got financial security, a nice place to live, a cat, a kickass skating instructor, the ability to help people, a close family, etc. My health satisfaction survey came up low. Again, duh. I wouldn’t be seeking treatment if I was satisfied with my health. My only saving grace in this category was my blood pressure. I got an A! It matches the personality type that tanked my mental score. My last two rounds of bloodwork would also suggest improved health. My lipid profiles get better and better each evaluation, I’ve never had any risk for diabetes, I no longer have vitamin deficiencies, and my hormones are where they’re supposed to be. None of that was taken into account though.

Lastly there was “Neuro Spinal Health” with my higher F. Some of this comes from chirospeak (or mumbo jumbo, if you prefer) and some came from x-ray evidence. There were clear physical issues, though I’m not sure I’d give them an F, if only because my spinal cord is intact.

My overall wellness score was my highest F, boosted by my physical ability. I don’t know if it was because I laughed at the majority of the assessment or something else, but weight loss was not mentioned as a part of my treatment plan. Neither of us are blind, so it’s not like there needs to be a fatness disclosure. He did take me at my word about my diet (the noun, not the verb). It’s hard to dispute exercise when that’s what brought me in there

The majority of the plan involves physical-therapy type stuff to get things moving the way they are supposed to move. The rest are the adjustments to get my vertebrae where they’re supposed to be. How much of this, if any of it, will help remains to be seen. I don’t buy into the idea that fixing my back is going to correct genetic abnormalities, resurrect my thyroid, or get my immune system to chill. I definitely have less of a problem with pharmaceutical intervention than he does. While trying to scare me with damage to nerves controlling genitourinary systems, I was pretty over it. My reproductive system doesn’t function currently, I have no desire to have children, and I already know how to catheterize myself. Out of everything I take, NuvaRing is the least scary of the bunch. It sure beats bleeding for months at a time! I am there for my back and he gets that. When he doesn’t, I can fire him. If nothing else, I got a good laugh before my X-rays sobered the mood and laughter is the best medicine, right?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    March 11, 2014 12:36 pm

    Great post. I’d like to know when medical practitioners started giving out “grades” on one’s health? As far as I’m concerned, health is a pass/fail kind of thing – you’re either alive (pass) or dead (fail) – and even then, that “fail” isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a judgment call since we all eventually die and there’s no avoiding that. And nowhere along that line between the two is any better or worse than anywhere else along that line because none of us are formed out of a cookie-cutter mold – we’re all individuals, with different genetics, different life experiences, different bodies, all of which rule out anyone being able to grade you on how “well” or how “badly” you’re doing at navigating your life and health. It also seems to me that those “grades” don’t take into account things like disabilities, complications from previous medical encounters (WLS, I’m looking at you), accidents, or any of the many things in life that can send us looking for help from medical professionals. Ignoring all of those things makes that “grading” system useless and very worthy of derision.

    • gingeroid permalink
      March 23, 2014 7:17 pm

      It’s always subjective. I have a doctor whose opinion I respect and gives me information outside of an A-F rubric. Everyone else can go pound sand until I’m looking to replace my preferred doctor.

  2. March 12, 2014 10:06 am

    I am actually a fan of chiropractic – have found that a Chiro can be a helpful consultant and provider, provided that I work with a good one. What you encountered was more of a marketing thing than anything else: the idea is to “sell” you on chiropractic so you will keep coming back after the pain is gone.

    I have had back and knee problems most of my life. Where I find the Chiro most helpful is the he really knows body mechanics, and can help me figure out what’s causing pain and often, what I need to strengthen in order to fix it. Sometimes a vertebra is a little out of line, and they can put it in line.

    The best Chiros, I find, are those who are more focused on healing than on marketing. Beware the Chiro who says they need to see you regularly for the next 3 months! Mine sees me when I call because something hurts, and I may see him for a follow-up or two, but it’s all on an as-needed basis.

    • gingeroid permalink
      March 23, 2014 7:15 pm

      Oh without a doubt it’s a sales pitch. His job is to convince me I’d be happier receiving his services than I would be keeping my money.

  3. weightstigmaconference permalink
    March 12, 2014 10:39 am

    OMG, I so want to see a series about a doctor specialising in zombie patients. Anyone in the TV industry want to pitch this? Seems ripe with potential.

    • March 13, 2014 7:50 pm

      Oops, was signed in as stigma conference. This was Me, NeverDietAgainUK, in case any TV producers want to pick up on this and pay me for the idea 🙂

  4. April 21, 2014 1:50 pm

    Please consider trying a different chiropractor instead of this one.

    Chiropractic can be extremely helpful for many people, but the key seems to be finding a good one. I’ve been to a few who were total quacks, and others who were tremendously helpful to my quality of life.

    I’ve noticed that chiropractors vary wildly. Don’t judge the worth of all chiropractic based on your experiences with one.

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