Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My back! My back!

I hurt my back on a visit to Taman Titiwangsa for my regular exercise right after the Chinese New festivities. Pulled a muscle or something, I thought. It left me with intense pain emanating from my left shoulder blade for over a week leaving me pretty deflated. That was when a friend recommended a chiropractor. I’ve never been one for alternative medicine and the like, but having struggled with fitful sleep nearly two weeks I felt I didn’t have anything to lose.

The doctor was a white South African, and it was an interesting encounter I must say. He was mild-mannered, tall, with a Taliban-type beard and a white haji koppiah (scull cap). It appears the problem arose out of a previously known congenital trait - a minor case of scoliosis, or curvature of the spine – which resulted in stress on the spinal column and musculature. An accident waiting to happen, said he. And my chin-ups were sort of like the last straw that broke the-- You get the picture. Hmm, that was enlightening. I was also put on short treatments of cold therapy, ultrasound, and electrical nerve stimulation which I am sure anyone would find, er, somewhat pleasant if they had to spend 30 to 40 minutes on a torture rack as I did.

After three painful visits of chiropractic alignment where I heard my joints crack and pop, I was feeling referred pain on my left forearm right down to the tips of my 2 fingers nearest the thumb. Throbbing spasms, tingling sensations, that left my arm aching and numb and unable to lift or type with any comfort. Couldn’t even squeeze the toothpaste. Bad scene. What now? Did my chiropractor aggravate my injury? It now felt like my nerves were on fire.

I skipped my 4th appointment and in desperation visited a GP down the road for relief. Well, I have no way of saying if it was the right decision, but the doctor didn’t have any good words about chiropractic treatment at all, and he said so with an undisguised sneer. So here I am, swallowing pills and oral steroids (“Steroid is not a bad word, David,” so said the doc) for possible nerve compression. And give the left hand a rest, please, the doctor said.

The good news is, I think it’s getting better, and I am trying to type this post - gingerly - with my left hand too.

So I’m dealing with that while working on project deadlines, sermons, and solving crises on other fronts all at the same time. In the meantime, the world’s gone mad over some cartoons. Religious sensitivities and intellectual hypocrisy on the part of some liberal western media (evident in almost spineless acquiescence) collided in a rabid global outpouring of fury. Certainly brings to mind a Chesterton quote: "Art, like morality, consists in drawing a line somewhere."


Siva said...

Hi David. Sorry to hear about your back, but I am really surprised to hear you went to see a chiropractor! They are like bomoh urut, only a little more sophisticated.. heh heh.

David BC Tan said...

Hey, there's always a first for everything...