Parable of the Chiro and the Osteo

A truly skilled healer must artistically blend a deep understanding of four diverse ingredients concerning human disease: the physical body, the psyche, the spirit, and karma. There exist almost no truly skilled healers in the world at present. 3 out of 4, or maybe even 2 out of 4, might have to do for now. This said, alternative practitioners can and do enthusiastically aim high when applying their particular slice of holistic vision to a client.

— 1 —

on occasion
as when twisting my left meniscus
hoisting a kid aloft
whose eyes plead irrefusibly
onto just the right branch
in a September orchard
fertile with pluckworthy Cortlands
I’ve been known to patronize
an alternative healer
or two
…not directly, mind you
invariably I elect to suffer a month or season
to see what nature can do unassisted

partly, this is due
to my abiding assessment
that non-alternative healers
suck a big moose dick, generally,
(an expression sustained from youth
for phenomena of pisspoor quality)
but partly too,
intrepid interlocutor,
for curiosity’s sake
that I might gradually
over a lifetime’s course
survey, sample, and analyze
all the myriad modalities which obtain
in this semi-professional domain
against the eventuality that
somewhere, somehow, by malady’s happenstance
I might stumble unwitting
upon an echo of ancient wisdom
however dim it is become
in the ghastly glare of modernity

having solicited advisories
from well-meaning companions
I could not but choose
between two unconventional candidates
and thus made for my experiment
official appointments with both
several weeks apart
their secretaries at any rate
evincing cheerful assuredness
that their employer was most certainly
the one who could heal me

— 2 —

first up the chiro
a posh premises he boasted
panels of bamboo and tropical forest woods
and a staff pleasant and optimistic
to greet and orient my arrival
first I was ushered
to a privacy room
piped-in serenity muzak
and impressive devices
for ascertaining
the extent of whatever malady
I presented
and perhaps several I did not,
questionnaire, desired effects,
past medical history in brief
what do I eat for breakfast
and might I be interested in supplementing
my coming treatments
with a comprehensive nutritional asssessment?
ok — I could allow these tangentials
to some extent
we live in holistic times, after all
though they rapidly seem
to be approaching post-holisticism
by my sniffing of the winds
but enough asides,
soon as sunlight
I was ushered in to my audience
with the main man

kindly, exhibiting a healthful glow,
and intently listening
— at first —
he perused my forms
and asked my concerns
which chiefly, I clarified,
was this twisting knee pain
and some difficulty in stooping
which arose from nowhere one day
a day or two after said incident
with the child and the apple tree
as I’ve previously mentioned
and thinking I’d neatly
nailed down the etiology
I awaited in expectant silence

but holism is holism,
I should have remembered,
and barely pausing he pressed forward
asking this and that
about my freedom of movement
analyzing my posture
showing diagrams depicting Adonis anatomy
and many other things unrecalled
till after some moments
I found myself instructed
in the details of his three principal programs
revolutionary and ground breaking
on the road from usual to ‘healthy’
then somewhat less clearly
he explicated the pricing
his renumeration for the work
the likely duration of therapies
and the possible results
(much less explicit was he here)
and if it is not too personal of me
I will lay you the landscape:
his preferred proposal
involved in dollars some thousands
and in time not less than a year
not to mention the delays
inevitably due to overbooking
of spending time in his waiting room
weekly or twice weekly
with an old National Geographic
and after an hour of this
I countered there should be a trial
of sorts
whereby I could ascertain
just what I thought
of these brave sessions
of course, of course, doubtless I forgot to mention,
you shall have two initial meetings
without further commitment
he disclosed
with a well-practiced antiseptic frank grin
and I told him let us try

truth to tell
his sessions were not uninteresting
I learnt I was an excellent patient
trusting of his manipulations
and always he took care
to chat amiably and answer questions
only occasionally stooping to
patronizing oversimplification
and always, I admit,
he chose masterfully the exact moment
to unleash his coup de grace move
untwisting a neck fragment favorably
or pressing a vertebrae unexpectedly
and he’d tell me good job
for what I am not certain
and send me out to a receptionist
credit card or cheque?
four or five times I endured it
till one day I noticed
precious little had been achieved
along the lines of my initial complaint
still my knee exploded in pain
if I stooped unawares, forgetting
or put weight on it unusually
and when I broached this topic mildly
he seemed at first needing his memory jogged
as though his vision for my progression
far outweighed my own priorities

so we scheduled a pow-wow
to see just where and on what map
we were situated
during which he seemed to imply
that these specificities
I was pre-occupied by
would fade in the mist unnoticed
as part and parcel of the ongoing benefits
accrued by the program
and I was doing wonderfully well, by the way
at which point I assayed
a devil’s advocate interrogation
excuse me good sir
but cannot it be logically plausible
in some remote universe of scenarios
to argue that if one has a steady clientele
for many years on end
that perhaps the therapeutics are faulty
or at least apparently without issue
but this failed to catch him unawares
he replied with an almost boast
and not without Hippocratic pride
that his average longterm client
had been with him trustily
for 14 years
I kid you not, patient reader
and so to reward your perseverance
and not make too long a tale of it
let me move on to therapist #2
whose initial appointment
came soon
upon the heels of my cancellation
of well-meaning Mr. Uber-Chiro

— 3 —

in an entirely less respectable village
and in a building more plain of aging brick
the osteopath maintained his offices
without pretense or undue luxury
and it pleased me by comparison
that the admin greeted me simply
and proffered only the simplest of forms
which, it bode well,
already contained mention of my primary complaint
and reason for seeking treatment
which had been told a month past
on the phone
and with uncharacteristic efficiency
I was told the fee, $160
and that my hour,
if indeed a full hour was even needed,
would begin shortly thereafter

and so it was
out he came himself to greet me
intelligent of face
observing subtly how I walked
as he conducted us down a corridor
to a pleasant if ordinary room
with a whiteboard, chairs, and a treatment table
and sooner than I can say ‘osteopath’
(which signifies
I am given to understand
a kind of trained specialist doctor
who conceives of the human body
by way of the ligaments, musculature, and skeleton)
he asked me what was what
and just like that
the floor was mine

I told him of my malady
demonstrating my limits of motion,
how I considered it could have arisen,
my general health before this point,
and also of my experiences
with the aforementioned chiro
he noted this last with interest,
indicating he’d return to it later
and seemed already to have a general notion
as to what ailed me
and what would be indicated
so succinctly he tested my freedom
of neck turn and knee bend and shoulder twist
that his precision surprised me
and then he concentrated on my lower back
for some moments
feeling exact points
as to assess or confirm
his initial suspicions
then followed a delightful interlude
of drawing knee and thigh parts
but deeply interior
marking in red
where my particular irregularity instanced
and here taught me the term ‘meniscus’
assuredly and with confidence
he showed how his manipulation
would ease the matter considerably
and seemed surprised when I queried
after how many sessions
which segued into our discussion
of chiropractry as utterly inappropriate
for ameliorating or curing
my particular situation,
insisting along the way
though wishing never to malign
an entire professional discipline
that chiros in general
have no deep training in human anatomy
and cited this as the reason
no actual cure had been afforded me

then with a comforting matter-of-factness
I was up upon his table
and laid upon my left side
leg bent
as he explored my lower back
till finding the right spot
gave a quick pressure, a relocation
of some part or another
explaining casually like an expert
that this pressure was compensation
for the initial twist I likely underwent
in that fateful fruiting orchard
and he bid me get up
and I swear not unlike Lazarus
I walked normally without pain
or inconvenience
at first even disbelieving
I needn’t favor one leg…
after jokes and prognostications
he said he believed this was goodbye
but feel free to call back
three weeks hence or so
should the slightest twinge persist
but I will tell you
with all honesty
by next day abnormality was forgotten

— 4 —

which awakens us warily
to this tale’s concluding tally:
osteo one, and chiro zero.

I know — I know
many of you rightly swear by
this or that chiropractor
(or even are one yourself
if so accept my deepest apologies
and admiring congratulations
and know that I make here
no generalized claims
concerning professions
for I have clearly labelled all this – a parable)
yes, swear by you have
and perhaps for numbered summers
or maybe cautiously more briefly
and I endeavor not
to shake coconuts
off the palm tree upon your head
I merely report
as public service or entertainment
what directly I have experienced
with own ligament and bone
that you might travel more informed
and given how thick
the alternative practice catalog has grown
it seems doubtful I have time
or occasion to revisit
these exact researches
for I have yet to examine
ear-candlers or mesmerists,
neti-pot afficinados
and iridology experts
no ASMR technician have I contacted
nor an Ayurvedic physician
not even an Ayahuasca intermediary
though graced by the gods
it might yet befall me
by destiny’s pierce
these esteemed tradesfolk
to some Wednesday seek out.

_______RS

[ Image : Alas, I can no longer remember where it was I clicked to find this intriguing illustration. ]

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8 Comments

    1. thanks Steph, for both the compliment and the health wish… these events were already two years ago or so, so it feels far behind me, but I found the tale half-written in a manuscript bin, and decided to complete it.

      Reply

      1. I sincerely doubt that Steph. I glanced back through the annals of your things two nights ago, where I have not looked for a year, and saw some marvellous things shining with truth and insight… and knew I would have to make time soon to go back and spend time with them. 🙂

      2. i too have gone back and marveled at my pieces and wonder if that was truly me…and of course it had to be. I miss my creative flow and wish it would return.

      3. Hmmm. That is a mystery I’ll grant. I think we should hire a detective at once about this. And I predict your language will be fauceting out your lips and fingers gushingly by next Tuesday at the latest.

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