Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Great Expectations

In the interest of full disclosure, I cannot take credit for the title of this post: that goes to a patient, Madeleine, and I fully expect that she will be in turn thanking Dickens for the inspiration in her blog.

I, or rather my belly, seems to garner a lot of attention lately. People are generally very nice to pregnant ladies, so I'm finding. In theatre restroom line ups I'm encouraged to use the empty facility set aside for those with special needs (I declined, for the record, choosing solidarity with my stall-challenged sisters...). Sometimes I am offered a seat on a packed bus, leading me to wonder about all the other lugs who sit contentedly in full view of my girth. Doors are held open, people smile at me more... the world loves a pregnant woman.

And why not? I'm glowy, I make you look thin by comparison, I waddle - that's always good for a laugh, and not to overstate my case, but the human race depends on us.

What I can't figure out is why the world wants to bring a happy, round, shiny woman down.

The horror stories! The pain! The tales of squeezing a thing THIS BIG through a space this big! The labours that went on for 63 hours! Only to end in an emergency operation! And the cord was here, and they got me just in time there, and then there was all the blood! And the pain - did I mention the pain??!?! Aaah!

Luckily, I'm not expecting any of that to happen to me. Not just because I'm an obstetrical marvel, or my generous birthing hips, or my heightened pain threshold or any masochistic bent. I'm not expecting any of that because I CHOOSE to not expect it. And frankly I'm sick of being told otherwise.

But I'm not naive. I'm aware of the size of this versus the size of that. I understand well the pain of muscular contractions. It is clear to me that child birth is a process that is typically and deservedly referred to as 'painful'. I appreciate that things often don't go according to plan.

I just choose to plan for it to go perfectly, and will modify my plan as it unfolds. I choose to prepare for it to go well, and will modify along the way as needed. I choose to assume that my experience will be positive until proven otherwise. Is that so wrong?

I'm visualizing. I'm taking a hypnosis for childbirth class (want to join me in November?). I'm listening to ALL your stories and experiences, and filing them under 'ways this can happen'. I'm reading and learning as much as I can. I'm preparing my body with yoga and keeping my pelvic joints moving with chiropractic. I'm doing everything possible to create the outcome I want, and I'm not going to be told that it can't happen.

I always thought it was funny, referring to a pregnant woman as 'expecting', as if exactly what she was expecting was up in the air (puppies? a baby? maybe a dolphin!). But I'm taking it literally, and I'm going to use this expectant time to create my positive expectations.

So the next time you spot a spherical woman looking all jolly (think Santa Claus) in her life-affirming state, think: should I smile and tell her how wonderful she looks? Or should I tell her about my cousin's HORRIBLE CHILDBIRTH EXPERIENCE, just in case she wasn't aware that in 11 weeks she will EXPERIENCE PAIN LIKE NEVER BEFORE, not that she can do anything about it now... ha ha ha....

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I'm sure you all have plans to exercise, stretch and eat healthful, homemade, organic meals all weekend... but take a break this Sunday night!

The fabulous Gavin Creel will be performing at the Diesel Playhouse on Sunday October 26th, at 8:00 PM. Robbie Roth, one of my favourite composer and husbands, will be accompanying him. The Tony Nominated Creel, who has starred in the Broadway production of Thoroughly Modern Millie and played the part of Bert in London's West End production of Mary Poppins, will be performing original material, familiar covers and Broadway tunes! If you've never seen him perform you'll be blown away... he is as charming as he is talented.

So... like this blog, take a break from being all Chiropractic and healthy, and come out for a great evening. Get your tickets now!

Hope to see you all there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top Ten

We all love David Letter.man, right? (Please don't tell me you watch L.eno...) He is funny, Chiropractic is funny, so it was only a matter of time before his writers came up with a top 10 on this subject. Granted, though, it was aired in 1994, and a lot has changed since then. Like now maybe Jon Stew.art is funnier.

Letter.man's Top 10 Signs You've Gone to a Bad Chiropractor

10. When you walk, you make a wacky accordion sound.

9. Keeps saying, "A
spine is like a box of chocolates."

8. Repeatedly asks, "You a cop? You sure you aint' no cop?"

7. Over and over, you hear crunching sounds followed by, "Uh-oh."

6. There's a two-drink minimum.

5. At end of session, lies down on the table and says, "My turn!"

4. He was nowhere near Woodstock and yet he's covered with mud.

3. Rushes in late to your appointment still wearing his Burger King uniform.

2. Hints that for an extra $50, he'll "straighten" something else.

1. You're fully clothed
and he's naked.

Ha! Ha!
Since I'm a funny gal, I'll counter with a top ten list of my own. Except it won't be as funny.

Dr. Fagen's Top Ten signs you need a Chiropractor

10. You make a crackling sound when you nod yes or no.

9. One of your legs is longer than the other. Seriously, if you find yourself walking in circles, your seamstress has to do more work on the right leg than the left, or you just notice being 'off' - this can indicate pelvic unleveling, a major contributor to back pain.

8. Old people comment that you walk like an old person. Hunched is not flattering on anyone.

7. Your back pain is affecting your social life. When you are not just in pain, but can no longer participate in the things that make life enjoyable - well, you are choosing pain over life. See a chiropractor.

6. You are known as the 'girl with the bad back'. C'mon... there are better ways to get a reputation!

5. Your fashion is dictated by pain.
When your low back demands that you wear orthopedic flats all the time or carry a (gasp) backpack purse, you need a chiropractor.

4. You can't check your blindspot. Drive (carefully!!) to the chiropractor at once!

3. The top shelf of all your closets is wasted space - because
you can't raise your arm to reach there. Did you know that chiropractors help shoulders?

2. You've tried everything else! We love a challenge...

1. You are moved to tears by the robax.acet commercials... you really relate to that dancing wooden puppet!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Danke schön, darling, danke schön...

We shouldn't need fowl to be outwardly appreciative of our blessings. This year I've decided to kill two birds* with one blog; declare my gratitude this Thanksgiving day and produce yet another sincere and moving blog post.

I am thankful for my health. Really, we are all really just a carbon-based bag of bones, our bodies guaranteed to last a lifetime, the caveat being that the definition of 'lifetime' is subject to change without notice. So I'm grateful to be healthy at this moment.

I am also grateful for my experiences with poor health. My biggest challenges have been lower back related, though without having those experiences I may not have found my beloved vocation. My experiences with herniated discs gave me perspective and insight into my patients' suffering, and the ability to truly sympathize with my fellow disc herniators. We are a brave bunch. That said, I am forever grateful to my neurosurgeon, Dr. Tator. I doubt there ever was or will be a more competent or patient surgeon.

I am grateful for the little person inhabiting me. We haven't formally met, but I've got a good feeling about this. What an experience so far.

I am thankful for the internet - really, what did I do without it? So, thank you, Al Gore. I am thankful for my readers - those who read my silly posts regularly and those who pop in from time to time. I'm even thankful to those readers who find me by searching phrases such as "good chiropractor jokes". Hope you find some knee slappers here.

I am grateful for knowledge. As a self-declared (and other-declared) know-it-all, I love knowing stuff. I also love that there is so much that is unknown, unknowable... that some of the the most beautiful things are mysteries - love, the universe, where we come from and where we go when we are done, what really happened to Mikey from the Life cereal commercial. These things cannot be proven, and where there is no proof we are left with possibility. How lovely. I guess then, that I'm grateful for that too: possibility.

Finally, in keeping with the theme of this blog, I'm grateful to be a chiropractor. To have wonderful patients who put their trust and spines in my hands, to work with amazing associates who teach me and treat me, to have found something I love to do so as to never have to 'work' a day in my life... for these things I owe thanks.

*no birds were harmed in the writing of this post.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Rabbit Died

Recently I find myself in a family way.

I'm excited to meet the person who is currently residing on the far side of my navel, but in the meantime I'm enjoying playing scientist with my very own body. Really, is there anything more fascinating than one's own self, and more so when every day brings a new sensation, change, discovery, bodily function? I'm creating a pancreas, what are you doing this week?

Being my very own maternal experiment allows me to put my theories and preconceived (ha!) notions to test. Here are some of my scientific results.

Theory: Prenatal Yoga is beneficial
Conclusion: Affirmative! That front hip pain that my pregnant patients always complain about? It is real! Turns out that knowing that the hip flexor muscles tighten due to a forward shift in posture and pressure from the uterus, and experiencing said tightness and pressure - two different things. I'm finding that yoga is very helpful in releasing these muscles. It is also very calming. Oh, and hilarious to watch your friend who is 10 weeks ahead of you try to get into child's pose when her belly is hitting the floor...

Theory: Maternity clothes are for suckers and the unfashionable, just wear low-rise pants and long tops!
Conclusion: Negative. I assumed all the cute little bumps I saw on Eglinton Ave. (seriously, there is a baby boom right outside my clinic) just developed on top of previously toned abdomens. I neglected to take into account the general widening of... everything. If it doesn't have an elasticized waist band, I'm no longer interested. Buffet pants are my new fashion.

Theory: Chiropractic is good for pregnant women.
Conclusion: OH YES. Besides being a drug-free and safe option to treat the myriad of aches and pains that arise during this delicate time, chiropractic can actually make labour smoother. The pelvis is made up of a few parts, parts that work best when they are aligned and freely moveable. When these joints stop moving properly, pain arrives. A pregnant woman's pelvis really relies on the normal movement and alignment of these joints - not only for pain-free walking (waddling), but so that a baby can, you know, travel through said pelvis en route to the world. A fixated pelvis is not conducive to a smooth and easy labour.

Theory: Natural childbirth is possible!
Conclusion: Ask me sometime in January. Like every health care decision, this too is a choice, and like every health care decision, a not always controllable one. I hope that with my midwife, my hypnotherapy CDs, my loving and supportive husband and my faith in the power of the female body to manage this feat, that the birth of this baby will be gentle, pain-free and lightning fast. I also hope that the USA will elect the right president, that the Middle East will find peace, and that my favourite jeans will fit the day after the baby is born.

Theory: Pregnant women deserve to be pampered.
Conclusion: YES YES YES. First of all, hearing over and over that 'life as you know it is over' is getting tiresome, if not a little frightening. Prenatal massage turns out to be a wonderful antidote, relaxing my aching joints and giving me an hour of 'me time', something I'm told will be in short supply very soon. Reflexology and Reiki are positively wonderful, sending me off... elsewhere. I emerge relaxed, and it lasts for days. Acupuncture has been a wonderful tool as well, especially in those nauseating first few months. These treatments are all safe during pregnancy when done by qualified practitioners who understand the necessary precautions when treating expecting ladies.

I'm told over and over by grinning (smirking?) moms that EVERYTHING will change... and honestly, I can't wait.

So far all that has changed is my figure.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Here Wii Go Again...

I'm generally not one to say 'I told you so', and I can admit when I'm wrong.

I tried the Wii.Fit the other day, after having decried its value as a fitness aid. Don't get me wrong, I judged it accurately - I stand by my uninformed and strongly biased opinions - I just judged it early. Call me Judy, I don't care, I judge things.

But woo-hoo, is that thing fun!

It offers yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games. Wow... just like a gym! What a concept.

I tried out some balance games, watched my husband attempt to pummel a cyber-opponent in boxing, and then I played with a virtual hula hoop. Oh the fun wii had!

But here comes my rant. Despite my cousin's insistence that she 'really works up a sweat' doing this, I just don't see how this is an ideal form of exercise. Sure I was working on my balance, but I'd be better using a wobble board with weights or walking on uneven terrain. The boxing was lame, hitting a virtual opponent has none of the resistance or satisfaction of hitting a real live person. Plus, uh, a thing called form? Simply punching the air at the right time to make the 'pow' noise does not a boxer make. Do yourself a favour - go see my friend Jon, he'll learn you to box. And hula hoop? While it is funny to watch my 60-year-old uncle do this (funny strange...), well, show me the hard-body who will claim that hula hooping made them that way.

Granted I didn't try all the 'sports' available, but I still maintain that standing on a pad, inside, eyes glued to a screen and imitating the moves one might make while actually playing a sport does not equal, well, playing the sport. And supervision and form matter too, you know. I tried some yoga poses, and the only 'advice' my Wii Yogi had was to keep my centre of gravity in a certain spot. It hurt, I was nowhere close to approaching Zen, and no one said 'namaste' when it was done. That's not yoga to me. Want to do yoga? Join one of Jen's classes. Guaranteed enlightenment and no USB cable needed!

I may need to try it out again though, you know, in the interest of providing my readers with a fair and balanced assessment... but so far I maintain that while Wii.Fit might be 'convenient', it might be easy, it might be fun... it is not fitness.

So as usual, I am right and I told you so.