This story starts a long time ago. It was probably dark and stormy, too. It wasn’t at night, though. I was at school. For the purpose of your visualization, it was before I hit that awkward hair stage, and I was still cute (pig tails, all of my front teeth were visible, the lighting was… well, it was flourescent lighting, but use your imagination!). We had to line up and stand this way and that way, and then they (probably a nurse or something, but I don’t really remember that part) told you if you needed a follow-up with a doctor. That’s right, we were getting screened. Vision, hearing, and scoliosis. I could see perfectly (back then), but my hearing wasn’t worth a darn (really, I promise, I am not intending to ignore you, it’s just a happy side effect) and I had scoliosis.
After determining that I shouldn’t have to go through being “that kid,” nothing more was really done about it (the scoliosis, I mean – treatment would have involved a back brace or surgery, which could have brought on the awkward hair phase a lot earlier – nobody wants that!; I continued going to see my ENT like he was my best friend, but I still can’t hear worth a darn). In any case, I turned out ok. In fact, I had completely forgotten that the whole screening thing ever happened! Until one fateful day…
Mid-January several years ago, and it was cold (the worst things always happen when it is cold; it was probably dark and stormy again)… and suddenly I couldn’t walk. My back was killing me. I thought it was literally killing me, but come to find out, it was a figurative murder. Blah blah blah, pain, pain pain, whoa! My spine is in line with my hip! That hurts! I found a chiropractor who just about saved my life (again, I thought I was being murdered). It took a while, but lo and behold, I even started running again. Yay for running! And yay for chiropractic!
After being here about a month, I decided that I needed to line up a chiropractor here, more as a preventative thing than anything else, but I was starting to feel that old familiar twinge. The relocation people gave me a name and number, and I called diligently for a week, in spite of feeling intimidated by their website (listing therapies including phlebotomy (for detoxification of the blood), colonic irrigation (needs no further explanation), and “brain scanner therapy”), but was only able to get an apparently pre-recorded message in German telling me who knows what. I called the relocation lady and explained the dilemma, and she agreed to call on my behalf and see what was up. Literally 3 minutes later, I had an appointment with another doctor in town (she learned that the original guy was going to be out of town for several more weeks). Yesterday was D-day.
I found my way there (down an alley and through a door in the back), and after some initial confusion (the admin lady doesn’t speak English at all and had minimal patience for my limited German, which admittedly was sprinkled with English words when I got flustered), I was in the doctor’s office. Again, I stood this way and that, and he told me that my scoliosis wasn’t doing too badly – “your spinal bones are mostly straight”. Unfortunately, however, my right leg is 3cm shorter than my left leg! HOW ON EARTH have I lived this long without ever knowing that my legs were so different? How has no other doctor ever noticed this? After some encouragement to try an orthopedist for shoe inserts (which, he says, may not work at my age; I’m so old per the chiropractor in Germany), he fixed the spinal misalignments (oh, how I missed my Dr. D., my Russian chiropractor in Atlanta, with his fancy tables that make feeling better such a pleasure) using my own body as a tool to leverage against myself. And then… the real adventure began. He pointed out that my hip (the source of my current and most frequent discomfort) was swollen due to the differences betwixt my legs, and that he had a method for relieving said swelling. And then, just like that, I was introduced to the art (or science?) of cupping. Fire cupping for those of you in the know. He put some kind of oil all over my mid and lower back, lit a piece of gauze (saturated in alcohol) on FIRE, and stuck it on my back. He warned me, “you will have the blue marks. About a week. Feel better.” I showed Mike, and much to my concern, he started laughing WHILE grabbing the camera:
So… orthopedic shoe things and bruises all over my back. Dare I return?
Meanwhile, Mike lost interest in the abuse of my back when he found this in our back yard:
All of that AND we started German language classes yesterday, too! Who said that Mondays were boring? The language class was interesting (we didn’t do very much past what I’ve learned through Rosetta Stone just yet, but we’ll get there)! Mike and I were 2 of the 4 Americans in the class, and I think we were outnumbered by the Iranians in the class. There were several Iranians, several Iraqis, an Ethiopian, a Bulgarian, a couple of guys from Poland, and several others that I either can’t remember or couldn’t read the name of their country (as in they wrote the name of their country in letters I didn’t recognize and couldn’t understand). Mike made a friend of one of the Americans – a guy from Michigan! (unfortunately, according to Mike, he is a Spartan; oh well… can’t win ’em all…)
Not to mention that we had a drastic improvement in the salsa department! Whoa! What a day… We took our abominable salsa (you remember, the one that is a nasty imitation of ketchup?), added a can of tomatoes, real tomato, real pepper, and spices… voila! Edible! Not excellent, but good. With homemade black bean and rice burritos. Not bad, friends, not bad. 🙂
In light of the strange and wonderful things (please note, I have yet to decide whether the things that are strange were also wonderful; these may be adjectives describing unique entities) that filled Monday, in spite of it’s dubious beginnings, I’ll leave you with these pictures from Heidelberg: