I’ve had neck trouble for as long as I can remember. While it’s never bothered me enough to do much for treatment, an upcoming insurance switch—combined with turning 40 in August—prompted me to book an appointment a few weeks ago.
They referred me to a reputable neck and back clinic known for targeted physical therapy and impressive results, and I knew I was in trouble before I even finished the paperwork.
Poor penmanship and an ill-timed hiccup caused me to put an odd space between the letters as I scrawled the word “therapist.” Concerned I’d start things off on the wrong foot, I approached the receptionist with the paperwork clutched in one hand.
“Just so you know,” I told her, “I didn’t mean to write ‘the rapist’ here. I’m not implying anything untoward about the staff.”
She blinked at me, then stared at the form. “I—um—I’ll let them know.”
My non-rapist therapist turned out to be a friendly woman who started things off with a series of questions about my hobbies and career.
“A romance author?” she replied when I told her. “Really? That’s fascinating.”
“Kind of,” I admitted. “I write romantic comedy.”
“What does that mean, exactly?”
“It means I write funny smut,” I explained. “I like to write things that simultaneously make you giggle and tingle in your swimsuit area.”
I thought that was a pretty apt description worthy of ending up on a business card, but she just looked at me oddly a moment before consulting her clipboard.
“OK then, it sounds like you’ve had neck pain for quite awhile,” she said. “Was there any inciting injury?”
“Not that I can recall.”
“Let’s go through a series of movements and you can tell me if you have difficulty performing them. Ready?”
I nodded, which—for the record—was not a difficult movement. But when she began to bob her head front to back in a rhythmic fashion, I fought the urge to giggle.
“Can you do this?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” I said, thrusting my head back and forth with great enthusiasm. “You’re not the first person to ask me that today.”
“OK then,” she said, ceasing her head bob. “Any difficulty swallowing?”
I grimaced, trying hard not to snicker. “You’re setting this up for me, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Sorry.” I cleared my throat. “Nope, no trouble swallowing.”
She scribbled something on her clipboard, and I squinted to see if I could make out the words “sexual deviant” anywhere in her notes.
“Let’s talk about sleep positions,” she said.
“Let’s!” I agreed, always happy to discuss any activity that takes place in bed.
“Do you like to be on your back, on your side, on your stomach?”
“Yes!” I said, then reconsidered the question. “Wait, you mean for sleeping?”
I admitted that I usually start out on my back or side, but somehow end up flopped on my stomach with my hands tucked under my hips. She explained that particular position is one of the worst things I can do to my neck, and that I should make every effort to stay on my back or side.
“We don’t want you to wake up with any weird kinks,” she said.
“I’m a romance author,” I pointed out. “I’d be out of a job if I didn’t wake up with any weird kinks.”
We finished our first session without any further incident—save one small snicker when she asked if I had any objection to restraints—and I left with three more appointments scheduled in the coming weeks.
I’d like to say I’ll be on my best behavior for future visits. But what does that really mean, anyway?