The tiny, unassuming clinic sat down a flight of small steps, nestled in an alleyway between a delicatessen and physiotherapists. Though the building was brand new, the space was cramped, it’s narrow corridors easily spanned a single arm length wide.
“This assistant smiles too much,” I thought to myself bitterly as the smiling medical office assistant took my picture. I managed a grim smile and lowered myself into one of the two chairs in their claustrophobic sitting nook. The week long migraines I had been suffering from looming threateningly in the background. My vision flashed. I would be alarmed, if this wasn’t the third month of paralysis, pain, and flashing vision so far. I was supposed to get a lumbar puncture two days prior, but the doctor who was too perform the procedure, mercifully decided against it.
I felt sick. No. I felt like I was dying. The ER doctor who listened to my issues so compassionately, was emphatic that this therapy would be helpful. An appointment was made nearly immediately, and I allowed myself to feel hopeful. To doubt a professional showing honest concern was an excellent way to hamstring oneself. I did not have to swallow my pride to come, but I will always be skeptical of panaceas.
“Jessica?” a voice inquired, and I was led into an angular room. The haphazard type, built of desperation to maximize space in a cramped space. I lowered myself gingerly into a seat, my heart skipping beats and my spine creaking like the front door of a haunted mansion.
She assesses me, and directs me to lay on a black table. A prick of a needle. Crying out in pain, I remember only the heat, breaking out into a full body sweat as I stopped struggling to lay flat on the black vinyl bed. The pain in my hips crossed that imperceptible line into the indescribable. I sat up, suddenly aware of the subtlety of movement in my lower back. Enchanted by it, I fell silent. The nagging tunes of my anxiety fell silent in my skull.
“It’s not uncommon for this to be an emotional moment,” the doctor smiles, handing me a tissue. I took it, dabbing at the single tear rolling down my cheek.
The feeling of exploration overtook me. I felt I have found an enchanted land of sensations at the root of my spine. Standing, previously with the same uncertainty of sensation as a broken, untuned fiddle, suddenly felt as rich and vibrant as an orchestra. Speechless, I revelled in the sensation. Stunned into silence, I let her explore my chest and neck, finding knots of seized myofascial tissue. Myo meaning muscle, and fascial meaning connective tissue.
The doctor smiles. In the syringe is nothing but normal saline. Water and salt. Like the sea.