I often have the urge to call into work claiming to be too lethargic or apathetic to come in. Wouldn't it be great, though, to be in a position where you've given your notice and you already have a new job lined up or you have some reason that you don't care about burning bridges. I'd call in sick each day with progressively more absurd excuses.
"I can't come in, terrorists have me."
"I'm batman, and I was up all night fighting crime."
"A magic pixie told me that if I left the house the butterfly effect would cause a jet to crash on my parents' place, killing everyone within a twelve block radius. I don't believe him, but I'd rather not take the chance."
And so on.
I have had that experience. I've gone across the street to McDonald's for lunch and entertained the idea of not going back. I've thought about shoving off even as I've worked two hours of voluntary overtime, waiting just a little longer after each order before going back for the next one, hoping someone else has taken the last one. Today, I sat in a doctor's office naked in socks thinking about how fortunate it is that Magi's sails are just about ready to hoist.
Well, I guess that's not entirely true: I had a hospital gown. Only my ass was naked.
I've often been entertained by some people's responses to my explorations of what is commonly referred to as "alternative medicine". Chiropractic, acupuncture, even massage. Funny how those same people who scoff at chiropractic will go to physio religiously, because their doctor ordered it, when physiotherapy is only the least of what a qualified chiropractor can do. Someone said to me just the other day, "I have a hard enough time believing in scientifically proven medicine."
Fun fact: scientifically proven means that the effects have been observed, and that the observation matches the claim.
The effects of chiropractic have been observed to work literally millions of times over the last few decades in Canada alone. Acupuncture is not a hip new trend, it's over 5000 years old. It wouldn't stick around for culture's sake alone, otherwise we might be much more familiar with leeches, bleedings, and lead treatments--which, by the way, were staples of mainstream western medicine, before they went the way of the dodo.
And I have personally witnessed people who finally agree to try massage, only when the morphine no longer helps, change their tune dramatically after a single treatment. I've seen massage therapy cure--not treat, not alleviate, but CURE--migraines, seizing back spazms, and a crippling abdominal pain that took one man from kidney specialist to stomach specialist to spleen, intestine, liver... in a single treatment. I shit you not.
Now, not everything is going to be so dramatic. Some things take a few treatments, some things take weeks. There is no cure-all, no magic treatment. But every form has its place.
Take my case. The conversation that resulted in the above quote came about because I mentioned at McDonald's on my lunch break that I was going in for acupuncture on Monday and chiropractic on Tuesday. I haven't seen an acupuncturist in years, but I see a chiropractor at least four or five times a year. (It's my answer to not working my abs, which would otherwise hold my spine in terrific alignment.)
I'll not bother with my reason for seeing the acupuncturist, but the chiropractor I was set to see because last week I started feeling a bit of a twinge in my lower back. It was uncomfortable, and generally when I go in to see him, my discomfort is completely gone by the time I leave his office. Thing about this time is, I called on Friday, I couldn't get in to see him until Tuesday, I worked both of those, and every day in between. Quick question, what's six cartons per box at four litres per carton? Now stack a pallet six feet high with those. Three times an hour.
So each day, my minor twinge got a little worse, and I moved a little slower to accommodate, but I couldn't take all that time off, because I've lost two full weeks of work due to illness in the last two months, and my financial goals are far enough behind without adding rent to my list of unpaid debts. Hoped it wouldn't get too bad before Tuesday after work. It did. Hoped he could fix me right up and send me on my way.He couldn't.
I had to sit out with an ice-pack on my back for a half-hour on Tuesday. One supervisor told me that he understood the need, having been laid up with back problems for a year. Don't know what treatment he sought. But anyway, my little twinge graduating through moderate discomfort all the way to acute pain was enough to make me rethink my whole weekend of work. Too bad it was already Tuesday.
So as I said, the chiropractor couldn't fix me in a single treatment, though he downgraded my status back to moderate discomfort. He gave a prescription for light duties, no heavy lifting, no repetitive bending. I brought the note in to work, and the supervisors were willing to be totally accommodating. There is a list of light duties, not to mention a section of the warehouse where things are ludicrously light. The department manager, however, was a different story.
He read the note, pronounced in a sarcastic tone that the one who wrote it, "Mr,", and not "Dr," had "gone to high school." Don't think he respects chiropractic. Don't really give a rat's ass. He said that he couldn't put me on light duties unless it was a WCB claim. I honestly didn't think we had to take it that far. I'd paid $25 for the session, and would claim it come tax time, if my benefits didn't cover it. My next session was scheduled for Friday, when he would make a reassessment. This was Wednesday, and I had Thursday and Friday off.
Not unless it's a WCB claim? Fine. "We'll make it a WCB claim," I said. This did not impress him, as I suppose he thought... well, I don't much care what he thought. He answered, "Well, either it happened at work or it didn't." I answered, "Heavy repetitive lifting is my job."
So I went to the one with the forms, and spent the next hour filling them out. I was instructed to report to a specific medical centre for diagnosis and treatment. I asked, if it was now a WCB claim, how soon did they need my chiropractor's office to file? I was told, "See our guys, then we'll go from there."
Um... no. Number one, I have the right to choose my medical treatment. Number two, I've already seen my chosen doctor, who's already begun treatment. Number three, if I go to their guy, and they start the WCB forms there, will that create a headache for my doctor's office, or for me, when I try to claim the money back from my doctor's office through WCB, as is my right when I am treated for a work-related injury?
So I went back to my guy's office first, where we started the paperwork on their end, and my guy gave me a note for their guy, detailing (with my permission, of course) the injury, the restrictions, and the prescribed treatment plan. This is when I learned who their guy was.
WCB has a medical centre. They use their medical centre when a WCB case has gone on too long, when someone should have, by all reasonable medical standards, returned to work from the injury they've claimed. Perhaps the person is milking it unfairly, perhaps the doctor has mis-diagnosed, perhaps the treatment plan is ineffective or outright wrong. That's what the WCB medical centre did. Thing is, the more patients any centre sees, the more money they earn in return. Also, if everyone went to them, they wouldn't have to chase down files from medicentres, clinics, and hospitals across creation. So the WCB medical centre, a few months ago, started approaching major employers, making arrangements for injured employees to be sent straight to them, because as the accepted last word, they were qualified to promise the speediest return of workers to full active duty.
In making that arrangement with the employer, the medical centre has created the potential--I'm not making accusations of a breach of ethics, but the potential should be easy to see--for a conflict of interest between their promise to the employer and their responsibility to the patient. I went with eyes and ears wide open, and my claws securely hidden.
I arrived just a little late, which is a good standard for anything but ERs and ORs. I was led through a locked door and a maze of offices, cubicles, and exam rooms. Then the nurse handed me a gown and said, "You can keep the socks." So it was that I found myself bare-assed, waiting for a doctor, accumulating medical and beaurocratic costs, when a $25 appointment and some lighter boxes would have done the trick.
When the doctor came in, he told me he would much rather I was wearing something under the robe, and then when he examined me, he agreed with the chiropractor's assessment completely. But I have to go back and see him again, now, too. Fine. I'm not paying for it.
Except there's an incentive program at work. The program put us in teams. If a team goes without serious injury, as defined by the beaurocracy, for three months, we each get $150. Tomorrow marks one and a half. There are about fifty guys on my team.
That's my headache. Maybe the acupuncture will help.