Chiropractors, Confusion, and Coroners, plus Migraines

I’ve had debilitating migraines for decades and have tried every supposed cure known to medical science, as well as “natural” remedies and those mentioned in folk tales, wives’ tales, quackery, rumor, myth, and anywhere else. The term “long strange journey” might’ve been coined for this quest for relief. I’m not going to go into a list, because I’d burn out my keyboard and my fingers, but a local chiropractic clinic put an entertaining addition to their sign a while back which I find pretty hilarious. It provides comic relief, if not actual headache relief.

A month or so ago this small clinic changed their sign to announce a new staff member. They provide a single fact about the new person, which I assume is meant to be a draw for clients. The marvelous feature of the new person….he’s a Certified Medical Examiner.

Oooookay….maybe I’ve spent way too much time reading murder mysteries & non-fiction about the Body Farm & history of forensics & famous MEs (not to mention watching Law & Order & such), but aren’t MEs supposed to be for DEAD people? I’ve long believed that chiropractors are quacks, but not bad enough to need an actual ME in the office. I didn’t think they actually killed off their clients when they were adjusting their “subluxations” (first time I heard the term it struck me as a majorly pseudo-medical-sounding word if I’d ever heard one). Granted, having an ME right there would speed up the legal process if they did whack a client, but as an advertising draw it leaves something to be desired.

I saw a documentary many years ago about a guy who made pretty good money as a plain ole chiro, then decided he wasn’t getting rich enough fast enough. He started teaching a course for other chiros. The fee for the course was a million bucks. However, he had a money-back guarantee; if they didn’t make at least a million the first year after taking his course, and applied his strategies, he’d return the fee. He said he’d never had to return a fee; he taught ’em how to pull in the suckers and keep ’em coming back, thus bleeding them dry.

Despite this reinforcing my deep suspicion regarding chiropractic, I have actually gone to a couple (maybe 3) of them over the years, so desperate have I been to find ANYTHING which’d help the headaches. It, they, didn’t.

One of ’em I actually got “treatment” from for free, in return for tutoring him in an “advanced” bio course he had to take to keep his certification. This genius, who’s name I’ll never reveal lest he come sue my fanny, barely passed even with my expert help…and it was no more advanced than the undergrad bio course I taught in grad school.

Lest I sound as if I am completely against the practitioners, I know there are many people who’ve been relieved of all sorts of conditions by chiropractors, but (alas) I’m not one of them. And when I see claims that chiro can cure things like allergies or diabetes or cancer or such, I want to do something violent. And I do have positive thoughts about some chiros, notably Lorraine Toussaint, the African-American actress (actually I suppose it’d be more accurate to call her the Trinidadian actress) who played an ME for all too few episodes of “Crossing Jordan,” which was set in the Boston ME’s office. The show had several good MEs, but Ms Toussaint is one of my favorite actresses, just behind CCH Pounder. And Ms Pounder is actually playing an ME in the new show NCIS: New Orleans, a fact which is going to force me to actually come up with a functional television (unless I can watch it streaming, in which case I can remain happily TV free, since I almost never watch). There are exceptions, though; I’ve long thought CCH Pounder is one of the coolest women who ever walked, and just have to see her portray an ME, since I’m also fascinated by forensic medicine. I loved her on “Warehouse 13,” along with Saul Rubinek. The two actual stars of the show are okay, but Mrs Frederick & Arty rock…which is probably proof of my advancing age.

I digress. Chiropractors have never done anything for me medically, but at least they sometimes provide me with entertainment…namely, every time I drive by that sign. Some day I may go in and find out the real story, but I doubt it. My (probable) misapprehension of some fact is much more amusing.


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Filed under humor, medical, Non-fiction, Non-fiction oddball

catios: new way to let your indoor cat out

I’ve been a rabid proponent of keeping cats indoors for a long time –it’s better for the cats, better for songbirds, better in a lot of ways. The concept of a “catio” has caught my eye recently, and I look forward to building one in the house I’m trying to buy. If the closing process ever manages to get finished, & if I get through it with my sanity intact (doubtful). But here’s a neat article about catios, with some ideas (click on the title above).

I absolutely love the ‘celestial viewing platform. Those are some seriously lucky cats!

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February 24, 2014 · 3:06 am

Boat envy

My significant other left this morning for a 17 day research cruise on a 187-foot NOAA research vessel.  I’d love to say my feelings are mixed, but the truthier version would be, I’m dying of envy. He’s never been on a research cruise, or any type of large boat for more than a few hours. I’m not exactly Jacques Cousteau (no matter how much I wanted to be him when I was growing up), but I have been on several boat trips of varying lengths, the longest a 10-day trip on the RV Cape Hatteras (135 ft) in 1994, just as I was starting graduate school in Marine Bio at UNC-Wilmington. I never wanted to set foot on shore again after any of them.

btw, the term “cruise” should not conjure up images of Carnival Cruise lines. Research cruises are considerably lacking in luxury, though the cook on my 10 day trip made as good food as I’ve had anywhere (as long as one liked lots of garlic).

I probably got less sleep on the grad school trip than at any comparable span of time in my life, despite being a lifelong expert in insomnia.  My group was aiming to catch larval fish; we used several different methods, the main one being the boat’s huge frame trawl. This was an enormous net, maybe 40 feet long,that tapered down to a PVC barrel about 3 feet long, with mesh inserts. All the larger creatures washed out of the net and small, planktonic creatures were caught in the barrel. We caught miniscule slivers of baby fish, tiny speckled octopi the size of pencil erasers, the transparent larvae of lobsters (looking like weird extraterrestrial spiders, fragile as wet tissue paper– opening photo).  One day we passed the tattered remains of a makeshift raft, probably from one of the groups of desperate Haitians who were risking their lives in attempts to float to America at the time. It was mostly submerged and consisted of old inner tubes, pieces of coolers, part of a box spring, and other junk. We never knew what happened to the poor souls who set out on such a terrifying conveyance.

On other trips I’ve seen humpback whales drifting alongside the boat, waving a startlingly white, 15-foot long pectoral fin languidly at us. Manta rays the size of king-sized beds at dawn, shooting out of the water, turning over in mid-air, gleaming ebony backs traded for white bellies, splashing back into slate blue water with a resounding crash. A basking shark as long as my Elantra loafing at the surface like a cat dozing in the sun. Black and white dolphins surfing in the bow wave, turning over to eye us as we hung over the ship’s side, gaping & grinning like fools. They seemed to laugh at us (which would make them mighty forgiving creatures). The sky at night so velvet black and clear we could actually see satellites passing overhead, which I thought hadn’t been possible since the 70s, but there are some areas with air clear enough still.

R/V Cape Hatteras, my home for 10 days.

A lot of wrong turns resulted in my not spending a whole lot more time at sea. But I’m trying to remember what I was lucky enough to do, and to see.

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Filed under Marine bio, Uncategorized

Hello world!

Yes, this is my very first post. Why did I start this blog? What do I plan to do with it? Good questions. I’ll make it up as I go along.

Talk to folks about biology, science, animals (fish, cats, parrots, horses, turtles…), books, chronic pain…and so forth.

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