I received an urgent phone call between adjusting patients on a Wednesday afternoon. A desperate voice of a young man explained that his wife, one of my Chiropractic assistants, was in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
I had been wondering what happened to Mary. She had been working in my office for several years and had rarely missed a shift. She was a joy to have around, watching her learn and then enthusiastically embrace the Chiropractic principle. Once when my office was visited by a stern insurance auditor, Mary met with the man. “Where is the therapy department?” he asked. “Oh” said Mary, “We don’t have that here because the power that made the body heals the body”. I’m told the poor fellow was last seen walking out shaking his head!
“The doctors are not sure what Mary has but her heart is racing and they can’t get it to slow down. She’s so weak that she can barely lift her head. They’re telling me this may kill her.” said Mary’s distraught husband.
Later that evening after finishing with my scheduled patients, I drove to that nearby hospital. The parking lot was quite empty as visiting hours were long over. I strode to the front door while devising a plan to get to Mary knowing this hospital’s reputation for hostility towards Chiropractors. I decided it best if I just not even bother asking permission or identifying my skills.
A menacing guard stood behind a chrome desk just inside the entry way door. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, walked in and said “Evening! Dr Potisk here to check a patient,” as I flashed one of my business cards with my thumb covering the Chiropractic. He never flinched.
Following the signs past the ER to the ICU I tried to act and look doctorly, with a confident walk and chin slightly elevated.
Finding the door, I opened it sheepishly. Entering the unit I saw a row of several occupied beds surrounded by blinking and beeping machinery. The lights were dimmed to a minimum for the evening, but there was an eerie glow from the numerous digital monitoring screens above each patient. To my amazement there were no hospital personnel in sight!
I walked quickly across the shiny floor, found Mary on her back and when we made eye contact she managed a slight smile. She was extremely pale and looked 3 times her age of 24. Looking up at her monitor I saw that racing heart beat varying between 140 to 160 bpm. I looked around at the numerous sophisticated looking equipments surrounding her, at the patients to my right and to my left, then at my hands. I knew what I had to do.
Knowing from my years of Gonstead training that tachycardia usually has an upper cervical source, and that it’s often a rotated Atlas subluxation, I wiggled up to the head of her bed and placed my fingers below her ears. Being careful not to disturb her IV and feeding tube, I moved her head slowly to motion palpate. Finding a significant ASRA listing on her atlas, I next set up to adjust.
Just then, I heard the door creak and a sliver of light creep across the floor as a Nurse dressed in pure white stepped in to the room in a surreal scene like a guardian Angel sent from heaven. She immediately spotted me behind Mary with my hands on her neck. Caught red handed I thought as we both paused in fear.
I felt paralyzed until I saw the Nurses’ shoulders drop and heard her say “Oh, a Chiropractor, I get adjusted all the time, go ahead.” She then turned around and left the room allowing me to begin breathing again. Still holding the set-up, I regained my focus and let the adjustment fly. An audible was heard that I’d swear echoed off those white marble walls. I released Mary’s head and neck down to the pillow and looked up to see her heart rate quickly reduce significantly.
I quickly exited wondering if I’ll be met by men dressed in blue with handcuffs. But I proceeded past that guard no problem.
In a week, Mary was back at work and served Chiropractic for many years.
Dr Thomas Potisk is a 30 year veteran of Chiropractic, author of Reclaim the Joy of Practice: An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors, and assists individual DCs with his Chiro-to-Chiro Mentoring and Consulting service. Information can be obtained on his website http://www.reclaimthejoy.com.