I am not a purposefully defiant person. I have no issues with authority or even following the rules. In fact, I’ve been accused of being ‘ square’. But I have an independent spirit that takes liberties with many things once I feel like ‘I got it!‘ It occurred to me as I was ‘bleeding-out’ a peripheral point on my foot to speed up the healing of my sprained ankle (I’ll explain in a second), that I am not qualified to do this, but I do it anyways – with success I must add. So I started to think about all the things I do to manage my injuries solo even though I know so many amazing medical specialists.
As I began to add to my list of ‘things I’m not clinically qualified to actually do, but do anyway,’ it got pretty long.
Before reading my list, I’d like to blame my father for this – my dad is a robust jack-of-all-trades. As an artist he is always using tools with sharp edges. He has cut his hands, arms and fingers so many times. I have seen my dad stitch his own deep wound. His explanation was, ‘I am a seamstress (which is actually true), it’s just sewing the skin (he’s also tough and not a cry baby).’ I have also seen him super glue the tip of his finger back on as well (which was more disgusting than sewing his skin).
Therefore, my independent spirit to fix myself, can be blamed on my father. I now call it skill sets for my life as a modern day girl scout.
The skills of a modern GIRL SCOUT:
- I have learn to bleed out common, simple, sports injuries (that involve swelling of the joints in the extremities). The most recent is my sprained ankle. Bleeding out refers to lancing a point located at the end of an extremity (like a toe) called the peripheral points. It is an acupuncture technique that I have learned over the past 20 years of receiving regular acupuncture. For about 4 years alone I had the amazing pleasure of bartering acupuncture every week (I had about 40-45 sessions a year). The best ‘perk’ I have ever received as an owner of a gym. After spraining my ankle, I realized it was worse than I thought. So I wanted to fast track the healing process. Of course I iced and elevated (RICE). But it is simple to me – inflammation is bad, therefore address the inflammation. This is why I have learned how to ‘bleed out the peripheral points’. The name makes it sound painful and scary, it is honestly the most benign procedure I have ever had.
- I recently set my own nose. I broke my nose a few weeks ago. It’s not my first time. I knew it was broken the second it happened. Of course it was a bloody mess! All I could think of was Jake LaMotta in a dress. As the swelling began to rush into my face, I sucked it up and set the nose back straight(ER). There was no way to get to the hospital quick enough to beat the inflammation process. When I arrived at the hospital, I told my ENT what I had done, and he simply said, ‘Nodded his head, not bad, but it’s not perfectly straight yet!’ So, he did the closed reduction to fix it a few days later.
- I hook myself up to electric stim machines on a regular basis. Electric stimulation is a reliable tool for physical therapists. It is actually called Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). It is used for pain management caused by muscle spasms or soft tissue injuries. I think most people that have been in physical therapy have had these electrodes placed on their body. Over the years of getting injured, I have invested in my own electric stim machines (TENS units). I know I am not the only person who does this, which I realize doesn’t make my defiance better. But the electrode delivers small waves of electricity to the injured area, which is thought to disrupt the brain’s pain signal, tricking the body into thinking it is not feeling pain. When you add a little massage and some controlled stretches it can really help get you over the ‘hump.’
- Back cracking is by far the most common thing I do, that I am not qualified for. I do seek out the care of a chiropractor. However, I do not seek treatments too often. But there are certain self-adjustments I can not live without. The most common is when it feels like my ‘rib’heads’ are out of place. When I was pregnant with my third baby, I started to get treatments for my middle back discomfort (which could honestly be from anything although it was assumed the kid was kicking my ribs- who knows!). But it impacted my deep breathing and I could feel it when I did a lot of core training. This in turn tightened my middle back which led to getting very stiff (once again, this is not unique to me). Then about 18 months ago, I fractured probably the same rib that the little kid was kicking. It was managed by a real medical professional. Boy Oh Boy! – it moves so much on its own and make me feel all twisted. So, I do self-adjustments. I use a hard foam roller, a few yoga poses, stretched and a couple other tricks.
Now that I have totally alienated all certified professionals, I am not advocating this for others. Truth is, I see them all the time. I just need them more than I could possibly get to them, could afford them or that my insurance would ever cover. I have been lucky and my efforts have always improved my condition or served in a supportive way to my real medical treatments. I am not planning on changing careers any time soon, so it is in my best interest to learn my version of survival tactics for a life in Katalin’s world- they are skill sets for my days as a Modern Girl Scout.