scoliosis jokes are out of line

I used to have mild scoliosis, a condition in which my spine curved like an S, which is interesting considering how I’d been told that scoliosis was a permanent-until-you-die sort of thing and had already resigned myself to a future of brittle bones and using “I’ve got scoliosis” as an excuse to get out of everything, namely walking and/or waiting in lines.

I was first made aware of this setback to my dream of becoming a professional football player during a physical exam. The doctor basically told me my spine was screwed up, but mildly, so it wouldn’t be operable and could I just live with that? He did give me tips to keep my condition from getting worse, which I abandoned after about a day just like everyone does with dental hygiene recommendations.

A year later, the annual school scoliosis checks—it’s relatively common among teenage girls, after all—began.

Typical Scoliosis Check Scenario

Nurse: We’re going to check if you have scoliosis.

Me: Is that necessary if I already know I do?

Nurse: Bend over.


Nurse: We’re going to check if you have scoliosis.

Me: I already have scoliosis—saves you some trouble.

Nurse: We’re still going to check if you have it in case we need to refer you to a doctor.

Me: But I’ve already gone to a doctor, and he said I did.

Nurse: Bend over.

Fast forward three years of milking my condition for all it was worth, and finally my incessant complaining led Mom to suggest me giving eastern medicine a chance.

I admit I was pretty skeptical of eastern medicine—what with its “auras” and bizarre herbal remedies –but western medicine had proven fruitless, so I had nothing to lose. Except money. And since it was my mom’s money, technically I really did have nothing to lose.

I walked into the office and mentioned the aches from my slightly swayed back, uneven shoulders, and turned in knees—two other conditions I tacked on so I could pretend they all were linked and not have to come in again—having literally no expectations.

“Oh, yeah,” the doctor said, “I can fix this with Eastern Procedure That Has No English Equivalent*.”

“You can fix this,” I echoed, surprised even though I had come for this exact purpose. I suppose I just hadn’t expected him to actually be able to fix something none of my previous doctors had even attempted to touch. “Wait, you mean my shoulders and knees—they’re actually linked?”

He looked at me strangely before ushering me into the back. “Your uneven back shifted your right hipbone inches higher than the left, which drove your left leg into the ground and put a lot of pressure on it, and your knees turned inward to compensate and balance.” I laid down on a gurney on my right side and he adjusted my position before taking my left leg by the thigh and yanking it toward his stomach.

Crk-crk-crk-crk-crk. The sounds of my spine and hipbones cracking permeated the air, a symphony of suffering replete with a bonus track of “Nicole whimpering like a dog.“ The perfect music for the waiting room just meters away.

You know those action films in which the protagonist breaks the necks of cannon fodder security guards in quick succession as he fights his way toward the head honcho? It was all I could picture in my mind as the doctor began twisting my neck in an impossible angle to get the kinks out.

After what seemed like eternity, the doctor had me feel my spine. It was… straight. My shoulders were straight. My knees were straight.

Apparently, I actually had a legitimate reason for those random aches I always got when I stood on my feet for too long. And here I thought I was just whiny.

*It may actually have a name after all: Rolfing. Not “rolling on the floor laughing” like “ROFL,” but rolling on the floor crying.

15 thoughts on “scoliosis jokes are out of line

  1. I was trying to impress you with my knack for brevity, because after my last post, there were skeptics. And speaking of medical matters (I wonder if that medical malpractice suit will ever come off my record… like that bankruptcy?), I try not to offer an opinion, as the AMA has told me I can’t practice medicine without a license anymore. I don’t know how they ever expect me to become any good at doing surgery without repeated practice? Oh well. So that’s why I just said, I liked your post. As opposed to going into great detail about how much I loved your humorous take on how you were going to use your mild case of scoliosis to get out of walking and waiting in lines. Or your very funny excerpt with the school nurse (practitioner, no doubt), over your doctor’s diagnosis that you actually had scoliosis, and that she didn’t have to bother with checking you out. I could go on and on, but I’m sure by now that your overjoyed that I chose to go with my original cliff note response instead. Otherwise, I would have went on to tell you how much I enjoyed your very funny take upon your encountering eastern medicine as the cure for your scoliosis (at the expense of putting your mom in the poor house), so that you wouldn’t have to be in pain anymore. Fortunately, I spared you from one of my more long winded replies, thus allowing you time to write another funny post. This, instead of me giving you one of my (novella type) comments, which tends to go on and on praising you for entertaining me with a delightfully hilarious post. Oh, in short…I loved it. 😀


  2. Oh dear. I have uneven shoulders and hips and turned in knees as well as a tilty head and I’ve been complaining for years but finally my third neurologist suggested I go to an osteopathic manipulator which I think is the fancy medical term for someone who does eastern medicine. Natually because of the fancy title I had to ask my insurance company if I can have one and they said there is exactly one in all of their network but she was out on maternity leave. Now you have me thinking maybe I should give her another call one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for the late reply! You should definitely give her another call and let me know what happens. I’ve been back to this doctor because my spine does “regress” a little every year (frankly, though, I don’t know if yanking it back into place is really that good for it either, but I don’t think anyone actually has a definitive answer.)


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