Dear Readers and followers of my blog,
I’ve always wanted to be a chiropractor. At least from age 4 on. Prior to that who knows? By age 15 I was already working in my father’s office. I was one of his assistants. I monitored therapies he had applied on his patients and made sure no one got burned or the electrical stimulation wasn’t too strong and painful.
One afternoon my dad had an X-ray on his view box and asked if I saw anything wrong on the film. I was probably only a sophomore or junior in high school and haven’t had any gross anatomy yet. I hadn’t learned skeletal anatomy either. After a minute or 2 of staring at the film I told dad that I thought something was wrong with this patient’s coccyx. Surprised he asked me to explain more. I told him I thought the person’s “tail” had a weird angle to the bones.
Dad was really surprised and I remember a feeling of pride was conveyed in his face. He then told me the patient had fallen on her buttocks and broken her coccyx. Those small bones of what people know as the tail bone were broken like a finger that looked bent at 90 degrees. I remember asking him how he would “fix” this person. He explained to me that she would have to referred to an orthopedist. The orthopod would have to anesthetize the patient, reach into her rectum and then re set the bones back into place. It would be too painful to do this in his office without anesthesia.
Fast forward now 35 years. A week ago I had a patient who called me to say that her son had fallen on his tailbone months ago and still wasn’t well. She had taken the young teen to see her family medical practitioner who correctly made a referral for an X-ray. She was requesting for me to get a copy of the report and give my opinion. The report arrived too late for me to read it to her on Friday evening, but I came back to my office on Saturday morning with this single task in mind. I read the report as normal and called her to tell her so. Still not convinced she asked if I would view copies of the films, which is actually a good idea. I say that, because it was just a year ago that I referred a patient out for an X-ray that the radiologist misread as normal, however upon viewing the DVDs I was of the opinion that a spinal compression fracture was actually present.
On Monday I was provided with a CD of the films. It only took me a moment to see a 90 degree angle between the 1st and 2nd coccygeal bones. It was probably broken/dislocated. I called the mom to tell her my findings and that her hunch was probably correct. My next call was to the radiologist out of Columbus that interpreted the films. After a short phone call he expressed the need to get a third opinion from one of his colleagues. Without being definitive he agreed that this coccyx appeared irregular and could be fractured.
I spoke next to the mom. I told her exactly what was happening and how I thought we should proceed next. Remembering my father’s experience at age 16 or so I told her that he needed to see an orthopedist and possibly have this straightened. We discussed an orthopod out of Findlay, OH. that my wife had needed when she broke her wrist. I have sent this doctor a few other patients. As a doctor I can sense who really cares and who is also a sharp. This ortho is one of those kind of doctors.
As a professional courtesy I forwarded a copy of the radiology report, with my notes that I had spoken to the radiologist, to the family practitioner. The notes also contain the fact that a referral to an orthopod was being made and who.
On Friday of last week I was greeted by the mother of this teenager in my office. She had brought a lovely bottle of Malbec from Argentina to me as a thank you gift. Needless to say I was tickled to death.
Thank you for the bottle of wine and thank you dad for the lessons you taught me oh so long ago.