Monday, June 29, 2009

Stuck in the Middle


Kristen and I dated for about eight months before I asked her, “Would you like to move in with me?”

Previously, the most romantic thing I had said to Kristen was, “I love you, so you will have to trust me on this one and get in the car boot. No time for questions.”

Of course she said yes; first to the car boot and second to the apartment.

We planned, talked, and awaited the special day where we made the necessary trip to Ikea, playing house.

I knew right away Kristen was the one for me. “I like Zen,” she said over our first cup of coffee. “It’s amazing and at the exact same time, not.”

This is both a koan and a joke, which brings a flutter to my heart when I recall its simplicity.

For I am both a chiropractic student and an English enthusiast, and she is a kinesiologist; being alternative medical practitioners apparently unites us against general medical practitioners, though Kristen is a little more progressive than my relatively conservative stance, which divides us at times. We end up in the middle, quibbling.

For example, Kristen is anti-medical establishment, anti-drugs, and anti-antibiotics.

“Anti-antibiotics? Slow down. Does that mean you’re for antibiotics?” I asked her.

“No, I’m not. I’m not for antibiotics; they destroy the normal flora of the gut and create dysbiosis and imbalance; I’m anti-antibiotics.”

“But that’s a double negative,” I pointed out. “Besides, antibiotics have done a lot of good for humanity.”

“Well, I don’t believe in double negatives, then, either. The English language moves onward and upward, and humanity needs fewer doses of antibiotics lest we create super-bugs, completely resistant to any type of innate immunity.”

“Wait a second. You can’t not believe in double negatives; grammar won’t permit. And you just admitted under certain circumstances you do believe in antibiotics.”

“Yes I can not believe in double negatives,” she stamped and crossed her arms. “It’s just difficult to express. Besides, you don’t believe in God.”

She had a point there. As an agnostic, I don’t fully believe in God. However, I had a means of expressing it clearly. Which is why I’ve decided, if ever I need to accept an award and give a speech in public, I’m going to take one moment to thank God for the opportunity, and another, equal moment to thank the Big Bang for the opportunity.

But back to our quibbling.

One fine evening after dinner, I was practicing on Kristen my adjusting. Chiropractors manipulate the spine, adjusting it. Quite safely, too! However, I am not yet a chiropractor. I am a chiropractic student. And we were in the middle of the semester, half way through my five-year degree.

I set up her neck and moved with a quick impulse into her neck. Just then, and completely unrelated to the adjustment, Kristen’s nose started to bleed.

We have learned much during our course. Our most recent lecture was on Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency, or VBI, a type of stroke. There are contra-indications to adjusting, and in a rare but worst-case scenario, sudden neck manipulations could potentially cause a stroke like condition. There is a greater likelihood of being hit by lightning than there is of chiropractors causing a stroke. However, I am a not a chiropractor; I am a chiropractic student. Just that moment I lived Pope’s maxim, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”

“Oh, God. There’s blood everywhere.” Kristen walked to the bathroom.

The sight of the blood made me recall the lecture about stroke. No one ever spoke to me about nose bleeds. What could it mean? I became light headed and slid my back down against the wall. My head ran to extremes, wondering if I killed my girlfriend.

“You’ll be ok…you’ll be ok.” I sank my head into my hands and then wrapped my arms around my back, rocking back and forth in the middle of the hallway. “You know you’ll be ok.”

“I don’t know. It’s bleeding pretty heavy!”

“I wasn’t talking to you!”

(The End)
PS. Her nose has stopped bleeding and she has recovered just fine. However, I am seeking psychological treatment.

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