Pretty appropriate quote for ultra runners and other people who push their
Today was a badly-needed rehab day. Jim did a great job finding two medical
practitioners that gave me competent, compassionate care today. I could have
ended up with folks who did the least they could for a patient they'll likely
never see again, but both the chiropractor and massage therapist gave me their
full attention. extra time, skilled care, and recommendations for self-care to
help me reach my goal of finishing the Appalachian Trail.
I couldn't have asked for more!
Although it's preferable to get a massage first, then a chiropractic
adjustment, the best we could do on short notice was the reverse. My first
appointment this morning was with Dr. David Marshall at Pocono Chiropractic in
Stroudsburg, PA (near Delaware Water Gap).
After Dr. Marshall read over the medical history paperwork I'd completed, we
discussed my current problems. He examined my neck, back, hips, leg length
discrepancy (left leg a full 2" shorter than the right one, so obvious even Jim
could see it) and determined it would be easier to adjust me if he did some heat
and cold treatments and hooked me up to the electric stim machine first (top
Lying down for ten minutes, concentrating on my breathing, also served to
relax me so Dr. Marshall could adjust me more easily. He did my ankles, hips,
mid-back, and neck; the neck was the most difficult. I could tell it was "out"
after my two falls on the rocks a few days ago. Those falls also caused much of
the problem with my right knee, which is swollen and bruised front AND back.
Dr. Marshall recommended I get a lumbar support "belt" and wear it the next
24 hours, then just during the day for as long as I can stand it while on the
trail (it might be too hot for hiking). He encouraged me to stretch my butt
muscles and was happy to hear we'd also made an appointment with the massage
therapist today. He said it would be best to wait a couple days to get back out
on the Trail so the treatments would be more effective.
Dr. Marshall also suggested I get an MRI of my lower back when we return home
to determine if there are any spinal problems causing my sciatic nerve pain. I'm
hoping it's more "situational," a problem of hips out of alignment because of
excessive mileage and technical trails on the AT.
I made a tentative appointment with Dr. Marshall for Wednesday morning "if I
need it." (His office is closed tomorrow.) I'll see how I feel then and decide
whether to go in one more time. I felt better as soon as I left his office,
which was more than I'd hoped for.
We ate lunch out and shopped for groceries, the back support, and other
supplies on the way back to the camper. I fell asleep in the bed while lying on
ice on my back and legs, the first deep sleep I've had in several days. My leg
still feels like it belongs to someone else, but there is already improvement.
My second appointment was late afternoon with the massage therapist that Dr.
Marshall recommended to Jim on Saturday when he first talked to him. She's an
LPN and CMT who has been doing massage for twelve years. Her name is Margie
Keenhold and I saw her at the Pocono Wellness and Sports Center (either
Stroudsburg or E. Stroudsburg).
The first thing we noticed when we checked in was her card - the same design
as the one Jim picked out for our AT cards! We got them a few weeks ago
and have been giving them to some of the people we meet. I also stick some in
We gave Margie one of our cards and she laughed when she saw it was the same
design as hers, saying it was her husband who picked out the design. What a
coincidence! I decided it was a good omen.
I lucked out again with a fine practitioner. Margie reminds me very much of
Kyle Forman, my massage therapist and yoga instructor in Billings, MT. Margie
uses therapeutic "healing" touch, reflexology, sports massage, deep tissue
massage, accupressure, myofascial release, Swedish massage, prenatal massage,
hot stones, and other techniques in her practice.
Although the appointment was for an hour, Margie soon discovered my body was
so "needy" that she spent a full 90 minutes working on me. Part of the session
was devoted to progressive stretching to help my tight hip and knee muscles. We
were both pleased with how much farther I could stretch after several minutes.
This wasn't a new technique to me; in fact, Jim and I do this sort of thing
to each other periodically, especially for tight hamstrings. But it's
time-consuming during a massage and I really appreciated Margie spending the
extra time with me. She also gave me a bottle of Tiger linament to use on
my sore muscles. Again, special concern and care for a patient she'll probably
never see again.
I told her I wish I could take her along the rest of the way to Maine to be
my personal massage therapist! But, alas, I'm no celebrity (i.e., rich enough to
I highly recommend both Dr. Marshall and Margie to others who either live in
the Pocono area or are traveling through and need chiropractic or massage. They
are excellent representatives of their respective medical fields and I am
grateful to both of them for helping me continue my quest to conquer this
Reading ahead in David Horton's book (for about the 15th time), I see that I
really have my work cut out for me in the White Mountains in New
I'd love to know how Andrew Thompson got through there so quickly a few weeks
ago. He's smart - he didn't wait until he was 56 to do it! There are days like
today that I feel every minute of my age and my alter-ego reminds me, "You're
not 35 any more."