"Let me ask your body," he always says before he does a series of tests that would, in my mind, never reveal anything – but always did despite my skepticism.
In some cases, he will do that before a chiropractic adjustment and have the the "answers" refocus him to another area to adjust without saying little more than instructions about how he wants me to lay on the table.
Sometimes, he will go through his process, then pause and ask a question like, "Why are you worried that something is going to happen to your girls – what is going on right now?" And each time he does that, I will struggle through my disbelief that he hit upon something that was true then try to answer the question. Then as he will make the adjustments, he says words – sort of like a mantra – to me and my body to make it release the tension both physical and emotional. Afterwards, no matter how much I do not want to believe, I feel better in both ways.
It is why I refer to my chiropractor as the Voodoo Doctor.
The other night laying in bed feeling the ache of the muscle knot that has popped up between my should blades, I contemplated going to see the great Voodoo Doctor to see if he could help. Then I wondered what he would learn by "asking my body" before the adjustment.
He would probably ask if this season is bringing anything up in me this year. If so, he would want to know what. "Is it something from the past?"
And I would have to tell him that a year ago, we were awoken in the middle of the night to learn the foster kid was laying unresponsive in the hospital.
We would learn that his friends had lied to us when they told us he had fallen asleep. We would learn that he had drank a shit ton of ever-clear or the like, then smoked a shit ton of pot and possibly abused OTC drugs on top of it. And while they initially thought he was just going to sleep it off, they would later be faced with the reality that their friend had alcohol poisoning. Instead of raising the alarm with the adult in the house or calling us, they would remove him from the house and take him to a local urgent care who would call an ambulance. They would then text us a message (after we had already gone to bed) letting us know that he was in the hospital. Neither friend had gone with him or let a parent know. We would learn he was in the hospital from a phone call from child services after the hospital contacted them. Then we would find and piece together the night after scaring some 18 yr old "friends" of his to tell us the truth. We would then chastise the dad for allowing all of this to happen while he was less than 10 feet away in the house. We would rhetorically asked him what he will do if the foster kid does not recover given it happened in his house and he has made it clear he doesn’t care.
A year ago, we would stay up all night. We would tear apart his room to figure out what other substances he may have. We would find his hidey-hole where we would find so much drug paraphernalia that we would look at the pile unsure how to make sense of how much of it he had, and more importantly, how he had gotten it with no money. We would find evidence of OTC drug abuse too – empty blister packs of cough medicine and empty boxes of this and that medication that we would learn is also being abused by teenagers.
G would go to the hospital to stay with him until he woke up. I would take photos of what we found and send them with a write up to his social worker and his therapist with a plea to help us do what we can get to get him into rehab ASAP. We would both leave email and voice mails to our respective workplaces telling them what was happening and why we would not be in the office. And spend the next day working with everyone to keep him in the hospital while they found him a bed in a rehab facility. We spent the day in fear that he would be sent home while they sought to get him a bed, then he would run away not wanting to go. We knew if he ran that we could get another call saying he had tried to OD on something.
Thankfully, in the end, they found a place for him. It would take two days after he was admitted before we started to exhale. He would be angry with us when he was able to call on day 5 – but we would get a reprieve for about 3 weeks while he went through the program. And each day of that 3 weeks was spent working with all people to figure out a plan that could keep him safe.
That plan would work for about 6 weeks, then he would fly off the rails spectacularly until his social worker deemed it necessary for him to go to a higher care home.
Right now, a year ago, started the longest four months of parenting; a stretch that ended with us feeling so many things: relief, frustration, anger, and failure.
Until I was laying in bed playing through the scenario with the Voodoo Doctor, I had almost forgotten we had hit that anniversary, if you will. Even thinking through the details of it all, I could feel the muscle knot ache as everything in my neck and shoulders and upper back tightened at just the memory.
I realized I did not need the Voodoo Doctor to fix me – I needed to process all that we had gone through. I think for both G and me that we put all of that on a shelf. He has maybe dealt with some of it as he goes to his therapist to get his anxiety under control, but for me, I kept going on. We had gone through an experience few could understand, but everyone seemed willing and eager to judge. Not thinking about it or addressing it was my way of avoiding that judgement.
But clearly, my body still remembers.
In the form of a muscle knot between my shoulder blades.