Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why I Love Chiropractic

After weeks of grinding pain, sleepless nights, ineffective physical therapy treatments and hair-tearing, screaming-and-cursing frustration, today I finally did what I should have done in the first place... I visited my amazing chiropractic team. It was a rough session, but I got through it and now I feel so much better I can hardly believe I'm the same person.

Healing is an interesting business. I'm not taking anything away from healers of any sort... everybody's methods work for some of the people some of the time. But, I feel this adage holds true... "When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail." You go to a doctor and they prescribe pain meds and physical therapy, because they're trained to believe those things work for any and all problems. When you go to a physical therapist, they give you exercises and heat/stims and ultrasound treatments, because, in their world, those things work most of the time. When you go to a chiropractor, they do their adjustments by whatever methods they use, because they know that's what usually whips people back into shape.

After spending years in the medical machine, mostly as a nurse, but also as a psychiatric technician and member of an ambulance crew (before the concept of EMT was ever thought of), I've seen a lot of medical processes in action. Some worked, and some didn't. As a result, I have no contentions about seeking alternate treatment if something doesn't work for me. Doctors are not omnipotent, and I honestly feel most of them don't think of themselves in these terms nowadays. The reasons for their faith in their opinions is a result of their years of big bucks spent in rigorous study, intense internship, residency and the business of establishing themselves in the medical community. When you put that much time, energy and bucks into what you're doing, you have a right to believe what you're doing is the right, if not the only, way to do things.

But, as we all know, doctors aren't always right, medical treatments are sometimes ineffective, and things can easily go amok when you're dealing with health issues on an individual-to-individual level. When things aren't working for you health/treatment wise, you have the right, if not the obligation to yourself, to change your treatment options.

Several months ago, when my pain issues re-located themselves from wandering around my shoulder area down into my biceps muscles, I thought it was due to recent workouts I'd started doing at the gym. The pain was in my muscles, not my joints, so I didn't think of this as a chiropractic issue. My husband and my friends kept yammering at me to "go see my doctor"... a typical American response. Along these lines, I have a friend, who, whenever I complain of any kind of ailment always asks, "What does your doctor say?" When I say I haven't seen a doctor, she acts as though she thinks I'm an idiot for not immediately seeking a doctor's advice, as if that's the only way you can dependably find out what's wrong with you. This is back to the "Doctors as Gods" philosophy, which I totally reject.

Thus, in the search for "something that works," I found myself seeking out chiropractors a number of years ago. In those days, DCs were mostly "twist 'em and crack 'em" kind of guys, and, even though their techniques sometimes (not always) worked, I found myself so fearful of the pain and possibility of injury because I knew what was coming, I was never able to relax enough for the twists and cracks to work. Along the way. I was fortunate enough to discover my current chiropractic team. They employ a newer methodology that doesn't involve the twisting and jerking of the other chiropractic doctors I'd seen, and ultimately quit seeing, for fear of the pain and possibility of breaking my neck, and facing life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic, and other yada-yada type of fear-bullshit.

In addition to their gentler techniques, my current chiropractors are also very knowledgeable in nutrition and exercise, which go hand in hand with treatment in solving my (or anyone else's) problems. I call them "full-service chiropractors," and they've started me on a path of taking better care of myself, and have also taught me that our spines are the 'backbones' (no pun intended) of our health, and just about any problem can be solved by treatment/adjustment of some area of your spine.

I have a bit of a ways to go yet in the overall care of my body and general health, but these two doctors of chiropractic are my biggest allies in my campaign.

All of this philosophical rambling comes from the fact that I feel so bloody much better tonight than I've felt in the past two months. If the pain returns, which it probably will because my posture is bad, I'm overweight, and, basically, lazy with regards to exercising... let me never forget to next time START with chiropractic in my search for relief!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Guinea Hens

I bought a fun piece of fabric recently that had some really cool, stylized Guinea hens printed on it. I love these adorable little hens. My adventurous grandmother went through dozens of breeds of chickens when I was a kid, and I think I liked the Guineas the best. They were small and had a gazillion white speckles all over their feathers, and were very round, with big butts that stuck up in the air, no tails to speak of, at least not like most other chickens. They had really ugly heads with very few feathers and eyes that were sort of hooded and made them look mean! But they weren't mean, in fact, they were quite sweet little birds that made a much softer and more appealing sound than many of the other chickens I remember meeting in my childhood.

So... when I saw a piece of fabric with Guinea hens on it at my friend Pat's shop, I snatched it up quick.  I thought I was going to be making a small piece, but noooooooooo. This quilt took on a life of it's own and wound up being another 5' x 6' monster! I framed the big hen first, and then put black & white frames around the two medium and the seven small hens...

Then I put some more fabrics around the smaller pieces, and it was at about this time I realized I was in trouble...

Working a little further, and I'm just about up to as big as I want to get...

At this point, my work table looked like this, and I was still wishing I had more fabrics to incorporate...

Then, what, to my wondering eyes should appear, but a humongous box crammed with African fabric scraps, that I'd totally forgotten about!!!

After that, I went ape-diddley, and started flinging fabric up on the quilt wall like my arse was on fire, and within a few days, the piece said, "Stop! You're done." As you can see, I only used five of the seven small hens... finding room for the remaining two wasn't gong to happen, so they'll go on the back.

For now, I'm taking a few weeks to let it sit and cool down before I start quilting it. In the meantime, I'm working at completing a few UFOS, so I'll have more pieces to show at my trunk show in November.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thom Atkins, The Beading Quilter

Last week, my friend Dale invited me to attend a meeting of the Contra Costa County Quilt Guild. Dale has been trying to get me to come to meetings for a long time, always talking about what great speakers they have. I'd been reluctant to go because their meetings are at night, and a fair distance from where I live, but I finally caved at this invitation and decided to go. I can emphatically say I'm very glad I did! The speaker was Thom Atkins, whose book, Beading Artistry for Quilts, I'd picked up at a show I recently attended.

This is a wonderful book, full of pictures of eye-popping, colorful, amazing quilts, some of which have been beaded to within an inch of their lives. While I've recently begun to incorporate beading into my smaller pieces, there's no way I'll ever get into that much beading on any quilt I'll ever make. The book has, however, certainly given me huge amounts of inspiration to jump in and get a little more friendly with beads on my work. Dale told me she is going to work with her guild to see if they can have Thom come back and teach a one-day class on beginning techniques. I certainly hope that works out, 'cause I'll be one of the first to sign up. I've already joined the Guild - evening meetings be damned - because speakers of Thom's ilk and talent are apparently the norm, and I want to hear more. Next month's speaker will be Tracy Brookshire, and I definitely want to see and hear her presentation. I took a class from her at PIQF several years ago... she was a great teacher, so energetic and inspiring.

Back to Thom: here are some pictures of the quilts shared with us...

"Fire and Ice"

"Tenuous Membrane"

"Partial Eclipse"

"Yellow Brick Road"


"Death Touches Us All"