It’s official. I’m off-kilter.
I’ve had a hunch for some time that things didn’t measure up, but I have never had absolute, medical, scientific proof until now.
It started a few years ago on a visit to see my sister Kate in Phoenix. The first morning of my visit she woke me up early and surprised me with a gift: a trip to her gym and a free session with her personal trainer.
Some people give flowers as a gift. Others give a gift card to Starbucks. Not my sister. Could it be I did something wrong in our childhood that I am paying for now?
Regardless, she shuffled me half-awake into her car, dropped the kids off in the play area at the gym, and grabbed a towel.
I was abruptly introduced to Mark-the-Trainer, a drill sergeant in running shoes who critiques, contorts and wreaks havoc on people’s bodies for a living.
Mark-the-Trainer started by asking me to lift free weights above my head, an act that has always struck me as somewhat dangerous, resulting in me never doing it (for safety reasons, of course). But here I was, being told to pull in my abdominal muscles and bend my knees. Then the worst part was when he came up and touched my stomach, UNANNOUNCED, to make sure I was holding my abs in. Now, I’m thinking if I need someone to touch and see if my abs are in, I’m already behind the eight ball in the abdominal department. I thought long and hard about kicking him, and I would have, had I the balance at that moment to actually lift my leg.
After the weights, Mark-the-Trainer asked me to stand still with my arms hanging down at my sides. He stood behind me and said “hmmmm” over and over, as if trying to work out a puzzle. Not exactly the reaction you want, am I right?
Once he broke the silence he said, “Here’s the problem, you’re crooked.” He showed me that my right hand hangs lower than my left hand, pointing out that I am just begging for a slipped disc any day now. Encouraging, eh? I’m beginning to feel like Cro-Magnon Monkey Girl, and I can almost feel my right knuckles scraping the gym mats as I walk.
Ever since that trip, I have noticed how much my right shoulder droops down in comparison to my left. It’s not like a landslide, but it’s obvious to me. And, not surprisingly, I’ve had continual back and shoulder issues as well.
I’ve had my share of visits to orthopedic doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists. And no matter how well seem things seem to be aligned, everything seems to slip back into Cro-Magnon Monkey Girl mode within a few weeks.
Finally, I had a doctor suggest an x-ray that measures both leg bones and compares the measurements against one another. His theory? That the right leg is not as long as the left leg, resulting in back, hip and shoulder pain, a medical condition now officially termed “Monkey Girl” in the medical books. (You can look it up, however, I don’t remember the actual title of the medical book.)
And the results came back yesterday. I have one leg shorter than the other.
The best part out of all of this? I can finally fully live up to my first name, Eileen.
Think about it. I’ve become a joke unto myself.
Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.