“IN PAIN CALL TODAY” reads the unpunctuated sign outside Access Chiropractic Center, a small practice in my hometown of Rock Hill.
I’ve been in a few “pain calls” myself.
I remember the conference calls I used to have to join on a weekly basis as part of my membership in a company-wide “task force.” A group of us from several cities across the country were forced to tackle a variety of tasks in supposed betterment of corporate quality. One of these tasks was participation in an hour-long call each Wednesday. Most of the session I’d sit there with the speakerphone on and a crossword puzzle in front of me, as the team leader prattled through an agenda of hare-brained but fortunately never-to-be-completed schemes. In some ways, it was not unlike working the night shift at a convenience store — long stretches of boredom relieved occasionally by the terror of being robbed or, in my case, having my name called for a response.
“Opera?” I’d reply, which was correct as a five-letter word for “musical play,” though not usually the answer the facilitator was looking for.
At best, I’d be able to transform the drudgery into a bit of amusement by turning the phone onto “mute” mode and making sarcastic remarks about the proceedings with a co-worker in the same room with me. That worked okay until one afternoon when we misread the “mute” indicator.
“So Davis, can you tell us all how me being a ‘raving lunatic’ will impact our project deadline?” Lana asked from her office in California.
Quickly I fixed the mute button and responded, “Maybe we’d finish faster if you were distracted by a shiny object?”
Or there was the time I was leading a call myself, with the object being to train a room full of Sri Lankans, listening from the other side of the world to my discourse on how to markup a financial document. They were a quiet, respectful group of students who rarely interrupted my monologue with any questions. Though it would’ve been nice if one of them had called back when the line went dead 15 minutes into my hour-long spiel.
I’m distracted into misreading Access Chiropractic’s sign as a way to pad this week’s Website Review of Dr. Jeffrey M. Muschik’s internet presence. It’s a site with only a few pages of pulldowns, which I’ll begin mocking in just a moment. I chose to include the sign in front of their Celanese Road storefront as part of their new-media promotional push just to flesh things out a little.
The home page for accesschiropracticcenter.com includes a nice picture of Dr. Muschik, a generic photo of him or somebody yanking on a small child’s hand under the heading “Affordable Family Care”, and some attractive credit card logos. (It’s not clear whether the hand-holding picture is meant to convey a general sense of caring, or represents an actual chiropractic manipulation). The introductory copy says the doctor provides Rock Hill residents with “safe, gentle and effective” chiropractic care, a revision of his earlier business plan for dangerous, rough and permanently paralyzing treatment that didn’t attract too many patients.
There’s a bulleted list of the services available from this office: neck pain, headaches, back pain, auto accidents, etc. Why anyone would want to contract for the acquisition of any of these afflictions is beyond me, but I’ve never been much of a believer in chiropractics anyway. In addition to decompression treatments, you can also obtain “pregnant patients, sports injuries and children” from this menu of products and services.
The backbone of the website is a page dedicated to details of the office operation. In addition to chiropractic treatment, the doctor also offers rehabilitation and massage. He keeps office hours Monday through Friday, which include a prolonged lunch break from noon to 3:30 p.m. during which I imagine Dr. Muschik goes home and lies down. Next to a photograph of the doctor rubbing the lower back of a prone but fully clothed man is the practice’s 11-point “no wait policy”. This has little to do with how long you’ll be leafing through Adjustments Today magazines in the waiting room. It’s more about automobile injuries, attorney referrals, car accidents and how close to the hospital the office is located (almost within walking distance – good for patients but not so great for the collision-obsessed doctor).
A biography of Dr. Muschik indicates that he’s a nice enough guy. He’s board-certified and licensed in South Carolina, a reassuring thing except for the South Carolina part. He was trained at the National University of Health Sciences in Illinois in the treatment and rehabilitation of physical injuries and advanced neurological diseases, as well as back and neck pain. He’s certified in CPR (in other words, he can press down on the front of your chest as well as on the back), he teaches youth coaches tactics in sports injury prevention, and is the official chiropractor for the Winthrop University soccer team. He is “consistently active within the community,” perhaps more than you can say about his hobbled patients whose activity levels are more subdued.
There’s a section about what to expect at your first appointment. After filling out some paperwork, your consultation with the doctor will begin. “In order to determine what your actual problem is, the doctor will ask you various questions related to your condition,” reads the page. I’m not sure if Dr. Muschik has shared this ground-breaking diagnostic innovation with others in the medical community, but I hope he can write a paper on the topic, perhaps during his extended lunch break. You may be given x-rays and you may receive same-day treatment, if the doctor can figure out which parts of your body to pummel, knead and squeeze. Prior to leaving, you’ll be given home-care instructions that may include ice or heat application and avoidance of certain activities.
Activities to be avoided do not include, not surprisingly, a follow-up appointment for another session. “Generally speaking, patients are seen again within 1-2 days” and, as I understand is the general pattern for chiropractic care, for every one to two weeks after that until the second coming of Christ. It’s easy to schedule another meeting with the doctor: “the fastest way is to contact our office,” advises the copywriter. I’m guessing he gave up doing this telepathically when the fortune teller that shared his duplex finally got that job with the census that she was angling for.
The only other feature worth noting on the website is a “limited time” coupon good for a free consultation. First-time patients can print this online offer to receive an evaluation “that’s a $50 value”. In our bargain-obsessed culture, I can understand showing up at the Bi-Lo grocery store with a “buy-one-get-one-free” offer on watermelons, or perhaps a dollar off the number 8 combo on Tuesdays only at Chick-fil-A (if your car has an cow-head antenna topper). But coming to the office of a medical professional with a coupon in hand just doesn’t seem quite right to me.
Lastly, I want to make an additional smart remark about the office sign in the photo at the top of this post. If you look closely in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll see the Access logo — a family of four that’s either very close to each other or else congenitally conjoined. I thought such a rare condition as the latter could only be repaired by 20-hour-long separation surgery, but if it’s something that chiropractics can take care of, I’m all in favor of the less-traumatic course of treatment.
Wonder if there’s a coupon for that. Buy one get three free, perhaps?