Bodies are not cars, massage therapists are not mechanics, but today I’m going to tell you a little story about my car. Stick with it, there’s a point.
I bought my car brand new. I am the only owner and with a few exceptions, the only driver. It’s an older car but a couple of years ago it only had about 84,000 miles, much less than other cars its age. While it’s a cheaper car, with its own quirks, I haven’t really had problems until about two years ago.
It started to feel funny to me. It struggled a bit when I was driving and then it started shaking just ever so slightly here and there. It also started to sound to me like it was louder, or maybe I had turned the radio down to see if I could hear something different, but this shaking. I knew it wasn’t good.
I finally decided to take it to a mechanic that a friend recommended, and he did some repairs to help the engine shake. I was relieved until I drove it.
It felt like he found the raging lion and caged it but now the car really shook. He didn’t know what else to do.
My friend at the time started calling it the happy car because it vibrated so much and we laughed, but I wasn’t really laughing so much. I was secretly really scared that something was majorly wrong, and it was either going to be really expensive or require a new car, which I wasn’t prepared for although I did start looking.
I took the car to someone else who really did nothing but didn’t charge me anything either. It still shook.
I took it back when a second issue occurred that wasn’t related, and I reminded them of the shaking. They didn’t fix either issue, but it didn’t cost me much.
I took it somewhere else where they redid the first thing that was done, fixed the second issue, and tried a couple of other things. The nice man at the counter spent a lot of time telling me what good shape my car was in and how rare it was to have a car that age that had so low miles. I should be happy. That’s great because getting a new one wasn’t really in the cards.
It still shook.
I took to inviting random people to sit in my car to see if they had advice for what I could do. I got some new ways to describe what might be going on. It still shook, sometimes more than others. I was starting to feel like it was all in my head.
Most people just told me it was age. That became a pretty common comment.
Others recommended I buy used cars, but usually the ones they recommended had more miles than mine. It didn’t make sense to me that mine would be such a bad car that I needed to get rid of it and get something else with more miles.
I started googling to see if I could tell the professionals what it needed. I was able to do that with a different car before. I discovered that it might be part of a known issue that no one knows how to really fix. Turns out that might describe the loud engine, but not the shaking.
Sometimes it seemed to not shake as much. I kind of got used to it until it would seem to get worse and I would get worried. People started joking about the problem that only I knew about.
I resolved to use it until whatever problem the shaking was a symptom of showed up as a real identifiable syndrome, or at least it got worse.
It did, on a rainy night on a hill in another town, my back end slid a bit. I thought maybe I needed new tires, so I looked, and the front ones looked kind of worn to me, maybe the back ones too. Heck, I don’t know if I even know what tires should look like, so I decided to have the tires checked and maybe the brakes too. I was just really at a loss and I needed help.
I took it to a place that sells tires that also has done some of my oil changes and had seen the car earlier. The guy at the front told me he checked my tires personally because he didn’t trust the other people working there to do it. I felt so taken care of and secure.
I saw the tires were off and then back on again. He was so nice as he explained that my tires looked worn on the front and fine on the back, but it was all okay and I had time to replace them. There was no need to do it right then. I could wait. It was good.
I felt great. I had the expert give his opinion and I followed his advice. My car still shook but it was only old and okay. It must just be in my head, everyone is right. It’s me. I’ll just do what they say.
Then I had another scary incident where my car had trouble getting traction on a steep hill. It shook more, that shake that was so familiar by now but getting worse.
I needed to do something, so I resolved to try one more place. I held on the wheel with both hands because was this where the shaking was all along? Is it spreading? Is it getting worse? I can’t even remember because there’s just always been this shake now.
I prayed I’d make it and I did. Thank goodness, I finally did.
What I discovered was my front tires were separated. The left one fully and the right one almost fully. I got new tires. I drove it home. My car no longer shakes, it no longer vibrates, like it has for two years.
It’s still old. It’s still kind of loud, it has a bit of a rough idle that no one could fix either. It has character, but it doesn’t shake, and it doesn’t worry me like it did. I feel like my concerns were finally laid to rest. I know what was wrong. That ‘something is wrong’ feeling is gone when I drive it. Someone else drove it today and couldn’t believe the difference.
This time I got my car to someone who knew what was wrong the minute he turned my car on.
I knew my car. I knew something was wrong and the experts all kept telling me it was old. I got the same story over and over until I found someone with experience with the issue I had.
I can’t help but think how much this story is like the health care system when your body starts aching, hurting, or not functioning properly.
You know it isn’t right, so you take it to your primary care physician thinking there will be answers and what you often get is a lot of trial and error. A lot of experimenting and testing. Or maybe you take it to other people who know different parts, which might have been recommended by your Dr. or friends. Or maybe you go out on your own self-directed journey of alternative practitioners.
Everyone looks at it from the lens they know. They evaluate, not on a grand catalog of knowledge, but on what they know and what their unique experience and education is. They might try something and when it doesn’t work, like the first guy who had my car, tell you they don’t know or it’s out of their field of knowledge.
They might not really listen to you like the second place I took my car to. The place that didn’t really do anything.
You might start researching and reaching out to others who have similar experiences with varying degrees of luck. Google MD, anyone?
You might find someone else, who really listens, who really tries. A person that lets you know it should be all okay even if what they do doesn’t solve everything, or even anything. It may just help you to feel better, even temporary.
It’s so often the case when you hurt, or your body doesn’t work the way you know it should, that you don’t find help until you find the person who has been through what you are experiencing or has the right set of tools for the issue that you have. They are like the guy who got in my car and really knew what it was.
It was the tires all along.
But here is the deal, the important part of this story is that I knew something wasn’t right. I was the one who kept on the journey to find the person I needed even though I was frustrated and wanted to give up. The important part was my knowing, even though I didn’t have a clue as to what it was, I was the one who knew it wasn’t right.
Now, I would love to send everyone I knew to the guy who knew what the problem is but he isn’t going to solve everyone’s issues. Just ones within his realm of knowing, his realm of expertise. People with issues like mine.
When we go to Drs and alternative health providers, so often we think they can do and know everything. We do it with all things related to health and self-care because we have such a strong desire for there to be one answer.
We have so many options because one answer doesn’t fit everyone in every situation.
Keep looking for the option that works for you. Don’t give up.
Don’t let the process get you to doubt yourself. You have the capacity to know what is best for you. If there is any confusion, it’s because you have been taught to doubt yourself, not because you don’t know.