Friday, March 16, 2012

Conversations at the spa - making sure the word "lupus" comes up

While I don't get to the spa very often, I find that I feel right at home once I'm there. The soothing music, the soaps and lotions, even the robes and slippers make for a very, very fun experience. But every time I go to the spa, I usually end up giving a mini Lupus 101 tutorial...simply because the customary health form I fill out undoubtedly has way too many check marks to let slide.

Sure, I could fib and say that I've never experienced arthritis, heart trouble, breathing issues, or any of the other issues that I have to mark "yes" to on the spa intake form...but that wouldn't be prudent. It's important to clue in the spa therapists - giving them a quick glimpse as to who they'll be working on next. And up until now, I've accurately marked up my sheet with more than the average amount of "X's", prepared myself to be pulled aside to explain what lupus is, how it affects me, and why, oh why a wonderful relaxing massage shouldn't be a problem. At least, that's what I usually do.

But for some reason, during my spa treatment this past weekend, I didn't mention a thing - primarily, I suppose, because they didn't ask. I filled out no form, and no one asked for my health history, so I kind of just forgot about it. It was one of those, "I wonder if I should mention anything about lupus?", and then before I had a moment to mull over my choices, the lights were dimmed, the music went on, and I was in relaxation mode. So I didn't say anything...and after the fact, I wish I had.

Don't get me wrong - the massage was great. The masseuse was responsive and accommodating...and I experienced very little to no pain after the massage. But during the massage - I found myself thinking that I had I mentioned my sensitive hips and knees, or my propensity to swell and bruise easily, or that I have traces of arthritis everywhere, I think it might have been a little more enjoyable. Because without that information, there's was no reason for the masseuse to magically know to go light around my joints, or easy on my skinny, bony fingers, or use a soft touch on my back. I assumed my health history didn't really matter - and that's where I thought wrong.

I assumed that in treatments past, the spa therapists asked the questions about my health form just because they had to...not because it made a difference in how they performed the treatment. But now I know that it makes a big difference. The therapists I've had before did listen to my story - making small changes in the way they performed the treatment, taking into consideration my sensitivities, tender areas, or trouble spots.  The reason I didn't perceive it as a big deal is because they didn't make it a big deal - their professionalism shined through.

But now I know - and I won't make the same mistake again. Best way to prevent it from happening again is to have treatments more often so I won't forget. Oh, the sacrifice!


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