|Los Angeles chiropractic office remains open despite loss of power
by Michael Dorausch, DC
plantetc1.com staff writer
LOS ANGELES - Local residents are fortunate that chiropractic is a hands-on business, as one Los Angeles chiropractic office remained open on Friday, despite a loss of electricity to nearly the entire community.
Thousands of Department of Water and Power customers, as well as Edison customers, were left without electricity on Friday, after Thursday nights fierce gusts of wind knocked down or hurled tree limbs into electrical lines, blacking out areas of Marina del Rey, West Los Angeles, Westchester, Venice and Mar Vista.
Santa Ana winds blew hard all night Thursday and into early Friday morning, gusting with speeds of up to 70 miles an hour, ripping down power lines and tumbling trees throughout areas of Los Angeles. A neighbors palm tree was thrashing the side of our house and I thought it was going to crash through the bedroom window. Winds are common this time of year but these were wicked strong. First thing I noticed in the morning was the clock flashing three twentysomething a.m., a sign that the power had gone out in Venice Beach sometime in the night.
My office manager called my cell just after 7:30 a.m. to let me know the power was out at our chiropractic office. I was already on the way, experiencing the task of defensive driving since most of the traffic signals were out along the way. Call me an optimist (or a nut), I sensed it was going to be a spectacular and unusual chiropractic Friday.
Our office is located in a single-story strip mall setting on the edge of Marina del Rey and Los Angeles. In the center there are three restaurants, a mini market, hair salon, nutritional supplements store, Curves Marina del Rey (fitness for women), a dental office, and us, ADIO family chiropractic center of Los Angeles. (ADIO stands for above-down-inside-out)
When I arrived at about 7:45 a.m., power was out for the entire center. Traffic signals were also out along Culver Boulevard, which is the main street people take to get to our office. Employees and customers were showing up at the other businesses in our center but nobody was open.
I remember a chiropractor once telling me that if you want to succeed in chiropractic business you'll have to unlock the front door. I remembered that as we got prepared. Fortunately, that task does not require any electricity in our office. It was a bit chilly in the office since there was no heat, but I figured once we all got moving everything would be fine. Anyway, we're in Southern California, and it was going to be a nice sunny day after a night of such crazy winds.
Our office phones were getting power through the phone lines so even though we had no answering machine we could pick up the phone and serve whoever called. That was the added bonus that set the day in motion. The phone began ringing just as usual with patients calling to schedule and confirm appointments for the day. We lit candles, raised the window blinds, and turned the OPEN sign, ADIO chiropractic was ready for business.
As the energy of the day would have it, nearly everyone came in with cash or a check book in hand, prepared for their Friday chiropractic adjustment. Most of the patients throughout the day did not even realize at first that the power was out, not only in our office, but in the whole business center. As the morning when on I thought we didn't need electricity, there was electricity in the atmosphere. People were excited that it was Friday, that they could get adjusted, and that there was plenty of parking (since everyone else was closed).
I heard comments all day about how cool it was that chiropractic care did not require anything but the hands of the chiropractor. We worked without music, without computers, without lights, without credit card processors, without a fax machine, and without x-rays, but other than those added luxuries it was pretty much business as usual.
The day was going great despite the girls in the front office being a bit cool from the lack of heating. We had no idea when the power would go back on and the word from other business owners was that it could be all day, or even Saturday before electricity was restored. We took a break for lunch as we always do on Fridays and I told the staff that if the power was not on at dusk we would likely close early, as the neighborhood was going to be really dark without any power.
The afternoon went just like the morning and the staff was doing an incredible job of serving everyone that came in. The lack of sunlight began really being noticeable around 4:30 p.m. and I made a decision to close by 5 p.m. if we didn't get the power back. My staff said they were willing to go the distance and do whatever it took to see that everyone scheduled could get an adjustment before the weekend came and pushed me to keep going. "They don't care about the electricity," said my CA, "they just want to get adjusted."
Since none of the other businesses were open I parked my car with the headlights facing the front office and turned the lights on bright. We also lit every candle we had in the office to get as much light as possible.
I began to get concerned, mostly since new patients continued walking in, and they'd have to fill out the office paperwork by candlelight. Our regular patients seemed unfazed and joked about the candlelight ambience in the office. There were firefighters and police officers on the street outside the center by six o'clock, setting off flares and directing traffic, since the neighborhood was now pitch black. I walked outside to greet one of our last scheduled patients and give her the news that she'd have to reschedule for Monday, as it was now just too dark, and I didn't want her to risk walking into the furniture or something.
We were standing in the parking lot, while flares burned in the street, and the headlights from my car just barely directing light into our front office. That's when it happened. The first thing I noticed was the buzz of neon lights powering up and I looked to see our big red neon sign read CHIROPRACTIC. "It's a miracle" exclaimed the patient. I responded, "let's go get you adjusted" and we headed inside.
It was bright and noisy even though the computers and music were not on and I could hear the buzz of electricity running through the office. We decided to leave the computers off and just finish up the day the way we started. Wouldn't you know it, people continued to come in as if nothing was any different.
The lesson for me was that nothing was any different, I just needed to be reminded of a few things... Chiropractic is done by hand, and does not require electricity. Healing comes from the inside out, and does not require electricity. Lights, music, and computers are nice, but it's the adjustment that people really desire.