Raccoons! (and ignoring problems)

Pamela Stone-McCoy DC, CACCP, FICPA
Raccoons! (and ignoring problems)

It all started several weeks ago as I headed out the house for an early morning run (OK it actually started a year ago, but more on that later).  I turned around in the front yard and looked back at the house and up on the roof, I saw a big orange & black striped tail sticking out from behind the chimney. I couldn’t see the whole body, but I knew that was the tail of a raccoon.

For many months, we had been hearing little footsteps in our ceiling, presumably squirrels. Last fall we paid a company a lot of money to come trap the squirrels, even though it didn’t help – probably because it wasn’t a squirrel and they were never in the attic. Yet the noise continued, but it wasn’t anything really bad. So we basically ignored it and kept on living with the noise of these animals scrambling around.

However, in June the noises became louder and more frequent. The animals seemed to be living in the chimney, which was right next to our bedroom. So we quickly cut down the trees that were touching our house, and a few days later the “raccoon guy” came and put out several traps at our house.

On the first morning after he set out the traps we caught one, a female that was apparently nursing some babies (as he could tell by looking at her).  Great, that means those babies are somewhere and now they don’t have a mom. Day #2 we caught raccoon #2 at the same location that we caught the mother, however this time it was a male. Two days, two caught.

However for the next few days we didn’t catch anything yet we still heard those noises, baby noises. We ended up cutting out holes in our bedroom drywall, saw some babies, and the “raccoon guy” was able to catch two of them (that he said were about 12 weeks old). However the third baby got away, escaping to somewhere else in the walls of the house.

For the next several days we heard this baby crying, almost screaming all night long. I’d sit in the living room and hear him running above me, in the area between the 1st and 2nd floor of the house. Back and forth he went, it was driving me crazy. We slept on the living room floor (family slumber party), as our bedroom now had holes in the walls and raccoon traps on the floor. We had a construction crew come in and replace our chimney. They patched up holes, yet didn’t see signs of that baby raccoon. This raccoon was one tough baby.

We then cut even a bigger hole in the drywall, put the trap inside the dormer area and boarded the walls back up …. and then waited. At 1:00am I was awoken by a loud thud – the sound of the trap door shutting. So we opened up the drywall again to finally find that little tough baby sitting in the trap, staring at us. Got him! What a relief.

The next day the “raccoon guy” came and took that 5th raccoon away. Yes, five raccoons living in our chimney and walls, and they had been there for quite some time. As far as they were concerned this was their home, we just happened to be sharing it with them.

So several thousand dollars later we no longer have raccoons, we have a new chimney and new trim around the house. We’re in the process of getting a new bedroom. Yes this has cost us thousands of dollars that we did not have. However somehow we found a way to come up with money and we made this a priority.

So what does this have to do with chiropractic? Well I can see the analogy perfectly. We knew there was a problem yet we just kept living with it, basically ignoring it cause it “wasn’t that bad.” However when it really became a problem, it was huge. Sort of like when you ignore that minor low back pain or neck pain, stomach pain or headaches, and just go on living with it. Then it gets really bad and you’ll do anything to get it taken care of. All of a sudden, it costs more than you anticipated. But you do it, because you have to.

It makes me wonder what would have been, had we dealt with it last summer or better yet, hired a company that knew what they were doing the first time around. Instead, we just ignored it until it got bad. Lesson learned.

Who out there needs this lesson when it comes to taking care of your body? Whether it’s an ache or pain, or sign of cancer or some other disease, waiting and ignoring the problem does not make it go away faster, it generally makes it worse. And then it costs more than you want to spend. You are better off taking care of yourself now, every day, every week, every month. Get your spine & nervous system checked (get adjusted!), don’t wait for the problem gets worse. Wellness chiropractic – it’s the smart way to go.