Specialists have told me that I have exhausted what conventional medicine can offer, so last Monday I visited an osteopath with experience of a wide variety of alternative therapies. On Tuesday I was unexpectedly offered a cancellation appointment with a psychologist/doctor in neuroscience who offers neurofeedback training. The two appointments were poles apart in the way they unfolded.
The osteopath was curt, asked few questions and did not explain a test he carried out on me. He then refused to treat me when I said I would find it difficult to lie flat, or nearly flat, on his treatment couch, especially after the 25 minutes car journey I had made to get there. When I enquired whether using a cushion might help elevate my head, he told me to try adjusting the couch. When I said I would find it difficult to remain in that position for the hour or hour and a half long treatment, he walked out of the room. As I left, the receptionist told me I should have ‘made more of an effort’.
In complete contrast, the psychologist/neuroscientist I saw on Tuesday was charming, friendly, extremely understanding and empathetic. She listened carefully to me, asked pertinent questions, and explained in full the EEG test that she performed. She grew in understanding of my condition as the consultation went on, especially the problem with car travel. She made sure I was comfortably seated before the EEG and provided me with a cushion for my head. We shared some family experiences and laughed together. This delightful person was so willing to be flexible that she has contacted a colleague who may be able to treat me at my home, under her supervision.
With a chronic illness or condition, the quality of relationships with doctors, therapists and other practitioners is paramount, even crucial. It is so easy to undermine the patient’s confidence and make them feel worse about an already difficult situation.
Note to health professionals: PLEASE TRY. Pursue with others what you wish for yourself….