My Most Memorable Patient
One of my patients had a workplace accident and broke several of her bones. One year latershe discovered that she also had severe nerve damage. Her doctors tried various pain medications and physical therapy interventions on her for more than one year. She kept trying to return to her job as a carpenter, but had to stop working due to unbearable pain. She was finally put on total disability and told that she would have to learn to live with her pain. No one explained to her how she could live with pain and still have a functional and satisfactory quality of life.
She was finally referred to a pain clinic that I was consulting with. I worked with her and her doctors to find out why nothing had so far succeeded in relieving her pain. On my first assessment I noticed that seven of twenty of her identified pain symptoms were neuropathic in nature. I also discovered that she never had had an MRI for her back. When she was finally referred for an MRI, the results showed significant nerve impingements and damage.
Understanding what was really going on with her was the start of her transition from hopelessness to a renewed hope for her future. Within six months, she had adequate pain relief and was undergoing vocational rehabilitation in computer programming, so excited about her future. Without this healthy transition, she would have been at high risk for moving into demoralization.
Stephen Grinstead, MSc (Counseling Psychology), MD (Addictive Disorders)
Author of the Book “Freedom from Suffering: A Journey of Hope”
Director of Training and Consultation for the Gorski-CENAPS ® Corporation