Saturday, February 13, 2016

Answer me this....

Recently I asked 100 patients 4 questions. In Spanish. And in English.
The questions involved their acupuncture experience in terms of Courtesy; Communication; Pain Reduction; and Continuity of care.

They could choose from 3 answers: a) Above Average; b) Average; c) Below Average. There was also a space below for additional comments regarding any areas of dissatisfaction. It was the first time in my 4 years at the hospital that I stepped out of the box of 100 patient visits a week to actually get a birds-eye view of patient satisfaction. And a valuable tool that I had left inside the door when I exited a 25 year career in advertising and P.R..

Feedback is not something that should be relegated to bats. To keep them from crashing into objects in their path. Our questions asked of those we serve can add trajectory and velocity to our flight as well. And make our navigation more precise and unerring.

This experiment reminded me of a training I did in Constructive Living Therapy with it's  founder David Reynolds about the same time I began my Acupuncture Study. He requested that we ask 3 questions regarding our key relationships:
What have I received from you?
What have I given you?
How have I harmed you?
I dare you.

Friday, February 5, 2016

And how does this work.....exactly.

It's the "exactly" that throws me. Every time. It happened again yesterday. From an attending. He had finished writing up a recent case of mine for presentation at an upcoming Anesthesia Conference. This was a 22 year old Hispanic girl with a small calibre through-and-through gsw entering at the left scapula and coming out through the left upper chest wall, barely missing her heart, but severely affecting her brachial plexis. She had come in for a nerve block, but had no driver to take her home. The attending asked if I could do anything for her, and I gave my standard answer. Sure.

I was introduced to her by the attending. She was crying. Her PCP had told her she had a 2% chance of regaining any use of her arm. 5 minutes later, with needles in Gall Bladder 34 and Stomach 38 on the opposite leg, hooked up to e-stim, she was raising, lowering, and rotating her arm. And opening and closing her fingers. I recorded a video of it on my cell phone, with her permission. I didn't want either of us to forget. Lift-off Houston.

Over the next 10 weeks I would see her once or twice a week, with less and less regularity. At that point she was working part-time as a hostess at a restaurant downtown. And able to drive with 2 hands on the steering wheel and flip the turn signal with her left hand to get there. She didn't really need me. She had "flown the coop". But there was the ever-lingering question. Curious minds want to know. How does it work?

My answer to the resident was standard. How does heating a point on the ouside corner of a mother's little toe (Bladder 67) cause her breach baby to flip head down? Not knowing doesn't seem to effect the outcome.  Trained monkeys could do it. Happy New Year!