Too Harsh?

I posted the following to my Facebook page today:


I was initially surprised and unsure what to say, so I bought myself an extra moment to think over my response:

“If you don’t mind, I am going to set these things down in the other room, then we can figure out some of the difficulties you may be having with your positioning.”

I walked through the living room, where the Mrs. Smith was sitting, into the kitchen, set my things down in a chair, and returned to the living room.

“I’m sorry, Joannie, could you review with me again your concerns regarding Mrs. Smith’s sitting?”

The nurse then repeated her concerns. The couch is too soft. Mrs Smith’s pelvis was going to ‘splay’ (this was a new one for me). Her back was going to be positioned horribly and result in pain. She referred to this as “Pain Management”.

My response could have been more pleasant. It could have been more balanced. It could have been more collegial.

I decided to go in a different direction. I decided to make sure that the patient had no doubt as to the veracity (or lack thereof) of the nurse’s concerns.

[To the nurse] I am not usually so forward, so please forgive me…but that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard.

[Turning to the patient] Here is the thing: your pelvis is indeed made of a few different bones, but they are fused, no different than your skull. There is no reason to worry about your skull bones shifting if you do a hand-stand; the same is true for your pelvis when you sit on it. It might have moved a little before your daughter was born 25+ years ago, but since then, I can say with confidence, it probably hasn’t moved a bit. For anyone to tell you that it is ‘splayed’ sounds flat out ridiculous. You need not worry about your pelvis.

And your back? It has been fused for the last 4 years; it is held together with the same materials they used to construct the space shuttle. You are made of space shuttle parts. A nuclear bomb could detonate down the street and the only evidence that you ever existed will be the left-over parts they used to fuse your spine together.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are moments when you are uncomfortable, and we need to work on that. But that is because your nervous system is sensitive; it is trying to protect you. It is working hard to do so, if it needs to or not. We will continue to work on reducing that sensitivity and affording you the opportunity to continue to move better, but I would be the worst therapist in the county if I left your home today allowing you to consider for even the briefest of moments if your back and pelvis are anything less than structurally sound and strong.


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