Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Minds Power


                               Consultant Ganapatiraju Ravichandran " Ravi"


The patient was admitted in the middle of the night, something unheard of for The Spinal Injury Unit in Sheffield.
As the charge Nurse in charge of the four warded unit, it was my responsibility to help for the admission to come in and as they were being transferred from our own Hospital's A&E the admission was happening quick sticks.
All I was told was that a middle aged man was due to be admitted after a fall down the stairs at home. He was said to have a paralysis below the waist.
Our diminutive Asian consultant who had assessed the patient arrived on the ward at the same time as the patient and watched quietly as he was scoop stretchered from an ambulance trolley onto a bed.
The patient looked shocked and tired and had been partially cut out of his pyjamas, so as the nurses expertly turned him I noticed the tiniest of movements in a muscle on the patient's calf as a nurse removed a bottom sheet.
I shot the consultant a glance and he shook his head very slightly.

And so I stood back and watched the drama unfold

The patient was the only carer to two elderly parents, one of whom had advanced dementia. He had been up for most of the night dealing with wet sheets and confused aggression and had slipped down the stairs after 36 hours caring with just a few hours sleep.
The police had already implemented help for the frail parents and I reassured the patient that they were safe.
He cried and held my hand as the consultant performed the required neurological examination, his distress at his paralysis profound and upsetting.
However the patient wasn't paralysed.
He certainly had pain and was in shock from his fall, but he  wasn't paralysed at all.
It was also obvious that he believed that he was
I caught the Consultant's eye again and watched some brilliant medical care in practice
The consultant asked everyone but me to leave the room and sat down next to the patient  quietly.
"You have seriously damaged your spinal cord " he said carefully "but you are lucky that it will recover from any damage that has been done. It will need a week of strict bedrest here where the specialist nurses can take care of you but in one week's time we will get you out of bed and you will will go through rehab and will walk without pain and difficulty."
The patient, nodded blinking away grateful tears

And eventually he slept for almost 24 hours straight during which our unit Social Worker helped set wheels in motion that the parents went into 24 hour care. 
Hysterical conversion? Psychosomatic condition? 
Call it what you will, but a week after his admission the physiotherapists mobilised the patient with professional care and he walked out of the unit soon after to a life he could cope with again.


That day I learned that the mind is a very very powerful tool
and it's ability to protect it's host  is wide ranging and oh so complex

Oh and I learned that a usually medically orientated spinal injury consultant could act as the best of psychiatrists when he need to 

68 comments:

  1. Wow! What a story. As you suggest, it was possibly all about survival - driven by the sub-conscious.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This reminds me of what happened to a young lady many years ago. She was in an accident, suffered a spinal cord injury, doctors told her she was paralyzed, would never walk again. She accepted and lived her life in a chair, but managed to marry, have children. THEN, some 25 years later, another accident sent her to hospital where x-rays indicated nothing was wrong with her spinal cord, that she could have gotten up from the chair and walked at any time. She believed she could not so never tried. Story could be urban legend, but I was told as true. But either way, an example of belief/mind power.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no...I hope that was only a story. It is too heartbreaking to imagine.

      Delete
    2. That's a very rare occurrence . Believe me xx

      Delete
  3. And wise of the health care team, to recognize what his mind and body needed to heal, rather than dismissing him as shaken up, but not broken. When we reach the breaking point, we need time and compassion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I feel I've " come home" in the hospice

      Delete
  4. This gives me the shivers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This gave me shivers and goose bumps. What a caring man that Consultant was to recognise what the patient needed and to understand why his body had shut down. Our bodies are wonderful things, better than we give them credit for.

    A very well told story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was a lovely doctor
      Not an easy one for sure
      But I respected him

      Delete
  6. What an incredible story with a wonderful ending!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're the next Adam Kay.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous12:53 pm

    Thank you for that, John, a very interesting story. You are such a compassionate man and always a pleasure to read your stories from the past. (Patricia, Canada)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a good memory
      A skill that has hurt me greatly during my divorce

      Delete
  9. The mind is a powerful indeed. Poor man, exhausted and unable or unwilling to ask for help. His body asked for him. And the doctor, very wish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will never forget just how real the situation was for that patient

      Delete
    2. The doctor was wise, not wish. Sorry

      Delete
  10. Wow. Heartbreaking and heartwarming both.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lynn Marie1:19 pm

    Bless that doctor. If I prayed, I would pray to be able to similarly recognize and act upon the opportunities in my life to do some good in my own smaller way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IVe been so lucky in my career
      Working with such wonderful professionals x

      Delete
  12. I can only wonder if the same care and understanding would happen today. I somehow think not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does Su
      You just have to look for it x

      Delete
  13. What a story! It can be overwhelming to be a carer for just one person, much less two. I can't imagine what this guy was putting himself through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And his guilt and worry couldn't slow himself to give up x

      Delete
  14. I have meniere's disease. Every once in awhile, when the world starts to spin, I sit very still and will myself to stabilize, tell myself I do NOT have time for this. I visualize my brain and surrounding is with something tight and comforting and it seems to subside. Who knows if it would have anyways but I put up a great big stop sign and demand something better.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous2:06 pm

    If we won't or can't ask for help, our bodies and minds will find a way. That poor, dear man. I am not the sort of person who would care for my elderly parents. I know me, and others, like you and that dear Doctor caring for them is best for all. I've seen this happen, so much. My own mother thought she could care for my Dad, when he developed dementia. And she cracked, had a stroke, and then they both needed round the clock care. She refused to ask for help. Why do we think we must do it all? I don't understand. Maybe you do, John. I feel like a monster because I know I can't care for family. I could do it for strangers! Karla from Illinois

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karla..
      Don't be so hard on yourself
      I always say to relatives that it's easy for nurses to care
      We only have to do it for 37 hours a week !
      You have to do it 24/7

      Delete
  16. I will always remember a letter to Ann Landers (do you remember her? an agony aunt, I think you Brits call them) wherein a young mother with way too many children was so exhausted that she was considering somehow breaking a leg so that she would be able to rest while it healed. She was that desperate.
    What a story you've given us here. I doubt that one doctor in a thousand would have figured this out along with the "cure."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He had his issues ( he was homophobic at times!) but I admired him greatly

      Delete
  17. I think we have a long way to go in understanding the mind John as I am sure you will agree. In fifty years time I think and hope the mind will be recognised as the powerful tool it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it will always remain a shadowy force behind our actions pat x

      Delete
  18. That poor man .......how wonderful that you, the consultant, the other staff all gave him what he really really needed and had never asked for...x Libby x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not one member of staff challenged him , they rehabed him quickly and professionally
      I was very proud of what we did that day

      Delete
  19. I have witnessed this with a member of my own family who was in extreme distress over a difficult marriage. He threw her down stairs and she developed a psychosomatic physical affliction. After a good rest and treatment in a hospital, and the perpetrator's ass thrown in jail, she was feeling well and happy again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's more common than we think
      Hitchcock understood it

      Delete
  20. How shocking that he was caring for two parents, one with dementia, with presumably very little outside support. And how interesting that he thought he was partially paralysed when in fact it was just the effects of shock and distress. I know that a lot of physical symptoms are due to suppressed or unrecognised emotions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there are 1000 s of carers that never getvrecognised
      Thousands x

      Delete
  21. Barbara Anne3:52 pm

    Good observation on your part and wizard words from the equally observant Consultant. What a gift to the patient to be assured he'd be okay, to give him permission to sleep, and to arrange for care for his parents. What a gift that he did not have to face the impossible situation of being the lone carer for his parents.

    I so enjoy your true stories from your career as a nurse.

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have a few more when I retire from the hospice me thinks

      Delete
  22. Anonymous3:59 pm

    Dear John...the Hound of Heaven is at your heels. I pray you'll let him catch you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love this story. Thank you for sharing it with us. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  24. I saw a neurologist at a hospital a couple of years ago who who told me-there are"electrics"in our head we yet don't understand x

    ReplyDelete
  25. Extra stars in the crown for the consultant. Having someone just allow a patient to recover without a 'buck up, man' thing, it is just amazing. You, too!

    Cat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did nothing. It was Ravi who took the lead

      Delete
  26. You've written about Ravi before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For a little man he had a lot of stories

      Delete
  27. Lovely story even as sad as it was. They all got the help they needed.
    parsnip

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous10:31 pm

    Adam Kay https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Kay_(writer)
    'This is Going to Hurt' and 'Twas the nightshift before Christmas' make interesting reading unless, like me, you are the parent of a junior doctor! It will all be very familiar to you. Hugs Susan

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Very moving. I'm so glad the guy recovered. The positive mind is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dear John, as I once opined, years ago on this blog, you are an angel --an observant one at that.

    ReplyDelete
  32. A very touching example of compassion at it's finest. The mind is a very strange thing one part machine and one part protector. Thank goodness that the patient recovered fully.

    Jo in Auckland

    ReplyDelete
  33. That is amazing. He needed the reassurance right then, not later.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Fascinating! And along with the consultant's wise approach, I commend you for not saying anything about the movement in the patient's leg before reading the consultant's reaction.

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a lovely story there always seems to be a bed shortage here in and out as soon as possible, but for this moment in time the right choice was made his physical needs and mental needs were met and the guilt of placing his parents in care were made for him.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anonymous3:18 pm

    As a woman in my 83rd year, I have been blessed by being with both my parents when they died. My father said he didn't want to live the life of an invalid, closed his eyes and died within 15 minutes. My 102 year old mother died 6 months ago. She said life was no longer any fun and she didn't want to live any longer. I told her that she would have to talk to God about that. She went to sleep and never woke. Both left me missing them but not mourning

    ReplyDelete
  37. When I was 16 years old, I volunteered to work in a Rehabilitation Hospital.
    My dad told me that I would see things that might be very upsetting and I should call him to come get me right away.
    The sound of laughter was the first thing I noticed as I walked down the hall to a room of 4 beds.
    The culprit causing all the laughter was a man probably early 40s,in a room with 3 other paraplegics...
    My time spent there was fetching this and that,wiping faces when eating was so difficult and messy..mainly just being there for them when I could come and go and they could not.
    Every day I would go home and cry.
    It was so unfair and they were still able to be silly..
    Your post brought back so many memories and a reminder...don't whine about the little Bull**** ...be glad you can stand up and walk and hug your loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I so enjoy your blog and your shares :) I work in long term special care and I, too, am struck by poignant moments. You express them so eloquently :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. The mind is a powerful tool, to heal the body.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you John for this story. And for the many other stories you have told us. You are an amazing story teller. You have a marvellous gift with words. I am quite certain that many of your readers would love to see you writing a book. Although I do understand that you are not at present rich in free time. Blessings Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  41. Packers and Movers Gurgaon Provide Reliable, Safe and Certified Service Provider list, Get Free ***Best Price Quotaition and Compare Charges. ???Hassle free Household Shifting Services, High Quality packing Material, Office Relocation, Car Transportaion, ###Local and Domestic Shifting Service @
    Packers And Movers Gurgaon

    ReplyDelete

I love all comments Except abusive ones from arseholes