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