Friday, September 22, 2006

Occupational Hazard

I really have no intention of turning this into a medical- related blog, but I have been concerned with medical matters over the past couple of weeks.

Now that I am getting active treatment for my condition, it's all systems go on the medical front. There's physiotherapy, exercise, minor weight training, regular visits to the Consultant, and of course the Special Compression Stockings made to measure somewhere in Germany. Added to all of this, may I introduce, Occupational Therapy.

It's a strange thing. I have struggled, and Katy has struggled with me (with mini accompanying struggles from Little Brother), virtually unaided by any official medical agency, apart of course, for my heroic GP, who has indeed been a brick, and almost as demented as the rest of us, for 3 years. Now that there is an extremely small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, all this help has miraculously appeared.

This week brought a visit from the Occupational Therapist.

I had already had a telephone interview with the Duty OT last week, where I had supplied all my personal and medical details, so that there would be no forms to fill in when she arrived, she would just make an assessment as to what the Local Authority could do to help me around the house. So basically, I will now be getting help as I become more mobile, but when I was getting less mobile every day, there was no help.

But as usual, I digress. I had asked The Tezter and his LSW to be here at the same time as the OT, as I am not keen on turning my house into 'Holby City', and wanted someone else to hear her suggestions, and to discuss them after she'd left. Anyway, true to form, they arrived about 2 minutes before the OT, and I shunted them off with Little Brother into the dining rooom, so that I could initially have a brief private conversation with her. Little Brother, who has a mild Autistic Spectrum Disorder, really communicates with The Tezter despite the 35 years age difference, but their friendship is somewhat bizarre, and much of their communication consists of The Tezter lecturing Little Brother on the exploits of various SS Panzer Divisions in WW2, or them calling each other lewd names amongst much raucous giggling.

Well, I, and the extremely proper young lady from The Local Authority discussed my 'condition', while from the dining room, I could hear whispers of 'You're a ----', 'No, you're a ----', followed by muffled male laughter, and exasperated sighs from the LSW. Then I called The Tezter in while we discussed what could be done for me, a chairlift and a leglift (means tested) so that I could go to bed again, but not before April as the Local Authority has no money until then, or I could have them fitted now, at my own expense, and be re-imbursed in the next financial year, if I was entitled to a grant. And that was that.

Or rather, it wasn't. Having been with me for the best part of an hour, she said that there were a couple of things she needed to know, and then she proceeded to ask me all the questions I'd answered previously over the phone, And then some. I put my hands above my head, I wiggled my toes, I answered questions about my previous illnesses (none), stays in hospital (childbirth), incontinence (no), and washing ability (Look at me. I'm clean!). Then she asked me if I knew my date of birth, the same one I'd given her 5 minutes previously, and who the Prime Minister is.

I turned my head extremely slowly, and fixed her with what best may be described as an icy stare. She stood up 'Well, that'll be all thank you Mrs. Newton.'



Z said...

She's younger than us, I take it? So we aren't really people, not as she knows and understands 'people.'

My friend Jill was telling me only today of someone she knows, with a wrongly sized artificial hip, being accused of deliberately and repeatedly dislocating it, as a means of 'attention seeking.' By her (former) consultant.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Just a bit. Slim, teeny-tiny, and armed with a ferocious clipboard. She did however say I looked good for my age, but obviously not good enough to know how old I am.

PI said...

Things are sounding more positive. That must be good news but why does one have to deal with nitwits? She was lucky to get away with a stare.
Your descriptions, although moving are hilarious. Fingers crossed life will get easier.

Doctor Jest said...

That PM question is a bit of a bugger. It used to help sift out the realy confused, but all through the eighties and again for the past five years it has been completely pointless. Didn't matter if you were batty enough to think Vicky and Albert were still enthroned you's still know Mrs Thatch' or latterly Tone B Liar.

Best answer I ever got was "David Lloyd George!"

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Pi - Luckily I still maintain a cynical, jaundiced, sense of humour.

Have you noticed how the female members of the 'caring' professions, particularly those that John Crippen calls the 'quacktitioners' all have the same deeply annoying voice. It is flat and boring, and they use soothing phrases like 'I hear you'. Do you think they have to perfect it to qualify?

Dr. J - What really offended me about the assinine PM question was that she had been with me an hour before she asked it. On reflection I wonder how compos mentis I appeared.

As for David Lloyd George, I wonder if your patient thought you deserved a peerage.

Dandelion said...

I thought David Lloyd George did used to be Prime Minister.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Dandelion - I think he may be a little before the good Doctor's time :-)

aishel said...

I found this blog from a comment you posted on Soccerdad.

As an OT student myself (graduating with a Masters degree in less than a year), I'm quite appalled that she did some of the things that you mentioned. As crazy as it sounds, when they're asking you for your DOB and who the prime minister is, they're doing what is called an orientation check, to make sure you're oriented to time and place. Often times, the therapist will ask for the date as well.

However, those types of questions are usually only asked if there is a suspicion of not being oriented. This OT obviously didn't have much judgement in this area, and was probably just trying to cross all her t's and dot all her I's. The forms we have to fill out are quite annoying, but we do have to fill out all the information.

I hope you have better experiences in the future!

For more info on OT, check out the wikipedia page on it, as I have done a lot of editing over there:

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Hi aishel - Yes, she was dreadful, but well-meaning. This blog takes an ascerbic view of life from, and before, the chair. It is wry, tongue in cheek, and it hopes, amusing.

All that aside though, my recent encounters with highly trained professionals, has been mixed. They all have my best interests at heart, but obviously don't know how to deal with assertive and articulate people. They also, apart from one, have what I call 'The caring professional's voice'. This is slow, monotonous and extremely irritating. If adopting this is a requisite part of getting your qualification, may I suggest that you abandon it the minute you have the certificate in your hot sticky hand. They also use caring professionals' buzz phrases. 'I hear what you're saying', is a favourite one. It has been my experience that when someone 'hears' you, they aren't necessarily listening.

I was irritated not so much that she asked me my date of birth, with which, as I stated, I had already supplied her, but that she asked me if I knew my date of birth. She had been with me for an hour. I don't imagine I came across as THAT forgetful!

Potentilla said...

Chairwoman - you put your finger on it with your comment about assertive and articulate people. Every health professional approaches every new patient with the initial assumption that they are not very bright (which I suppose statistically is not unreasonable). The brighter health professionals adjust quickly to reality, with the exception of a few with no personal skills at all (usually doctors). The less bright hp's.....don't adjust.

I got sent for an urgent ultrasound recently. The doctor (consultant) and I exchanged several remarks about why I was there and please could he tell me what he could see as he went along. We then had the following exchange:-

Him "Oh, did you need a peepee before you came in"?

Me:"I have hydronephrosis of the right kidney caused by a probably cancerous mass in my pelvis, I expect that's what you're looking at."

I suppose I should count myself lucky he didn't ask me who the Prime Minister is.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Hm. A consultant too precious to use the U word. Thank goodness it wasn't a Barium Enema, he might have had to kill himself.

Nat said...

That's why we call them "Occupational Terrorists"

Always seems more fitting, somehow!