Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Let's get physio...

'So, how are we today? On a scale of one to ten where one is hardly any pain at all, how painful is it for us at the moment?'

Well, quite a lot actually. For me, that is. For you, though? Well, I'd hope no more than one or two. I mean I know this is the NHS and all that but if your job's any more painful than that then I'd recommend a career change, quite honestly.

'So, what do we do during the day Tim? At work, are we?'

Well you are, dear boy. I suppose I am too. Lulu's sleeping rather noisily in her pushchair while this young slip of a lad goes through a checklist, ticking off answers and marking things on a picture of a human body. Male, I notice. Even upside down.

'Do we smoke?'

Well I don't. (Although by now I'm starting to get desperate!) Do you?

'Like a drink, do we?'

And finally, the pièce de résistance...

'So, what do we think is the cause of the problem then?'

Well, I know the cause of the problem is an underlying chronic auto-immune ailment that is making joint pain and stiffness a daily occurrence and - apparently - giving me a limp as I compensate for the uncomfortable pain in my right foot when walking . But apart from that...

I've only visited a physiotherapist once before. I'm sure they're not all like this. The other one wasn't. But then, that was almost twenty years ago. (A dodgy knee the result of being pushed out of an aeroplane... don't ask.)

Maybe they've been trained now, to talk this way. It's quite a feat, maintaining a conversation - let alone interrogation - in the second person. In fact, Jason doesn't quite manage it. Occasionally he slips into 'I' and 'you' and even forgets to correct himself. As a result, the narrative perspective is all over the place; I can't give him any credit for understanding his audience either. My ever-so-slightly sarcy comments are lost on him - as are a number of my answers judging by the way we seem to go round in circles.

'So, we've been sent by the consultant have we?'

Then later...

'So, why do we think we've been sent here today?'

Is it me? Am I becoming more and more like Victor Meldrew? Or is the world out there becoming more and more unfathomable? I find the whole thing baffling. As well as tiring. As if being asked to tip-toe up and down a ward barefoot or balance on one leg while trying the catch a ball of screwed up paper isn't bad enough then trying to keep up with this verbal idiosyncrasy (or idiocy) leaves me exhausted. So if you'll excuse me...

We need a lie down.


News of my aching joints has reached the manufacturers of these two excellent products. The Deep Heat I know of old and love (and have already used on an aching back). The Regenovex - coming as capsules, pads and an ointments - is new to me but definitely worth a try:


  1. Ah, but did you have my personal favourite (admittedly. more commonly asked by hairdressers than physios); 'Going anywhere nice on holidays this year, are we?' *grits teeth*

  2. Ok the reason we ask about pain is to guide the assessment process. It helps us determine the severity and irritability of the condition. We go through the assessment process because often the one line referral or tick box form from a consultant or GP can be misleading or unhelpful. I know, shocking! The more information from you the better because it helps with the clinical reasoning process that helps us with the physical assessment and subsequently with your treatment. I have never spoken to anyone in the second person and I too would find that extremely odd and annoying. And lastly, sarky comments from patients tend to be fairly irritating when you're just trying to do your job. Sarky comments don't go unnoticed and make me grit my teeth. Be up front and honest with Jason about what you expect from physio and about your condition and how you think he can help. I find patients a far better resource of information than other health professionals sometimes. And if you don't get on with Jason, just ask for someone else.

  3. At least he didn't talk to you about "Tim". That would have earned a quick slap across the back of the head IMO.


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