A Dose of Appreciation is Good Medicine

Culture

Oct 31, 2016

By Amanda Iames RN, CRRM, CCM
Brooks Pain Rehabilitation Program Case Manager

I have worked for many years as a rehabilitation nurse in a pain rehabilitation program. Recently, I gained a new appreciation for our patients and their struggles with pain. I am currently in rehabilitation for lower back pain due to a lifting injury six weeks ago. I can appreciate the fact that no one wants to be in these shoes. Pain is unpleasant and no one wants to experience it, but it is part of life. We just need to find good coping strategies. I have learned an attitude of appreciation is helpful in the process.

I appreciate when my medical providers are timely with my appointments, especially since I know the demands they have on their time “behind the scenes.” I also appreciate when medical providers are “in the moment” and able to focus on my care. It’s good when they can be efficient with time but not rushing through my visit. As a patient, I notice when they are less distracted and not interrupted by others.

Sometimes it is hard to put into words what I am feeling and experiencing with the pain and I appreciate my medical providers listening and seeking to understand my complaints and concerns.

I appreciate education and instruction in many forms: verbal, written, demonstrated and individualized. My physician provided written instructions and next appointment information at each visit. My physical therapist provided a lower extremity exercise DVD and individual exercise instruction sheets and a daily exercise log, which were all very instrumental in keeping me on track.

I have learned to appreciate myself when I follow through with my home program and appointments. I learned the importance of attending appointments when I do not feel like it and exercising each day, even if it is only a portion of what has been prescribed due to time constraints.

The last appreciation has become very important. I appreciate small steps and small successes. The recovery process is variable and takes time, effort and having reasonable expectations. It helps to remember, “Big ships turn slow”, and   I am seeing progress.

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