Laurie's Blogs.


Dec 2023

Info, Communication, Crafting the Message!

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT, Cert. Sm. Anim. Acup / Dry Needling

This blog delves into my personal drama for the last two weeks in dealing with my older cousin and her recent health issues, but it is a very fitting follow up to last week’s blog about providing Tips, Tricks, and Community options for optimizing health and learning how to cope, strategize, or do things differently.


Two weeks ago, I spent an entire day in Urgent Care with this cousin, for her heart issues (congestive heart failure).  Diuretics sorted that issue out… but then a full week later, a new issue arose of abdominal pain and a stuck gallstone.  So, as I reported on last week in my eblast, I spent a day in the Emergency Department, and another day in her house trying to sort things out.  


The hospital trip provided all of the testing that was needed to rule out a heart issue, clotting issue, an intestinal blockage, and it told us about a stuck gallstone, but no gall bladder inflammation or infection.  If this was bad enough, they could offer surgery, however, my cousin is a clotting risk… so surgery cannot be jumped into without a lot of considerations!


Fast forward to the point where my cousin at one point wanted to go back to Urgent Care or the hospital to get ‘IV Nutrition’, and those ‘great drugs they gave in the ambulance’.  I explained, they don’t give IV nutrition, that would be a nasogastric tube, and really, the bottom line on that is, EAT… even if you don’t feel like it.  I then explained that the drug was hydromorphone, and what would be the goal?  It just mask the pain.  It does nothing to cure it.    So, if we want to cure this, she needs to eat and drink the right things and do some non-conventional things to get the gallstone moving forwards or backwards.  If she keeps rushing to the ER or Urgent Care, then the more and more the medical system will say, “you have to do surgery”.  


So, I googled diet restrictions, do’s and don’ts, for gallstones, and I did a ‘visceral manipulation technique’ on her (a number of times) to move / treat / flush out the gall bladder.  The latter, took away her pain completely, leaving her just with ‘gas pain’.  (Yay, me!)  I presented the dietary changes needed… and amazingly, given the option of have surgery with a high likelihood of clotting and dying, or change your diet… she is actually listening and changing her diet!!!


Why is this a follow up to last week’s blog?  Well, in messaging back and forth with one of my colleagues and letting her know that I was sitting in ER with this cousin, she replied, “Well, at least you can navigate the system for her.”  Indeed!  And, I can understand blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, referral patterns of pain, anatomy, and know how the system will treat her and what can and cannot be done if she re-presents to the ER or Urgent Care.  The testing was all fantastic, gave us the answers she needed… but honestly, the only ‘advice’ she received was from the Senior Surgical Resident whose parting words were “If you need to see us again, you can call into the outpatient surgical clinic, and don’t eat fatty foods.”  Then he was gone. 


Would those parting words be enough to incite a lifestyle change in a patient?  No.  And fair enough, perhaps not the job in an ER setting.  But, never the less, what a disservice.  It sheds light on one of the issues in healthcare… how to talk to people to get them to listen.


This isn’t just a human healthcare issue!  The current set up of 15 minute appointments (or less) isn’t serving our pet owners either.  So, I think that those of us in animal rehab / vet physio, because we have more TIME with our clients, should really take it quite seriously, that we are one of the more important links for enhancing communication.  So, we are a catch system / safety net, a provider of tips/tricks/resources, and now, communicators.  


I think next week’s blog will be on communication strategies!  Riveting!  You can bet your shorts on it!


Until next time!  Cheers!