“Once, I was massaging the legs of a football player, and he started moaning as if pleasured. I told him to get lost”
Some patients exaggerate pain. They think they will get better attention if they do so. When they complain about severe pain, we often pretend to believe them. In fact, we know the actual pain is far less than what they say.
It is difficult to handle children. Their understanding of the human body is very different. Once, a five-year-old boy was brought to me. He was crying in pain and said it was in his right leg. It was the typical growing-up pain that many children have. I gently massaged his right leg, but he kept crying. Finally, I asked him to show me the exact point where it hurt. He showed me his left leg.
We were often told by our teachers that a physiotherapist should be able to diagnose ailments clinically. That one’s palms are the best tool to identify a problem. But nowadays, no physiotherapist gets such an opportunity. Patients come to us with X-ray and scan reports. There is no scope left for us to explore. We just have to follow whatever is already diagnosed.
Such examinations are necessary in certain cases, but most often private hospitals make people undergo such tests unnecessarily. Though we know this, we too have to play a part in this money-making business.
Handling male patients is not a problem in general, but on rare occasions we have had
bad experiences. Once a football player came to me for treatment. While massaging his legs, he started making noises of sexual pleasure. I asked him to get lost.
A good physiotherapist is a good counsellor too. Patients who come for treatment for paralysis need not only physiotherapy, but motivation as well. We have to talk to them and boost their confidence.
(She is the head of the physiotherapy department at a private hospital in Ernakulam, Kerala)