Thursday, April 11, 2013

owning the problem


There was a lesson I learned while Gina and I had our little clinic.  We had many people who would come in for lymphedema treatment.  Some fared better than others.  Gina was with the patients at the clinic more than I was.  She was the lymphedema therapist.  Pretty much all of our patients showed improvement, but some showed dramatic results.  I asked Gina why that was.  She said that patients have to be compliant.  If they refuse to do what they are asked to do, the results are never as good as they could be.  Patients have to do their part.  True, I saw patients from time to time who would come in day after day and do their part, they drank water, they exercised, they did what Gina asked them to do when they went home. We experienced incredible results, and what the patient was asked to do wasn't that much.

Then there were the patients who would come in expecting the therapist to do their thing.  They didn't commit to the process of their treatment.  Lymphedema is chronic disease.  Those who have lymphedema not only have to work at getting the swelling down, but  have to take on the responsibility to keep the edema down, manage for the rest of their lives.

Some folks came in expecting some kind of magical treatment that would take all their problems away.  There's no magic pill, no magic anything.  Those folks thought that they could just come, plop on the table, get treatment and not take any kind of ownership of their problem.

In life,  if someone wants to do better, they have to be motivated to do their part.  They must own their problems and be ever proactive.  It's necessary that each person take charge of their life and do what is necessary to get to a better place.  Some folks would just plop down on the therapy table expecting someone else to be responsible for their problem.  When it came down to it, our problem wasn't there problem.  Sure, we did what we could do, but we were limited many times on how far along the patient could get.  Our slogan was "Reaching your goals together!"  But what can the therapist do if the therapist is doing all  the work?  With Manual Lymph Drainage, it's up to the patient to get the most out of the therapy sessions.  That's the patient's responsibility.

Many would just come and complain and make excuses as to why they weren't compliant.  They'd say "I don't like to go on walks or do the exercise.  I don't want to drink the water."   The therapist would not ask much of each patient, but what was asked of the patient to do was crucial.  
Many were not willing to own their disease.

Therapy ended when the patient showed no more progress.  If the patient wasn't compliant, the therapist  would go as far as she could go and then discharge the patient.  Once the fluid levels plateaued, there was no proceeding forward.  Those who owned their lymphedema, always showed greater results.  For those who didn't, we could only go as far as we could go.  
What can be done if the patient gets his/her edema down ~ to then opt not manage it from there forward?  That's the patient's responsibility. 

Most bad situations in life don't go away, whether the issue is physical, mental, financial or what have you.  Almost all of our predicaments require ownership of the predicament.  It takes personal commitment to overcome.  No one can overcome trials for someone else.  No one can help a person if that person doesn't own their own problem.  Like I said, there's no magic. One must take charge of their life, be responsible for it, and do everything he or she can do to manage it.

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