Monday, 9 November 2009

Check up

I had my four-monthly check up with Lesley, my lovely and second-favourite physio. As readers of MDB will know, after Jane, Lesley is my primary carer, and she's brilliant. She was here this morning, and found that I was a bit stiffer than before, especially around my hips; i e I tend to bend through my back rather than from my pelvis. It's not the best news, because once your muscles get shorter you can't stretch them longer again. So it looks as though I'm going to have to let Jane be as brutal with me as Lesley is. It doesn't half hurt when she really extends my muscles! But no pain, no gain.... Something else she noticed was that I have started to tilt my head a bit to the right. Nothing to worry about, but same problem about muscles. Jane and I reckon it probably goes back to when I injured my shoulder tipping over in my electric wheelchair.

I asked Lesley whether she ever found her job depressing, because she works mainly with patients with MS and MND - who obviously don't 'get better'. She clearly has found ways of coping with it professionally. But it sounds as if the Health Trust managers have little imagination about her sort of work. After all, how do you quantify the positive 'outcomes' when your patients have degenerative neurological conditions? Proportion of patients cured? Amount of hospitalization prevented? Amount of GP/consultant hours saved? Well, I guess the recovery rate speaks for itself. But the cost benefits for the NHS (physios don't cost much) must be huge, and the care benefits for the patients of physios, OTs, speech therapists etc is GINORMOUS. After all, they're the first line of palliative care, which must be a national medical priority now - since the alternative is unthinkable.

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