Patient’s Feedback on “The Snarled Stumper”

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I wrote a letter to the “Roundtable” in reponse to a story about a patient who had undergone a straighfowrd simple knee surgery with a terrible result. (I’ve talked about this patient before in “The Snarled Stumper.”)He was in terrible pain, worse than before surgery. This is Anne’s input regarding my letter. (Anne is a patient of mine who has experienced remarkable success with the DOCC Project; she has done this on her own through this web site and through occasional phone calls and emails with me to clarify some of the concepts–I’ll tell her full story in the near future.)

The Dialogue

First, here is what I said:

“Dr. ____, I agree with your concept of “disengagement” and “stuck”. The term I have used for a while is “entrenched”. What I have learned the hard way is that the common denominator is anger. The more I have tried to convince a given entrenched patient to not become angry the worse it gets. I am in the middle of a disaster right now that has dramatically reinforced my perception. I had submitted a paper to the roundtable a few months ago, “Ability and Motivation.” If the patient is angry their motivation is destruction, including self-destruction. Their ability to deal with the situation is limited, as they cannot see it clearly. I have learned that I have to let go but still keep the door open.”

This is Anne’s response:

“I couldn’t agree more.  If I had been introduced to this program before my first surgery (instead of fourth and fifth), I may have been saved a lot of pain and 9 years of my life.  I am floored by the fact that anger and lack of forgiveness can make you physically incapacitated.  I never understood that until the last several weeks.  I honestly was angry with you for suggesting that I was angry.  Go figure.  Keep up the good work.”

Me again:

“I am changing the term from “entrenched” to “noncompliant”. I have historically felt that noncompliant was a derogatory term. I now understand the depth of frustrations these patients experience. Any human that is experiencing this degree of anger is not going to be rational and responsive. I am continually challenged on how to break through this barrier.”

Anne again:

“Noncompliant is a derogatory term, but maybe that is what it takes to shake people up enough to get a response.  Until you got a little harsh with me and told me to engage I didn’t hear a word you said.  The thing that kept me listening was that I respect you and thought what can it hurt, I’ll try it his way and it won’t work and he will see that he missed something.  Boy was I wrong.”

Just some thoughts!

Also, I’m currently reading The Hoffman Process. All I can say is, “WOW!”