Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Lee's Story - Part 2/7: Coincidence

It was shortly after my first encounter with Lee that I found myself on the train, returning from an Acupuncture Clincial Skills CPD day in London. I was reading a book written by my Tutor and came upon a very moving chapter describing her last few treatments of a patient with terminal cancer. This was a very poignant moment for me as it was whilst I was reading this that I received a text message from Nicki telling me of Lee’s diagnosis and asking whether I would be willing to treat him in hospital. I of course agreed, thankful for the strength and insight I had gained from reading of my Tutor’s experience.

When I was finally able to see Lee again, he was an in-patient at the Hospice.  I had mentally planned my treatment options, only to be told by the staff that I wasn't to put needles in his chest or back. He was barely able to talk because of the breathlessness, and his wrist pulses were completely out of balance. I contemplated a *re-balancing treatment but thought him to be too weak to tolerate too many needles, so in the end I needled two points in one foot only, which sent him off to sleep for half an hour or so. 

As an ex-asthmatic myself, I know how incredibly tense my back used to get during an attack and so I offered to gently massage his back, which he was very grateful for, and proceeded to massage neck, shoulders, arms, hands and feet for about an hour. He was visibly more relaxed afterwards and his breathing had become much less laboured, and so at this point I took my leave.

It was at this point that I felt forever indebted to my Tutor for instilling in me the courage to do less in order to do more, and to carry out my treatments with utmost humility. Sometimes it’s not about trying to make a patient better, it’s more about offering comfort and understanding, as gently and as calmly as possible.

*Re-balancing treatment – H/W imbalance – the sum total of energy in the right-hand pulses far outweighs that of the left-hand pulses, which show serious depletion. Often a sign of resignation in the patient. Can be caused by conflict or unhappiness in a relationship.

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