Happy 4th of July everyone! Just wanted to write very briefly about my experience yesterday evening with my friend. I have a friend I have known for about 4 years who has Multiple Sclerosis. Yesterday, my fiancée and I went to dinner with him to catch up. Of course, our topic of discussion was MS. He told me a little bit about his story and the difficulty he has had getting the diagnosis. He told me when the neurologist diagnosed him with MS my friend asked the physician what MS was and the physician’s response, “It is what Montel Williams has.” This brings me back to the patient education topic (once again). My friend had to go buy books and go online to research what MS was to fully understand it since his physician did not/could not explain it to him. This should NOT be the case in any healthcare setting! As a healthcare provider, it is our responsibility to make sure the patient completely understands their diagnosis and the challenges that come with it.
Throughout dinner, I was able to answer some of his questions and educate him on different things pertaining to MS and physical therapy. As we walked out of the restaurant, I observed his gait (because I can’t help it) and saw his cane was WAY too short and he had a lot of spasticity in his right upper and lower extremity. It seems to bother him a lot, however, I was able to inform him how to try to reduce his spasticity with stretching and weight bearing, as well as recommend him see a PT for his falls and spasticity. I made a simple adjustment to his cane and I received a text from him late last night telling me the cane adjustment made a world of a difference. When we got to his car, he stated he had an AFO, so I asked to see it. It was a posterior leaf spring (*face palm*). As someone interested in neuro PT, this KILLED ME. Not only did he tell me he had a terrible PT experience, they gave him a posterior leaf spring that he doesn’t wear because his spasticity overpowers it. I was able to discuss different AFO options and ones that are used more for neurological patients and have the potential to decrease spasticity/tone. I also recommended he go see a PT that would address his problems. I told him I would love to meet with him again when I have more time so he can ask me the questions he has regarding MS and musculoskeletal problems. Every person deserves an explanation and patient education. To me, it is the most important thing and will help build that trust between you and your patient.
Okay, I’ll get off of my soap box! 😊 have a wonderful 4th of July, be safe, and enjoy the beautiful day!