At our clinic in Bajra Barahi, Nepal each practitioner sees up to 20 patients a day. At the beginning of my stay there I was meeting all new patients. I knew some cases would be challenging and others would be a bit more familiar. I know right now, that some will need long term treatment and have slow progress, whereas some find relief in only a few treatments. I do hope however, to have as many successes as I can in the short amount of time that I am here. And it's the successes, little or big that keep me inspired to moving forward to help people.
The first time I met this patient he presented with low back pain, painful urination and red coloured urine. He complained that he experienced the back pain when bending over and had some frequency of urination. I thought he may have been experiencing a kidney infection but he did not have a fever nor was his pain severe.
I consulted with a colleague and he clarified that this was not a kidney infection but more likely kidney stones. After doing a kidney punch test confirming the presence of stones and taking his temperature (which was normal), my recommendations were to drink five to six liters of water, quit drinking alcohol, chewing tobacco, and come for acupuncture to move the stones. Expecting him to argue with me, he surprisingly agreed saying if that is what it took to pass the stones, that is what he would do.
Within a week he visited the clinic every day and every time I saw him he looked better and better. The pain kept decreasing as he held his side of the agreement to drink six liters of water! I enjoyed his energy a lot, he was a very positive man and grateful for the work I did on him. I especially appreciated that he wanted to get better as much as I wanted him to!
I predicted it would take about 6 appointments of checking in and doing acupuncture to resolve the stones. When appointment 6 approached, he came back saying he was having frequent urination but no red urine, urgency, or back pain. How could he be urinating ten times a day after all the work we had done? It was because he was still continuing to drink 6 liters of water per day because I had advised him to when he had the stones! Laughing at the very uncomplicated explanation, I told him he could now return to half that amount since the stones had finally passed. What else was there to do for him now? I could not think of anything to say but that he did not have to come to the clinic anymore unless something else came up. It does not seem like a big deal but for me, it was the first time I told a patient that our work here was done and I did not require him to come back again! It felt rewarding to know that this case was for now closed successfully. It enforced a reminder to me that it is great thing to give a patient the help they need with the intention of eventually seeing them less and less because they are improving. On the other hand, if we are constantly seeing a patient for several months/weeks without seeing any changes in their condition, what good are we doing?
I do believe that this patient did more than half of the work because he truly wanted to get better and was willing to put in the effort for that to happen. Patients and us practitioners have to work together as a team! I am hopeful for more experiences like this in the future. Specifically, I am looking forward to more successes as well as overcoming challenging cases. Even more so, having the right to say, "Great work! You don't have to come anymore unless something else happens!" and send them on their way. -- Alyssa Baser