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The Triple P Approach to Neurologists

23 July 2015

In my last post, I talked about the importance of being able to express emotions and then move on. As part of this process, I crafted this post in an attempt to voice my frustrations following some very challenging appointments with neurologists. I acknowledge my tone may sound irreverent. However, please note I neither intend to show disrespect to any specific neurologists, nor the specialty in general – humour is simply my coping mechanism and I hope that any neurologists reading this can laugh along too.

Move over Matt Sanders. You may have unlocked the secrets to giving parents simple and practical strategies to help them confidently manage their children’s behaviour, but you haven’t yet tackled the much more challenging subspecies of humans: Homo neurologists.

These creatures are renowned, even amongst their closely related kin, Homo medical specialists, for being one of the most difficult creatures, firstly to locate and then to tame. Typically, it takes months to secure access to one specimen. Upon the first encounter, their temperament can be unpredictable, despite the significant entrance fee they command.  Furthermore, they frequently insist upon subjecting those who dare to invade the murky depths of their territory (medical suites) to a wide and bizarre range of experiments, generally involving either electricity or magnetism (and occasionally the removal of bodily fluids from the spinal cord).  Again, it is necessary to part with vast sums of money in order to conduct these tests, which are required if you wish to come face to face with your selected Homo neurologist a second time. Subsequent engagements tend to involve ruminations over the results of the said battery of electrical/magnetic/spinal cord tests. However, these musings are rarely in a form comprehensible to normal human beings, so it is advisable to get everything in writing for later translation by one of their more approachable cousins Homo general practitioner (whose prevalence is greater and who don’t charge such exorbitant admission prices).

In the lead up to, and during a visit to a Homo neurologist, I advise my proven and patented Triple P approach: preparation, patience and persistence.

1) Preparation: A homo neurologist tends to be quite confident of its own intellect. This may lead to it spurning the medical opinion of others of its own, and closely related, species. Normal human beings (even with PhDs) don’t stand a chance. Occasionally though, when the stars align, it has been known, for one homo neurologist to convince another that their interpretation is correct. If this concurs with your own analysis, you may be in with a chance. At this point, it will be crucial to have on hand an absolute arsenal of peer-reviewed publications backing up your own analysis, but the key is to apply this medical documentation delicately and sparingly because an overwhelmed homo neurologist may not react favourably. Which brings me to my next point.

2) Patience: Should you chance upon a bad-tempered homo neurologist, keeping them on your side is going to require a level of tolerance and peace-keeping expertise that would challenge even Kofi Annan. Do not expect answers straight away. They may come, they may not. If not, start over with another specimen. Don’t, under any circumstances, expect any sympathy. Just be grateful if you aren’t in tears by the end.

3) Persistence: Homo neurologists are notorious for their unpredictability. No two creatures will ever provide the same output given identical input data. Moreover, there may be considerable variation in reactions over multiple encounters with the same individual, or even during one appointment. Responses may be recalled and amended at any point. The key here is, keep probing. At some point you will spot a weakness in their armour and can exploit it.

Another word of warning here. The primary keepers of and fee takers for a Homo neurologist (generally of the breed Homo receptionists) are often of similarly variable disposition. It is unadvisable to expect any sympathy from these beings either.

In summary, it is prudent, for the sake of your mental health, to minimize the number and duration of encounters with individuals from this species. However, if unavoidable, I strongly urge you to employ the useful strategies outlined in the above Triple P methodology to produce optimal behavioural results.

Comments (93)

Thanks for the chuckle Sarah! So, if you had the chance to re-frame these experiences, in a perfect world, how would you have liked to have been treated? I'd love to know. Looking forward to your next post...

Not too much to ask for at all, that would just be professionalism! MS is a very serious diagnosis, and we know that time is of the essence in obtaining treatment, yet experiences like your own seem common. I have had similar experiences. I guess what I was really asking, is based on your experiences, how would you like to see things change for the better procedurally? How can bad patient experiences be transformed into a better model of care?

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