Breaking Bad

Of course it was spiced up

I gave a presentation last week for Return to Work SA, the local Workers Compensation body. It was a little different. RTWSA had hired two professional actors and part of my brief was to write a few scripts that could be acted out. Based on the outstanding work from Ben Darlow and Ivan Lin, I wrote some scripts to reflect how interactions in a clinical setting might go wrong, from a language use point of view. These were acted out, discussed with the whole group (mixed health professionals), suggestions made to improve the language, and re-acted. It was fun and engaging, and the self-selected group giving up their Tuesday night (after a full day at work) to attend professional development, did brilliantly.

Of course my scripts were a bit exaggerated and spiced up… And we discussed this as a group after – are there still clinicians out there who really speak like that, massively enhancing worry and fear, emphasising fragility and weakness, and suggesting extreme caution with movement, work and life? We thought that there probably was not, but we all understood that the exaggeration was there as an educational tool to make the point…

Or not

A few days ago someone sent me a link to this story:

Ryan Fitzgerald reveals extent of post AFL career injuries and shock surgery he may need next

“Someone put me on to a surgeon, I went and got it done and it hasn’t got any better. It’s actually worse than what it was before I went in for the knee reconstruction [the third on his right knee].

“I went and got a second opinion, I went to the Swans doctor and (he) goes ‘I’ll look at your MRI scans and I’ll X-ray your whole body’,” Fitzgerald said. “So I have four X-rays, hips back, knees, everything

“He has come back and said ‘first of all you have scoliosis in your back so you will have problems down the track’.

“‘You have got osteoarthritis in your hips that you will have problems with and why you have got pain in your right knee is you have really bad arthritis, you will need a knee replacement at some stage in your life’.”

The doctor noticed Fitzy was also “pretty bow-legged” and proceeded to recommend a rather drastic surgical option to fix all his issues.

“’I’ve had this procedure done, it’s a great procedure but you might need a leg alignment’,” the doctor told Fitzgerald.

“’What they do is break your leg underneath your knee and turn your knee to straighten up with the top bit of your leg, so you walk straight instead of bow-legged and you’ll be pain free, it’s changed my life.’”

Fitzgerald amazingly seems to be considering the option as his fellow hosts made jokes about being willing to do it for him in the car park with baseball bats. (emphasis added)

You couldn’t write this shit…

-Tim Cocks

 

 

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4 Responses to “Breaking Bad”

  1. Tracy Cloud

    I am sitting in a meeting right now full of seasoned, educated specialists in pain….and I still hear what I call “scary language”. These are well intentioned and really, otherwise, helpful for our clients and pain recovery. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done with language. :) Thank you Tim for your continued work.

    Tracy Cloud, PT

    Reply
    • Geraldine Griffiths

      Great story Tim, yes so much education is still required, the language transition is happening so slowly. Geri

      Reply
  2. Marg Vandermost

    Hi Tim, your role play sounds intriguing and even if a little exaggerated would be a good tool as a video to use in clinical education. Any chance of a video series being produced?

    Reply

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