Explaining Context

When people ask “why does it hurt?” I’ll get around to stating that “… also, context of [your pain] is a factor in how it feels.”

Now this may make sense to you, the PTBT audience, but this is often not an idea that people have thought of. Most people only remember a politician saying his/her words were “taken out of context” so it may be important to explain context.

Here are two quick context stories I tell. Please use them, please make them your own…

spooky-forrest

1.) Context example… “So now let’s say you are walking in a spooky forest, it’s dark out, you’re by yourself, a bit creeped out and you feel this on your shoulder (lightly tickle the skin), what would your reaction be?” Often a patient will exaggerate looking back quickly or state “I would jump, think it was a spider or something”, etc. Continue reading

This is the person you are trying to help

this-is-the-person-youre-trying-to-help

In walks your 2pm evaluation. Well, not really…they scoot in backwards, sitting on their four-wheeled walker complaining about how long the medical history form is and “why do you need to know all that stuff?” A long past medical history is fine, you can handle that, you can synthesize how 10 years of uncontrolled diabetes mixes with COPD, a back problem they’ve had “since they were 19” and the multiple progressive knee scopes and procedures they’ve had.

During the interaction, however, the person is “off.” They don’t interact with the ease and simplicity that you do with your staff, your friends or the prior patient. You can’t quite describe it well. Continue reading

Rhyme as Reason

peotry PTBraintrust phrase that pays

Communication is complex, rich, diverse and ever important when attempting to portray your ideas, or persuade those around you. As it turns out, certain phrasing can lend an air of credibility to your words.

In the fantastically named paper Birds of a feather flock conjointly(?): Rhyme as Reason in Aphorisms, McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (2000) illustrate the power of structure in extracting meaning and truth from phrasing. Continue reading

The Claims Equation

I’ve finally figured it out, I’ve boiled it down to the simplest of terms: I dislike unsupported claims. From this simple seed, stems so many urges to engage in discussion, debate, conversation and reflection.

I could not figure out why listening to biomedical model explanations bothered me so much. I could not figure out why those using nocebic analogies drove me crazy. I did not know the reason that I loathed unsubstantiated predictions of the future (“You will need a knee replacement.” “You will have pain forever” etc). It comes down to the claim.

Maybe you could say I just enjoy truth, but truth is a complex part of this whole thing (personal truths, facts, outcomes, etc). To explain this best, allow me to use some math: Continue reading