I have just received this heartening email from the practitioner:
“Just thought I'd update you briefly - I have continued to visit my patient twice weekly in the Hospice and he is going from strength to strength, despite a major setback a couple of weeks ago. At that time, he had been doing very well indeed - he was no longer reliant upon oxygen, his breathing was normal, he had good pain control and had regained his appetite. In acupuncture terms, H/W had cleared and I was treating him very minimally, purely on command points. However, things went pear-shaped a couple of days later when his bowels appeared to be blocked - he was eating an enormous amount of food (2500 calories per day) but his bowels had stopped working (probably due to the morphine and other drugs) and nothing was getting through. He was once again in tremendous pain, had a stomach drain in situ, was nil by mouth and was scheduled to have ileostomy surgery. H/W had returned with a vengeance, he was in very low spirits and did not feel up to any needling, so I treated the H/W with acupressure instead.
A few days later, I received a message that his bowels had started to work again and that he had a reprieve from surgery - and when could I come to give him another treatment! At my next visit, once again I was amazed at the difference in him - H/W had disappeared again, and the pulses were the most even to date. This time I cleared AE and finished on source points.
I am due to see him again today and he is due to go home on Wednesday all being well, though he will be continuing with his chemotherapy as an outpatient. He feels that the work we are doing together is extremely worthwhile and really looks forward to his treatments, as he says he feels very focussed and strong afterwards, and also relaxed and rested, but energised. Above all, he says I'm probably his only visitor who comes without making any demands, physically or emotionally - for which he is immensely grateful.
This experience brings home to me how important it is to be aware of our own emotions and to maintain a balance, especially through difficult times, where words can be superfluous - a mere presence is enough.”
I cannot praise this practitioner enough for her courage in keeping things simple and refusing to panic. As I wrote to her in reply to this email:
“It is never easy to treat somebody who is so ill. There will always be times when their health deteriorates suddenly, as their body struggles to cope both with the disease and with the side-effects of the drastic treatment they are getting. But you seem really to be helping him.
I love what the patient said about you being “probably the only visitor who comes without making any demands, physically or emotionally”. You can’t have a better compliment!”
Nor can we have a better illustration of the rare quality we all need to nurture in ourselves as practitioners and as human beings, too, not to make demands, either physical or emotional, upon those around us which they are unable to meet.