AMT Chairperson Autumn Message
By Michelle McKerron
Do you ever get a bit stuck? Do you lack motivation, enthusiasm or energy? When there are many people who need us, much to read and catch up on, many mundane things to get through, and little time, how long do we wait before a great moment happens?
I think most of us go through a stage where we feel like this, whether it’s waiting for Saturday to arrive, a whole month, or just until we get our morning cuppa.
As Massage Therapists, we are asked to give, give, give. Not only of our touch, but as we evaluate situations, punch numbers, do paperwork, and clean our hands, our floors and our towels like the future of the world depends on it. It’s a tough gig for people who mostly go into the job thinking ‘I care, and I want to help people’. And particularly when you feel like your skill set manifests mostly in your fingers.
I think we need a feel-good story! A ‘get us back on track’ story. Maybe a story that could be considered a kind of case study – depending on how you look at it.
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My husband had surgery 3 weeks ago. That in itself is bound to divide us and I haven’t even started!
After a tackle gone wrong in a game of soccer last year, and after months of brilliant physio, the rascally Peroneus Longus tendon decided that it didn’t want to live in its groove posterior to the lateral malleolus any more, but preferred to float at random intervals wherever it pleased.
Two consults later, we thought we had the all clear. “This could be the new norm, give it a go and see what happens before we slice and dice” was the recommendation.
I was happy, because even though I enjoy working on scar tissue, I am not voting for it! Husband excitedly signed up for the new season, happy to take the risk.
Sadly, a week later, after a select group of Big Wigs used this scenario as their ‘case study of the week’, it was decided that, actually, the tendon is in great shape and it should reside permanently in its proper home. Have you ever heard of shallow grooves? Supposedly this was the problem. Surgery was booked within the week. This meant no driving for 6 weeks (yes, it’s his right foot) and crutches for at least 3 weeks. Helpful for a father of 4!
We were feeling a bit stuck, and lacking motivation, enthusiasm and energy.
Fast forward 2 weeks and the most holy of days when the cast comes off! Oh the joy, the wonder at a limited, but very real, ROM. And oh, the … smell!
A couple of evenings later, and after a couple of intense bathing sessions, we were in front of the TV. It was time to address those scars as only I knew how. Just quietly, I was a bit excited. Little did I know that I wasn’t even going to be able to touch those scars with any more than a dab of Bio-Oil.
As I picked up the foot – the one that had been cut open, encased in plaster and generally thought of as an absolute pain – a peculiar look came over the owner of that foot. I had used the lightest of touch, the most careful of movements, and the man before me smiled.
And then he totally lost it in a wave of tears borne of the relief that someone was treating the source of his utmost frustration, discomfort and pain. Without a trace of embarrassment (says me), and after gathering much air, he said, “I think I have a tear in my eye.”
With that, no more was said, because we didn’t need to speak. The conversation was between my fingers and his nerve endings. That whole foot needed me.
It kind of rattled me a bit, that overwhelming emotion from the ‘patient’ and the knowledge that I, ME, had provided this human being with a new lease on life with the simplest of touch. It blasted away any feelings I may have had that this was a moment in our lives to be endured. This has been subsequently reinforced by treatments that don’t seem to have had any less of an effect, and by the gratitude.
We have such magic and, along with that, permission from our clients to work that magic. We may not always have the heart-wrenching moments, but keep giving. Give, give, give. Because, WOW, how good is life with a reprieve from pain?
About the Author
Michelle is a wife, mum of four, massage therapist and manager of a small clinic in Sydney’s south. She doesn’t get bored often. Watch out, Michelle might strike up a conversation with you at the next AMT event!