PT360 May 2017

Getting you back to the life you want to live.


M ay 2017

In Touch

F inding the B right P ath Even in the Midst of Darkness

It’s been a few months since getting our last newsletter out, and an overwhelming few at that. I had another post already written, but if you’ve spent any time with me personally, you’d know that it doesn’t reflect my need to live honestly. I am appreciative and proud of the fact that who I am is darn close, if not identical, to who you know me as. This goes for my daughter as well, and it’s a quality I cherish in her. So, I’m going to apologize up front: This one will be a little heavier than usual. If you’ve been to the clinic this year and chatted with me, I’ve probably shared the news that my daughter, Callie, sustained a spinal cord injury in January. It happened due to some “off-label” monkey bar tricks while at school. That kid needs to be bold, a quality out of my comfort zone, but squarely in hers. After the first ER visit, we were told everything appeared to be fine. “But the tingling?” I inquired. “Not concerned,” they said. Pushy mom got her to an MRI. “Looks normal,” they said. “But the tingling?” I persisted. “Let us know if she gets worse,” they responded. “She’s getting worse. Symptoms are spreading,” I said. The pediatrician’s office checked her out, “She’s anxious and making it up,” they said. Now, again, if you’ve spent any time with me, you know this didn’t end well for the practitioner in front of me. Short story, she got a referral to someone who does know more, she had an abnormal MRI, and then a second abnormal MRI. The poor kid is going to have a long year in front of her with surgery to ease the tension on her spinal cord. Through all of this, I have been grateful. Grateful that I know enough to know better than to listen when I have been told to not worry. Grateful that I know enough to solve most of the puzzle that was her medical presentation. Grateful that I regularly question authority and know those authorities’ opinions have come less from diagnostic assessment and more from tests with limited accuracy. Grateful that I (and our amazing team) have some of the best diagnostic training out there, able to solve difficult puzzles and listen to the patient, because throwing away pieces to fit your finding is a terribly ineffective way to be accurate. And mostly, despite these current daunting challenges, grateful that my daughter is as happy and full of life as she’s always

been. I’m grateful that no matter what life throws at you, one can choose the bright path, even in the midst of darkness.

And, if you’ve been my patient, you may have heard me say, “If you listen long enough, the patient will always tell you what’s wrong with them. They may not know what they’ve shared is important, but those pieces are always there, ready to be put in the puzzle.” I wish for you to be heard and to advocate for yourselves. We’ll always advocate for you as well, even if it means raising some hackles. Lord knows that is my comfort zone.

– Shelly Coffman


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