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July 26, 2023 3:30 am
During a recent medical event with my wife, she received significant time with the acute pain
management team. To my surprise, they engaged me, asked questions, and solicited my thoughts as Gracie’s longtime caregiver. Recognizing that post-operative pain management with her is a bit of a trick, they listened as I shared numerous “incidents” from her long journey.
After relating her history, I added, “In my experience, I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to help her is ‘aggressive assurance.’ Constantly reinforcing, ‘We’ve got you—and we’re on top of this.’”
The pain management professor immediately jumped in and addressed his students, “I can’t agree more with the importance of assuring the patient— and easing the anxiety,” he stated emphatically.
“Chronic pain patients understand pain in ways we can’t because they live with it daily. They also know what it’s like to experience intractable pain and the terror involved when unable to
communicate—or the frustration of not being understood.”
The students, professor, and I talked a bit more, and I watched them scramble to take notes and remember the importance of aggressive assurance for patients in pain.
Later, the professor returned to the room and specifically asked to see me.
As he detailed the plan his team implemented to help Gracie, my eyes filled with tears when he looked at me and quietly said, “Caregivers also respond well to aggressive assurance.”
From caring comes courage. —Lao Tzu