Pay attention…


It’s assumed that the sufferer goes to the doctor’s office with many questions to ask, eager for quality responses.

The patient exposes his symptoms, condition, disability, the way in which pain is marking his anguish.

It seems that the presentation is over and it’s time for the professional to give explanations.

– Tell me, doctor …

– Let’s see…

One has to be paying attention to capture the lack of attention. The sufferer may still be entangled in his story looking for more and more details.

– You’re not listening to me …

– Yes doctor. How wouldn’t I listen to you…!

– Well, what was I saying?

The patient has retained some sounds and repeats them, but has not grasped the concept that one wants to expose. He wasn’t paying attention to what he had to.

Without attention, the brain catches a few unconnected words over which later it reconstructs a story from its expectations and beliefs.

– I’ve been to a neurologist. He told me that…

If one hasn’t paid attention, what is said to have been said, in fact, corresponds with what one says to oneself about what another one is supposed to be saying. We are slaves of our narrative. In it, we put the characters with their dialogues…

– I told him, he told me…

It’s advisable to make a minimum of checks.

– Let’s see. What basic idea have you caught?

In many cases you’ll get the surprise that none has been recorded or, even worse, you have managed to record right the opposite of what one was trying to explain.

– The brain … hurts because I want it to hurt … it’s psychological … I get obsessed … I’ll just forget that it hurts…

The commitment of active listening is required. The attention should be focused on what the professional is attempting to communicate, free of preconceptions, pre-meditated interpretations.

– Pay attention. Switch yourself off and listen. If you disagree or don’t grasp the content, let me know. Ask.

The office is, sometimes, a classroom. Sufferer and professional take turns in the roles of teacher and student.

– Listen to me, pay attention. I’ll explain my pain to you.

– Now you listen to me. I’ll explain the biology of pain …

I vaguely remember an extraordinary book about muscle diseases. As time went by I’m only left with the thought I started the prologue with:

“Listen carefully to the patient. He’s trying desperately to tell you what’ss happening …”

Absolutely agree, but it should be complemented with another similar thought for the sufferer:

“Listen carefully to the professional. He’s trying to patiently explain the reason of what’s happening …”

Well, let’s suppose this is true, at least in some cases. Don’t miss them.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized by arturo goicoechea. Bookmark the permalink.

About arturo goicoechea

Born in Mondragón, Guipúzcoa, in 1946. Head of the Neurology Department at the Santiago Hospital in Vitoria (Álava), Spain. Published books: Jaqueca, 2004. Depresión y dolor, 2006. Cerebro y dolor (Esquemas en dolor neuropático) 2008. Migraña, una pesadilla cerebral, 2009.

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