if you can’t beat em’…

The answer I should have listened to can be summed in one word: “No”

But, yes, I did it anyway; and now I’m here to tell you all about it. When I decided earlier today that I would sit down tonight to write something interesting, something fascinating, something penetrating, and something uplifting, I had hoped to share a success story or maybe even some new ideas from the VT room.  My creative juices have been flowing lately and as time allows I’m back to writing as much as I can.

Go ahead, call me boring, but it’s what I’m into. 🙂

For now though, those creative juices will have to simmer down a bit, or at least continue fermenting in my cranial petri dish until tomorrow, because tonight I’m here to tell on myself.

Sort of.

I have a patient who likes to ask “bathroom” questions as a way of distracting me whenever I pull out an activity that he dislikes. I’ll spare you the details of his verbiage, but he’s 8, so you can use your imagination. His list of questions have included his body parts, my body parts, sounds, smells – you name it, he’s asked.  I try to maintain a straight face through it all…but hey, some of it can be entertaining.

So in anticipation of his visit yesterday I asked my doctor if I could begin his VT visit with “bathroom talk”. You know, to get it out of the way. Rather than dodge the freight train, maybe we could just stand there and wave as it passes, right? I thought I’d have his mom in the room (she laughs at all of his questions anyway) and the three of us could laugh about tree logs, yellow rivers, and with any luck those inquisitive propensities would be flushed.

Well…it was an idea.

And you’re welcome for the cheesy puns.

Without detailing the new bowel depths reached in my interpersonal communication skills, let’s just say, I tanked.  The questions were flowing – overflowing, actually – and it was going to take more than a life preserver to rescue me.  He laughed. Mom laughed. I laughed. We were a mess!  But rather than just flush the session I figured I might turn my new found potty support into something, shall we say, colorful.  So I just went with it.

What do you think this Marsden Ball would look like if it circled the bowl 100 times?  Can we pretend that’s what it’s doing? Do you think my friend the Clown would be a good plumber?  He doesn’t look like he knows how to fix a sink! What if we colored the sink red and the mirror green and wore these glasses in the bathroom – what do you think it would look like? Yeah, he threw in a few “colorful” ideas too, but we just kept moving.  As the session ended, I asked his mom what she thought of the session.

“You were on a roll!!” she exclaimed. Insert apple and tree joke here.

Not long ago, a small group approached me about writing a book. Maybe use some of my creative talents, combined with my VT experiences, and construct something that might impart wisdom on future generations of Vision Therapists. I haven’t decided whether or not the book idea fits in my future plans, but I can tell you this:

My VT room is never boring.

Ever. 😉


Posted on November 11, 2014, in From My Perspective.... Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great laughs reading this blog today!

    I definitely attribute my successes in the therapy room to the ability to manipulate knowledge of the patients interests and characteristics in ways that relate to what we do in the therapy room. I also aim to have fun because I remember that everyone loves an entertainer! I must say I never had the opportunity to have bathroom chit chat before!

    I have in the past come across the ultimate task avoidant patient who knew how to ask the interesting derailing questions and held an amazing ability to distract the most focused individual at any moment. How do you treat such an amazing human being and still get somewhere in the therapy room?
    By setting boundaries and reinforcements. I have a patient currently that the only way to accomplish anything is to play a game of some sort where as I meet him half way and allow for questions to be apart of the session. This munchkin cannot be reinforced through tangible items because it is attention that
    drives him! I set the boundary and the reinforcement by say first this then you get to ask 3 questions. It allows for the patient to obtain some control over the therapy room and keeps me from going off on a tangent because I love to talk too! The task that they have to complete may have to start off with 10 sec intervals (haha) so they get a taste of the reward (or the win as I like to call it) and then you gradually increase the amount of time they must do the activity in order to chat away. Once the individual understands the game, it’s putty in your hands. When we first started this game, the boundaries were tested and the questions still came during the activity, but I ignored the questions and redirected the patient by making the comments that would redirect them to the activity or would validify what they were working for such as ” can’t wait till we finish this activity so I can answer some questions!”
    During this game, I certainly would never answer a question unless they finished the task that was asked otherwise we just reinforced the opposite.

    Reinforce and redirection with a little entertainment side talk is always fun!

    Thanks for the insightful blog!


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