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Guest Post – Doctor Knows Best?

We are delighted to welcome our first Guest Blogger, Dr Cath Spencer-Smith of Sportdoc London.

Doctor knows best?

Part of my role as a Sports Doctor is helping people to recover from surgery, guiding them safely back to activity as quickly as possible.

I’m always telling people that ‘it’s all about the rehab’, and ‘the patients who do best are those who make time for their remedial exercises’.

If you’re a recovering Olympian, or in the military, for a short while it becomes your full time job to do the rehab, but what if you’re the average Londoner working 60-70 hours a week?

The bargaining goes something like this:

Patient: ‘I tried carrying out all of these specific exercises my physio wants me to do, and the first round took me an hour and half! I just don’t have time to do that every day.’

Doctor: ‘I appreciate it’s difficult, but we’ve really got to get your muscle control and stability improved- we can concentrate on a couple of really essential areas – could you, as a bare minimum, commit to thirty minutes a day?’

Patient: (wearing a wry smile) ‘Of course; provided you can write me a prescription for that half an hour- or maybe help me with sorting through the giant paperwork backlog that my job drowns me in’.

This particular patient is a Professional person, who applies herself to her sport with as much passion as she throws herself into her CEO role. Surely getting better meant the world to her, so that she could return to her sport? She’s weighed down with paper. Literally. Surely she should have that aspect of her life sorted by now. I mean, she’s a PROFESSIONAL after all!

I stopped and reflected on our interaction at the end of my twelve hour day when I found myself sighing at the site of the three large A4 stacks of papers and statements I needed to plough through for my accountant and impending tax return. ‘Ughhh!’ I thought, ‘I’m a clinician- I see patients -I like people not paper’.

Chiding myself for my seven-week-old neglected manila stack (complete with dust film and two ‘motivating’, ‘SORT THIS’ post-it notes), I tried to summon up some enthusiasm.

Surely my professionalism and willpower would get this task (now rapidly becoming a ‘chronic condition’) completed?

Who was I kidding? I decided that the ‘cure’ for my paperwork disease came in the form of a paperwork professional.

Just like my patient, my office and I are now on the road to recovery.

Dr Cath Spencer-Smith is a London-based Physician in Sports & Exercise Medicine. She is also founder of Sportdoc London

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