Learning from My Mistake
Because I ride horses competitively, I spend many hours taking lessons. Just like my patients, I'm trying to learn and master motor skills. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes not. This morning it hit me how similar my learning experiences are to those of my patients. I heard myself saying exactly the same thing to a frustrated patient that frustrates me when I hear it. He was doing no better at the time than I was.
Despite the fact I'm riding a large, moving animal with a mind of its own, I have the advantage over my patients. My neuro, visual and somatosensory systems are intact. Errors on my part are usually due to misunderstanding the instructions whereas even if my patients understand perfectly, they may not be able to do what I want. Either way, we both end up frustrated and no further along.
The same things that annoy me probably annoy them. I don't like being talked to as if I'm stupid. Nor do I appreciate exaggerated demonstration and pointing out obvious mistakes. I know I was wrong. The thing that annoys me most is telling me two or three different methods and acting surprised when I'm confused about what was really wanted.
Yes, I'm sad to admit I did all but one of those this morning with my patient. If I don't learn anything like that, I shouldn't expect it of my patients. Now I'm wondering how many times I wasted a session because I wasn't paying attention. Frustration means try something else, not a new explanation. After I realized what I was doing, I shut up and let him try to figure it out for himself. He did a little bit better.
I'm going to work on remembering the problem might not be lack of understanding of the task. The problem might be lack of skill to complete it.