Joint Effort

He took my outstretched arm in his –

As I had thought he might;

He pulled me to his manly chest.

Moved now, he held-me tight.

I only breathed at his command,

My body in his power,

Mine but to do his slightest will

The best part of an hour.

At last he paused; he let me go,

I from his grip walked free;

I thanked that skilful osteopath

And gladly paid his fee.

(Dick Thomas 2010)

I thought I would start this blog with a poem, unfortunately not of my own composition,  poetry  being one of where I am sadly lacking in creative inspiration. It is however possibly written about or for me.   The poet was my first ever patient, an inspiring man I started treating in the third year of college and continued to see more or less weekly for the next four years.   He  bore the trials that his failing health presented him with a fortitude that was inspirational.  He was truly a scholar and a gentlemen,  knowledgeable in languages, art, literature and architecture  courteous in word and dead. Interested and supportive of  the course of my training and progression as an osteopath,  charismatic and charming to converse with,  it was an honour  and a pleasure to know and help him in whatever way I was able to over the years.

Since he passed away in January  I  have had many  occasions to remember him fondly,  be thankful for the privilege of knowing him  and for everything that he brought to my practice as an osteopath.  The memory of  Dick  reminds me how the course of  our lives can be writ large on our bodies as well as our souls, exactly what pitting oedema looks like and  makes me guard  against  ever seeing a patient merely as a complaint, condition or illness. That no matter how weak or battered the body may be it may still be responsive to osteopathic treatment  and these are not and should never be limited just to manipulations or soft tissue techniques (not that these aren’t valuable in the appropriate time and place.)  Most importantly I feel that knowing Dick showed me  just what trials can be overcome and what can be achieved with a positive mental attitude and a healthy twisted sense of humour. Mr Dick Thomas RIP and thank you!


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