Pain: A Story
Jane Watson, a 10-year-old girl, was referred to me (Lonnie Zeltzer) by the chief of pediatric orthopedics because of knee pain. In the orthopedist’s telephone referral, he said, “I have this child crying in my clinic. This is a pain problem…not an orthopedic one. Please help!” Such a direct and personal referral set the stage initially for me to want to relieve this child of her pain, especially when the previous four doctors had not been successful. The assumption I made initially was that this child had neuropathic pain and had just not received the right treatment. We intervened with straightforward approaches to treatment of neuropathic pain, but these were not effective. The distress of this child and her family, including numerous telephone calls for help on a daily basis, eventually led to a hospitalization and a subsequent year of individual hypnotherapy with me for Jane, and family psychotherapy with Brenda Bursch. I present the history and evolution of treatment for the patient, and Dr. Bursch discusses the family treatment. We both explore the feelings and changes that each of us experienced through the process. This was the first patient with whom we worked together. Thus, this story is about not only the development of ourselves as individuals but also the development of our professional relationship.