The Hruska Clinic Integrator

David Drummer discusses what he likes to treat.

A student on a clinical rotation here at the Hruska Clinic once asked me what I liked to treat the
most (i.e. back pain, hip pain, headaches, etc.). As I thought about the question I realized that
it's not so much what I like to treat, but whom I like to treat. I really like people and it's always
rewarding to see people feel better, but occasionally you help someone and make an impact
that you never saw coming. Several people come to mind, and here is one example:

A couple of years ago a lady came into our clinic who had been suffering from chronic,
debilitating headaches basically all of her adult life; more than 25 years of pain. She was
referred to us by a dentist who thought we could help. While working with this patient I learned
she has some complex physical, emotional, and psychological challenges secondary to
multiple abusive relationships. I don't believe most of us could ever truly comprehend what she
has been through. When she first started coming to me, she was unable to tolerate working
full-time, and was at risk of losing her job. She spent every free moment in a basement away
from light because of her headaches, and caring for her young daughter was extremely
difficult. This patient has made great progress through our program, is working full time and is
able to care for her daughter. Although she comes in for occasional treatments, she is no
longer relegated to her basement.

After months of working with this lady, she developed a trust in me that allowed her to share
something that impacted me greatly. She confided that the progress she has made though our
program has given her the will to go on, to survive, to live. She had lost that will before coming
to our clinic and was only living to see her daughter grow to a point of independence.
When I asked my patient if I could share her story, she wanted me to make a point that prior to
coming to our clinic, every doctor she saw for more than two decades wanted to prescribe
drugs because they didn't know how to help. She says no medicine ever really addressed the
pain and certainly didn't allow her to work or raise her family. But now she has regained her
life.

So in answer to the student's question, it's not pain that I like to treat. It's making an impact, big
or small in people's lives that I love the most about my career.