I had my checkup with the ENT and K, my Speech Therapist, last week. I went to the appointment prepared with my sales pitch. I greased the wheel by telling K that I had gotten recent feedback from multiple parties that my voice has improved greatly. I said I’m doing well with my breathing and that I’m using my core and stuff. And then I posited that I am SO much better they should just take my word for it and we should dispense with the formalities and no one should need to look at my cords going forward (subtext: everyone please keep your hands to yourself).
The tenor of my pitch made them laugh but the substance was not received favorably. My ENT said I should come back in 6 months. Incidentally, this is the 7th ENT I’ve worked with, counting the one who was present at my craniotomy although I technically did not meet him. When my insurance changed I had to get new folks, there was some referral action prior to that bc of the surgical intervention possibility, and then my ENTs kept on moving and I had to get new ones. Happily, K has been present at my last 3 checkups so she’s seen the progress. I got a good report this time. When she first saw me (Fall 2013) she couldn’t even see my vocal cords bc the muscles around them were working so hard to compensate for the weakness and the nodule that keeps them from closing entirely like they should. Now my tension is better, I’ve still got a little weakness, and the nodule is still there, but it’s smaller now. YAY!
Although they did not support my “no more monitoring” proposal I was happy to get a more relaxed schedule – 2x a year. Of course I would have been absolutely thrilled if they said they really would take my word for it, but I guess that was slightly unrealistic. Even though I know how to pitch my health history has undermined my credibility in a way –I might be selling the idea that I am fine but my medical resume generally gives people the feeling that they should monitor me appropriately despite my verbal bluster.
My sales pitch skills have met with a more favorable reception in other, less medical, parts of RecoveryLand. Even though I’ve been the one to be seeking services I know I have to establish the context and the notion that I am strong and healthy enough to be brought to the next level of Recovery.
When I first hit on the idea of getting a Personal Trainer I set “Rehab/Physical Therapy experience” as my top criterion. During my interview at The Gym I asked if there were people willing and able to take a case like mine on given that I’ve been medically cleared to exercise. Trainer D was in that meeting and indicated that yes, there was neuro experience on staff and he’d choose someone appropriate for me. It took an hour (my first session) for him to decide that he would train me, and for me to be happy with that choice. Although he does not have neuro experience he has plenty of PT experience as a patient and lots of weird brain “fun fact” knowledge bc he is admittedly nerdy like that. He is also furthering his education in related topics, so this works out great for me. Most importantly, though, is that we laugh a lot and get stuff done, too. (Side note: I doubt this would have worked prior to my injury.) This is a prime example of how personality fit trumps specificity of training.
The situation at the Running Gym was slightly more nuanced (it’s also the type of environment I’m more accustomed to – I went there bc Trainer D’s overwhelming enthusiasm for ORFR unnerved me so I diversified my trust portfolio). I went there specifically to use the AlterG but I found that I had to get past Coach R to do so. I was then faced with the choice to use the AlterG or use the AlterG and work with Coach R. My attitude was kind of like, This is going to happen with or without you…and my gut tells me it should probably be “with.” I made my pitch about how I have the opportunity to get better and need people to help me push the envelope in a safe way – what was the best way to go about this? This was Coach R’s cue to make a reciprocal pitch, but he did not. Speaking definitively and without room for debate he observed, “Well…if you wanna do this right….”
Bahahahaha!! And the rest is history. I get the feeling that Coach R doesn’t pitch in general – it’s not in his repertoire. The way he said it was extremely matter of fact. He doesn’t have a bossy bone in him, which is good bc I have enough for both of us. Based on our interaction (which totaled <45 minutes at this point and included his refusal to demonstrate a squat for me and the eyes-only diagnosis of my atrophy) I accepted his opinion as authoritative. PS. When I came home from Ai Ai’s I immediately upped my Running Gym time to twice a week. I’d be there more if it were closer to home. I asked R to move the practice and get a set of parallel bars and he said he’d get right on that.
I tried to channel my inner Coach R and made my best attempt to speak with compelling finality last week but K and my ENT still insisted on looking down my throat anyway. But even if my pitch ultimately fell flat I’m glad I could make it and had material improvement to report.