One of my patients, who's elderly and frail, is being exploited by family and has financial hardship and has had difficulties with young drunk neighbours moving in and has had physical illnesses (fractured hip, heart attack) so, overall, has had a pretty chequered course throught this year.
I was asked to see him ostensibly because his concentration's not great.
I could see reasons why, but assessed cognition anyway. It was normal. Ropy in some areas, but understandably so, he's certainly not having problems that are sufficient to attract a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.
What was of interest to me was the impact his GP had. An inquisitive soul, I always like to ask why the patient thinks they're seeing me, what they and their GP thought I could help with. It's a perk of having an hour with new patients, especially when the mental health is straightforwrd and swiftly addressed, patients can share more peripheral details that are stirring within their thoughts. This lead on to conversation 'bout the GP consultation and how helpful it had been. His GP, on chatting through with the patient what was going on and suggesting I meet up with him, also undertook some opportunistic health promotion. He's had a heart attack this year, isn't it about time to think about the cigarettes he smokes? The GP's words struck home. My patient did indeed stop smoking.
How did he do this?
He went to a private consultation where his pockets were picked. £300, if you're interested. For this, he got the most exceptional treatment I've heard someone be flannelled with for years.
The cigarettes had toxins. These were in his system. These had affected his system, which is why he wanted cigarettes. Thus, these toxins needed removing.
First, the specific packet of cigarettes he usually smokes was taken off him and taken out of the room "to be analysed." Then uninsulated wire was wrapped around each wrist and connected to a machine. Buttons were pressed. "Ooooh, you need an hour and a half on this to cleanse the toxins." Time passed. Then the explanation that, with toxins coming out, he may well smell tobacco when having a shower because, "that's the toxins coming out."
He's not smoked, it's worked for him. But I'll wager good coin it ain't the pseudoscience technobabble and spangly machine with wires and lights and buttons that's done it . . .