It happens like this: My brain is relaxed, or at least not preoccupied, when a particular patient comes to mind. This often happens when I am driving. It is usually a patient I have not seen or thought of for months or sometimes years.There is almost never a cue or incidental memory that triggers the thought of the patient. It could be a patient I like or one who does not elicit any special emotion; a patient with a memorable face or one about whom I can only remember a single fact, like that they were born in Toledo.
Then the next phase of the psychic phenomenon occurs. I arrive at the office and the patient I am thinking about has made an appointment to see me that day! This has happened to me on so many occasions that I no longer think it is odd; but the occurrence is always surprising.
It's also surprising to my office manager, Alice. "I was thinking about a former patient, a girl with funny ears. You won't remember, but she was going to have her ears surgically bent backward. I bet it has been 10 or 12 years since we last saw her. For no reason, I started thinking about her, and then she called for an appointment! Can you believe that she is coming in this afternoon?"
Sure I can. I was thinking about her ears this morning, while I was eating a breakfast burrito in my car, on the way to the office. Alice was wrong. The only thing I remembered about this patient was her ears.
So, what's going on? The explanation that appeals to me the most is that the patient is thinking of me (and Alice), and we are picking up on it.
I have asked other health providers whether or not they also have experienced this phenomenon. One psychologist considered it ordinary. "You mean that thing when you're thinking about someone and then the phone rings and it's them? Hasn't everyone had this happen?" But others are just as curious about this psychic happening as I am. I brought the subject up once during a dinner with several colleagues. To a person, every DC there admitted that they had experienced this connection.
"I still get goose pimples when it does," said one DC. "Once a patient that I had not seen for several years came in for a treatment, and strangely, just that morning, I'd had a fleeting memory about a tattoo that she had over her shoulder blade! It was a likeness of her Irish wolf hound. I couldn't remember the patient's name, but I couldn't forget the wolf hound."
One of my chiropractor friends swears that he can sometimes get a patient to call for an appointment just by scrolling through his patient database. "I identify people I have not seen for a long time, but I do not pick any particular patient. It's amazing how many times one of them will call."
I am a bit skeptical, because it seems to me that my friend could be making more money teaching this technique to other doctors, instead of practicing chiropractic. I can imagine a possible ad: "Doctor, after using our new Psychic Connection Technique, don't be trampled by the patients as they stampede into your office!"
What if I start thinking about a patient I don't want to see? "Fast Eddy" wanders in my office about once every two years. He is loud, offensive, smelly and tells off-color jokes. And those are his good qualities. I had not seen him for a long time when, early one morning, out of nowhere, I had a fleeting thought about him. I started sweating and my hands began to tremble. He's coming in! I choked. I've got to warn Alice!
I called her at the office. "Alice, Fast Eddy is coming in!" I heard her scream. "How do you know?" she gasped. Eddy was always especially obnoxious with Alice.
"I was thinking about him; you know, one of those premonitions," I answered. "I'm coming into the office, so if he calls, think of some way to discourage him!"
When I walked into the reception area, I could see by the pleased look on Alice's face that Fast Eddy would not be coming in. "He did call", she said, "and wanted an appointment today, but the schedule is full. I gave him the name of that new, young DC across the street. Since I talked to you, I've been going through our database, looking for inactive patients. You know what? The phone has been ringing like crazy! We don't have an open appointment for two weeks!"
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