Curing Colleagues: My OMT Story

It felt like a typical day at work — but it wasn’t.  

As I made coffee in the break room, considering all of the tasks of the day, it was suddenly time.  

Time to stand in front of a room full of colleagues and talk about the University where we all work.  

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I hoped that nobody would notice my sweat, or my rapidly drying mouth, as I adjusted the microphone. Thankfully my partner, Dr. Anita Showalter, seemed relaxed and comfortable as she asked our coworkers to partake in an exercise of analyzing PNWU.  

There is something a bit unnerving about writing on a whiteboard in front of a room full of people for two hours without the aid of a spell-checking device to back up my seemingly slow-firing synapses. More than once I gave up, erasing the word I had started writing and replacing it with another.

It is intimidating to stand in front of a room and talk to a bunch of highly educated folks.  

Well, at least for me it was. 

At the end of the first hour of dialogue with fellow employees my body was telling me it was time to sit down. About halfway through the second hour I was really hurting.  My hip was arguing with my ankle on which was in more need of relief. I finally leaned on the corner of a desk and hoped nobody would notice, or care. 

When the room finally cleared I had been standing about 2 ½ hours. I walked very slowly and carefully toward Dr. Showalter, apologizing for leaning and not being professional. But I really needed some relief. 

She looked at me and said, “You need some work on that?”  

“Yes,” I said, “I’m getting close to needing a hip replacement.” 

She smiled and said, “No, I mean some work to help with the pain right now?” 

I agreed enthusiastically, and she asked me to follow her upstairs to the Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) lab. 

We walked into an empty OPP lab and sat down our bags. I slipped off my shoes. Dr. Showalter asked me to describe the pain. She then touched me where I told her it was hurting and instructed me to lay face down on the nearest McManus Table. I felt her thumbs on my spine and she asked if it was okay to keep examining the issue. After I told her to proceed, she uttered something like “uh-huh, right there.” She then said “there is the problem right there.” 

At that time, a PNWU student walked into the lab and watched as Dr. Showalter began to manipulate my body, pulling my arm in one direction and pushing my legs in another. After repeating the process, she had me roll in the opposite direction to continue the procedure. After about three minutes she told me to sit up. 

“How’s that?” she asked.  

I bent down to touch my toes. I stood up and felt my hips and back. Then I looked at her. 

“Wow,” I said, struggling to fathom the moment. “It’s all gone. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”  

A big smile crossed my face and I blurted out, “That’s amazing! My hip has been hurting for weeks, and now it’s gone!” 

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Dr. Showalter, an Osteopathic physician who just happens to now be spending a lot of time in meetings with me, just smiled back. “That’s what I do,” she said. She then shared a couple of similar experiences with other patients. As she spoke, the sparkle in her eyes showed just how much satisfaction she gains from helping others on a daily basis. 

I stood there, pain-free and smiling, as two students watched our exchange.  

I thanked my colleague profusely before we headed out in opposite directions to leave the building. As I made my way home, I told myself in the car (yes, I do quite often talk to myself, out loud, while driving…) “That is a perfect example of what kind of relief a DO can provide. The kind of treatment PNWU DOs are now providing around the region.” 

I’m glad I get to be part of telling the world about it. 



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Dean O’Driscoll

Chief Communications Officer
Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences

Dean O'Driscoll