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Biography Eugene J. van Wyk MCSP. (Chartered Physiotherapist, London, England)
Qualification: In London, England, 1961 I qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist. Over many years, I have always been very proud of my association with the Chartered Society, and the invaluable work that it has done, and still does, for the Promotion of the profession, and the benefits that patients/clients can derive from utilising our skills-equity and services. This qualification, was the key to a personally very stimulating, quality of life enhancing and rewarding career. At this early phase of my life, my studies and stay in England, introduced me to "Democracy In Action". Not only democracy, but the larger world of cultural life. The theatre, - the golden age of musicals and plays -- magnificent concert halls and orchestras; the wonder of outdoor concerts in some of London's finest parks. Not to forget, feeling safe in your home, accommodation, on the streets and sidewalks, the transport systems and the public parks.
Often, on reflection, I think back with fondness and appreciation, to the enormous impact my stay in London and England had and still has on my life; and the lives of so many people that I had the fortune to associate with.
In 1963, circumstances and fate intersected. For the first time, I physically met a young lady with whom I had been corresponding since 1957. We were literally worlds apart; yet intuitively, and emotionally, closely focused during the intervening years. During our correspondence years, the virtue of "knowing we would never meet," proved to be an enormous prejudice-killing, and "getting to know one another, factor. Romance, nurtured by mutual respect, a romantic view of life, and an innate belief in where we wanted to go, blossomed.
December 1964, I joined forces with the young lass and multi-facetted diamond, Tineke, in what became a remarkable and very happy marriage. Key ingredients, in this successful marriage, is our appreciation of the "little bits of fun and pleasure," that we enjoy by eating out; having coffee or tea at various places; not taking quality of life for granted; getting out of routine; the ability to leave room for the parallel development of the partner's interests and personality. Above all, our active sense of humour, that soon deflates any tendency of an inflated ego. And, retaining an uncluttered core belief, and value system.
In January, 1965, we cast our meager financial resources on the tides of fortune and commenced our first physiotherapy practice. However, with myself as physiotherapist and With Tineke, as the always buoyant, friendly, empathetic and irrepressible receptionist, we soon built up a successful practice and wonderful rapport with the medical fraternity of the day. To the medical folks and the public that we had the fortune to associate with, over many years and in various countries and cities, we owe an enormous debt and gratitude.
Only as our practice career evolved, did it become clear how many shortcomings there were in our preparation for our respective professional roles. And yet, thank goodness, our colleagues, peers and associates, were always helpful and accommodating, without being condescending!
Fortunately, I soon realised, that one does not make mistakes; one is involved in a learning curve. Only those who do not see this, make "mistakes!" No "mistakes," no practical learning.
Humour, empathy, technical skills, soothing, relaxing background music, and the liberal exchange of information, have always been an integral part of my practice. I have always, endeavoured to stay clear of a formal clinical atmosphere, and attitude, in my practice. To my patients/clients, I'm known as Eugene. This facilitates the easy flow of the most important, and often "authority-concealed" valuable background information, concerning the patient/client's "problem!" People feel freer; not intimidated by status or setting.
In nineteen eighty, while working in Australia, I was exposed to, and met with, the concept of Low Level Laser Therapy Technology and a Holistic approach to patient/client "problems." At that stage, I was often numbed by a dozen, or more, converging prevailing treatment paradigms and prejudices. So entrenched in these prevailing rules and regulations, was I, that I sometimes failed to appreciate the potential of the new technologies at hand. Suddenly, the curtain of preconceived ideas, bias and approaches, was drawn aside. Then, once again, it forcefully struck me, that there is no gratifying music until the bow of experience and the fiddle of expertise are brought together. At that early phase of the Low Level Laser Technology Evolution,, it once again dawned on me, to be aware of the danger of the "Groove Syndrome!" when viewing and considering, the armament for patient care, at my disposal. (The difference between a Groove and a Grave, is the Depth.)
We attended the very stimulating Second International Low Level Laser Congress, held in Kansas City, U.S.A., during September, 1998. Again, the merits of leading-edge technology, as a tool to help patients/clients, was highlighted by the excellent papers presented, and the practical feedback from the pragmatic colleagues and "Practitioners at the Coalface".
My early, and longtime association, with the care of "Recent Trauma" either under the guise of Sports Medicine, Industrial Injuries or Motor Vehicle Accident Victims, soon focused my attention on enhancing the holistic quality of life of my patients/clients. At the other end, of the pain, disability and age spectrum, I dealt with many more mature, experienced and elderly people, who very frequently were so grateful that physiotherapy intervention and age-adaptive advice, made their lives that much more pleasant.
I believe that all peoples, are entitled to the advantages of early appropriate physiotherapy treatment, rehabilitation and lifestyle advice, to enhance the quality of their lives. This, of course, includes our senior and elderly folks, who, so frequently, are told: "It's only old age, my dear! You'll have to learn to live with it! And are thus deprived of the enormous help that physiotherapy can provide to make their lives a great deal more pleasant and easier.
We still have a strong hankering to spend some considerable time in England to have easy access to the many enchantments of the European, U.S., and Canadian culture scenes, that settle so gently on our ears, eyes, intellect and emotions.
Early in our mutual careers, we decided to broaden the mind, reduce the prejudices, by embarking upon a programmed of international travel. On many occasions, this included our very young children. We live by the philosophy, of living day by day, allocating to each "problem," its due time and energy. Also, we have found, that, as one door closes, invariably two other doors open, providing infinitely more stimulating and life-enhancing opportunities.
Although, now retired from fulltime physiotherapy practice, both of us are still enjoying the life-sustaining habit called work! It keeps us fit, and in contact with the people and realities of our time and place. To us, our work is a mutually enriching and enjoyable life-extending pastime.
There is a growing realisation, that experience, and experience-acquired expertise, is an enormous valuable equity source for any business. This slots in well, with my longtime belief, that a "Health and Happiness Danger", often lies in "compulsory retirement!" Our future, therefore, lies in continuing to provide service to enhance the quality of our fellow citizen's lives and expectations, based on the dissemination of knowledge about how my profession of physiotherapy, can underpin those expectations. Eugene van Wyk. MCSP. (Chartered Physiotherapist, London, England.)