Unmeasured Lab Values

Over my decades of dealing with chronic illness, I’ve had literally dozens of medical tests. I’ve completed bloodwork that has measured nearly every imaginable index of physical well-being.

Tests have been ordered that delineate both the structural and functional abnormalities that both my body and my mind have exhibited, secondary to the development of chronic illness. As a clinical health psychologist, I’ve often wished that there could be a psychological profile that quantified my well-being with the same degree of specificity.

Yes, there are psychological questionnaires that measure degrees of adjustment. There are standardized inventories that quantify the symptom severities of anxiety and depression. Questionnaires have been developed that assess the degree to which medical conditions interfere with functional capacity.

However, I’ve not yet come across specific measures that assess some of the more elusive aspects of being chronically ill. For example, where is the test that assesses how disappointing it is to see others discussing their upcoming retirements, when you personally were forced to stop working full-time, when only still in your 40’s?

Which test measures how indescribable your daily fatigue is, after completing just a fraction of what you intended to do? How exactly do you quantify resources that no longer feel even close to sufficient for meeting all of your daily demands?

Perhaps most importantly, where is the inventory where you can be brutually honest about just how grueling the transition has been, from working as a full-time practitioner, to becoming a full-time patient?

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