Torn Between Two Worlds

Today, I find myself very much torn between the opposing demands of two different worlds: patient and practitioner. The patient side of me decided to cancel my original plans for today. I simply don’t feel well enough to see residents at the nursing home today.

I phoned the director of nursing at the nursing home, to state that I wouldn’t be able to make it in today. I felt extremely reluctant to do so, however. Since I haven’t been providing services there for very long, I definitely do want to come across as a stable, reliable employee.

Going back to today’s symptoms, it’s not just that I have developed a cold, after all. I’ve developed a cold, in the context of having also been diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses. Some of my MS symptoms are really flaring today, such as my paresthesias (numbness and tingling) in my upper extremities. I’ve also experienced increased leg weakness, and difficulty with walking.

My overall body temperature is slightly higher as a result of being sick; given that my MS symptoms are very heat-sensitive, this increase is enough to cause my symptoms to temporarily worsen. I consider this development as a pseudo-exacerbation, rather than an actual MS relapse.

Concurrent with dealing with these increased symptoms, I’ve also been responding to e-mails about health insurance panels that have just added me as a new provider. I’ve also responded to e-mails about the integration of my clinical notes with the system utilized by the nursing home where I am providing clinical services.

Regardless of how I feel, I really need to finish grading my Abnormal Psychology students’ second examination. It’s never easy to operate between the two contrasting worlds of patient and practitioner. I simultaneously feel pulled in opposite directions, with intensely competing demands, responsibilities, and obligations that are associated with both of these dual identities.

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