On this snowy afternoon, I’ve just finished completing all of my sessions with my regular caseload of residents, here at a local nursing home. I feel very blessed to be working as a clinical psychologist in this capacity one again, even if it’s just on a part-time basis.
It makes my day to have these residents thank me for being interested in how they are doing. The overwhelming majority of them are painfully lonely, to be perfectly honest.
Everyone needs to be asked about how they are feeling, and if there’s anything troubling them that they might wish to discuss confidentially. When I was on the fifth floor of this facility today, I happened to see a very young woman. She’s a resident here. She was wearing a bright pink helmet, to protect her from self-inflected head injuries. She has Huntington’s chorea, as does her sister, who is also a resident in this facility.
The director of nursing informed me that their mother also suffered from this debilitating disease when she was still alive. Their brother is starting to develop symptoms of this neurological disorder. I couldn’t help but think about the overwhelming burden that their father must be bearing.
I, too, have a progressive, incurable neurological disorder. I have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS for twenty-five years at this point. Despite my ongoing MS symptoms, I am unspeakably grateful to not have developed severe disability after having this disease for so very many years.
Seeing a young woman who is living with such profound impairments brings tears to my eyes. Always remember that there is something to be grateful for in your life, regardless of your particular challenges.