This afternoon, I completed an initial psychological evaluation for a new nursing home resident. This wasn’t easy to do, since I was having persistent low back pain and severe fatigue.
I met with a 63-year-old male resident. He sustained a stroke, seven years ago. He continues to suffer from left-sided hemiplegia.
This resident stated that the single most challenging aspect of adjusting to having a massive stroke was the loss of control over his own body. He openly acknowledged that he feels significantly depressed about his decreased physical capacities.
I rarely decide to disclose my personal health challenges to residents, but it sometimes appears to be therapeutically beneficial to do so. As a result, I informed this resident that I definitely understood, firsthand, what it is like to lose control over one’s own body.
I disclosed that I have had periods of losing complete control over my body, due to having been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. This resident thanked me for sharing this personal information.
I asked him if he would be open to having me come back to talk with him, on a weekly basis. He stated that he would very much appreciate the opportunity to continue to meet with this writer.
I left this evaluation session feeling profoundly blessed. After all, I was able to walk out of this resident’s room, to ride down on the elevator, and to drive home. My disabilities, in many respects, have not been permanent.