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Memorial Service

Today was very challenging. We had a memorial service for the many residents who have passed away at a nearby nursing home where I provide psychological services.

I was asked to speak for a few minutes, after the opening prayer. I stressed that grief is individual, and that we need to feel free to express our emotions. I shared a poem about losing a loved one. Surprisingly, I was able to maintain my composure while reading these words.

There was a slide show, with pictures of the residents who have passed away. It was accompanied by very inspirational music. Soon into watching this slide show, my tears began to freely flow. I cried so hard that my entire mask was completely soaked.

Of course, today’s service reminded me of the loss of my mother, which occurred nine months ago. I miss her so very much. I know that she’s in a much better place, and I do take deep comfort in that knowledge.

Nevertheless, I miss the sound of my mother’s voice, her laughter, and the way in which she always had the right words to say to make me feel much better.

Coping with Loss Inservice

Earlier today, I delivered two in-service presentations for a nearby nursing home where I provide psychological services. The topic was “”Coping with Loss.”

This 80-bed facility has recently lost twenty-one residents, due to COVID-19. The impact of responding to so many deaths, within a relatively brief period of time, has been very significant.

This was not an easy topic to research, nor about which to present. So much of the material caused me to think about the death of my mother, which occurred nearly nine months ago.

I provided information about the Kubler-Ross model of grieving, as well as J. WilliamWorden’s more updated model of this challenge. I stressed that everyone experiences grief in their own unique way, that not everyone passes consecutively through the stages of grief, and that we might get stuck at a particular phase of the grieving process.

Some staff members discussed how they worked together as an effective team during this crisis. Others stated the difficulty of refraining from useful interventions, due to respecting residents’ wishes at the end of their lives.

After my presentation, I asked staff members if they wanted to share how they have been impacted by the recent loss of so many residents. Many of them shared feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of adjusting to multiple deaths within a brief period of time.

I truly felt honored to be asked to present in-services about this very important topic. I’m thankful that there’s an upcoming memorial service to honor these deeply valued residents.

Can’t Believe My Eyes

The past couple of weeks have been very interesting, with respect to my eye health. Never take your vision for granted.

Since I spend so much time providing online counseling sessions, I’ve noticed increased eye strain. I decided to invest in a pair of blue light eyeglasses to reduce this problem.

Ten days ago, I developed yet another episode of optic neuritis. Almost without exception, it has affected my right eye. I chose to let this episode resolve on its own, rather than phoning my neurologist to receive a course of steroids. The eye pain and blurred vision have now resolved, most thankfully.

Earlier today, I had my annual eye examination. Thankfully, my prescription for contact lenses has not changed. He said that my optic nerve appears healthy. Surprisingly, my eye doctor said that I have cataracts in both eyes. He said that I’m somewhat young to have developed cataracts.

Optic Neuritis, Again

This weekend, I’ve developed another episode of optic neuritis. I’ve had this MS symptom so many times.

Almost every time, optic neuritis has affected my right eye. I feel pain behind my right eye. I’m extra sensitive to bright light. In addition, I’m experiencing blurred vision.

After forty years of having MS symptoms, I’m still surprised when they seemingly develop out of nowhere. I hope this episode clears up quickly.

Feeling Weary

Today, I’m simply feeling weary. Weary of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, weary of the recent craziness in Washington D.C., and weary of working so hard, in utter isolation.

I’m also weary of managing so many chronic medical conditions. On a regular basis, I need to order prescriptions, schedule appointments, undergo tests, etc. I’m especially weary that so many of my prescriptions have been changed, as well as the medical expenses that I have, even with health insurance.

I have so many medical conditions that involve fatigue as a symptom, such as MS and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I take so many medications that list fatigue as a side effect. I have relapsing-remitting MS, which is extraordinarily stress-sensitive. When I feel stressed, my MS fatigue consistently worsens.

I’m weary of being updated about the deaths of nursing home residents whom I’ve been seeing each week, for the past few years. I’m weary of always needing to be “on” for my online counseling sessions, despite how I feel.

I know that this too shall pass, but today, I’m just plain weary.