If I ever needed reminding why I am putting myself though this, I just have to see a patient. Clinical is so fulfilling, its the easiest and fastest way to forget about my pain and focus on someone else, someone I can actually help in some way (even if like me, their pain is ongoing). I may have freaked out last week and felt way out of my depth, I still have a lot to learn BUT I can do this, I can show I have the skills to interact with patients and do it well even.
I started today absolutely exhausted...I actually had a conversation with one of my tutors going up the stairs about just how fatigued I was. But when the patients came and we got them going, challenged them and shared in their success and endorphins, well I was energised and frankly happy. The truest happiness I guess I have felt in a long time.

And thats not all, at the end of today's clinic, the end of week one of our first placement for this year we got some very sweet sounding feedback and it really made my day. Our clinical educator said she hoped she wouldn't be disappointed by the next group of students because we had set such a high standard! She said how impressed she was with our handling and organisation skills, the confidence we showed and the progress we had made with our patients in just the first week. Such a confidence booster and no I am not getting cocky, far from it...I am so humbled by her comments but at the same time I think I should be kind to myself and actually see that I deserve that praise, I have worked hard this week and I know of many things I need to improve on but I also know I have done well.

Several things really struck me this week...I'm working in an Multiple Sclerosis clinic, its a community based clinic for people who are at various stages of the disease to help them maintain function rather than being a 'rehab' type setting. Our clinical educator stressed three things for us to try and remember when treating our patients, she called them the hidden symptoms of MS: pain (neuropathic in nature), fatigue (different from normal fatigue) and cognitive issues...where have I heard them before?
How being motivated is so hard due to the ongoing nature of the disease I can relate to that...
They can be struggling with identity issues, especially if they are just newly diagnosed (hands up anyone?)

You know its actually pretty scary for me, sometimes I just want to say how I know what the pain is like, tell them that we take the same drugs, understand the fatigue and cognitive problems because I have the same difficulties but that is not my place, I am their therapist, not their support group buddy. I dont really know the rules on this kind of thing but I have a feeling it crosses the professional boundary when I start going along a personal level. Not that I want to blert out to the whole world or anything I just sometimes feel so close to these people (and they are more than just patients to me, they are people) because we share some of the same experiences.

One thing I do need to work out how to deal with is the horrid side effect of my meds, the ghastly dry mouth. I dont feel so comfortable sipping water all the time but I need too, the combination of meds and nervousness makes for double whammy dry so bad I loose my voice and its gross!


SHC said...

Love the new look! =)
Strange but true, our paths connect in similarities once more it appears (in re: spitting).
Too much of a good thing, eh?!

Tough Cookie said...

I'm someone who falls on the "sharing is caring" side of the professional argument. In social worh, there are two different schools of though. One says no sharing at all and the other says sharing has positive effects. I believe the right amount of sharing really builds up the therapeutic alliance, especially the trust aspect. Right now, I am in a placement that doesn't use that school of though :-/ Totally sucks.

Tough Cookie said...

Sorry for my typos. I got a netbook and it is so small that the keyboard is so different from my regular laptop! I'm having trouble getting used to it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the self-disclosure thing is a tricky line to walk. I don't know what the ethics specifically in your situation but I have generally been told that self-disclosure is okay in some, but not many circumstances. But I think each professional will make that decision for themeselves. Is there a supervisor you could talk this through with? I wouldn't want to give you bad advice for this specific situation.

As for the water thing, I totally hear you. My thought is that drinking water sets a good example for patients to drink water. I know that MS can cause issues when the person with MS gets too hot, so I'd assume they should probably be drinking watter too. That's just my thought (I did a social work internship with MS too).

Thanks for commenting on my blog and I really like your blog.


Alessea said...

I talked about it a bit to the other girls on placement and we decided that if the focus turned from being on them to being on you that was wrong, but we didn't know how that would come about...I guess I will find out down the line how and when is a good idea to share.

As far as the water is concerned, we run around with cups of water for our patients, we are always sitting them down for a break and a drink (which means I can drink too) I just feel really conscious that I am the only 'physio' who is doing it. I talked to my friends about this too and they said they kept forgetting their drink bottles or they would be doing the same thing, they felt it was a good example and just to act like it was normal and then no one would take any notice-I felt much better after that!

Thanks for your comments!