Saturday, January 12, 2008
Holding babies...a future occupational therapist
This morning was my first day back volunteering in the Special Care Unit of a local pediatric hospital, holding babies. It was really nice to be back. I held one baby for close to an hour and he was a tongue-thruster with jerky movements, abducted thumbs, and flexed wrists (a lot of these kids have these issues). He was kind of fussy. He was crying when I walked in so I hurriedly picked him up, but I should have turned off his TV first. He gazed away from me the entire time, just staring at the Pooh characters on the screen. Once I heard some loud gurgly diaper noises (TMI?) I put him down and let his nurse know, and then moved on to another kid. (I don't change their diapers myself since a lot of them have special protocols due to their conditions).
This next kid was adorable. However, he was the size of many one month babies, when in reality he was almost a year-old (again, most of these babies rarely look their age). He had almost no head control and he also had the abducted thumbs. He was very quiet and serene and didn't appear to have unusual GI issues beyond the typical stuff, so I decided to try some vertical tummy time with him. I held him against me so he could try and extend away from me. He did not have the arm strength or the neck strength to do this very well, but even a little bit is better than nothing. He stayed this way for an impressively long time, and then rested against me with his head under my chin. It was so sweet to hold this baby against me this way. Eventually he got a little fussy, so I put him in my arms so that it was more familiar to him as it more approximated a bed position. I rocked him and sang and held his little pacifier in his mouth. He put his hand on mine and eventually fell asleep. My volunteer shift ended ten minutes later, but I stayed an extra 30 minutes so I could keep holding him while he slept, since most of them don't transition well. He startled several times as janitors banged things and nurses talked loudly, which kind of irritated me, for his sake. He eventually woke up and I put him back in. He never babbled or made a single sound the entire time I held him, besides a little crying at one point. I felt sad for him, but I really enjoyed our cuddle time. I also love holding the babies pacifiers in their mouth (most of them have weak suck patterns and require some pressure/assistance) - these pacifiers have an inverted outer part so your finger actually is within the pacifier tunnel, in their mouth, so you can feel them sucking on your finger to some extent. So cute.
This yogurt is STILL disgusting. Ugh. Okay anyway. It was a nice experience. I talked to a nurse about how I'd love to just stop by when I can during the week, even if I am not scheduled, since my occupational therapy class schedule isn't consistent enough to allow a weekly time. I told them Volunteer Services had said that wasn't okay, but that from what I could tell, they could always use more volunteers. They agreed and said just call up and check, but it would be rare that we would turn you away. So I'm glad - I don't need the hours recognized by anyone, I just want to give these babies some attention!
I also called the OT I got to shadow over at the hospital on my pediatric Level I fieldwork, since she was mostly in that unit, and asked if I could start following her again a few times. My first time there I had only been in school a month or so, and the unit was pretty overwhelming, with all the tubes and poles and beeps. I was so scared of the babies that I didn't soak in as much as I could now.
My house is a mess but I clean it like every day. I'm apparently a messy person for the first 14 hours of the day, and then a clean person the last hour and get it all picked up. Weird huh.
PS!: The picture I found for this post sparked my memory. Go look on Youtube for documentaries on "Reborns", which are amazingly realistic baby dolls! A lot of chicks buy them and treat them like real babies! It's kinda crazy!
PS2: I've been posting TONS and Google still isn't recognizing me high in the searches anymore. For a while there I was like the 3rd search result, coming up even before the AOTA, which made me laugh. Anyway, I'm now a crying occupational therapy student with an OT blog :(