Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Preparing Semester 3 PDEs (Professional Development Evaluations) with Intermediate Professional Behavior Criteria
Working on condensing the research paper into smaller poster-sized chunks, with my research group (Abstract, Intro done)
Preparing a 15 minute presentation on the healthcare policy ramifications of the Terri Schiavo case, and how it relates to occupational therapy.
Working on collaborative paper with an OTS dude on the East Coast for hopeful eventual publication in a baby OT magazine.
Uploading months of OT pictures to Facebook for people to use in their PDEs
Realistically, I should do the
Today I met a MOT 3 student, Mandi, for lunch to catch up...she is getting ready to take her boards. OTS Brooke and her boyfriend Todd showed up shortly after, so we sat at adjoining tables. Then we had a low vision lab from 1 to 3pm. Then instead of being productive or socially active, I slept for hours, showered, then drove to Kerri's to cat-sit. Her cat was love-starved and I'm kitty-deprived so it's a good match. I decided I'm feeling antisocial today so I didn't try and meet up with anyone, especially since I'm trying to get things off my to do list!!!
Tomorrow we have a healthcare policy class 10am to noon, then several of us are going to take gym classes, then I have to go to sitting Tai Chi at the assisted living facility at 3pm. And then I volunteer there at Bingo at 630 so I'm going to go to that too. And then Kerri gets home 9pmish and I'll spend the night just for fun! So tomorrow will be social. :)
One sweet lady, let's call her Julie, said to me:
Miss Julie: "I'm looking for my black pants. These ones I'm wearing are nice, but they aren't mine."
Me: I'll go check for you, I'll be right back. ::disappears, confirms those are in fact her only pants, comes back::
Me: Hi Miss Julie, I just checked on your pants. They are in the washing machine and should be ready soon.
Miss Julie: Oh my I hope they don't get lost.
Me: Oh, it will be fine Miss Julie. They have a wonderful labeling system.
Miss Julie: Okay, great then, thanks.
This is my patented "Too overwhelmed to start a project or homework" protocol, used a lot last semester.
1. Make patient (usually a classmate) list all needed things to do, task by task. Help/encourage.
2. Make patient prioritize list for that session only. Help/encourage.
3. Make patient assign amount of time needed for each of those tasks. Help/encourage/negotiate/discuss.
4. Set timer for assigned time for first task. Be nearby to encourage. Negotiate time when timer goes off as to whether person can stick with task or not.
5. Rinse and repeat.
It works, I swear :) Ask my happy consumers.
Girl: It trips me out that blah blah blah...
Professor: "It trips a lot of people out."
Professor asks question about who cares about something.
::I raise hand to make a comment::
:::Professor points to me:: "Karen CARES!"
"I've talked with Congressmen before...::thoughtful pause:: Most of them are in jail now."
Anyway...I want to discuss holding babies the other day because I got to see a really interesting but hideous opthalmology procedure done on a baby..UGH...and put my hands in an isolette for the first time!! You know, going through the portholes! Also, I'll be trying to get exposure to vent babies, by following an OT who works with them...I'm scared but I have to face my fears!
AND...we had a TOTA meeting last night...with SEVENTEEN MOT 1's there!! Shocking!! Plus a bunch of my favorite OTs!!
AND...we had a fun Low Vision lab recently with lots of pics...AND....a honor society banquet...and...I need to go shower so I'm going to stop now, but the point is, I have lots of stories and pictures to share...bye for now though....
Monday, April 28, 2008
Even if you aren't in the OT world, this pageant should be pretty amusing!! Please enjoy! APRIL IS OT MONTH!
- OTPF stands for Occupational Therapy Practice Framework...a VERY important document in OT Student Land, with specialized vocabulary and everything. :)
- Brooke is the announcer.
- Karen (me) is reigning Miss OTPF.
- Stereotypical contestants are: dorky Meg, cheerleader Stephanie, snobby Kim, mean Allison, one-upper Kerri, and South Carolina ditzy Emily.
- Neal, our tech guy, helped a TON...and HE put in the "does it all" part in my name in the credits...I swear I didn't ask for that. lol
- Filming took place in our big OT lab, made possible by.....I can't say until we get permission. lol.
- Our department chair okayed the video
- It's a SPOOF...and based on limited time, money, editing skills, budget, etc. For all these reasons it is not very occupation-based. Don't point this out, we already realize this.
- Feel free to make your own Miss OTPF 2008 even BETTER and post it!
- YouTube can't accept 18 minute videos - Google Video can.
- This was primarily aimed for an audience of other OT students - but hopefully all can enjoy.
- I became Miss OTPF by default last year one day when I had the OTPF with me and nobody else did...every time the OTPF was mentioned from there on out, my name was brought up....from now on I'll hopefully win by dictatorship. We'll see if there are any other Miss OTPFs out there that are cooler. We could have a champion Miss OTPF contest....hmmm.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
"""""I read your post on Vestibular rehab and it piqued my interest. I've
been reading a book called " The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman
Doidge. It's about brain plasticity and so far it is incredibly
interesting. Anyway, he begins the book by speaking of a woman named
Cheryl Schiltz who feels like she is perpetually falling, her
vestibular aparatus is not working because of gentamicin (a drug given
to her following surgery). Doidge then goes on to speak of Paul
Bach-y-Rita (a neurolgist who seems AMAZING). Bach-y-Rita and his
colleagues are trying to find a way to help her constant dizziness and
lack of balance. It's a very interesting endeavor. She wears an odd
looking aparatus and has a small plastic strip which she puts under her
tongue. To make a long story short, Cheryl regains vestibular function
because of brain plasticity. I thought the story was amazing. And
makes me want to learn more about the brain!""""
A reuters article: "Cuddling up against mother's bare skin can help
tiny premature babies recover more quickly from the pain of being stuck
with needles and other procedures, Canadian researchers reported on
Thanks Arnie for the link!
Speaking of cuddling, I plan to go hold babies in the morning and if I'm lucky, observe some OT with them. :)
Your Scaled Score: 469
Examination score required to pass is: 450
lowest possible score is 300, and the highest possible score is 600. A
total examination score of 450 or higher is required to pass the
examination. Your total scaled score is computed based on the total
number of correct items.
Yay! I passed (barely) the NBCOT Practice Exam without studying at all! Of course I'll study a ton when the real one comes around, just in case - it's really expensive to re-take it if you fail!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Functional Reach Test...
Ohhh the cone-stacking
What a splint.
All bandaged up....
I have been quiet a few days after the recent belated AOTA conference marathon postings. My blog is linked on the AOTA Conference Blog Links now, woot woot. Some of my classmates, our amazing tech guy Neal, and I, successfully completed our Miss OTPF Pageant on Thursday afternoon - it is about 16 minutes long with a casual wear (scrubs), evening wear (khakis/polos), OT-related equipment photo shoot, and OTPF-related interview questions. It's pretty awesome and, in our opinion, hilarious. It has to be SLIGHTLY edited but with any luck it will be up on Monday, on YouTube, and I'll link it here.
It's been somewhat of a yucky week overall, health-wise and project-wise, but at least the research paper has been submitted, and with any luck, next week will be a nice sane week. I just skimmed an article on how Twitter saved a dude's life and so I was inspired to quickly post and say I'm around....oh and I have a TON OF PICTURES!! From LOW VISION LAB! FROM THE IMHOTEP HONOR SOCIETY BANQUET! FROM THE PAGEANT!!! To share asap! The pictures above will be inserted into the pageant video...we have dorky Meg, one-upper Kerri, mean Allison, ditzy Emily, snobby Kim, and cheerleader Stephanie. And yes, none of those activities in the pictures are truly occupation-based, but that's because THE PAGEANT IS A SPOOF. HA HA! SEE? IT IS FUNNY!
Ok moving on...lol.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Meg tries not to fall.
Me, Aunt Cathy, Uncle Jim, Uncle Mary, Grandma, Dad, Mom. PF Changs in Long Beach near Convention Center.
Ok. Deep breath.
My two big "I AM SUCH A CELEBRITY I SHOULD BE ON CELEBRITY REHAB" thrills:
1) Getting to meet Chris Bluhm, COO of AOTA, for a brief chat. He was extremely busy of course, but shaking his hand and discussing social networking was well, exciting. We briefly discussed that I've been doing some tarsal-smashing without even realizing it but it's not because I'm offensive or anything (I like to think), it's just that I'm used to different technologies and different levels of privacy than um, older generations. Or maybe I'm just inappropriate. Whatev. Point is, it was a nice meeting and when he told me it was one of his objectives to meet me at conference, I like, peed my pants. Ok, that was inappropriate. Just kidding, I didn't do anything but feel happy.
Now for all the amazing people in NO particular order:
Amanda Coffey: OT at St. Jude in Memphis...small world to run into her there.
Shannon Lindsay - UAB student I've been in touch with for the Communications Proposal...I kind of think the C.O.O.L project that P. Mo brought up in her presidential addreshad something to do with Shannon's work...I need to find clarification.
AJOT Editor Mary Corcoran: Was standing by her waiting for some doors to open. Very nice lady.
Crepeau of Willard&Spackman Textbook fame: Ok I didn't get to MEET her, but I stood within 10 feet and I could feel the particles in the air vibrate with amazingness.
Trombly of Physical Dysfunction Textbook fame: Um, same situation as Crepeau
Emily Harlow: AOTA Staff. Sweet as punch.
Frank Gainer. AOTA Staff. He knows my professor Rosemary from South Dakota. Nice man.
Linda Roccio: AOTA Gerontology Listserv Leader of the World. Really fun.
Chris Bluhm: AOTA AWESOMEST PERSON ALIVE
Claudia Allen: Celebrity Sighting! Celebrity Sighting! ALCS! ADM! ACLS! Oooh the memories of leather. Oooh. She was spritely. Or whatever the word is for spunky/fiery. She reminded me of my grandmother. She was older than I realized and blunt, but still kind and interesting. They have updated the ACLS manual and they are also working on updating the website. I got her autograph which I'm sure she thought was amusing. But I did it for my loyal blog readers, I swear, because well, yeah.
Meg and Brooke both did a little sight-seeing of LA, and both had some friends in the area come visit. Friday night we went to Club Sushi and some Cattle Bar in Hermosa Beach. Meg and Brooke rode on bulls. Yes, bulls. Saturday night was calmer as we had to be up at 4:15am on Sunday morning to go to the airport. Mini taxi cab altercation at 4:45am due to rule breaking on taxi driver parts. Made it back to Memphis with no problems at all.
SATURDAY, my dad, mom, grandmother, and aunt, drove up from San Diego, and we ate lunch at PF Changs along with my great aunt Mary and great uncle Jim who live in Long Beach. It was really fun and so nice of them to have come all that way just for a lunch date.
Ok...I have random comments on other aspects of OT pride but I'm saving them...because it's 2:15am and I need to finish making corrections on my parts of the Tai Chi research paper due Thursday... tomorrow I'm going to go volunteer at the Alzheimer Day Center for a few hours, then we have class, then I meet a girl from my undergrad college to talk about prospects of going into OT from a liberal arts college, then I have random stuff going on involving errands, homework, and friends, for the rest of the night...oh yeah and preparing for MISS OTPF PAGEANT!!!!!!!! THURSDAY!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I am doing my second Level II occupational therapy fieldwork rotation in Vestibular...in a well-known San Diego hospital system. I am pretty excited as this is primarily a physical therapy field with few OTs. NeuroCom had a booth at AOTA Conference and they had one of their smaller systems set up so that people could see how it tested basic balance and such. I tried it and my vestibular system - not surprisingly since I'm dizzy all the time and easily car sick - is bad. I chatted a little bit with Marcia Thompson, DPT, as well as one of her co-workers, Nick K. Both were really kind and helpful and no-nonsense. Marcia reminded me of Julie Dixon (owner) of the Southern Hand Center here in Memphis - smart as a whip, funny as hell, and no tolerance for ignorance!
I ran into Marcia and Nick on Day 2 of Expo and loitered a while because I was hungry for more vestibular exposure, and liked them even more. On Day 3 of Expo, my family came, so I didn't wander over to convention until around 2:30pm. I walked into the Expo and there were fork lifts and chaos. I hadn't realized Expo ended so early and everything was getting packed up. I didn't really have anything to do or anywhere to be so I was just wandering around in there, when Marcia spotted me. They were hanging out in the booth just waiting for the fork lift to bring their pallets so they could box up and had already been waiting a long time. I sat down with them and we chatted a bunch more about vestibular rehab as well as how things work behind the scenes, such as at an Expo. Marcia explained that the booths are very expensive and that you get charged for everything- carpets, trash cans, liners, vacuuming services, you name it. She estimated it cost MANY MANY thousands of dollars when all is said and done, to have had their booth at AOTA conference. Yet it's worth it if they get even a few good leads on new costumers of the NeuroCom system, which is very indepth and big. More information at www.onbalance.com
These systems are primarily used by physical therapists and neurologists, and most of the interest at conference came from OT students - not a lot from practitioners. Vestibular rehab seems to not have really caught on with OTs yet, although it SHOULD. Marcia encouraged getting into the field and blazing the OT path. She recommended two books - Vestibular Rehabilitation by Susan Herdman, 2007 2nd edition, and the Neurophysiology of Eye Movements By Zee...closest I could find on Amazon was Neurology of Eye Movements by JR Leigh and Zee though.
Those books are freakin' expensive though, so I guess I'll wait a while before investing in them! I have to admit eye movements don't appeal to me much, so I may be miserable in Vestibular Rehab, we'll see. It seems like there is quite a bit of overlap with Low Vision in terms of knowledge base.
Hanging out and watching the Expo break down was awesome. All these guys in fork lifts were bringing giant boxes out for exhibitors to put their stuff back in, convention center employees were breaking down the generic booths, exhibitors were trying to bribe fork lift men to get their stuff quick, or stressing over finding their boxes, you name it. I hadn't thought about what a big pain it must be to get all that stuff there...and then back.
I really really enjoyed meeting Marcia and Nick of NeuroCom...knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and they eased my mind about my Vestibular Rehab rotation. :)
Friday, April 11th, I think.The day started out early - I met Marc Freedman, who was on the Steering Committee, to discuss some of the "You are the Future" Communications Proposal, at a cute little cafe. We looked at things like Facebook and chat rooms and discussed options. Then we headed to the Hyatt for the Senior Member Salon. I begged him to let me go in his place since I had screwed up on Thursday and I felt so guilty.
It worked out so I sat in on an Intergenerational meeting in the Senior Member Salon, with the session facilitated by Holly Hendryx, who is the AMAZING OT student who was Vice Chairperson of the Steering Committee, and one of my mini-Idols. It was neat talking to older generations that had a lot of advice and experience to share. We (novices and experts) discussed the possibilities of matching up mentors somehow, and also the importance of preserving the memories of older OTs through videos, tapes, letters, etcetera. We may get to do some kind of video booth next year (I say "we" very loosely to mean AOTA, lol), where OTs, especially the older ones, can go in and record little tidbits of their OT lives. I'm a HUGE fan of memory keeping, I guess primarily because my memory is sooo bad, so I'm excited. I know one of my favorite books is by John Carlova called "The Healing Heart" on Ora Ruggles, who was a Reconstructionist aide...precursors to OTs. Read it. Ok off soapbox... We discussed the possibility of some kind of Intergenerational Corps. I thought a Mobius strip or Infinity sign would be a great symbol for this...a never-ending and reciprocal kind of relationship. Two of the power houses behind this Senior Member Salon are Shirley Behr and Mary Taugher. I've been in e-mail contact with Mary (after meeting her at the salon) and it was fun. Good job Shirley and Mary!!
Then it was time for the...dum dum dum...PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS....I sat with OT faculty from my school.
Penny Moyers as always did a fantastic job speaking to the crowd. She had a creative entrance and has great public speaking skills. Although I guess I should mention she was preceded by a band that was wildly popular and had a lot of OTs dancing in the aisles and conga-lining it everywhere. OTs have no problems shaking their badunkadunks.
In the speech, besides the classic annual conference speech foundation stuff, she discussed a partnership between AOTA and AARP with its Homefit Guide, which seems like pretty big news, I haven't researched it further. I have to say here that there were at least four people within my vicinity eating bananas as she talked. Somehow her speech inspired fruit, because I watched as multiple OTs rummaged in their bags for bananas and apples. That amused me more than the average person could ever imagine. Also...P. Mo unveiled the new sparkling brand words of AOTA. She did a great job building it up with suspenseful music and everything, although I have to say, "Living Life to its Fullest" doesn't exactly set off firecrackers in my spine. And I'm not alone. Perhaps the slogan will grow on me. As the words were unveiled, silver balloons with the slogans printed on them, came busting down from the rafters, it was fun to watch.
I enjoyed her speech a lot but I think she travels in a Pope-Mobile (a P. MObile) because I never saw her except on stage. Which means I didn't get her autograph. Which means my world has ended. (A really funny joke would be if you were a surgeon doing skin grafts and you were like, hey patient, give me your autograft.... ha ha ha ha ha....) Ok. P. Mo, if you are reading this, which is probably when flying penguins fly for real instead of just as an April's Fool Joke I fell for because I'm stupid, my life will not be FULL - I cannot live life to its fullest - until I have this autograph. Just sayin'.
Oh glorious Expo, what more can I say. This is the part that excited me most based on the stories from the OT students who went last year. Tales of office supply gluttony abounded. The expo WAS pretty massive with tons of booths and things going on. Networking, advertising, demonstrations....luckily most booths had mini scanners to put on your name badges so you wouldn't have to keep writing your address down. Which is good, because one of my pet peeves is writing out my address.
There was lots of free stuff - pens, post it notes, pins, candy, duffel bags, mints...one of the cutest things was a dancing robot dude (he entertained the entire OT class when he returned and was taken to class). I even got two free Tangles, which made me sooo happy because I have an obsession with Tangles (anti-fidget toys that I've seen in action). A lot of booths didn't appeal to me at all so I tried not to steal their stuff when that was the case. Exhibitors were very nice and it was clear everyone was desperate to hire OTs!
I learned the meaning of Snoezelen (Dutch for sleep/rest from what I understand), and that those glowing horse tails can be messed with and not just stared at. I saw new ways to get socks/compression stockings off...Sock Eez...new ways to wear compression garments that are a lot easier to deal with....some really funky art...some neat adaptive clothing with snaps for people who have trouble dressing or need easy access....some neat OT videos being done for work with kids with autism...I saw a few booths clearly state on their papers that the hiring salary was around 72K...wow. One booth had really neat OT pins made using puzzle pieces, beads/buttons, and glazes/pin backs. I think actual patients had made them and they were a good idea
Some links based on what I just said:
Britt Collins, TRP Yoga - DVDs, yoga, www.trpyoga.com - does the autism videos
BlickArt – plasticky black masks, tons of extra awesome art supplies, I want them sooo bad.
Start here first:
Post 2: I’d like to warn you all that I have no true concept of time, all days run together and I couldn’t tell you what I did two days ago let alone weeks ago (hence the whole journaling thing, except that it only works if you keep on top of it, oops), so there may be some chronological inaccuracies…oh well. You get the point.
Thursday April 10th was a big day at AOTA. The first thing I did that day was screw up. I had signed up to volunteer within the Senior Member Salon as a note-taker, and I forgot/slept right through my appointed session. I felt really bad!
That day, I primarily wandered around the convention center, watching all the OT-related people with interest. I kind of wanted to just throw myself at all of them and sing Koom bah yah mah lord, it felt all nice and fuzzy.
I also wandered through a poster session…again mostly people watching and skimming poster titles. I think the project that seemed most interesting to me was about people with multiple sclerosis who tend to hoard, and how OTs can help them get over that issue.
Warren McDonald is a man who had a horrible accident involving a giant boulder and his legs. And now he is a bilateral above-knee amputee. He gets around in a lightweight wheelchair (a Quickie?) and is quite nimble. He has climbed massive mountains with his prosthetics and does motivational speaking. He has a book, “A Test of Will” that details his journey.
He was a WONDERFUL speaker and discussed how we create the reality of other people and “HOW” you see is what you get. Great points, very inspiring.
This is an article about speech therapy, but the field has a lot of overlap with occupational therapy. OTs use song and music a lot to engage patients. Pretty interesting. Thanks Arnie for the send.
Another good story. Regarding doctors, but anything in the health-care field has repercussions for everyone...consumers and professionals alike.
Monday, April 21, 2008
He told us about how the pads for the AED just need to be in a way that its a straight line to heart and I had this great idea that if you only had one set of pads and two people that needed it, you could like position them side by side, then put one pad on each person so that it zaps them both, but he said that wouldn't work, I was bummed. I thought it was brilliant. Oh well.
Tomorrow involves research talks regarding our Tai Chi paper, health care policy class, and God knows what else. I should probably check on that. Oh yeah, and working, and getting to go with a friend to start the process of picking out a kitty. And laundry, oh the laundry.
Hopefully a good day, minus the whole laundry part.
As always, I hope more occupational therapy goodness runs through my blood tomorrow...I'm not feeling it tonight! I just have time to go to bed blood running through me right now.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Brooke asleep while Meg and I go to ASD meetings. Oh the pain.
Assembly of Student Delegate Representative Meetings, Pre-Conference
Meg is our class ASD rep, and I am an ASD "project coordinator" (fancy way of saying I didn't make the Steering Committee but I can still help with things), so I accompanied her to some of the ASD sessions, just out of curiosity. It reminded me a lot of Conclave, actually. There was a session on fieldwork at Conclave that I had complained was common sense, and Meg ended up saying the same thing about the session on fieldwork for ASD reps. Overall it was a great group of students with enthusiasm and passion, and sessions ran smoothly.
We had a pretty neat session on AOTPAC (American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee), run by Amy Lamb and Paul Fontana, who discussed the sobering reality of being in a health care field that has such a wide scope of practice. They discussed the importance of not letting other professions, a la athletic trainers, physical therapists, recreational therapists, and other similar fields, nibble away at our domain. Part of the purpose of AOTPAC is to prevent this nibblage, fighting for the rights of occupational therapists. They encouraged donations and with some nudging as well as some help from some generous students, the reps ended up with 100% participation - pretty impressive. They are trying to raise 300,000 dollars for their 30th anniversary, and the ASD reps pledged/donated about $7,000. Pretty impressive for a bunch of students.
Paul Fontana made some interesting comments and I thought he did a good job of engaging the students, although there were a few things he said that I disagreed with. He discussed how he used to pay for all his therapists to have AOTA membership, and then stopped, because it was the therapists own professional obligation to have membership. He said it wasn't about the money. But then if it wasn't about the money, I sure hope he donated the money he saved from not paying for their memberships, to AOTA anyway!
Another session involved some "Centennial Vision tracking", led by two USC OT students under the guidance of AOTA Vice President Florence Clark. They showed some projects that were along the line of the Centennial Vision. I wanted to be like the donkey in Shrek and hop around shrieking MY BLOG! MY BLOG!! IT SCREAMS CENTENNIAL VISION! COME ON! but you will be happy to know, I didn't pull a donkey.
The best session by far was the address by Penny Moyers (good ol' P.Mo), AOTA President. She is amazingly warm and she is a wonderful public speaker. I really enjoyed listening to her speak. She had a very creative speech centered around the golden ratio/Fibonacci sequences. She even showed how the cauliflower follows the rules of the golden ratio. But do you want to hear something really embarrassing? I have an exceptionally bad memory, and so now, I totally can't remember how she tied in the golden ratio to the Centennial Vision. Wow. I suck. Ok let's move on now.
The conference took place at the convention center in Long Beach, near the Queen Mary. It was about six blocks from the hotel we were staying at, the Hilton. The weather was perfect the entire time, although a little chilly for those who didn't realize that it gets colder at night (you always need to have a sweater nearby for coastal California!). Meg, Brooke, and I shared a room with two beds, and as a bunch of girls, we messed it up pretty quickly!
The convention center is light and airy and beautiful, and it was neat to walk around knowing that everyone surrounding you knew exactly what occupational therapy was! I was surprised at the diversity of people there - I would have guessed it would be a bunch of 40 year old white females. Yet there were males, blacks, whites, asians, hispanics, heights, shapes, students, clinicians, professors, walkers, wheelchairs, canes, youngs, olds...lots of variety. And it seemed most were pragmatic in their choice of outfit and shoes. You don't go into OT if you want to wear high heels and mini skirts. There were a lot of people sitting on the floor, not just younger students, which always makes me happy to see, for some weird reason. Everyone had on blue bands around their necks holding their nametags, and many of these tags had a rainbow of colors underneath them, announcing their position or memberships. The ones with the longest tags were like royalty I guess!!
Ok....um....I want to talk about Expo, Senior Member Salon, Presidential Address, Keynote Speaker, Marc Freedman and the You are the Future communication proposals (hi marc I need to email you!), and all the neat people that were there....and it's all in a list to remind me.....but it's almost 2am and I need to stop. More tomorrow night. Gee I'm only two weeks late with all my posts on Conference...
Tomorrow morning I volunteer at a different pediatric hospital doing WEE-FIM stuff, then we have class in early afternoon, and then we have a long CPR certification course . Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Nooooooooooooooo.
I looked around his room as I rocked, noting the pair of red adult shoes, the overnight duffel bag, the childish drawing tacked up. This child was far luckier than most of the babies there. I listened to the disjointed gossip of the nurses outside the room, shifting my weight carefully, breathing slowly for this baby held against my heart. I willed this baby health and happiness. After an hour and a half, the baby sleeping deeply, I carefully put him back in the crib, stomach down as he had been against my chest. I fussed over him to make sure his crib rails were pulled back up and his lines weren't tangled. Then I tip-toed out, peeling off my gown and emerging back into the bright lights of the unit. I carefully sanitized my hands and then began slowly making circles around the unit. I peeked into cribs and rooms as I went, looking for babies needing any comfort measures. I could peer at a monitor in a private room and tell by the jig-jags and spikes that a baby was in distress. Each time today, the answer was simple - a lost pacifier. Digging carefully around the blankets around a baby's face, I could find the pacifier to pop back in. I'd adjust the blankets in such a way that it was less likely the baby would lose the pacifier, and then move on. I felt like a pacifier fairy as I repeatedly replaced pacifiers for the last part of my shift. When I left, I felt more at peace that I had been in a while. Sitting there, alone with my thoughts and sleeping baby, is a wonderful way to spend a morning.
I've been asked by several people how to get a volunteer position holding babies. The easiest thing to do is contact your local pediatric hospital and ask how to become a volunteer, period. Typically you can pick the area you'd like to volunteer in, and you can then choose a ward such as a special care unit, that is filled with babies. Don't specifically say you just want to "hold babies" at first because from what I hear, hospitals aren't thrilled with that...even if ultimately, that's exactly what you end up doing. I do want to point out that these areas ARE somewhat intimidating - lots of beeping monitors and tubes and lines. But you get used to it quick, and these babies can use every ounce of love you have.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
We also had a wonderful woman come in from the physical therapy department, who is from Puerto Rico, and she gave us a lecture on cultural issues in rehab from a Latino perspective. It refreshed my desire to do some Spanish immersion before becoming a real OT.
I've been struggling with extreme fatigue since the AOTA Conference. I've got all sorts of random medical issues and one of the things I struggle with is almost constant fatigue. Stressful or big events like traveling across the country make it worse, obviously. Although I guess I still usually do more in a day than some people do in three, even with fatigue, lol. Hmm. This is a big volunteer week. Yesterday I helped out with Assisted Living Bingo, tomorrow morning I'm holding babies at the pediatric hospital step-down ICU, Monday morning I'm headed to the other pediatric hospital to do WEE-FIM, and then sometime this week I want to get to the Alzheimer Day Center for a few hours, to go see all my new beloveds from fieldwork. Wednesday afternoon I meet a girl from my undergrad college who is interested in OT and wants to learn more. Thursday evening we have a big banquet and a bunch of us are being inducted into IHMOTEP or something weird like that, an honor society. The name is really weird to me.
I got off work at midnight and have been working on and off on the Tai Chi research paper...guess I need to get back to it.
I'm sorry I still haven't done my blog posts on AOTA Conference. I feel guilty. I've got it all prepped up to be written about, I just have to actually DO it. Since I got my house somewhat cleaned up today, I might make that tomorrow's goal. Cuz goals are important. OH AND PICTURES TOMORROW TOO.....
We're having a Miss OTPF Pageant next Thursday afternoon to put on YouTube for OT Month. Script is ready. I dare all y'all OT-related people to go make your own OT related videos to put up!
Ok ok ok ok ok back to research ::wails::
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
And we (with copious help by Emily, Allison, and many other awesome OT classmates) have the script of the Miss OTPF pageant officially written up. We plan to film next Thursday afternoon...because it ***IS**** APRIL AND THAT MEANS IT IS OT MONTH AND THAT MEANS WE HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING AMAZING TO YOUTUBE REGARDING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
::says quietly and subliminally that I hope AOTA reads me and decides they wanna sponsor one year of student membership for an OT-related person who submits the awesomest YouTube video for OT month as judged by, I dunno, unbiased sources.::::
And I still have to contact quite a few people via phone or e-mail but at least I don't have any major e-mail events left right now. (Note to self: I just realized I forgot to deal with Miss OTPF pageant email to the class or Draft 4 of Tai Chi paper for research. I guess that's why God made tomorrows). I do wish He had just made afternoons though and skipped mornings.
Blog-wise....I have a HUGE notepad full of conference items to discuss, after I went through several inches worth of papers and condensed it all into one document. But it took me hours (it's really important to me to note absurd things like the fact I saw at least four people eating bananas during P. Mo's presidential address), so now I have to sleep. Tomorrow, I promise, promise, promise, unless I get hit by a truck or something, that I will FINALLY blog about conference. Cuz I gotta share all the GOSSIP, cuz let's face it...OT is all about the days of our lives....SOAP OPERA!!!!!!!
Oh, and I have pictures! Lots of pictures! From messy hotel rooms to clubbin' to family time to um.....certain classmates riding on mechanical bulls in a bar!! Yeah! So get excited!
Tomorrow is BINGO night with my favorite gero peeps...better rest up...so yeah, going to bed now for REALS.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A sweet lady named Lesli e-mailed me with some questions she has, along with some information on why she is curious. Please comment if you'd like to answer any of these questions. :)
questions are directed at patients that use commodes/raised toilet seats and
they use a commode or raised toilet seat at home?
they use a shower chair at home?
they typically seniors (i.e., elderly with weak
they have an illness or paralysis which causes this mobility impairment?
some patients required to use commodes/raised toilet seats and shower
seats as a result of knee or hip replacement surgery?
it possible to determine the percentage of patients using these assistive
many use a commode/raised toilet chair?
many use a shower seat?
many use a cane?
many use a walker/rollator?
many use a wheel chair?
many are temporarily impaired due to surgery, accident, etc.?
they able to use handicap toilets in public areas? (i.e.,
height of toilet and placement of bars is adequate for lifting purposes)
they afraid to leave home because they are unsure if they can use a toilet
without the assistive device they have at home?
they are not comfortable leaving home, how does this affect their mental
you find that the older the patient is, they are less willing to discuss “toileting
issues” with you or other OTs?
you find that the older the patient is, they are more accepting of their
patients expressed frustration about not being able to travel because of
their need for these devices away from home? (i.e.,
another home or hotel most likely does not have these available to them)
a travel product were available that would assist them with toileting and
showering away from the security of their own home, would they be
interested in purchasing one?
they place a value on this type of product? (freedom,
peace of mind)
You are probably curious as to why I am
asking all these questions. Well, it started with my Mom and
Mother-in-Law, both with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My Mom also has a painful
muscular deterioration (myopathy). They are both required to use
commodes/raised toilet seats and shower seats at home, and use walkers/rollators
to get around inside and wheel chairs outside. Both are quite social, but
with their physical limitations – and the need for these assistive
devices – they are uncomfortable leaving home for any length of time,
just in case they need to use the toilet. Handicap toilets in public
restrooms are no longer an option for them, as the toilets do not provide the
required height and the bars are awkwardly placed so they do not provide the
support they need. They will both wear diapers away from home “just
in case”, however, it can be extremely humiliating for an elderly person
(they are in their 70’s) to actually “use” one.
Traveling has become more difficult has
well, as hotels do not provide commodes/raised toilet seats. Fortunately,
I am able to store these items at my home for their visits. When
traveling by car, we actually need to take my truck and a sedan (the truck for the “gizmos”,
as I call them), and the sedan because it is low enough for them to get into!
Well, all of this has created a significant passion
in me. Life needs to be easier, less stressful, and more accessible for
the mobility impaired. Statistics show that people are living longer;
however, we know that we will not be free of physical limitations. I
truly believe that the older generation was more accepting of this (and
succumbed to staying in the home). Fortunately, this is not acceptable to
the baby boomers and those to follow. We will not accept staying home,
nor do we want our aging parents to.
Karen, any comments that you, your
classmates or other OTs can provide would greatly assist me. Also, if you
can direct me to any website or contact person that can also provide me with
statistics or other valuable information, it would be wonderful also.
OT students might want to check out the Society for Disability Studies conference in late June at Baruch College in Manhattan. Participation from OT students and related fields is welcome. Rates go up on May 1 but student discounts and cheap dorm housing is available. Please check out www.disstudies.org for details. A program schedule should be available in the coming weeks.
www.eldersong.com "Creative Activity Materials for Older Adults"
Good quote from the presidential address at AOTA Conference (copy/pasted from an article on AOTA's website): President Moyers Cleveland continued, saying that knocking on doors and developing leadership in the profession means that occupational therapy practitioners may sometimes need to be unreasonable. “‘No’ is not an answer we should accept,” Moyers Cleveland stated firmly. Practitioners need to take a ‘no’ and turn it into a question, asking themselves if were they creative enough to figure out how to get a ‘yes.’
Random cool news: my grandfather (and his group) had an article in Nature a few weeks ago regarding ribosomes! His group's project made the cover!
Monday, April 14, 2008
I don't know how relevant this is to you and your career.... but I remember you saying you wanted to see Rory O'Shea was Here, so I thought this might also be in the same vein.
This movie is the true story about Richard Pimentel, who lost his hearing in Viet Nam and ended up coming back to the states and did a lot of major groundwork for the Americans With Disabilities Act. The story is great and the acting was pretty good too.
if you get bored and want to see a movie... there's a good one! (not as good as Into The Wild!)
(starting to clear out email box)
I'm thinking tomorrow will be blog catch-up day. Many posts, rest your eyes in preparation.
By the way, I never did get to talk to P.Mo at conference :( She managed to mysteriously disappear every time I blinked. Penelope, oh Penelope. How am I supposed to attract new readers without your autograph as a lure? Note to self: Try being witty and informative instead of depending on others.
Regarding phone calls and e-mails and every other form of communication - I'm way way behind. Don't hate me. Catching up slowly.
I leave you with my favorite self-created joke:
What did the watermelon say to the honeydew after getting engaged?
We CANTELOUPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
130am:I'm sitting in my recliner, idly leafing through a geriatric supply catalog. Brooke is frantically printing out her well elderly project after having a comedy of errors with printers, and has driven 30 minutes to my house at 1230am to print them out, and has to come back in a few hours to pick Meg and I up at 615am to go to the airport.
Me: Awesome! They have swivel shower chairs for transferring!
Me: That was the dorkiest thing I've ever said.
Brooke: ::kinda snickers, in a panicked kinda way:::
So yeah, it's 130am, I'm about to jump in the shower, and I have to be up at 5:30ish, so if I'm lucky I'll have 3 hours of sleep, yay! The good news is, I got a lot of my part of the Tai Chi paper better edited, spent some time with friends, cleaned, packed carefully but way too much, etc. Anyway. from now on blog posts will be from California. :)
Check out the AOTA blog - I get to blog daily there as an official AOTA Conference Blogger, yay! I am not taking my personal computer to conference, but they have a cybercafe, so you'll be hearing from me.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
One more day until conference!!!!!!!!!!!
Last year, I read a great novel: Click
here: Amazon.com: You're Not You: A Novel: Michelle Wildgen: Books.
It's about a 20 year old girl who is a college student and who becomes an
attendant for a woman with ALS. The student narrates it,
has no experience, yet they develop an interesting friendship. One of the
reasons I liked it is the author doesn't sugar-coat the disability, and
explicitly describes the woman's ADLs. There's also a subplot involving
the woman wanting to divorce her husband.
From Sue: "
I like your blog and your willingness to share your OT experiences. I
have a congenital disability that causes me to use a motorized
wheelchair to ambulate. I drive though so it's not so bad. I wrote a
self-help book, "Cope with Yor Disability: Don't Fall Through the
Cracks." I have been promoting it for awhile but it's been slow cause I
don't have a big name or big money backing me. My site is "Infobility" www.infobility.net. I've come up with many ideas to make life easier to manage. If you're interested let me know."
year OT student in the University of Southampton (England) I am
currently researching for a dissertation project on the role of OT's in
children's hospice's I was wondering if you had any information on it
or know of a good research article. I would be appreciative of any
information you have Kind Regards Helen
This was probably one of my quietest days. First of all, good news - the lady who was unresponsive at the end of Thursday ended up eventually responding and was okay, no ambulance needed.
In the morning, MsL, a talkative little woman, decided she wanted to sit with me/socialize. Unfortunately, my FixxyLady was in an extra talkative mood, and came over and monopolized the conversation, much to MsL's chagrin. When we ended up in a room for current events, FixxyLady would not be quiet, so I took her to the art room. On the way, MsD decided she wanted to join us. FixxyLady and MsD are exact opposites in looks and I hadn't really encountered MsD before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I set up three rocking chairs facing the big glass windows (it rained steadily all day long), and then got babies for FixxyLady and MsD. We sat there and rocked and watched the rain for, literally, hours. We talked too of course. FixxyLady would say her random things and MsD was wonderful at talking to her normally. She was well aware that the dolls weren't real, but played along for FixxyLady's sake. MsD was quite with it in many ways, although she repeated her same thought every few minutes - Look at that rain. I sure could take a nap. I love napping with the rain. Look at how high those trees are. I remember when they were just tiny buds." x 100. It was nice though.
At one point, when talking to FixxyLady, I asked her something overly complex, according to all the Alzheimer's books I've read recently. As her mouth struggled, I said "Sometimes it is hard to come up with an answer, isn't it" and she said brightly "Yes, ansy-pantsy!". LOL. I laughed and so did she, it was so adorable.
During the afternoon, we had two ladies that were especially agitated regarding wanting to wait/look for their caregiver to get them. No amount of persuasion would allow them to relax. I asked for permission to drag a table somewhat near the front door, so that I could sit down with those two ladies and tell them we were right where their caregiver would see them, and still get them to do something besides wander. I got the tables/chairs set up, just 3 chairs, and then immediately MsR and MsE took over two of them...I was chagrined. I asked if they would consider moving because the table was set up for special reasons but one of them got grumpy and the other one said she was there to help me. I bit my tongue. lol. So I just dragged over more chairs and we all sat down.
I once again got out the pipe cleaners because they are pretty and fuzzy. I sorted them by color and handed one of the twisted ones to my agitater, MsY. I asked her to try and untwist it for me because I was having trouble. She obliged. Since MsY typically does nothing but watch and/or wander, I was glad she was doing something. I started twisting two different colors of pipe cleaners under the table in easy to fix ways, and then would incorporate them into her stack without her realizing. So she ended up with a large stack of twisties to unravel while I sorted. We chatted and had a nice time. The PCAs were impressed since MsY is hard to handle in general. But the only reason she is hard is that MsY requires one-on-one loving and that is something she can't get in a group. MsY is adorable and her smile makes me melt. She was convinced she still worked in a doctor's office and was ready to get back to work.
The other agitater, MsT, was not willing to sit down. She mostly wandered and looked upset. She had a bunch of fake Monopoly money clutched in her hand. At one point she sat down with us for a while and I asked her for her hand, but she refused to put the money down. She believed it was real money.
One of the PCAs let me know that one of the ladies "boo-booed", as she put it, in the trash can instead of toilet the other day. It's fascinating how the brain works and confuses objects, huh.
My nonstop talker man who can occasionally state a single sentence, hugged me and said "You're in good shape" before lapsing into his random stuff. My other lady who appears like like females a lot, kept on adjusting my collar, touching my necklace, touching my hair, rubbing my arm...it wasn't overtly sexual by any means, but I was like ummmmm....do I stop her? Does it matter? I didn't really know the proper response.
My poetry lady really liked the Shel Silverstein poems I brought her, all of which are amusing within every line. She doesn't appear to have all her reading comprehension intact by any means, but there is some form of subconscious comprehension as she would laugh at some of the absurdities. Which is exactly why I picked his poetry.
There is something called anosoagnosia, that is mercifully a common symptom in dementia/Alzheimer's. It basically means the person is unaware of their own mental shortcomings. This is a blessing in some ways, because it's heartbreaking for the participants who DO understand their brain is deteriorating. One lady said faintly to me, "I don't understand why I can't find the right words" and I told her, "I'm sure you're tired. We all lose our words when we're tired". She nodded.
When I left, I told all the participants I was just going for the weekend, because I realized it would be too hard to explain I was leaving and probably they'd forget my existence by Monday anyway. Those who were higher-functioning already knew I was only here two weeks. A few wanted to exchange phone numbers and I promised we would the next week. I look forward to going back after next week's AOTA conference, even if none of them remember me. I feel like even if they don't technically have any real recognition of me day to day, that the feelings of comfort I give some of them stick with them enough that deep down they associate me with kindness. Maybe that's arrogant, I don't know, but it did seem like the ones I spent a lot of time with got more and more comfortable with me over the course of two weeks.
I really love babies, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with patients with dementia. It's FASCINATING to see what parts of their brain function and how their minds compensate for discrepancies. I plan to keep visiting as frequently as I can. :)
Here is today's to do list, it's pretty whiny:
1. Not hold babies :(
2. Write a ton of SOAP note stuff due tomorrow. A lot more work than I realized, oopsie doopsie
3. Finalize well Elderly Project due tomorrow including type in all the references APA style, I'd rather slam my fingernails in a door and then rub lemon and salt into them, and then hang upside down for six hours. And I'm not a drama queen.
4. Put final entries in blog journal, then cut down my blog journal to smaller size to hand in tomorrow (it's supposed to be handwritten, but you know what? I have too much to do - I'd rather get a few points off than spend hours handwriting something. Sorry. "Oh, I wanted to help you all with this important task, but actually I need to be laboriously copying my typed journal into a handwritten one, because spending hours of my time copying is a really great master's level thing to do, so sorry, I can't help you!" I know the point was to just handwrite in the first place, but homie with a blog and atrophied handwriting muscles don't play like dat...)
5. Find out if anything else is due tomorrow beyond what I said above, and if so, repeatedly slit my wrists with a paper clip, emo-style.
6. Go through my seventy emails to make sure I deal with the important ones asap before leaving for conference
7. Inform my grandmother that her plans to see me in Long Beach at AOTA conference will not work out, and be guilt-tripped (I'll be back in June for weeks!).
8. Make sure that the hawaiian punch powder I snorted up my nose last night by accident doesn't disintegrate my septum.
9. Start packing.
10. Go to Target across town to buy some cheap tops because I have lots of nicer pants but very few nice tops.
11. Go to Designer Shoe Warehouse further across town to buy some comfortable black shoes with no heels and no scuffs.
11.5 Fill up gas tank
12. Wonder why I have procrastinated on all these issues.
13. Participate in a special chat room meeting tonight regarding communications and the ASD meetings, coming up at AOTA conference.
14. Clean my messy house because somehow it gets messy DAILY?
15. Feel guilty about not exercising.
16. Call my daddio to check on him since he is having some medical issues, boo!
17. Scream and rip my hair out because I have too much to do in a single day. Cry.
18. Just kidding on #17.
19. Well, kinda.
Thinking out loud here....
Ok...I'm gonna start with fieldwork journaling and cutting that down, since I do best starting with easier stuff. Then I'll finalize well Elderly. Then hit Target/DSW/Gas station. Then come home and work a lot on SOAP notes. Do everything else during breaks of SOAP notes writing since I'm betting it will take me many many hours. AUGH.
Friday, April 4, 2008
I better get ready for AOTA Conference too! Funnnnnnnnnnnnnn :)
Thursday, April 3, 2008
However, another participant, Ms. E, decided to join us, and woo-ie is she interesting. She couldn't do the sort by color, or follow the simplest instruction, even though she is a nice person who can handle a normal conversation. She somehow, as far as I can tell, decided that somehow we were just kind of trading around chips so that there could be a pile for her to take home versus the normal pile. She kept mixing up colors which was irritating Ms. M. Plus another participant, Ms. G, decided to help, and she first put them in stacks of 10 and I was like yay, she knows how...but I glanced back a minute later and there were now stacks of 5 and such. Trying to keep all three of them happy when all three of them were wrong and were critical of each other, was HARD. I had to do things like slip bags aside when backs were turned, quickly think of ways to let something happen the way the person wanted it done, explain away errors, etc. I was worried about the bag of chips that Ms. E had decided were now hers. I kept an eye on her, waiting for her to let the bag go because I knew she would forget it once it was out of her sight. Luckily one of the PCAs managed this, and Ms. E never realized. That's one really nice thing - you can "fix" things without upsetting the participant, with a little cleverness.
Ok. So. I finished my Well Elderly Project, minus just basic editing of typos, and fixing references. I helped finalize Draft 2 of our Tai chi Paper FINALLY (it's my fault it took so long to get back out), I finished the basic Communications Proposal for an Assembly of Student Delegates proposal...
Today was Alzheimer's until 4pm, Virginia's at 430 to 5 to discuss stuff and return Alzheimer's books...5 to 610 was at Sarah's working on Tai Chi, 630 was Bingo, and then 745 to now (past 10pm) I've been at OTS Kerri and Brent's house along with a first year DPT student, Shannon, who is my new best friend even though she doesn't know it yet. I've been working on my Tai Chi final and blog posts while they played Settlers of Catan. A game I'm really, really bad at. Speaking of things I'm bad at, I totally believed there were flying penguins....grrrrr
Moving on, Now I need to focus on my initial eval + three SOAP notes and getting ready for Conference next week, as well as basic finalizing of everything...
Things are lightening up! I've been staying up late trying to get things done and feeling overwhelmed, but I'm starting to feel better. I need to figure out what to WEAR and pack for conference, print out the itinerary, and decide what sessions and such I am most interested in.
If any of y'all are going and want to meet up, pleeeease let me know. So far I'm gonna try to meet up with Emily and Chris of AOTA awesomeness (and by meetup, I mean, get within 20 feet of them, lol). Plus meet with Linda R, who moderates the Gerontology Special Interest Section Listserv thing. Plus um, well, anyone who says anything. :)
On the other hand, I had NO IDEA that there were so many ways to mess up Bingo. I've been flabbergasted at some of the things I've seen. I'm not ridiculing the participants, just pointing out that there are more ways than you can possibly imagine, to have things not go as planned.
1) Ask repeatedly whether color of the chip (casino chips to cover item), mattered. [ I tried to fix this by sorting chips but they re-integrated them, grrr].
2) Stack like 15, 10, 2, 3, whatever you feel like, on the item.
3) Cover every single item with a casino chip right away, and then spend the rest of the session just listening. (This is surprisingly common/popular).
4) Cover items appropriately, but then, when a new item comes up, move chips to see if that new item happens to have appeared under a chip for something else).
5) Cover items that remind you of things.
6) Cover random items.
7) Pick up Bingo card (thereby losing all chips) to look on the back to see if an item happens to just be on the back. Repeat. Repeatedly.
8) Take everything off card to examine card.
9) Sit there.
10) Put chips down passively based on where the PCA points you to place the chip.
11) Skim for items, but almost always overlook it.
12) Not have the item, and loudly announce this, implying the card is defective.
I truly love working with patients who have dementia of varying severity. I'm not making fun of them with the above list. It's just truly amazing how you can think there is only one way to do something, only to be proven wrong in many creative ways. You definitely have to be able to think quick on your feet, and to have flexibility. Instead of getting irritated when a person plays wrong, just let that person play wrong - it doesn't harm anyone and it keeps that person happy.
Oooh so that reminds me. Ok, new blog post.
I started getting more and more saddened by all the women sitting around just wanting to go home/find their loved one (typically a husband). None of them could understand or remember for more than a few minutes what had happened to the person. I don't remember anything else now - I have a horrible memory myself. Maybe I'll find some notes to trigger my memory.
Day 9 - Today, Thursday
Today I started out the day by doing the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) with my chosen participant, Ms X, who I would argue is the highest-functioning patient there. She is hilarious and sweet. She scored a 20 out of 30, and anything under a 22 is considered possible dementia. In her case, the biggest issues were not being able to count backwards by 7s very well (but once you mess up once, you are messed up for the next four points, so to me that isn't fair). Also, she thought it was March 28th at first, and that it was winter. She was otherwise talented. And um, honestly, when it came time to have her copy interlocking pentagons....I tried to draw interlocking pentagons and it looked like *I* was the patient with dementia, or perhaps a first grader. Awkward...lol.
She then spent the next hour and a half helping me (and by helping, I mean doing most of the work) make baby doll clothes. There are about five baby dolls in high demand, and none of them have any accessories. I had found some fabric, but we didn't really have access to needles, plus I don't really know how to sew. I borrowed some scissors and we made baby ponchos and bibs by just cutting them out, no need to sew. They were adorable. But it was Ms. X who really figured it all out. I didn't have any experience with fabric period, and I have serious visual perception issues, so for the life of me, it would have taken me a long time to figure things out. It was neat having her being the teacher.
I also spent some time with my Nonstop talker, who seems convinced that he and I are going to run away to go fishing or find his brother or something.
I spent about an hour with my Express Aphasia FixxyLady, reading The Giving Tree and the Legend of Three Trees. It seemed like she has read the Giving Tree before based on a few of the things she said. She seems to have demons in the sense that she keeps talking about some event that was traumatizing, but unfortunately she makes no sense. I wish I had more access to caregivers to get more of the puzzle pieces put together. We had a good time together. Many of these participants have told me "You'll be a very good girl" or something along those lines, which I think is sweet. At one point I said to her, Fixxy, you are amazing. She said "Sometimes, I'm not so sure". It always surprises me/brightens me when they have a real response in an otherwise nonsense day. Also, if you bump her by accident, she'll say "Oh excuse me, I didn't mean to bump you" - ingrained habits deeper than Alzheimer's, at least right now.
Hmm. I spent some time hovering near the men's bathroom listening to some VERY personal noises, waiting for my participant to come out. Yikes. But it wasn't as gross as I would have thought. It really is true you get used to all this stuff, which I didn't used to believe.
This one lady, let's call her Bee, is a shy and quiet woman who doesn't initiate much, but is a very kind woman. Today she was agitated and kept talking about wanting to go home. Although I kept assuring her her person had called and she was on her way, she was so convinced she had to go find her herself. She wandered around looking distressed for a long time. I managed to keep her occupied for about 15 minutes and then she wandered off. I felt bad. It's interesting how each day really is a new day - one day the person is fine, the next day the person is agitated. I ended up accumulating patients though, because I had pulled out the colorful pipe cleaners, and the PCAs would wheel over their somewhat low-functioning people to sit at my table with all the colors. One lady, let's call her Sue, really was enthused about making things with the pipe cleaners, but was never willing to make even the first step. She talked constantly about safety issues and was anxious. She had a good sense of humor though, and she really liked me. She wanted to follow me around while I did things, and although I felt bad, I eventually got away from her (I knew she'd forget soon), because she is pretty high maintenance - she is hard of hearing and doesn't see well, and has somewhat of an abrasive personality, so she makes it hard to interact with others. I really do like her and I might take her aside for a while. I think she could benefit from some one-on-one, even if we don't get a thing done. Hmmm.
I made a rattle snake out of pipe cleaners and then showed Sue how I could scare PCAs. She loved it. I let her have it, but two seconds later she was like, what is this? So I took it back because I realized she'd be confused constantly over it, otherwise, lol.
Today, the big thing was, our lowest functioning participant, let's call her Nee, who basically does nothing but sleep all day and occasionally open her eyes or mouth (she has to be fed but doesn't open her eyes for it even - she maybe has her eyes open a second every hour), became unresponsive near the end of the day. When I left at 4pm, they were still trying to waken her, and were on the verge of calling an ambulance. I hope she is okay. But in some ways, it might be a compassionate ending to just slip away. She literally had nothing but her body (and that was in poor condition) left - all of her essence had seeped out. I hope she is there tomorrow, but if she isn't, I hope her family finds the strength needed to handle the situation. Poor Nee.
Overall I've become really touchy and Mr this and Ms that. I'm normally NOT like that, so it's freaking out all my friends because I can't seem to stop doing it even after I leave the center