Friday, May 30, 2008
I had lots of odd dreams last night as I tossed and turned with a wet rag on my face - it felt like one of my eyeballs was going to fall out, it was an odd headache. One of them involved family therapy at a Venezuelan restaurant for a little deaf girl...one of them involved tracking cookies all over my house...one of them involved OT classmate Allison getting hurt at her job but was fine....some really weird dreams. I'm staring at 1.5 years of filing to do, in piles all over my living room...paycheck stubs, receipts, cards....I get a lot of cards. I am blessed to have wonderful friends and family. It's easy to get bogged down in complaints some times....but I have, overall, so much joy in my life these days...
I'm thinking this morning I'm going to put on some music and try to finish up the INCREDIBLE amount of filing - I throw away almost nothing so it's truly a Herculean task...something I've put off ever since I started graduate school. Then this afternoon I'll go hold babies and get some errands done I guess...like filling up my car, writing some postcards, crap like that. PLUS, I desperately need to finish a paper on diversity that I'm doing in collaboration with another student...and send off for my new car tags...and pay some bills....augh.
This next month will be OT-lite...I just don't have a lot to share in the OT realm overall...but June 30th it starts back again with fieldwork, so hang tight. I do have about a hundred mails to go through and so sometime very soon - possibly tonight - I'll have a blog blitz and post all the OT-related things I haven't gotten around to yet from old mail. This includes responding to comments/emails from OT people...sorry I'm so behind, I do respond to all OT e-mails after a while, I promise. :)
I had a great time with the Norwegians in Memphis...and enjoyed seeing everyone at our little class party...but the slideshow Kerri and Brent and I made, had carefully chosen Beatles music, and the sound wasn't working...oh well. I'll end up putting it online soon.
Yesterday was a really really fun day.....OT classmate Kerri reminded me it was 60s day at the local assisted living facility...so I showed up for the dance....she had already been there a while and danced up a storm...I joined in and danced with a ton of residents from both the assisted living part and the adult day care center...tons of strangers...a little old man with Down's syndrome...a woman with a hat who kept kissing my neck and hands...lots of sweet Tai Chi study residents...one of the residents had on a GIANT black Afro and he looked absolutely amazing. It was SO much fun and I wish I had brought my camera. I'm a bad dancer...I love dancing but have nothing to show when I go out with my friends...so dancing with a bunch of old people or kids is perfect for me...because I can just kind of bop in place and that's all I'm good for anyway! it was neat seeing the smiles on everyone's face....holding the hands of strangers and just dancing to the music...
Then I babysat...which was also nice...the kids are adorable and the entire family is great...unfortunately the kids were obsessed with beating a scorpion in the Legend of Zelda so they spent a lot of time on the phone with OT classmate Kerri, lol, who is good at video games.
I ended up spending the rest of the evening w/ Kerri & Brent who live near by the kids...we laughed a lot and just had fun...I got home late. I talked to my friend Suzanne on the phone who has been chillin' with the Norwegians in Nashville, and she told me my host mother told her that she and my host father think of me as their "baby" (I was 15 when I lived there for a year...their kids were in their late 20s) and that kind of made me cry! It was so sweet!
My real dad's birthday was yesterday but apparently he is in jury duty. I need to call him today...and call my mom too, just to chat. This is such a random post. Just everything flowing out my fingers.
My online job stopped last week or so because the game closed down after 3 years...I was there from Day 1...it's weird to not worry about being online for work for the first time in three years...and to have that extra time...I'm usually very busy and this is the first time in a LONG time I have nothing planned for the day except what I feel like doing...nothing set in stone. I'm babysitting Saturday night and Monday and Tuesday during the day...then I head out for 20 days of pure out of town vacation...woot woot.
Anyway...I'll stop now....turn on my iTunes and do some heavy duty filing...
by the way....I'm pretty sure I saw a monkey in a pickup truck on the freeway yesterday.......also, one time, like a few years ago, I was in a bar with my friend Doug, and a woman walked in carrying a little monkey wearing a diaper...it was really cute.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Research today was pretty interesting...everyone did a great job overall...and technology issues were minimized..how many of you have done poster sessions cross-state!!
I have been slacking on the blog lately...life has been somewhat intense for so long and now things are calming down some...I've been having lots of fun with my friends, OT and non-OT...the next few days are going to be on and off busy but the first week of June should be quiet so I can catch up on e-mail and stuff like that...I feel like a bad person but I'm going to put that out of my brain for now!!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I should be watching an OT work with vent babies right now, but I'm home. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling really yucky and after being up a while then, I can barely keep my eyes open! I need to make some final touches to some research stuff and then I'm going back to sleep. I don't think I have a virus or anything though...just need some extra rest.
It's been an insanely busy few days, but really fun too! I don't remember where I left off, but I'll start with Sunday. Meg, Emily, and I, met up at 8am to drive to Millington for Allison's tri-athlon. It was really cool to see! Allison finished with no trouble and was happy! We were really proud of her. I have tons of pictures to put online once I am more awake. Around 1:30 we headed back to Memphis. I went straight to my landlord's birthday celebration and had some cake. Then I went straight to go "babysit" with the parents still home, so that the kids and I could get acquainted. I ended up staying for dinner. The mom was like, I'm going to throw together a salad. Then she like roasted almonds, cut up celery and chivey things, pulled out mandarin oranges....I was like dang, if I were to say I'm throwing together a salad, it would probably mean lettuce. LOL. It was fun spending time with them as I love spending time with families! And I convinced the kids I had magical powers, by the way...which is always a helpful skill. LOL
After that I have no idea what I ended up doing, lol. Oh yeah, Allison came over and we worked on PDEs together until midnightish.
Monday - yesterday - I worked on finishing PDEs in the morning, then met Julie at Ave Maria to do a few more assessments. Then I ended up on a whim stopping by the car inspection site - yay. My car has like a shower chair, a mat, towels, my makeup, coupons, foam swords, and some other completely random stuff in it right now. Then it was time for my PDE - it went well. My paraphrased understanding of their feedback was that the faculty is concerned because I seem so stressed and "abrupt" and stuff this semester compared to last semester. This kind of made me feel bad. I told my PDE advisor to go back to the faculty with a few pieces of explanation.
1. A lot of the issue is fatigue due to medication changes this semester - but I'm fatigued the same amount regardless of what I do, so I stay busy for the most part - but that makes me appear a lot more stressed than I really am, since it's just a struggle to stay active.
2. I am trying to be cool to my peers! And cool means not spending a lot of time hanging out with faculty!
3. The faculty has also been stressed out and busy this semester, so I'm not going to like hang out when their body language clearly shows they are stressed/busy. So nyah.
Anyway, it was good overall, I just wish the faculty wasn't concerned...then I went straight to babysit again while the mom went to a class. The kids were pretty good, I brought my foam swords...but oddly enough both kids were in bed before 8pm by their own choosing, it kinda freaked me out! LOL.
Today as I said at first my plans changed...I need to work on the research poster and rest a lot more, and clean the house, and work out, and a bunch of other stuff....hhhmmm.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Got up and primped for Sarah's high school graduation. Met up with her parents at 10:15. Graduation was 11 to 12:30pmish. Reception at Sarah's. Hung out. Hung out. Rested. Got ten thousand phone calls/texts. Went to Chinese and ice cream with Sarah's family. Got a text right as I left inviting me to come over to Kerri's (and husband Brent) who live near by. Went by and played Super Mario Kart on the Wii with them for about an hour. Stopped at Christa's house on way home to see her new puppy. Stopped at Paul & Angela's house, also on way home, around 10:40pm, to watch them play Grand Theft Auto 4. Then they let me hijack some cars and punch some random people. And then I went home.
Tomorrow is another long day so I'm going home! Sarah's graduation/party/dinner, plus last-minutely seeing all my friends, was awesome. A very fun day. :)
Friday, May 16, 2008
It's fine though overall...especially since almost everyone is so nice and caring. My favorite answer today was when Julie asked a lady if she had osteoporosis and she said "I don't know, do I?"...I loved it. LOL.
This afternoon I also stopped by the mechanics to question a warranty claim since I just found out that federal emission standards through EPA make like warranties that say things like catalytic converters that go out before 8 years/80,000 miles are covered. Or something like that, it's confusing. Then I went to school to pick up some things/print a thing or two. Then I read an entire fictional book about a religious cult. Then I slept. Then my friends Kerri and Brent came over and brought me a Sonic Reeses Blast because they are the most awesome people in the world...they texted and said they were bored and could they come over while I worked. I said sure!! I was thrilled, because I was somewhat expecting Allison and her fiancee to come over tonight and that didn't end up working out (it will work out some other day this weekend). Right after that I got another text about hanging out but had to turn it down. Woot. By the way, Kerri and Brent brought THEIR KITTY WITH THEM! I love their kitty Oxford sooo much it hurts. It was the first time a kitty has been in the house since I had my beloved Nikki put down about a year and a half ago. :( Oxford sniffed around a while and by midnight, Kerri and Kitty were asleep on my giant foambag, while Brent helped me set up a fingerprint sensor on my laptop! And reset up my graphics tablet! And crap like that, he is awesome! I am blessed to have such nice friends. They just left around 12:45am.
Tomorrow morning I get up early to prepare and then go to Sarah's high school graduation + reception + who knows...
Sunday I watch Allison's triathlon, go to a birthday lunch for my landlord, volunteer at a alzheimer's picnic, and babysit, and possibly have friends over...
Monday I have to go back to the Assisted Living facility...::screams:: and then my PDE is at 4pm.
I better finish my PDE soon...lol.
Research poster revisions, PDE finishing (About half-way there), plus the collaborative diversity paper...then I can focus on my own non-OT writing plus work on my special blog project...
I think I'm going to go to bed to read until I fall asleep. Which, will probably be, around 3am or later, based on my current crazy sleep schedule. In the morning when it's time to get ready for graduation I'll be like "I'm going to get up early to flat iron my hair and put on nice make up....wait let me snooze ten more mins...who cares if I don't flat iron....ok snooze ten more minutes...who cares if I don't do my hair at all....snooze...who cares if I wear nice makeup...snooze...and so on." lol . Funny how priorities change when tired...
I've gotten some really kind and inspiring comments lately..please keep them up as they mean a lot to me...I am 78 mails behind on e-mail as is the daily story of my life, so bear with me if you don't have a response to something yet.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
PS2: I do realize that PS's don't normally start a letter...
PS3: I'm going to bed now...tomorrow is going to be a long day!!!
JUST KIDDING. Today I was supposed to go volunteer in the morning but since I didn't fall asleep until after 5am I ended up calling them to ask about coming in next week to do the database entry instead. I slept in until it was time to go to the Assisted Living facility, where I met my Tai Chi partner Julie, and then we went around scheduling people. Everyone is so nice. I ended up going to Kerri's (who lives near by the place) for a few hours to work on stuff like PDEs, although I was exhausted enough that I ended up playing Super Mario Kart with her and reading a book. I went back to the facility at 6ish to help out with Bingo. It's fun smiling at people and being around so many nice people. I think many "older adults" (the politically correct term these days) have a special ability to see inner sparks...lights within us that have nothing to do with age.
A few days ago I clicked on a site my friend had found that was made by a man who buys unprocessed film at like antique stores, to develop it. He put up his favorite pictures, most of which were decades ago. It made me feel odd to look at these flat images on my screen, random strangers looking into the camera, and knowing that there was an entire lifetime of history captured in that snapshot. So many emotions and so many stories that I would never know. I think that's one reason I like OT - you get to know your clients. You get to have an intimate look into their lives, get to live a small part of their journey. You are medical enough to get to help them, but social/non-medical enough that they will tell you things they might not tell a doctor. You, if you do the job OTs are truly meant to do, have become a part of their history...not just a single sentence line in Reader's Digest referring to the grueling months of rehab a person underwent.., but a living human being that worked with another human being, day by day, working together to help create a new fabric...I need to stop reading so many random books. I sound like an emo metaphysicist on LSD.
But seriously...I have thrown myself into OT...and it has nothing to do with wanting to do glitter crafts, or stack cones, or measure hand angles...it has to do with watching a woman's eyes light up as she watches her daughter put on her own socks for the first time...in other words...it's not about the skill being learned...it's not about the job....it's about the joy of connection, the joy of participating in activities that bring meaning. All careers have their pros and cons...but there is, at least to me, a special magic in OT...although it's time for another Slagle lecture on why we need to not forget our roots... a famous reconstructionist aide (precursor to OT), Ora Ruggles, explained that it is the healing of the heart that is the most important...
One point of clarification since I know "Cookie Gimp" will fuss at me otherwise on how I'm talking about restoring and not about people with congenital issues....the joy of watching someone do something doesn't have to be a physical task or gaining a new skill...it's solely based on watching a person participate, mentally OR physically, in a task that brings that person some satisfaction or joy or enhanced quality of life...regardless of level of ability before or after. :P
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
If I were a martian with a bar I'd have a drink called martian mellows and I'd be famous...ot students shouldn't write blog entries at 1am
ANYWAY enough ranting. Just had to say it since I can't sleep so I figured I'd throw out what I could. Brooke and I then had lunch before working on our PDEs at school together, which went pretty quickly. Then we went to the gym where we took PiYo, ran into low vision occupational therapist Orli, who is ballroom dancing with her husband! That's so cool! Then we went out east so Brooke could feed some cute doggies she is house-sitting! Then we went to a barbecue place outside and met my our other friend Christa! Then we went to her house and watched American Idol! And I had fun and refused to think about the PDEs, the Diversity paper, the special blog project , the stacking up e-mails, and the other ten thousand things I have going on! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow yo! For sanity! And I sang most of the day, poorly, because for some reason I always feel like singing random songs these days like "Go the frikken speed limit you stupid blue car... la la la". Everything sounds so much better by song. And my blogging always seems like it makes sense late at night but when I wake up in the morning I'm always like, why did I think talking about crackers and chain saws was a good idea? Hmm.
Brooke also made me the happiest person in the ENTIRE WORLD today by sharing with me a ton of free books she got from book reps...of course not to keep, but since I read fast and do a lot of skimming, she's letting me be the supervisor of them....on some of the yuckier times in life, having a book to look forward to reading is the only thing that motivates me to get out of bed! I like immersion in the words of others as a reprieve from my own dangledoodle thoughts!
I'm happy that our semesters of schooling are almost over in the sense that no matter how interesting something is, sitting in a classroom gets tedious pretty quickly. But I'm sad because I truly enjoy (usually) my classmates and I'm going to miss the camaraderie and fun we've had together. In June I'll be out of town for almost three weeks...and I start my first level II fieldwork, 3 months full-time, at a local rehab hospital, inpatient, on June 30th....so probably my June updates will be a combination of "I'm off-topic enjoying my last student vacation ever so in your face" and "I mean to write this down seven months ago and just remembered..." and "Oh my gosh I'm so scared of fieldwork" and "I just tried to transfer my friend from a chair to the bed and I'm pretty sure I broke the spinous processes off half my vertebral column". La Occupationalie Therapistia opera: MY SPINE!! MUST PINE! FOR IT HAS LOST!! ITS BONY THOUGHTS! FOR I! DO NOT KNOW HOW TO TRANSFER! AND FOR THAT! IM SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARED!
Delirium strikes. I should stop. I still need to write about Terri Schiavo and the beautiful little girl I met recently with haloproencephaly and spina bifida. And um, yeah. Lots coming up...I have the tendency to always be waiting for the next big event to occur, instead of just like living in the NOW..and appreciating how lucky I am to be in school....I keep thinking I need to start up a blessings journal where I try to work on my negativity by counteracting it with positive thoughts...but then I also want to become a female, less cowboy-ish version of Chuck Norris...and...and...ummm.
Tomorrow is a full day between volunteering at a Rehab dept for WEE-FIM stuff (I kept putting it off) and then spending the afternoon and evening out at an assisted living facility doing Tai Chi related things, plus Bingo! (Sarah, you are welcome to come..)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The first little baby we saw was absolutely adorable. He is just learning peek-a-boo and he is the biggest flirt you have ever seen. Everybody near him got some peek-a-boos. But if he gets ignored long enough, he's figured out how to unhook his vent so that the alarms go off and he gets some attention! His vent came off his trache a few times and I was like AUGHHHHHHHHHHH but the OT always put it back on immediately so it was fine. We also saw a baby that wasn't very fond of weight-bearing, a little girl with A MILLION issues, and a little boy that had a closed head injury and didn't have a very good rehab prognosis. :\ All on vents. It basically turns out that from a volunteer experience, it's just one more tube to be aware of...although a GIANT important one. LOL.
Tomorrow morning Meg, Katy, and I present our research poster to our research mentor, for a grade and as a dress rehearsal for next week's big research symposium. We all feel pretty confident that we know our stuff, but it's still a little nerve-wracking! I think I'll probably head to St. Jude to do WEE-FIM stuff afterward ...hmmm
The other day I watched House...the really really bizarre episode involving a bus crash. After participating in that airplane crash drill, it was kind of eerie watching it...seeing the familar make-up, all the milling emergency officials, the sirens and lights...wow. Can you imagine how traumatizing it is? It's one thing to play fake victim....but to go through a traumatic event and then deal with all the lights and noises and chaos and fear....scary!!!
I have thought about blogging a lot lately...although haven't followed through. It's not so much that I'm lazy, just that I have sooooo much going through my head that it is hard to figure out something to focus on. I feel a strong urge to write a book...although I don't really think I have enough material until I've been practicing a few years...but I want to write it NOW....patience is a virtue...I dunno. Plus I have a lot to share that isn't OT or healthcare related, and I want to do some other completely random writing projects, and well, there just aren't enough hours in the day to do all those things...I feel the creativity crawling through my veins with no release...I either lack the skill or the time or both....
I'm going to stop now...my brain has emptied...professional development evaluations, two research presentations, a paper on diversity, a bunch of assessments for Tai Chi, and then perhaps that's about it left...at least off the top of my head. The next few weeks also include a few special events including watching my friend Allison do a triathlon, helping out at a family day picnic for an alzheimer's center, going to my friend Sarah's high school graduation, going to Nashville to meet my visiting Norwegian host family and then entertain them in Memphis a few days, going to my landlord's birthday lunch party, and then just the normal stuff like errands, working out, seeing friends, blah blah blah. Now it's time to set up for work. GOOOOD NIGHTTTTTTTTTTT
PS: I'm thinking about changing the name of my blog slightly...anyone have any thoughts on that??
Sunday, May 11, 2008
MOT Class of 2010 goes all out with an OT Month Bake Sale
MOT Class 2010 has lab.
It's THRILLER!!!!!! Or a neurobiology class or something.
Check it out. At least some of the time I'm the first result, ha ha ha I laugh!
Also, I want to post about Terri Schiavo still, plus Second Life (cookie gimp's suggestion), plus Facebook pictures, plus what the last few weeks of school before fieldwork are bringing...gotta get through all my ten thousand errands first though augh!
My friend Arnie left these two comments on some of my blogs and both cracked me up.
"A woman with no arms lived in the neighborhood where I raised my kids.
It was fascinating to watch her light cigarettes with her feet at the
I love her advice: "Try not to be a dead person." Come to think of it,
that's pretty good advice for everyday living, not just emergency
Cheryl left the following validating (and scary, lol) comment on my rant on how uncomfortable the backboard was.
"backboards are *incredibly* uncomfortable- a lesson well learned in
lifeguard training. The other lesson from lifeguarding was what you
found out- that the emergency personnel may not know exactly what they
are doing 100% of the time, which could definitely kill you. scary."
profession. Remember the simplest gestures are what are remembered. I never
forgot the nurse who fed me a bagel from the nurses station or the aid who
sang to me.
Some interesting articles and/or blogs:
The Centennial Vision in Action:
Friday, May 9, 2008
Tomorrow we have class 9am to noon and we need to submit our papers. Then I might hit yoga and walk on the treadil before going to St. Jude for an hour or two to do database entry in the rehab department. Then I can work on my diversity paper and group poster for Tai Chi and do more health policy quizzes and who knows what else. I am going to GreekFest tomorrow night with my friend Sarah's family and then I work 9 to midnight, so I guess it might be a busy day, but that's probably a good thing! The busier I stay the better off I am! Someone commented lately that I don't appear to have a focus, and I was surprised to hear that. I volunteer a lot and do a lot of diverse things because I enjoy it all so much, not because I don't have a focus. I also don't feel like I do too much - I'm tired all the time no matter what I do, so I might as well stay busy! If anything I feel guilty I don't do more! I love occupational therapy school in general and I will be sad to see it end, especially not being able to see my classmates --although fieldwork will be a whole new "era" so to speak and while I'm excited, I'm also nervous!
I'm rambling. Now it's 2am, I'm sooo going to bed.
PS: I had 409 PAGE LOADS yesterday! My new record by far, I had never gotten past 315 or so! My jaw dropped. And I'm at over 40,000 page loads now since my blog started, roughly a year now. Yay for completely random and arbitrary blog landmarks!
PS2: The MOT 1's have been plenty busy with Facebook pictures of their deja-vu labs. Need to start posting those!!
PS3: I try and get people to write things for my blog and apparently that is an intimidating request? Why?!!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
An ambulance going to Baptist East (one of four participating hospitals taking patients), was used to transport me and one other critical patient, as well as one yellow-tagged sitting-up patient. The yellow patient with arm issues sat upright, the other critical patient was like on the floor part of it which I think is normal, and then I was on some kind of ledge that was higher up, against a wall. The guy in the ambulance was also very nice, but flat-out admitted he really didn't know what he was supposed to do with us in terms of simulations. Our vitals were already on our cards so he didn't see a reason to re-take vitals. He did take the blood pressure of the woman on the floor part who he could most easily reach. Now, I'm still on a strapped-in stretcher while in the ambulance on this ledge thing, but I'm still sliding, this time to the right, off the ledge. My arms are dangling, and my entire body, with straps against my wounded stomach and legs, was being held from falling primarily by straps...ie I wasn't flat on the stretcher, I was hanging halfway off it. I'm assuming that had I started screaming he would have re-positioned me quicker, but as it was, I pretty much had to say something before he noticed. Plus, my hair was stuck in the velcro part of the stretcher, which was quite painful.
We were basically out of character the entire way there since our guy didn't know what he was supposed to do, including where exactly at Baptist East to drop us off, and such. He was commenting on how he had never had so many people in an ambulance and could see how overwhelming and hard it would be in a real accident. He also said something about how they were normally just a transport ambulance that didn't do emergencies. I'm kind of unclear on what exactly was going on. Anyway, he did verbally, when he saw my card, state out loud how he would have treated hypovolemic shock/fracture, by like putting pressure on something, IVs, stuff like that. He was probably right, I wouldn't know though. He also was like wow, you should have been the one on the floor here, you are by far the most critical. Well, thanks. LOL.
The sirens were going, the lights were on, the ambulance was speeding, and there I was stuck to the stretcher in a neck brace, hoping that we wouldn't get into an accident as the ultimate irony. We finally got there and the floor patient was taken, the walking girl got out I think (i'm fuzzy), and then finally, I got taken out. I was wheeled in and immediately had a bunch of Baptist people peering down at me, asking me questions. I told them I was cold and that my legs and stomach hurt and that I wanted my sister. The registration lady got my basic information, although I claimed I had forgotten my address, and had to think hard to know my phone number. They were very kind. They slid me onto a flat bed and verbally stated what they would have done, based on the card vitals and stuff, including oxygen, IVs, blah blah. I asked for a blanket and was given one. After a while, they came in to take me off the backboard, although they left the neck brace on. My hair was stuck so tight to that velcro that it was VERY painful getting it off. I know most people sick enough to be in an ambulance are hurting enough that getting their hair stuck in Velcro is not their biggest issue, but c'mon - is it that hard to do something to ensure the added pain?
Once they had assessed me, put an ID tag on me, then left a green piece of paper on me, I was left alone, lying flat on my back, in the little trauma curtained area I had. I kept listening to the lady next to me hack and hack, hoping she wasn't truly sick. She eventually pulled the curtain and I saw her face was covered with fake smoke/blood from smoke inhalation. She coughed and coughed and they were all like, um, are you kidding or is that for real? She said she was faking it until she did it so much she actually had to do some coughing for real, lol. She is a retired RN and as we compared experiences, she was appalled at all the errors.
I was getting bored/tired/uncomfortable with the neck brace and lying on my back, so I looked at my watch. Which wasn't there. Long story short, it turns out it broke off me in the field due to how my arm was rubbing against the stretcher/rocks. Nice. They did find it though so I'll be getting it back soon it sounds like. But my watch is like my security blanket so I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO lol.
I would occasionally raise my neck up to see what was going on, watching stretcher after stretcher get wheeled in. I wasn't sure why I was just lying there for so long. At some point I think I heard one of them say something about how I should be in ICU. A few minutes later a man came in and took off my neck collar so I could go, the drill was over for me.
I (not on purpose) left grass and fake blood all over the place, it actually looked pretty realistic when I glanced back and saw the bed. The man handed me a certificate for the cafeteria and walked me to the elevator. He explained that after I went up stairs I'd see where to go, could get, food and then I could ::blahblahblah:: to meet up with everyone. I nodded but had no idea what he said and figured I'd be able to find it. I started wandering down, looking around, when a nurse intercepted me and was like, Can I help you? I was like um, I'm one of the plane crash victims and I was told I could go to the cafeteria but I'm not really hungry, I'd rather just go to the meet-up place to get back on the bus. So she was like Oh, I'll help you get to the bus. I was like awesome. She was not specifically a part of the drill but knew it was going on and thought maybe it was a test, seeing if the hospital would be so overwhelmed there'd be victims just wandering the hall. Interesting possibility. I did have massive fake injury so it was obvious I wasn't a normal patient. She walked me to the bus, which was wonderful of her, and she was great and it was smart of her to make sure I got in the right place. The problem is, that wasn't technically the right place had I still been playing victim - so nobody would have known where I was. I guess because I said it was over she figured it was fine to go straight to the bus.
I found out the drill eventually got canceled because of weather getting bad, but it was pretty late by then so it wouldn't have to be re-done. There won't be another one for three years. Boo. I've decided I want to be a professional disaster simulator and always be a belligerent head injury because I'm amazingly good at that. :) I was jealous of my new friend Leslie who got to be all nutty.
So overall, it was a well-executed/coordinated experience overall, all coordinators, makeup artists, support staff, everyone, was very kind and gentle. The problem was, at least in my personal experience, many of the emergency people weren't quite sure what was going on. I had at least three different times they could have killed me had I truly been suffering. And I didn't expect riding on a backboard to be so incredibly painful on my head, or for it to be so easy to slide off! I now have more faith that the Memphis Health care Community is caring, and I met a lot of neat nursing students, but I hope that in three years they've addressed all the feedback they got from this survey, so that people like me don't die in a real crash!!
I enjoyed the experience even though I didn't end up getting home until after 9pm, and even taking a shower didn't get all the dark blood off my arm, so I look kind of dirty, but oh well. It also gave me a better idea of how emergencies work in general, and a greater appreciation of how hard it is to coordinate/communicate on a wide scale in a catastrophe. Even though as an OT I'll never be directly doing things like giving IVs and prioritizing for ambulances, it was still good to see how it works, since every event that happens affects future care. Ok. The End.
We drove to the grassy field next to the airport in large buses. Several buses lined up together to look like the fuselage (?) and they had a torn-up wing there too. There were explosives set up all over the place. We all walked out far into the field to be away from the explosives and scattered ourselves around appropriately. They couldn't make the call into all the emergency places until we were all staged and ready for them.
After a while, as we sat there in the grass waiting, they started setting off some initial explosions, to get the smoke going. The wind luckily blew the smoke away from us, so everything was still really clear. A few minutes later, we started hearing the sounds of sirens...many, many sirens, nearing. None of us victims were sure when the acting was supposed to truly begin. The firefighters showed up and started fake-battling the plane explosion stuff. We just watched. The coordinators had a guy in a white suit who was on fire, waving his arms. A firefighter saw him, ran at him, and tackled him. IT WAS AWESOME! Everyone was shouting things like "Stop Drop and Roll!" ahahahaha.
Finally firefighters started coming to us victims for initial assessment. A nursing student named Leslie and I had been hanging out together and she was near me, so she started staggering around looking drunk as her head injury required, and I lay down, unable to sit or walk, with extreme lethargy and complains of coldness due to being in hypovolemic shock. Leslie and I decided we should be sisters and would make that part of our acting.
An initial firefighter finally got to me, and while I thought I'd have to do acting (I complained I wanted a blanket), he almost immediately just flipped over the card I was wearing with my diagnosis and vital signs. He put a yellow ribbon next to me (Error #1) and assured me he'd find my sister, then moved on. He told my staggering friend Leslie, who had very prominent Battle's sign (pooling of blood under the eyes and sign of serious injury), to walk towards the safety area. She would agree, then veer elsewhere. The firefighter would help someone else and if nearby, direct her again. She kept staggering around, confused and belligerent.
After quite a while, more firefighters came with stretchers, prioritizing victims (there were 150 of us or so in the field although many were walking wounded) based on the initial firefighters tagging of those of us who couldn't walk. My yellow ribbon (which should have been red because I was critical) kept them from getting to me as quickly. When they did finally come to me, the firefighters were very nice and sweet, getting me a blanket, assuring me they'd keep an eye out for my sister, etc. One of the men was calling me "baby" as in "It's ok, baby. We'll find your sister." but it was in a kind gentle voice and perfectly appropriate in that context. They slid me onto a stretcher and a neck brace.
Unfortunately, their kindness did not make up for the fact I probably would have died right around then, since they didn't put me into the stretcher very securely. I'm sure they were overwhelmed/nervous/etc, but still. I kept sliding down the stretcher until my nose had a strap on it, my feet and arms were hanging out, my head was way low...they'd stop to fix it (they were carrying me on the board, no wheels yet), but to fix it they'd slide me back up, so I'd moan in pain since I was supposed to anytime they touched my legs/stomach. They had to fix it again and again, and at one point one of the evaluators or coordinators even said sharply, "You need to get her back on that stretcher". My legs and arms were dragging against the sides of the stretcher and against the rocky parts of the grass field. It felt like I was being dragged by one person, but it was impossible to tell in my position. My head was banging violently against the stretcher because the ride was so bumpy and I was in pain from that. I almost asked them to stop because it hurt, but decided I'd survive. They took me as a yellow person (not as critical) and put me down. I was next to a yellow tag girl sitting up and I kept lethargically smacking at her, asking her for a blanket. It was fun. I was starting to realize how tags worked based on what I could hear, and realized I should have been red-tagged, as even my card said that was the case. The emergency people were trying to figure out who would go in which ambulance and to which place based on priority. They were talking about red tags/yellow tags and one of them even flat-out asked me if I was a yellow. I said, I'm pretty sure I was supposed to be a red. They looked at my tag and made me a critical at that point. It was clear most of them weren't trying that hard to act.
Considering how many times I had been violently bumped/slipped on the stretcher, and that I had been tagged wrong/lay there a long time, I probably would have already been dead from all the internal bleeding. Anyway, they were finally ready for me to be in an ambulance...
See Part 3 for the ambulance ride and hospital visit!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Today was the FAA-mandated triennial drill where a major airline crash was simulated. I volunteered. It was a very interesting and fun day, but also a sobering one! I'm going to share in excruciating detail because, c'mon, that's how I roll.
The day started out at 1:30pm with a bunch of Baptist nursing students and a few UT people meeting up near campus to get on a bus to the staging area for the crash. We sat on the bus as people trickled in until 2:10. They expected 100 but got far less than that. Other buses were also running and the coordinators were expecting around 300+ people. On the bus, they explained the drill itself didn't start until 6pm and it might be very late before we got home. Well, none of the brochures showed this was the case, so this was bad since it meant I would be missing my shift. Another woman raised her hand and said she was still breast-feeding and needed to be home by around 7pm. The bus driver told her she should be dead then. Which sounds horrible, but it meant that if she played a dead person, she'd get done earlier. They assured her they'd work something out for her.
When we got there, we were taken inside to the makeup/auditorium area, where things were somewhat chaotic. Nobody seemed to know what was going on exactly, and finally a bunch of us stood in a line that seemed to be for make-up. They had a minor injury line and major injury line. I figured that if I was going to this much trouble and time, I was going to play it up, so I wanted a major injury with lots of blood and gore. Person after person trickled out with dark black burns, purple bruises, dripping wounds, blood-soaked, torn up, you name it. I didn't want drippiness or anything around my eyes but I was willing to go for anything else (the scenarios were on cards to wear around your neck). I ended up a person with a fractured pelvis and in hypovolemic shock. I had to be made up to look pale/cyanotic around my mouth, and then I eventually ended up getting a deeeeeep full dark purple bruise from shoulder to elbow on my right side. I mostly had to do a lot of acting - it said to act lethargic and complain of being cold/chattering teeth, as well as moaning in pain anytime they touched my stomach or legs. My fake vitals were on the other side. I was a "red" meaning I was severely injured. I believe yellow was mildly injured. They also had some "walking wounded" who were more or less okay, plus a few already dead people. The coordinators were originally concerned that there might not be enough makeup, but since only about 150 people showed up instead of 300, there was plenty. There were about 8 people doing makeup. Anyway.
We all got our makeup on, then sat around for a while. The coordinators played some old videos of re-enacted crash scenes from previous years. Everyone was hanging out casually, covered in blood and gore. It was pretty awesome. Then we were brought Lenny's boxed lunches and I thought it was the funniest thing in the world to watch people nibble on sandwiches and cookies all coated in blood. I took several pictures with my phone and I think Lenny's should do a commercial like "Lenny's is so good, even people with life threatening injuries can enjoy it." Hmmm. I should go into advertising.
After eating it was time to go to the crash site. We drove to a large field next to the airport........
Good night, Part 2 comes tomorrow!!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I took my friend Sarah, who just turned 18, to Nashville this weekend to visit some good friends, my ex-roommate Suzanne and her husband Arnie. We were going to leave Friday but weather prevented that. We left Saturday morning, got there in time to meet them for lunch, and then shopped at like thrift stores. The highlight of our road trip was a rest stop in Bucksnort, Tennessee...I ended up with a t-shirt. Because seriously. Everyone needs a T-shirt with a buck on it that says Bucksnort, Tennessee. Especially a Californian girl.
Anyway, Arnie made us a yummy dinner that night while I tried not to fall asleep on everyone!! I'm old and tired.
Sunday, Sarah and I worked on projects and then we all headed downtown to the Farmer's Market. About 50 miles outside of Memphis on the way home, my check engine light came on, FUN. Luckily nothing bad happened and I'll have it checked out tomorrow. Sarah is a smart cookie and she reads my blog and she walks around saying crap like "Don't be so orally/tactilely defensive." She is going into biomedical engineering but I think she has a career as an OT since she picks up the talk so easily!
We are both currently obsessed with sugar gliders since well, what's better than the Australian version of an emo flying squirrel?!!?!! Nothing? Exactly my point.
We got to see the edited 10 minute version of the Miss OTPF pageant on Friday at the beginning of famed Orli's Low Vision presentation, which was interesting. There is apparently a lot of controversy and problems in the world of low vision in terms of education and insurance reimbursement.
We don't have a lot of classes left...just working on professional development evaluations, and the research presentation/poster, and stuff like that. And I bought Murderball and look forward to seeing it.
I want to write a post soon about the Terri Schiavo case...the more I read about it in preparation for tomorrow's presentation, the more concerned I am about how it all played out, the role of rehab, and how it could have/should have played a much more significant role than it did in the trials. Occupational therapy is brought up quite a bit but only in a certain way and well I will save my rants for another post. Like after I give tomorrow's presentation.
I am just kind of typing out all the random things in my head..letting the trapped words flutter away so I can have some peace...I had a good time with everyone in Nashville but also glad to be back in Memphis. Have lots of stuff planned to keep me busy and things are mostly looking up! The sun is emerging, at least in a figurative sense considering it's 10:30pm and if the sun were to come out now it would probably mean the end of the world had come, in which case a Left Behind scenario might play out and that would kinda suck. A lot.
One more exceptionally random thing...I've spent a lot of time the last two days at www.freerice.com, which is not your typical hoax page....you answer vocabulary multiple choice questions and they donate free rice to people. It's win-win since well, I'm a freak when it comes to vocabulary. I love it a little too much. But my recall these days is horrific, so mostly it's a matter of recognition and I'm like WOW I AM GOOD! Go check it out and beat my personal all-time level high of 41.
Pretty soon I'll be like Flowers for Algernon or whatever where I'm the dude Charlie who becomes a genius vocab-wise due to a crazy experiment, and then I'll stop playing it because it's so easy and then I'll forget everything because the experiment fails, and be cognitively challenged again but know enough to know what I've lost, so I'll be unhappy and that's sad. Kinda like how I was all like, hooty-tooty right before GREs with all my vocab flash cards (I knew INSANE!!! words!!!!), and now I just remember that I used to be kinda smart!
I'm totally going to bed now. This post was soporific. Sorry.
Our department chair sent us an e-mail with the following story and it's like, the most awesome story in the entire world. I've received lots of awesome stories this weekend!!! And it took away the sting of the poor euthanized Kentucky Derby pony :(
I've written articles over the years about horses who survived amputation surgery. There was Boitron, the California Thoroughbred stallion who could service mares after amputation surgery. There were Dr. Ric Redden's dramatic cases of founder survivors who galloped around his paddock on artificial feet with "transplanted frogs". Dr. Chris Colles had the never-say-die Appaloosa in England with the spring-loaded foot. And who can forget that paint yearling in India ? Or the landmine-maimed elephant amputee in Thailand ? Longtime Hoofcare and Lameness Journal readers will remember them all.
So when I first heard that a pony had survived amputation surgery at Louisiana State University 's (LSU) equine hospital, I didn't run to the keyboard and beg for photos. A few weeks later I did, though.
Meet Molly. She's a gray speckled pony wh o was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana . She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected and her vet went to LSU for help. But LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.
But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight, and didn't overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.
Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.
"This was the right horse and the right owner," Moor e insists. "Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood (that) she was in trouble." The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.
Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana . The little pony gained weight, her mane felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.
"The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life," Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports. "And she asks for it! She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off too." And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. "It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse," she laughs.
Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people. And she had a good time doing it.
"It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life," Moore said, "She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others."
"She's not back to normal," Barca concluded. "She's going to be better. To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself."
This week, Molly the Pony, a children's book about the pony who has already inspired thousands of people around New Orleans , has been published.
It's not a book about amputation or prosthetics, it's a book about people and ponies. But the photos you see here are from the book.
Maybe Molly won't make the vet textbooks, but she might reach more people from the pages of this book for children. If you know a child, a library, a hospital, or maybe a therapeutic riding program that can use a lift, here's a book that can do that. And you can explain how the leg and hoof work!
I found your blog a few weeks ago and I've enjoyed reading
it. I'm starting OT school at the University of BLANK in the fall
(I'm so excited!) and I love hearing about the types of things you do.
the emergency drills - I've done a couple of these and I've actually
really enjoyed them. I mean, obviously if it was a real situation it
wouldn't be good, but to me, it kind of felt like being in a movie (all
the make, lights, smoke machines, etc.) and it was fun. I don't know
exactly how one in an airport would work because it seems that there
would be a lot of security and stuff that might change things (I went
to one at a school and one in a big office park) but I'll give you some
tips based on my experience. First, all the victims arrive early, and
are assigned injuries. I discovered that it's best to get there as
early as possible so you can get the "best" (aka most fun to act out)
injury. Also, you should wear clothes that you don't mind getting dirty
(fake blood, make up, latex). I think a tank top is best (depending on
the weather), because it's a lot easier to put on the make up for
chest and arm injuries than if you were wearing a long sleeved shirt.
It takes awhile to do all the victims' make up, so I would bring a book
or something for this part. After everyone's in makeup you'll probably
be assigned a place to be. When I was at the school, they put several
people in each classroom. At the office park we were in the cafeteria
and it was supposed to be lunchtime (everyone getting food/ eating).
Once they start the drill, the lights will probably be turned out, and
they may have smoke machines, etc. I actually found this part scary and
somewhat realistic-feeling. Everyone's generally moaning and
screaming, and then the firemen/ other emergency people run in. They do
a triage and try to get people who can walk to walk out, then carry
those who can't. The dead people are the last to be brought out (try
not to be a dead person - you'll just lay there forever). Generally
once people are brought out they're separated into groups based on the
severity of their injuries, and then depending on how far your drill
goes, people may be taken to the hospital. I hope this helps you know
what to expect. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me and I'll
do my best to answer.
Thanks for the blog and keep up it up! I love reading it.
A Chinese woman who has no limbs and does everything with her feet, ASTOUNDING
Second one: A blind boy who navigates using echo, similar to what bats use - also astounding
Friday, May 2, 2008
I got this via e-mail, it's awesome...."Hello...my name is Natalia and I'm a second year OT student at San Jose State in California. Some of my classmates made an OT rap that they posted on Youtube to promote OT during Occupational Therapy month and I would love if you could post the link of your blog to help spread the OT love!"
Thursday, May 1, 2008
She had the SLP hold the baby's arms down above her head (to keep her from struggling) and I held the baby against her feet/knees to provide some boundaries/comfort. She put a few drops in the baby's eyes to numb them and then SHE PUT A CLAMP IN THE EYES TO KEEP THEM OPEN IT WAS LIKE REALLY FREAKY AUGH it made me wince. She was using like a pokey prod thingie on the baby's eyeballs and magnifiers and lights to get her data as the baby screamed and screamed. I have a hard time watching this. Ugh.
I love me some babies though!! Two of the MOT I's are going to start holding babies too!
I am officially a volunteer (one of MANY) for the Triennial Airport Emergency Drill on XX date!!! I'll be a casualty! With victim makeup! And probably lying on the ground! And possibly transported to a local hospital where they continue the farce! Craziness! My heart rate will probably be like, 400 BPM because I'll be freaking out (this is gonna be a challenge for me, anxiety-wise but I think I can handle it) and they will be like "Yo Bob, this chick is on cocaine or something because her heart rate is insane" and I'll be like "NO ITS BECAUSE THIS IS FRIKKEN SCARY OMG AUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH AND OH YEAH I HAVE A GIANT HOLE IN MY STOMACH DUE TO THE CRASH" .....speaking of OMG, I saw the license plate "LIKEOMG" this morning. LOL.
Ok I'm going to go now. Bye!!
PS: If any of you find any first-hand descriptions of being like a volunteer for something like this please let me know, I couldn't find any.
PS2: Maybe the field of emergency makeup will be changed after my OTS intervention. Kidding, kidding. Totally kidding.
I'm headed to Tai Chi in a few moments...then Bingo is tonight. Also, Orli, famed awesome Orli, has cut the pageant from 17 minutes to about 9.5, so it can be put on YouTube! YAY!!!!!!!!! She is a whiz with Windows Movie Maker and I'm sooo jealous! New version coming by early next week!!