Tuesday, September 30, 2008
We had three total joint evaluations - two hips, one knee - plus a mild stroke, plus two deconditionings. I am glad to say I did not see any bowel movements taking place today since that's not really my favorite thing to observe, LOL. I did see some private parts but I tried to discretely position myself in such a way that this wouldn't happen so much. We often double-gown a patient to help them preserve modesty if they so desire.
My OT is very good about the basics of - surprisingly - INTRODUCING herself and explaining what OT is. You would be surprised at how many therapists just start with their business without any explanation. She likes to explain things and is very thorough. I learned a lot from watching her today and she is definitely a good OT.
I was given a lesson on their computer system and got to write up one of the evaluations with some help from her. It looks so easy watching her and then it's my turn and I'm like wait, what goes where? It's amazing how much electronic paperwork can be amassed - education forms, consultation forms, conference forms, rehab forms, blah blah blah!
Apparently my OT teaches a joint replacement class at the hospital and encourages doctors to send clients to it before surgery - which is a WONDERFUL idea since many people have no idea what to expect or what they will need post-surgery - anyway, one well-educated man greeted us today and was like y'all are the sock-putter-onners.... (we show them the stuff in a hip kit, which includes a device to put on socks without bending)....I know he meant it to be funny, but I sure hope he realizes we didn't get Master's degrees for the sole purpose of teaching him sock skills, LOL.
My friend Virginia had warned me my hospital didn't get very acute patients and that seems to be true of the ones I saw today - even our stroke patient could move his fingers just a few days post-stroke, which is awesome.
I got there at 8am and we got done at 430- things went slower than normal because of the stacked-up evaluations and because my OT was showing me stuff - but it's an investment in time because she is slowed down now but will benefit a lot from the free labor in a few weeks, LOL.
I think my OT and I have pretty complimentary personalities and she clearly isn't going to throw me to the wolves, so I'm a lot less nervous/scared.
When I got home tonight I rested a while and then played "soccer" with the landlord and his dog who is quite good at getting the ball...ate dinner with them and went on a walk with them at the beautiful Chickasaw gardens....and also put together a tiny bag of OT stuff to put in my lab coat pocket. It has some little tongs and some small objects to pick up, a laundry detergent cap to manipulate around in the hand, and a flimsy goniometer that I put popsicle sticks on - with a head and legs - to demonstrate the 90 degree rule. Oh and some fake money - to do some cognitive function stuff, and/or to explain energy conservation and the concept of only having so much energy in a day and using it wisely. That was Virginia's awesome idea she shared with me and I ran with it.
Okay so here is my happy moment of the day at fieldwork - I feel like I have a lot of deficits in understanding phys dys so it is important to me that my OT not find me to be completely incompetent since I sure feel I am in this area.
We saw a total joint patient who was getting a blood transfusion and very sleepy. I've been at a pediatric cancer hospital for years and know that chemo kids getting transfusions for their low blood counts get Benadryl during the procedure to help alleviate problems. Benadryl makes you sleepy. So I knew this lady was extra sleepy for that reason (of course also because of pain and recent surgery). Anyways I mentioned it and then my OT asked the nurse who confirmed it, so I looked smart! Yay!
We saw a lot of patients today whose loved ones were curled up on a sofa with a pillow and blanket, clearly resting - you see a lot of intimate moments in an acute care hospital - seeing people at times of great stress and fear in their lives - it's so important to be respectful and understanding of this - a clear introduction, a smile, an acknowledgment of their ordeal - goes a long way. Okay good night.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Several of the sessions were co-treats with physical therapy - in an acute care hospital you are often dealing with people who are quite low-level and so the focus of OT/PT is often just on getting up and walking to a bedside commode, for example.
We had lunch in the gym around a giant mat, with speech therapy - turns out there is a speech therapist there who went to Rhodes with me - and PTs and OTs - and they were discussing everything from airport delays to wound care, so it was an interesting lunch.
One of the PTAs (physical therapy assistants) asked how far I was in school and I was like six months from graduation, this is my second rotation...and she was like oh good, we'll get you up and running soon...I was like AUGH!!!! AUGH! AUGH! lol. My pediatric rotation taught me skills in different ways, but not skills that pertain to an acute care rotation...I feel pretty virginal in my ability to handle phys dys.
After lunch the COTA wrote up notes while I watched and then she gave me a mini tour and showed me where to park. Oh, during lunch-time the office manager walked me outside to the loading dock to show me where the therapists have to walk in and we passed by several dead people were being wheeled out on stretchers (covered up) since incidentally the morgue is right there at the loading dock. I was like...how festive.
I got to leave around 230pm since the COTA is a new mom and picks up her baby.....went to Curves and worked out, went to Landau to buy a sleeveless labcoat (labcoats required, I had a long-sleeved one but sleeveless ones are okay and I would be too hot in the long-sleeved ones)....came home and chilled with Lester the Lion Kitty.
Poor Lester is on antibiotics and so twice a day he is like YAY attention from Mommy...oh no Mommy what are you doi---- OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! WHAT DID YOU JUST DO TO ME!!!! ::snorfs and slathers and snoofles and gets liquid everywhere:: HOW COULD YOU MOMMY!!!
Oh, late last night my kitchen light died, then this morning my bathroom light died so it was fun getting ready for my first day with no lights in two main areas...then this afternoon I came home and my living room light died. I replaced all the light-bulbs but is it not very odd that all 3 died in one 24 hour span? Especially since they are all on different schedules so to speak, it's not like I normally replace them at the same time.
So.........I'm too lazy to log into Bloger and make it a short post with a link to Read more, so um, deal with it this time. I'll try to be better about tiny posts again next time. Sorry.
It's 9pm....I am going to look up some phys dys stuff to add to my binder, shower, and try to go to bed at a reasonable time. I tried to nap earlier -unsucessfully - because sometimes it's not that I'm that tired, but that my brain wants to shut down from being overwhelmed - but my brain refused to go on Standby and was like Buzz buzz buzz. So I laid down a while to give my brain a break. And oh, I watched Desperate Housewives on abc.com and by half-way through it my head was in my hands because it was such an -addicting- trainwreck.
ANYWAY...........I had a good first day...haven't talked to anybody else yet to know how others did...but will keep y'all posted
AWESOME news (I copied this announcement, hope I don't get in trouble....exciting though...can't wait for launch):
Occupational therapy students have been the inspiration behind AOTA's new online community, OTConnections, Using your example of building relationships with online friends, occupational therapy professionals now have their own dedicated community where they can interact with and learn from colleagues. After all, it's not just what you know, but who you know!
Woman's Day mentions occupational therapy since an occupational therapist helped develop a writing fundamentals kit - I forget whose blog I found this on:
A cool OT-related site with some neat articles, including a post on things to make life easier, this is my favorite (which she got from another source): "Open the cupboard under the dishwasher and put one foot up on the edge while doing dishes it really helps your back" http://www.squidoo.com/wholehealthobjectives
Completely RANDOM but it made me laugh, watch closely: http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html
A lady named Faith left an interesting comment on my blog regarding poetry after I briefly mentioned some therapeutic uses of poetry. Her comment is below, and also a tiny excerpt from a poem that I got from the Writer's Almanac Digest which I get daily in E-mail, from NPR....I see OT in everything and I liked this poem because this is an old man - writing this nostalgic poem - and I just want to be like - Dude, you just needed some school-based OT. But I guess he wouldn't have a poem to write about his academic failures had he gotten OT ahahaha, so it's six of one, a half-dozen of another...HEY LOOK I USED AN EXPRESSION CORRECTLY FOR ONCE!!! A shocking accomplishment.
And the old nun's ruler.
I feared everything: God,
Learning, and my schoolmates.
I could not count, spell, or read.
My report card proclaimed
These scarlet failures.
"Zimmer in Grade School" by Paul Zimmer from Crossing to Sunlight Revisited: New and Selected Poems. (c) The University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Faith has left a new comment on your post "Last of randomness":
I loved the post about poetry having therapeutic uses. I love literature and am interested in becoming an OT. I was searching for a way of combining the two and found out that there is a whole discipline of literature and poetry therapy - a good book is 'Land of Stone - Breaking silence through poetry' by Karen Chase:
For more than a decade, Karen Chase taught poetry writing to severely incapacitated patients at a large psychiatric hospital outside of New York City. During that time, she began working with Ben, a handsome, formerly popular and athletic young man who had given up speaking and had withdrawn from social interaction. Meeting on the locked ward every week for two years, Chase and Ben passed a pad of paper back and forth, taking turns writing one line of poetry each, ultimately producing one hundred and eighty poems that responded to, diverged from, and built on each other's words. "Land of Stone" is Chase's account of writing with Ben, an experience that was deeply transformative for both poet and patient. In Chase's engrossing narrative, readers will find inspiration in the power of writing to change and heal, as well as a compelling firsthand look at the relationship between poet and patient. As she tells of Ben's struggle to come out of silence, Chase also recounts the issues in her own life that she confronts by writing with Ben, including her mother's recent death and a childhood struggle with polio. Also, since poetry writing seems to reach Ben in a way that his clinical therapy cannot, Chase describes and analyzes Ben's writing in detail to investigate the changes that appeared to be taking place in him as their work progressed.
There is also lots of stuff on the web under writing and healing - a particularly good site is www.oneyearofwritingandhealing.com
Have fun, and thanks so much for writing on this blog, I have found it so helpful and really inspiring!
I guess that was really a rambly incoherent paragraph but whatever, it's just thoughts in my head. :) I challenge anyone reading this to take the time to do something nice for someone lonely within the next week - writing a quick postcard, holding a hand, a hug, a small gift, or most importantly, a few minutes of your focused time - can make such a huge difference.
And I think tomorrow I'll be following my OT supervisor for six evals! Gee fun :) Will be good practice/experience. More details later on tonight.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
For now I'm going to jump in shower and then keep reviewing OT stuff/get paperwork in order...I'm a little less stressed than earlier....
Tomorrow is hopefully not too stressful or long of a day since my OT is out of town until Tuesday - I mostly just have orientation with an office manager (like filling out paperwork) and then may get to spend a little time with the COTA. That's good since then I can do some more preparation - since I've hardly done a thing specifically related to OT!
I feel a little better already. But still a lot to do. So onward ho....lol
I have lots of nice friends who will read this and offer to help me with anything, but it is nothing anyone can help with though - just preparing. A lot of stuff around house, a lot of review, etc. I know people are like just show up tomorrow at the hospital, it's fine. But I have issues with anxiety, most especially regarding this particular phys dys rotation, and the more prepared I am, the less stressed I will be...so it's very important to me to get this stuff done! I've been a social butterfly flitting around all this week so it feels good to have a day to myself. I have a LOT of messages to respond to in various mediums so if I haven't gotten back to you lately, hopefully by the end of today you will have heard from me.
I'm pretty much ignoring the phone/regular e-mails today until I've answered all the older ones...s
Ok, back to work.
Update at 730pm...I've gotten the house prepped and done shopping and gotten gas and found the location blah blah blah, but I'm having a rough time...I'm just kinda freaking out. There's a lot going on in my personal life right now AND I am scared of this rotation and looking incompetent...combination is bad. Nervous and anxious and scared and sad. Not fun. I am going to start reviewing for fieldwork now for a few hours and then try to go to bed at a normal time...but I need lots of good vibes sent my way and if I haven't responded to anyone's messages - that was one of my goals today but I didn't meet it - it's because I'm shutting-down a little and I guess not ready to handle things, even fun or easy things. I dunno. Maybe writing this will dissolve the issue and in five minutes I'll be fine!! Whatever. Augh.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Plus Lester is a little sick (?) with an inflamed mouth and not acting quite right so I am taking him into the vet tomorrow and he'll probably end up with a teeth cleaning/inflammation shot(?) and a flea bath if nothing else, it's going to be expensive, booo, since I'm pretty sure he'll end up being sedated. Grrr.
Tomorrow.......drop Lester off at vet...work out at Curves w/ Kerri...finalize questions for final...hopefully volunteer at alzheimer's day center...babysit....also need to find a time early in day to do the final questions...and to search for lab coat which could take a while cuz I have noooooooo idea where I would have put it....
I think this weekend I have to fore-go most fun invitations and prepare for starting up the new fieldwork since I sure haven't done anything helpful this week! But I have had FUN this week and that's important in an indirect way...:)
Anyway. Tired. Good night.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Today I observed at two pediatric hospitals, went to my university, went to the mall with some friends Sarah and Brooke, and now have Sarah over. Saw multiple children with brain tumors, amputations, etc.
Okay. So I started the day by going to St. Jude, the famous pediatric cancer hospital. I've been a volunteer there for over four years now! I observed sessions from 9am to 1130- mostly outpatient, one inpatient. The kids are scheduled for only 30 minutes because they are so understaffed in OT. First session was with a child with low vision due to having a brain tumor on his optic chiasm - he needs work on compensatory strategies, visual tracking, etc. Saw two other young children with arm amputations due to osteosarcoma; surprising since osteosarcoma usually hits adolescents and usually is in the legs, not arms. Left the hospital and took a wrong turn and ended up walking half the campus - then in wrong side of parking garage so totally confused - spent like 20 minutes before I finally figured out where my car was. Wow.
Went to UT and dropped off eval to fieldwork coordinator - sat with some of the MOT Class of 2010 for lunch - then headed to next pediatric hospital for a very late orientation. One of the ladies getting oriented was used to the TCU - where all the kids have vents - so Special Care was weird to her! LOL! I learned a few new things, and got to hold a baby that was 5 mo old but looked like a newborn burrito. Very tiny. She got a tiny tiny bottle and I got to feed her and it took her, like, forever, to finish. Then we toured NICU, but I don't understand why - in my humble opinion, the average joe volunteer should NOT volunteer in a NICU - the babies are too complicated and have too many sensory needs. Very few NICU babies are developed enough that they should be held by a random person. ANYWAY, then I went down to the cafeteria to get a drink to leave, and lo and behold, there was my former OT, in the cafeteria with a 3 year old boy, doing a feeding session with him. I had about 15 minutes to kill and I love feeding sessions so I stuck around - social support is big in these sessions! She had him eating french fries, a rice krispie treat, and chicken - and dipping in ketchup with the "Dip, Dot, Eat" - since he has issues with textures like condiments. Several times he'd wrinkle up his nose and go "That's naaaasty", lol. A few times he said some really funny things and I wanted to burst out laughing and instead had to look down so he wouldn't be reinforced.
Then went and picked up Sarah at dorms - after getting confused in the UT parking garage as to what floor I was - and we met up with Brooke at mall - hung out there a while - brought Sarah back to my house to talk about her stupid sociology project involving ethnic restaurants/endangered species since we went to a Middle-Eastern restaurant a few weeks ago for it. Am about to take her home.
Tomorrow I get to observe a low vision session, go to the gym, volunteer at the Alzheimer's Day Center, and meet up with a friend to go to a free outdoor concert in the evening...then maybe a mini OT girl reunion tomorrow night. And somebody better be Tivo-ing Gray's Anatomy and The Office for me!
Oh...and I need to write up questions from the fieldwork final due Friday, and um, I need to start reviewing neuro/ortho and stuff..........um um um lots of stuff....and I'm behind on e-mail and blog stuff. Ok I'm done therapeutically blogging for the night, everything is out of my brain for now.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I chatted with my best friend Paloma today for a while (she is going into the foreign service, she just got her master's from georgetown) and she said about the surgery "you'll have to help her get better" and I said "Its physical therapists that do rehab on knees" and she said "Oh, then you can help her dance"....which I thought was a very interesting comment since that's a typical OT catchphrase - Physical therapists teach you how to walk again, occupational therapists teach you how to dance again. ANYWAY...Kristina sent the following ...send good knee vibes her way.
"Tomorrow morning (Wednesday morning) I will be going under the knife for ACL reconstruction. On August 26th I tore my right ACL and medial meniscus. A devastating injury for an athlete. As the ACL and meniscus cannot repair themselves, surgery is a must. At Stanford tomorrow I will undergo an achilles allograft and have my meniscus stitched. If they see that the meniscus cannot be stitched, they will remove the section instead. Recovery is pretty intense but I guess after tomorrow in a way the hard part is over. Now, I have no ACL and I can never get better as is. By tomorrow, I will have a new ACL that I need to strengthen and it will only be progress from there on. :)
So that is what is going on with me."
I guess it's a matter of comfort - I feel very comfortable in pediatrics working with developmental delay - but physical dysfunction is a whole nother (whole nuther? what in the world??? why do we say this? it makes no sense grammatically??) ballpark. I have very little interest in phys dys and so I don't retain it well - Functional Independence Measures, mod/max/min assists, manual muscle testing, neuro-IFRAH, hip precautions, BLAH BLAH BLAH!! Scares me!
Ok moving on to the rest of the day that does not involve massive drama (but does involve getting massively lost)
Virginia is amazing and went over documentation with me from the hospital system I'll be at that she just finished at - stuff like abbreviations in medical charts such as EOB (edge of bed), BSS (Bed side sitting), tf (transfers), LOB (loss of balance), plus she showed me/let me practice on her, getting a client with stroke out of bed, reviewing some Neuro-IFRAH stuff like how to facilitate scapular mobility while shrugging shoulders, retracting the scapula, etc. And Brooke came over too and we all had fun visiting with each other. :)
This morning I joined Curves gym - Kerri's aunt owns the one at Exeter & Farmington and Forrest Hill Irene area - and had a CurvesSmart orientation - it is an AWESOME program - for women only - you have a circular circuit you do of machines (it takes about 35 minutes and you do the circuit twice) and the smart microchip keeps track of speed, range of motion, reps, etc, and it flashes different lights at you so that you know how you're doing - you want to always work consistently in the green light - if it turns orange you are not working hard enough. So it pushes you like a personal trainer! The instantaneous feedback is exactly what I need and I highly recommend the Curves program - and those two locations - to any female looking for a fun easy way to do some strength training. Join. Tell them I sent you.
Let's not talk about how I got completely lost getting there and had Kerri guide me over the phone, then got UTTERLY and futilely lost on the way home (both times I was going for adventurous short-cuts and failed miserably). I ended up in COLLIERVILLE when I was trying to get to Midtown. That's like going to Hawaii on your way to Maine. Poor Brooke was waiting on me but she was amused at how lost I got and that apparently took away some of the sting, because yeah, that's pretty bad. We had lunch at Soul Fish Cafe - yum - and walked around Midtown..including petting a cat through the mailbox slot at the closed House of Mews- then I ran some errands - including throwing a Fedex box in a Fedex thingie that probably wasn't intended for boxes of that size so I'm curious to see what happens - ahahahaha - and met up with Virginia and Brooke...which I already talked about above. Fun day, better get to bed - tomorrow I observe/volunteer at one pediatric hospital in morning, then stop at UT to drop off some things, then have a very-very-very-very late orientation at the other pediatric hospital - I've been volunteering there for um, oh, I don't know, many many many months now - so it's pretty funny to me. Seems kinda silly. Maybe I'll learn something new tomorrow though. Then I'm meeting up with some friends.
PS: My computer is acting up - I've done disk clean up and I'm running a virus scan and next I'm going to defrag - but pray for its poor electronic soul, for I am nothing without my laptop!!
The things we do for kids!
Monday, September 22, 2008
...........So...I better get started on my day. But it's so hard to want to get up when you have a kitty all sprawled out in your lap. This morning the kitty decided to wrap himself around my head with his paws and face resting on it. It was so cute. Here he is just like, pushed against my head, not curled up though. He used to just sleep NEAR me when I first got him a month ago, now he is all "up in my ish", as my sister would say. I don't exactly know what that means.
Earlier this morning I got up and he stayed in bed, when the alarm went off I went to go get him...with my camera of course......
Now I'm in my giant bean bag and he is holding me down!! So of course I can't start my day!! But I really need to. So I'm going to break his little heart, and mine, and get up.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
....so this week I am going to be volunteering and/or observing at at least five different places, plus a ton of errands...plus preparing for this next fieldwork...gotta figure out where my white labcoat went....oh yes...all you foreign OTs who mock the scrubs/medical model...you all will die to know I not only have to wear scrubs BUT A FRIKKEN WHITE LABCOAT on my next rotation. Even I, scrubs lover, think a labcoat is going too far. Ugh.
Held two adorable babies today....
Babygirl was only 3 weeks old and crying. Went in and saw she had a Rapoogl (spelling?) which means some careful maneuvering, but then I realized that um, it appeared she had completely pulled the line out of herself, as all the tape around her face was messed up and the line was sitting in the crib when I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be down her nose. ...
So I help hold baby's hands down while a nurse comes in (not her normal nurse since her normal one was at lunch) and re-inserts the thing through her nose all the way down into her stomach. Held her for a while but was a little uneasy as it didn't appear the thing was working quite right. A pediatric surgeon doing his rounds came in and checked on her though and I mentioned it didn't seem to be suctioning well but he said the stuff was just really thick and it was okay.
Next child, baby boy, was 3 and a half months old and cute as can be. He was getting a G-tube feeding so couldn't be held, but he was wide awake and curious/active so I entertained him a long time. The nurse was telling me how the other day he started smiling and cooing at her and she was like Stop it! Stop smiling at me! I have to go! And it suddenly occurred to me that in some ways, a smiley engaging baby can be a hardship for nurses, because they are almost always in a hurry - so a baby that really wants attention/sweetness kinda tugs at their heart because they don't have the time. Passive babies are easier because they don't demand anything from you besides the basic care. You don't feel guilty running in and out jsut doing procedures/medication/feeding because the child doesn't engage/seem to care. It seems like a lot of babies stuck in the care units tend to become passive over time- they learn they have no control over anything, as they are often subjected to painful medical procedures they can do nothing about, and just don't really even try anymore. These babies have to be taught to care, kinda. Like to show them a little ball near them is something they can reach for and have control over, not just watch passively. I mourn for children who are born with conditions like gastroschisis - with intestines outside of body - because the baby ends up in the hospital for at least a month if not much longer...if I were to have a baby that had to stay long-term in hospital, I'd do anything in my power to ensure someone was with him at all times because I have seen how hospitals run - even the best nurses are over-stressed, over-tired, over-run, over-scheduled, and it's just easy to make mistakes or to miss things. I know most of the parents do not have the resources to afford this luxury and I'm sure I wouldn't either, but it would kill me to know my baby was in the hands of others.
Anyway, I sang and massaged the little baby for a loong time and finally he fell asleep. I love these babies.
My classmate Brooke is back in Memphis.....there was some fieldwork drama and I feel like she got kinda screwed and I'm unhappy for her, but it's a long story with multiple sides I guess. She is going to work full-time at a local bookstore instead of doing a rotation this time around, and then when everyone else is done with fieldwork she'll be on her last rotation. Anyway, Kerri and I met up with her around 10pm at Huey's (yummy restaurant) to see the Dempseys (famous Memphis band, they were in Walk the Line) play. It was fun. She showed us a picture on her iPhone of the guinea pig that the recreational therapist had at her setting, his name is Elvis, and during their 70s week, he was in costume. Apparently Brooke loved Elvis the guinea pig and tried to incorporate him into therapy any way she could. She was like "My patient can't move? Time to try to pet Elvis." I begged her to send me the picture. So here it is.
Brooke also ended up with a lot of toothpicks and straws in her hair, because that's what happens late at night. See attached dark and blurry and sideways picture.
Ok, gonna write one more post about holding the babies and randomness, then going to bed!!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Because Thursday was so crazy, Friday I didn't go along on home visits but instead went to the clinic to finish up all the paperwork I was supposed to have been able to finish Thursday.
Between 930am and 2pmish, I transferred all photos to a clinic computer, tried to do Medicaid plans of cares/addendums for three kids (but did not finalize, wanted her feedback), made an autism brochure in Microsoft Publisher (have never used it before, pretty cool), prepped a mileage chart/directions chart so that it can be a future project for someone else, filled out Thursday's billing sheets, and a bunch of other stuff. Since I could work uninterrupted (the clinic is pretty much closed on Fridays because it's a home visit day) and I'm a fast worker, I got a ton done.
My OT got back sometime after 2pm and did my evals. She wrote a lot of feedback which was really nice. Also, the clinic director called to let me know there was a big water vase of plant clippings on top of the fridge that were for me. They are clippings from plants she had way back in the late 1990s when she was just growing her business, and she wanted me to have them so I could have a similar experience of growth...very sweet. I ended up seat-belting the vase so it wouldn't spill, ahahahaa. Got to leave around 330pm when OT was done with my fieldwork eval....and then had a fun night socializing.
It's shocking to think I've completed 1/3rd of my rotations now...next is an acute care hospital. I have one week off so I don't start next rotation until September 29th, but it's a cram-packed week because I am going to go volunteer and/or observe at 4 places I volunteer at, although for the first time in 3 months because my hours have been so busy. Plus have lots of appointments scheduled, so I'm going to be running around busy. Will try to get in some rest though! Plus I need to do a lot of review of ortho/neuro/deconditioning/adult goals/documentation/FIM scores/manual muscle testing/transfers....etc...after 3 months of peds, I'm rusty!
It's Saturday and I'm exhausted...been on the go go go so long. Going to do NOTHING but sit around and rest alone for a few hours. Catch up on some reading and decompress. Going with some friends tonight to see the LSU football game, at the speech aide, Haley's, house.
I have a lot of blogging goals to catch up on FINALLY, this week!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Day started out with friend taking me to car place for brakes (a re-fix, long story blah blah). Did some paperwork, went to Target, wrote thank you notes for the sweet gifts and kindness of my co-workers...got to work right on time at 130pm but was already stressed because was running a little behind on things, I hadn't yet had lunch even. Turns out everyone was stressed for various reasons - the new OT had been way overscheduled and was stressed to not have had paperwork time, and to have had two evals in the morning with no other OTs around and didn't know where stuff was, blah blah. Was at her wits end, none of us blamed her. We all did some rearranging, and I took a few kids for her to give her some time, the COTA took an extra kid and co-treated, etc. Plus my supervisor had to do some last-minute stuff with the clinic director so I had some of her kids, etc. Plus I had a ton of paper-work to do and had been hoping to not have ANY kids, let alone hours of kids, plus we had toys EVERYWHERE because we were trying to divvy up the toy bags since we're out of the clinic so much, etc etc. So from 130 to 630 it was a frenzy, at one point we had a child with Aspergers, child with Autism, two children with Down syndrome, and um I forget who else, all in the ball bath, plus four therapists and a ABA-trained therapist, in the one room. Pretty crazy. Especially when you factor in that none of those kids that had good safety awareness lol. Actually it all went okay though. Just all of us were stressed. Plus the COTA got some bad news about one of the test results of her mom, medically. That didn't help. :( Poor lady.
ANYWAY....very very crazy day. Final kid was done 630ish, I left around 650 and went to straight to babysit....and had never gotten to eat my lunch, so I ate my lunch around 730pm at her house, lol. Had a good time though, love the kids/family.
Got home around 1130pmish! I got my mom some psuedospheres (math things) Christmas ornaments from etsy.com and so called her and we chatted...
Gonna do one more quick blog on 3 interesting things, then going to bed...just had to do some therapeutic blogging to chill out.
TOMORROW IS MY LAST DAY!!!!!!!!! It's just a paperwork day in the morning (was going to go on home visits with my OT but after getting hardly any paperwork done today, had to switch things around since the paperwork is important!) ...dunno about afternoon. Oh yeah, me and my OT will do my evals tomorrow too, I hope we are both in better moods! LOL
Child with Aspergers says to Child with Down Syndrome and Open Trach: "Hey! What's that hole you have there?!
Note: Open trachs are not cool/normal (huge risk of infection) and it's bizarre to see a child with a hole in her throat without it covered up by ANYTHING...and this child with Aspergers was greatly intrigued/concerned...
Some interesting treatment thingies:
1) Child with autism that we have discovered LOVES climbing on heavy bolster within ball bath, then jumping off it into the balls...but I'm standing right there in the balls to keep the child from just like, cracking his head open...anyway...he climbs/uses me as if I'm inanimate in the sense that he doesn't particularly care where he holds onto me, lol, but today he kept on kind of grabbing me and having me look into his eyes...would smile...and since things were chaotic of course my attention was divided, but he repeatedly - at least 4 or 5 times - turned me slightly to look into my eyes and smile. Very unusual...and definitely not typical of him (For those who don't know, very few children with autism can stand eye contact)
2) Another child with autism who was doing well today...so I pulled out the fingerpaint and painted his face in the mirror because I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about it....not like elaborately painting, just a few strokes on his face for novelty sake...and I asked him where he wanted me to put it and he actually answered (he usually has to be coaxed to answer questions or, most often, completely ignores you)...and actually wanted it...and he would look at himself in the mirror, and then I'd put some on me, and he'd look at me. Very cool.
3) Child with severe behavioral issues...used a heavy bolster for him to kick and punch some...then laid down on a mat with lights off,read some from a relaxation book for kids...did some squeeze and tightening of muscles and then relaxing into a wet noodle...I actually wasn't thrilled with the wording of the book, I'm like, I need to make my own! So we'd squeeze everything then loosen up noodley...
4) Child with Aspergers...working on a puzzle with trusty Mr Snail...and he needs to work on frustration tolerance...Mr Snail was asking him for lessons on it...he was like..."Stop...breathe...think!"...etc.
5) COTA got a grasshopper up her scrubs while we were outside playing with bubbles, hahaha
6) I just realized I didn't tell a single one of my older kids - ie, all the kids above, that I would not be back...yikes. I guess it just doesn't feel like I'm leaving so it didn't even occur to me to say anything. And I took back some of the toys I had brought in - the snail puppet that one kid loves so much, the SpongeBob Potatohead (that apparently is not easy to find) that another kid is OBSESSED WITH, the Gary the Snail blow-up that another kid loves, etc...a lot of cool toys...
Okay....augh it's 120am...gotta be up in six hours. Better go to bed. Tomorrow I have to create an autism brochure, maybe help write up a one page proposal for a community psychosocial fieldwork or at very least set up stuff for it, set up stuff for someone else to do mileage/direction charts (or do it myself if there is time but I doubt it), finish up a few plans of cares/addendums for Medicaid, and put together all the pictures in a folder to transfer so they can deal with making a staff/kid picture wall. Gonna do the Medicaid stuff first since it involves money, then the autism brochure since that's legitimately a project, then make sure all pictures are together, then work on those other projects. Oh yeah, and in the early afternoon I guess we'll be doing my evals!
I'm headed to bed...good night.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
She went to the psych ward of this hospital and was doing an evaluation on a man who was bipolar and had just had a hip replacement. Let's say his name is Lester.
Lester spoke in third person, lived in a group home due to the severity of his bipolar disorder, and always used my classmates (let's call her Amelia), name, in every sentence.
This was what he was telling her, more or less a paraphrase of what she told me on phone about the ice cubes and getting in her face about confirming she didn't think he was um, off.
Lester: LESTER DOES NOT WANT TO GET BETTER, Amelia. LESTER DOES NOT LIKE LIVING THERE, AMELIA. LESTER ONLY GETS THREE ICE CUBES IN HIS GLASS AND LESTER IS ANEMIC, AMELIA. LESTER NEEDS MORE ICE CUBES THAN THAT, AMELIA. Blah blah blah blah LESTER DOES NOT HAVE PROBLEMS ::getting into Amelia's face:: DOES IT SEEM TO YOU THAT LESTER IS BIPOLAR, AMELIA?!!!!!!!!!
Amelia, straight-faced: No, not at all.
As of today we are fully caught up on evals/plans of cares [goals] - except for some certain early intervention kids but we don't have the folders right now, so it's out of my control. It's awesome we're caught up on all that though. Tomorrow things need to be signed so it can all be submitted, but whoah, what an accomplishment - we've been behind for 3 months straight!
We had our new OT, Sue, start Monday, and she has been an OT longer than I've been alive. We're all learning a lot from her. She does a lot of hands-on stuff where she manipulates the child's body to help brain and body development, and we're like OOOOOOOOOOOOOH AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH....lol. She's awesome.
This week I've seen some kids for a while to help out, but mostly have worked on paperwork to get things caught up. Still have a LOT to do though tomorrow - hope things don't get too crazy at the clinic since I could really use the entire time to finish up the stuff they'd like!
Tonight I met Allison for pancakes (and to work on our post-fieldwork forms), plus we walked on track a while - it's probably the last time I can see her in Memphis. She'll be around until Friday but tomorrow night I'm babysitting in a semi-emergency situation so I couldn't do it then. My co-workers invited me out too for Thursday night - why is it some nights there is nothing, but other times you get like 3 invites for the same day? LOL
I know I've ranted at times about things over the last 3 months, and I definitely work more than a lot of my classmates, but overall it's been a good experience considering how awesome everyone is. I've definitely learned a lot and have increased confidence, hopefully I can carry that over to this next intimidating rotation of an acute care hospital!
Ooh...I have to tell y'all one story before I go to bed. Coming up.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
I have a question for you. I am attending the student conclave this year in chicago and I am trying to find a roomate but I am not sure how to do this. Do you know of any links that could help me?
Answer: Thanks for your kind words, it's always good to find others with similar passions! And According to AOTA dude Sam GONZALES WITH AN S AT THE END NOT A Z I AM SORRY OKAY SAM?! I'LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN!!!, ahem, the answer is that you can post onto the Student Listserv...which of course requires being an AOTA member...and if you're going to Conclave, you should be a member because it's cheaper that way!! So it's a win-win! Good luck finding a roomie!
"What are some good online games for my 84 year old grandmother?"
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Tomorrow I am maybe home before 6pm; will maybe work out; maybe meeting Allison for last minute sensory integration Powerpoint stuff (her inservice is Tuesday), maybe napping; maybe finally doing the blogging on low vision seminar and completing essay for AOTF scholarship; who knows. All I know is, YAY, articles are done, and I'm GOING TO BED!!!!
Saw mention of this in the physical disabilities AOTA listserv. It's a one-pager, quick and easy...you can get it at the above site. Pretty cool. Check it out.
Okay that was the last thing to post tonight - do want to post about TOTA Conference, Student Conclave, Low Vision, Gero Transcendance, and my Goodbye Party, in the next few days! The blogpile never stops!!
I've recently gotten interested in Brain Gym, which uses movement patterns to support neural development, and the infinity pattern (lazy 8) is a biggie - I got this from a newsletter:
"If you do not have an Infinity Walk mat, tape down two hula-hoops and have the kids walk in an infinity/figure 8 pattern (Wampler, M 2008)."
I definitely wish I had more time to research Brain Gym further!
I babysat a child with CHARGE syndrome when I was about 12 years old. He was deaf and nonverbal and had a feeding tube and breathing abnormalities among other things. He was way too complicated in retrospect for me to have been seeing him. One of the times, he threw up his Pediasure from the feeding tube all over my lap and to this day - 14 years later - certain smells bring that memory back to me.
I just saw in a UT newsletter an article about it..
My favorite line from the article: "The name "CHARGE" was a clever way (in 1981) to refer to a newly recognized cluster of features seen in a number of children. "
On that note, a headline I liked in a recent UT newsletter: "UTHSC out to revive anesthesiology training program "
Good choice of words.
Auditory processing: The other day, I saw a young child with difficulty with auditory processing. I read him some silly Shel Silverstein poems about being only an inch tall, living in a crazy world etc, and asked him some questions. Seems like poems in general could be good for a variety of therapeutic uses - auditory processing, attention span, reading or auditory comprehension, silliness/creativity, poem ideation, etc.
Get some cool poems here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/
Yesterday on NPR, The Writer's Almanac, Garrison Keillor (sp?)
mentioned that it was Temple Grandin's birthday and also that
some of her work is being used by occupational therapists these
days, especially for working with autistic children. You might
want to see if you can find it archived to listen for yourself.
"The squeeze machine that she designed has since been used by occupational therapists in therapy with children who have autism, ADD, and Tourette's syndrome."
My friend "Cookie Gimp" sent this link to me - from a workshop called
"From Fixing to Function: Exploring opportunities for the development of a
functional optimization model for intervention for children with disabilities"
Pretty good points in this.
Motivational interviewing: Preparing People to Change Addictive Behavior
This is a book I wish I had...seems like a great one for therapists in mental health
This article is about Oscar Pistorius, a bilateral amputee athlete, who just barely missed going to the Olympics, and the controversy surrounding whether or not his prosthetics gave him advantage. Originally they concluded it did, but on appeal, determined it didn't...details in the article. Pretty interesting.
It reminded me of an issue that occupational therapists often face with school-aged children who have trouble with handwriting: and what point do you throw in the towel on handwriting and switch to a keyboard? :)
Today got to sit outside at young avenue deli with a friend for lunch, take a walk in midtown, go see that Burn After Reading movie (really funny, I loved Brad Pitt as the hyperactive gym instructor, except a little violent at times)...then met up with another friend to assist her on her college sociology project by going to a really ethnic Middle Eastern restaurant, then went to OTS Allison's dorm to help her finalize her SI powerpoint, then home again to work on articles...so...posting this and a few other things then back to second article...will be posting pictures/talking about the goodbye party, soon!
Tomorrow our new OT starts!
My co-workers are sweet as can be! Yay!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Now going to rest a while. More later this weekend, including a special, by-request, post, on why all y'all students need to go to Conclave, along with a link to Megan's video of reasons to go... :) And then y'all can be inspired and go have a wonderful time, and think of me weeping quietly and rocking in a dark corner, jealous as can be of all the wonderful experiences you can have there. Hmm, so I have to think, based on last year's conclave, what the best parts were...
Next week, Week 12, is my final week. We have a new full-time OT starting Monday, and I don't really have any kids on the schedule (although I know by virtue of chaos I'll end up with a few at the last minute), because I have a TONNNNNNNNNNN of paperwork to finalize.....writing up a one page proposal for a psychosocial fieldwork placement that would be supervised with my OT, doing up a mileage chart/direction binder for all our home visits, finalizing an autism brochure, writing up the 8 evals + some plans of cares plus some other old evals/plans of care, finishing up addendums for Medicaid, and the list goes on and on :) But I like stuff like that!! So I'm happy!
Your grip & grin campaign was a cool idea, politically current and savvy, and y'all got on the Today show.
Got up this morning and was reading about the evacuations of special needs populations in Houston, and saw this picture.
How about a campaign or memo or tips on how to handle evacuations of special needs populations in the face of upcoming disasters such as Hurricane Ike? Broad categories like nursing home residents.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
2) Several different OT girls now have told me they recently had an impromptu lecture from the department chair, on why using the Internet to post negative things about the school program is bad. And that most of them were wondering "is she talking about Karen's blog?" during the lecture, and I admit when I first heard this, I was worried too that the chair was indirectly referring to my blog, but I am pretty sure that is not the case, after further self-analysis. I am dying to know what prompted such a lecture, though.
I don't think it's me because I almost never talk specifically about professors or classmates or anything in a negative way, and even when I do rant, I never just rant about my program. I try really hard, even when I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT TO on bad days, to not specifically diss my program, because um, burning bridges is not cool (unless you are an arsonist), and every program has its ups and downs, blah blah blah. Plus, as far as I know, none of my professors actually acknowledge my virtual existence or keep up with my blog, so I doubt I'd be brought up elsewhere if I haven't even been approached personally about offensive content or something.
And um, yeah. That's all I wanted to say. Boo-ya.
Good night again for REALZ!!!11111!!!1111 this time. Yes, I'm very professional.
PS: In a startling show of generosity, after last night's post about crying and being overwhelmed, "Cookie Gimp" (a man with spina binifda who thinks OTs should bake HIM cookies instead of vice-versa, and who has definitely opened my eyes to startling controversial perspectives on rehab), offered to share half a cookie with me.
Today I got my car handle fixed - blessed car handle, oh how I missed your door-opening goodness - and got to ride in my friend's VIPER. Wow. He confirmed something is wrong with my brakes that were just fixed (they had a visiting mechanic) and on next Thursday morning - my morning off since we work so much on other days - I get the distinct joy of going back to the car place for the 3rd week in a row. Yay. At least the repair should be free.
I also got a check for $500 - which was 3 months worth of mileage reimbursement at 30 cents a mile (HALF of what the IRS allows and much lower than normal) for about 1300+ miles, plus a little extra as a "bonus" to make up for the fact the reimbursement sucked (their therapists at least get paid for driving time which I obviously don't). Not a thrilling amount considering I've had close to $700 in repairs in the last few months while there, and spent several hundred dollars on gas. But oh well, better than nothing I guess.
I was at the clinic by 115pm and was able to prepare for the kids I would be having - progress notes, billing sheets, and activities - which was great - and did some paperwork. We had several cancellations which was nice as the COTA took my kids if her kids were cancelled, plus the new clinic schedule for today was canceled due to various issues and so my OT Christy was in the clinic and could take several kids as well. I did a lot of "yoga" loosely based on BrainGym today - put a big mat in the office, turned off main lights, turned on fake fish tank, turned on soothing music, and had my kids do the "octopus" (on back, feet and arms in air wiggling), the downward/upward dogs, cobra, tree (hands in air, standing on one foot", butterflies, an elephant with arms as trunks doing lazy 8s, etc. The kids liked the yoga a lot.
At the end of the day in the sensory room, I threw in a giant bolster into the ball bath like I typically do to make the kids push it out for some heavy proprioceptive work, but this time they started crawling on it, so I got in the ball bath with them for stability purposes and we used it as somewhat of a rolly diving board, except for feet-first only. The two little boys - one with autism and one with a major need to work on social skills - did really well, they loved jumping off the bolster and into the balls, and of course they were using me for stability - they were crawling all over me. The COTA (for child with autism), the speech therapist (a co-treat for the child with autism), and a speech aide (just saying goodbye) were all in the small room with me but not in the ball bath, and started chatting (just for like a minute), and I was like totally engrossed with the two kids, who were completely content playing with the bolster and balls with me, and then they were all like "Thanks for doing our session Karen" aahhahaha...it was pretty fun. We (the COTA and I) also went outside with the fire engine backpack hoses with those same two kids and had them squirt a brick wall (I swear, little boys love anything like that, I think it's related to the way they pee!!!), I ran inside for chalk and drew circles on the wall and we helped them "wash" off the circles....the COTA had her hands full with the little boy that kept trying to squirt us instead, LOL.
My last kid of the day did not show up so that was nice - parents, I gotta warn you, in most cases, if your kid is the last of the day (especially if the clinic has late hours and the therapists have worked 10 hour+ days), there is a good chance he/she is not getting the best therapy - the therapists are tired after a long day and are much less creative.
Went straight to Allison to work with her on the SI powerpoint and then her little OT sib Hillary showed up to buy some of her books and we chatted for at least an hour, that was fun. Then Allison and I chatted a little bit about treatment activities for vestibular, tactile, proprioceptive senses. Her powerpoint is aimed at teachers and she pointed out her fiancee (a teacher) was like....these things have to be realistic for a teacher to implement with lots of kids. True, true. And we talked about how the main message to the teachers is - these are three senses that are often not looked at closely, but being under or over response to these senses can lead to a lot of behavioral issues due to sensory needs not being met, and that a sensory diet can do wonders - not necessarily this huge ordeal that is a lot of stress/work for a teacher, but just a general knowledge of things, like "deep firm pressure for kids that crave stimulation", etc...and providing them with ideas for heavy proprioceptive work that all the kids can benefit from to help with hyperactivity, etc etc
Around 915pm I was like um....I had egg beaters with gypsy peppers at noon for my breakfast/lunch (lets just generously say 200 calories total), and I haven't eaten since, and I'm getting hungry, so if you want me to stay, I need food. So Allison made me a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. LOL aww. Got home around 10pm and my neighbor had just come out and pointed out that gas prices might shoot up tomorrow depending on what Hurricane Ike does, so he hopped in my car and we headed to a gas station, just in case, since I was down to half a tank.
Now it's past midnight. Tomorrow my OT, the clinic director/speech therapist, and I meet at a McDonalds in MS at 945am, we do one home visit that has two cousins, then we drive on to another small town to do two early intervention evaluations. That place is at least an hour and 15 mins or more from McDonalds, and I'm about 40 mins from McDonalds, so we're going to be in the car together about 3 hours, and then I'll be in my car over an hour as well, so lots of car-time!
I hopefully get to meet some OT students tomorrow night that I haven't seen in a long time, I'm excited. :)
My cat is running around howling. His "lion ripple" cut is really looking cute now.
Today was a better day overall...still bummed about fieldwork (especially being told that the patient quota is very low there always and so typically OT students only see a few patients a day, plus it's almost all ortho, plus my new supervisor is supposedly quite quirky and very very very scheduled which will be a shock to my system after this fieldwork but probably I'll like it) , but at least the day went way smoother than it could have been.
So....Week 11, Day 4, complete...I can't believe I am about to start the final week 12!!!!!!!!!!!
BTW, Sam Gonzalez, the AOTA Media Guy, Posted a Video on Facebook of Top Ten Reasons You Should Not Miss Going to Student Conclave....which is taking place in mid-November....it sounds awesome but I def. can't afford it this time!! But those of you who can afford it, really need to go. :) Because like the video narrator (Megan Doherty, assembly of student delegates chair), said......FREE PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No seriously....it's pretty neat and it sounds like it is going to be a lot better even than last year's. More on that later I guess.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Lester the Lion Kitty
(With a campground feeling like "She?ll be coming around the mtn"
Lester the lion kitty
Has a face that's not too pretty
Lives in a southern city
Called Memphis Tennessee?
He's a Peculiar Persian
Inbreed is his version
Of a one of a kind of cat.
Verse 2 Double time?
He walks around
With a snourlking sound
Got no nose
But he always knows
Where Karen happens to be...
Repeat 1st stanza
Six year old boy: Want to see my nipple? ::pulls up shirt to show belly-button::
Turns out he meant navel.
I am feeling about ready to explode right now. This has been the suckiest week overall, that I've had, in quite a while. I have tears in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks writing this because I am overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed with my current OT student fieldwork, overwhelmed with future fieldwork, overwhelmed with personal life. I feel completely maxed out and at my limits in all ways.
I'm going to write about my day, therapeutically, to flow it out my fingers and out of my brain, then go into rant mode I guess.
Today at work was actually relatively calm minus a scramble this morning to pick up some stuff at new clinic. We saw our cute little baby that is blind, then saw two brothers with autism (person first language)...I took the younger one to the room with the lava lamp and fish tank, turned off the lights, and sat with them in the ball pit, gently and slowly covering his body with balls...he liked it. At lunch time, at this tiny restaurant on the square of this small rural town, we sat at a table close to a mom with a kid, who, seeing our scrubs, asked if we worked for a clinic because her sugar was low...then we all got to chatting about pediatricians since my OT supervisor is looking for a new one, and then a mom at another table joined in, so we were having this conversation about kids/pediatricians with these strangers, and then (shushed but audible) diarrhea talk came into play - not by me -, and there were men at a nearby table who were like ?!!! It was really funny.
We went and saw our little congested blind/deaf baby who lives in the projects...things are not going well for this family or baby, we've seen a decline...the mom and baby were asleep when we got there. The room was dark and the light bulbs were still out, and it smelled like smoke...so we took the baby outside. We (my OT, me, and speech aide) worked with the baby on a small mat we put under a tree for shade, for the entire hour.
Our next kid didn't work out so I worked on mileage. Our final kid showed up and I did some gross motor ball work with him, then my OT Christy took him for table-top stuff so I could finish working on mileage (don't worry, it's very rare something like this happens), and then I finished up the session with some gross motor...he has severe behavioral issues, low frustration tolerance, etc...he needed some firm re-direction but was okay during session, but when it was time to go find mom and be with her, he quickly melted down...we see this a lot...a kid knows he/she can misbehave in presence of lax parents, and so the kid behaves during session with some verbal cuing and time-out and redirection, but then reallllly acts up in presence of parent. He screamed and cried for a long time as Christy spoke to the mom...I had started the talk with the mom, and when the kid freaked out, I started dealing with it, but Christy is a PRO with that stuff, so she came out (she had been standing by listening), and dealt with it way better than I could have, and with more knowledge under her belt too LOL.
Then we headed back around 440pm - the kid was technically done way earlier than that, but dealing with the temper tantrums (instead of letting them walk out with him screaming and no parent education), took a while.
I went back to the clinic because it's on way home and because I wanted to drop off billing sheets and mileage and find out my schedule for tomorrow so I'd feel a little more prepared for the chaos that will ultimately reign. Ended up not leaving until 630pm because the director wanted to show me something, mileage took forever to fully calculate (over 1,300 miles this last few months for work.....not counting the 30ish miles round-trip I make every day to the clinic - since mileage doesn't start until I hit the clinic). And then writing up some things our awesome COTA could do to help us out paperwork wise because of a gap in her morning schedule. I know it was my choice to stop by clinic so I can't complain, but my sanity was at stake. :)
Stopped at Allison's on way home to say hello and work a tiny bit on some OT stuff..my wireless wouldn't work there though and I was kind of antsy to get Internet access because of all the fieldwork stuff etc going on - not to mention being tired and stressed - so I didn't stay long
Ever since I got home around 8pmish? I've been chilling out with Lester and chatting online with real life friends on AIM, Facebook, and Gmail talk...have no energy to want to do anything else...don't want to deal with e-mails or phone calls or texts or anything.
Ok time to rant I guess...
Fieldwork: Not yet ready to discuss publicly, suffice to say that although I've got placements, I'm still bummed that all three of my fieldworks are completely different than what I wanted/expected. I had good experiences on this one, am sure next two will be awesome in their own way, blah blah blah, but still disappointed.
Current fieldwork: I love all my co-workers, some more than others, but have fun with all of them...but don't love the chaos and the long hours and the stress. It will be better for future students because they won't be there in the midst of expansion like I was, while short an OT, while also expanding into early intervention, etc etc. Tomorrow afternoon promises to be pretty stressful starting at around 3pm as kids get out of school, at times there will be four kids at once for me and the COTA, four kids that do not match well...at 530 we have a shy little girl in like first grade, a crying little 3 year old boy, and two prickly kids that have behavioral issues and anger quickly. I have the two prickly kids, she has the little boy and older little girl. Not a good session for anyone in my opinion. Maybe a kid won't show up, maybe we'll have an amazing breakthrough. Realistically though, it just means chaotic and stressful sessions. So from 3pm to 7pm it will be crazy.
Personal life: Way too much going on for me to handle on top of all the work stress. It is impossible to say there is a thing as too many friends, because it is such a blessing, but it is possible to say that it can be overwhelming, especially at times like this when I feel so thinly stretched and have nothing to offer. I try to do what I can and what I think I can handle stress-wise, but I feel like I have a "waiting list" of unhappy friends waiting for their turn.
So, here is my entreaty to friends right now: I'm stressed out. I'm exhausted. I'm busy. If you've contacted me and now feel guilty, don't. You are a friend reaching out. I appreciate it. I always love being contacted, and save such things to respond to when I get a chance. But please please please don't give me a hard time about not responding in a timely manner (even in jest), and/or please don't feel bad or ignored, if I don't respond for a week or so. I'm very behind on phone call messages, texts, e-mails on multiple accounts, Facebook, etc. I'm behind on articles due, I'm behind on paperwork due, I'm behind on bills, grocery shopping, and everything else you can imagine as well. So...the best way to be a friend right now is to be patient, please. My last day of this fieldwork is September 19th. I have a lot to do in the week before the next fieldwork starts, and that includes catching up on e-mails and such....so...yeah.
Ok...I'm still bummed out and stressed, but at least I feel a little calmer after typing out this massive amount of stuff. Lester is meowing at me and running around screaming...I'm going to go find something for dinner (yes, it's 1030pm), and to give him some brushing...maybe his sensory needs will subsequently be met and he'll chill out. I need to chill out too. I sense Klonopin in my immediate future.
By the way, I do think OVERALL, things are going okay and I'll be okay...I just need to get through the next few weeks. Send good vibes.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I had to include some Lester pics to cheer me up.
Joke of day:
Me: Knock knock
9 year old with PDD-NOS (ie, severe developmental delay): Who's there?
Me: The Interrupting Cow
Him: I HATE cows!
Today sucked a lot, most specifically at the end of the day, and then more specifically, when being told my upcoming fieldwork fell through....
Today was spent in normal clinic...from 830am to 720pm. Saw a little boy at 9am that shivered violently, had to turn down air/find him an adult shirt...saw a cute little girl that told me she had a baby in her stomach. I asked her where it came from and she said, in a duh voice, "from my stomach". LOL. We worked on step-by-step drawings of Gary the Snail...the kids LOVE my giant blow-up Gary (a very old present).
Paperwork, paperwork. Did a home visit with kid whose mom was distraught about vaccination excemption paperwork being rejected...is big on specific diets/supplements for all her autistic spectrum kids.
Came back. Saw young girl and did Care-Bear puzzle with her...edge pieces in one box, wibble-wobbles in the other...kids always know immediately what I mean when I say wibble-wobbles...lol. Unfortunately the puzzle was hard for me, I have bad issues with puzzles! Good thing she was good at it! We also worked on drawing inferences with speech cards...like I showed her a card and she guessed it was a worm...really it was a mouse tail..you could see a mouse hole and cheese. And worked on "absurdities"...like the cow that says meow, the girl who eats her soup with a shovel, etc. the speech people have lots of great decks of cards that I like to borrow for OT.
Then it became craziness time as school lets out...we had me, OT, and COTA working, but had four kids or more at times...all trying to juggle them...some kids coming 40 minutes late, other kids not coming, other kids having speech co-treats, etc...played a lot of Candyland today and did some great work on attention span, turn-taking, winner/loser, social skills, calmness, etc.
A LOT of stress with scheduling/paperwork...I keep meaning to do some of it at home, but I already work over-time as it is...frankly by the time I get home I'm so stressed out and exhausted, that I just can't fathom doing it.
One issue we are having is with mileage reimbursement/fairness...they reimburse at 30 cents, which is about 50% of what IRS counts for reimbursement...yet they get reimbursed for mileage by the early intervention program at a higher rate...so technically profiting off mileage of therapist cars...they say because they pay for drive-time that it's okay...well that may be true, but guess what, I'm not paid...so it seems fair I should be reimbursed closer to what they get reimbursed so they aren't profiting off my car (which has had over $600 in repairs since starting there), since I'm free labor. Ugh.
ANYWAY...I got off at 720pm stressed out after hours of nonstop chaos, and then I have two messages on my cell from the fieldwork coordinator telling me to call her...which I know means bad news. She informed me my upcoming fieldwork - the one starting September 29th - has fallen through as the contract was just received, wasn't a UT one, and has to go through litigation, so is months away from finalized. She made it clear the problem was on the side of the hospital, not my program's......although I don't understand the minutia of why, even though they've been working on this contract for at least 4 months, that this has happened. So I'm not pointing fingers or playing a blame game...writing out this rant is not to fuss at anybody...but to say I'm really frustrated that all three of my fieldworks have fallen through, regardless of whose fault it is.
I cried a little - called classmate Allison to see if we were meeting up to walk and to give her the news - a few minutes later as I walked in the door, Kerri called to ask if she could bring me cookies...she brought over several types of bakeable cookies, some vanilla soymilk and her cat...we made a few of all 3 types....Oxford her cat was petrified of Lester (he was all like socially awkward excessively friendly kitty, hey what up, and she was like What the Hell Get Away From Me You Freak)...so she and I sat in the doorway between the living room and bedroom and ate cookies and milk and hung out,keeping Lester from trying to give her unwanted attention. She LOVED his haircut. :) She hung out until a little before 10pmish, I really appreciated her distraction and of course cookies. Very nice. I sent her home with a big bunch of carrots, some gypsy peppers, a blue vase she liked that I never use, and the rest of the unbaked cookies, so I guess we both got something out of it, LOL.
Okay back to ranting about fieldwork....
This first one has been a good experience, but very excessively stressful with long hours, and I was looking forward to this next one being much more straight forward...not as much chaos, not as many hours, etc...plus I kind of knew the upcoming supervisor and liked her, had already established contact with her, already knew my schedule and it was glorious, etc. Ugh.
Here was the original plan that was in place for a long, long time...Rotation 1 and 3 SPECIFICALLY chosen for their stability...
Rotation 1: Physical Dysfunction, Specific Rehab Hospital
Rotation 2: Vestibular Specialty, San Diego
Rotation 3: Psychosocial, VA
Then, because things fell through a month before starting, with the contract for rotation 1 (due to somehow it not being realized the contract had expired), it became:
1. Current pediatric site I've been at.
2. Specific Rehab Hospital Moved Up, San Diego (my hometown) down the drain
3. Psychosocial, VA
Then, the third one fell through (for legitimate reasons - my future supervisor's legs were amputated!!), and it became
1. Current ped site
2. Specific Rehab Hospital
3. Somewhere, who knows where, but probably in Nashville at this point - psychosocials are hard to place.
Then, the second one just fell through, so now it is
1. Peds Site - 3 months
2. Who knows where - 3 months
3. Who knows where - 3 months
NOT OKAY! NOT COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NOT NOT COOL!
PS: If you've contacted me recently and I haven't responded, I repeat, this week has NOT BEEN COOL! So give it a while please!!!!!!!
The fieldwork coordinator gave me a few options over the phone...and included Little rock AR and a few other far away places...which I know she is just trying to be thorough...but I almost choked. I was like...I'm about to be sent off for my last one for 3 months...this next one is in a few weeks...I can't just get up and move away for six months, to two different places, money-wise, time-wise, stress-wise, life-wise, etc...really stressed me out. 3 months is bad enough, but to make it six, with just a few weeks notice, NOT OKAY!!!!!! AUGH!!!!!!!! NOT COOL!!!!!!!!!!!
I sent her a list of my top three choices - it includes two acute hospitals - one in Northern Memphis, one in Missisippi- and then also - the dreaded - ugh - local chain of rehab hospitals that I absolutely DESPISE...but I really want to stay in town, especially if I have to leave for 3 months in January. She is going to contact places tomorrow, hopefully it will all work out...but I'm feeling pretty bummed and sad right now to have had all 3 fieldworks fall apart..repeatedly...I feel like crying again after writing this all up. Yeah yeah, it will all work out, it will all work out, it will all work out...I think I can I think I can I think I can....
OKay. I'm going to bed now. It's almost 1am. Did I MENTION NOT COOL?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good news is...tomorrow, if our schedule stays the way it currently is, tomorrow won't be too horrible of a day...hopefully to make up for the hideous Monday/Tuesday.
Monday, September 8, 2008
This really isn't OT-related, although we could say I'm working on Lester's ADLs, specifically grooming, and doing a crappy, crappy job of it. I love me some Lester. This video was made late Saturday night, and the black dress I was wearing still has the cat fur to prove it. :(
Watching this cheered me up slightly because what can I say, I'm crazy. Ok bedtime.
#1 Highlight of day:
Alone with a six year old boy in a dark room lit only by a fake fish tank and lava lamp. Dancing with him to Soulja Boy - his request - followed by Doodlebops Get on the Bus :)
#2: Screaming child.
#3: Another screaming child.
#4: A playful but painful bite from a little boy who had been threatening the entire session "to eat me up". Friend Scott points out that at least he got a tactile/gustatory work out. LOL
#5: Screaming children.
#6: Getting smacked (by accident) in the face of a kid flinging balls. A kid who wasn't on the schedule but since transportation brought them, we couldn't just turn them away, and he and his mother both kind of scare us...a very odd family. Of course transportation left after she swore up and down they knew to wait, since we close - TECHNICALLY at 4:15 - although they walked in at around 4:10pm :( So we didn't get to leave until 4:45pm, 30 minutes late, and we left them standing outside the closed clinic waiting for their transportation.
#7. Having a mother coo to her baby at the end of the session, "Let's go visit White Boy...you wanna go visit White boy? " Us: White boy? Her: "Yeah. He yellow." Plus, throughout session (taking place in the dim light coming through the window of the living room since the lightbulbs still haven't been changed a week later) ), listening to mother and her friend heatedly discuss the shooting that took place last night involving some of their friends. And how the man who was shot, explaining to us: "He a good man. He didn't do no harm. His only thing is, he liked his wiminz. He didn't hunt no wiminz, he just liked his wiminz".
#8: Mini heated issue over schedule issues and communication between old/new clinic - old clinic is frustrated with us not having schedule with us and having to call them to ask - but we are frustrated since A) schedule almost never prints out due to printing issues with network, B) we aren't in old clinic on Friday so latest we can print out Monday's schedule is Thursday, which if it doesn't work, then can't do, AND, a lot of changes get made last minute so, a good chance it's no longer valid...some issues with that.
#9. That's enough highlights. I got home a little before 6 and slept until 8:30pm. Watched Dr. Horrible, chatted online a bit. Now it's 1030 and I'm going to go back to bed, having done nothing productive at all, but still kinda frazzled and stressed and unhappy!
Tomorrow we don't have THAT many kids, I hope to do a lot of paperwork.