Day 2 of Gero Mental Health Fieldwork

So the first few hours of today weren't so cool, but it ended better.

Last night I took an anti anxiety pill to help rid of my jangles, and went to bed early. I woke up about an hour later because I had this really bad dream where my beloved Lester the Lion kitty was eaten by a dog. I cried!! I've had a lot of dreams lately where I'm just really uneasy and scared. I guess just reflecting all the changes I've had lately in my life! Anyway. The problem with that pill is that it helps at the time, but when I wake up in the morning, I feel rather sad and broken. So that's not cool. I woke up this morning and I was like, I'm not sure I can handle this. I'm not sure I can do this fieldwork (or any new fieldwork). Rough. I consoled myself with the knowledge that if I do break down, I'm in the perfect place. LOL.

Went to work, and it turns out there was orientation issues, and that I was supposed to have gone to the main campus Monday morning, and I need to go right that moment. I volunteer to look up directions on Google Map, but my OT wants to draw me a map to go the back roads as it is easier. It looks pretty straight-forward so I agree to try her way. Unfortunately one of the roads had an issue and I had to get directions in a Walgreens, but I did eventually get there, in the rain.

The fieldwork coordinator there (not just for OT, she has 500+ students) was quite kind as apparently the mistakes were on both sides, not just mine. She let me get my TB test there instead of finding the health department, and we're working on the CPR card thing. Of all the stuff stolen from my car that night in October, I never thought my CPR card would end up causing me more grief than all my financial cards!!

I went back to my hospital using yet another way – I had now gotten directions from 3 different people and all of them had said something that wasn't quite right, lol.

The rest of the day was a combination of interesting, a little scary, busy, and slightly confidence-increasing.

We did a group with 3 old ladies – one we had evaluated, two that would be evaluated later in the day. One lady, let's call her Jane, kept insisting “I'm not crazy!” and she was rather euphoric and motor-mouthed and restless. The other two ladies were rather quiet. Euphoric Jane cracked me up, she kept talking about how much she loves belly-dancing. One of the quiet ones, when asked about things she values, said “My kids and my clothes”. The first group was on self-awareness, by answering questions about valued things/events, and the second one was using big pictures and discussing emotions displayed in the pictures (ie happy child, sad person, etc).

The lady that was so agitated yesterday – screaming and cursing – was mild mannered today.

Later on we did several evaluations.

1) A lady who talked/processed sooooo slowly and was very Alice in Wonderland, using circular answers “That is the answer to which the answer is asked”, kinda stuff. She could not remember the state she was in at all, or county, or town. She scored in moderate dementia range using the mental status MMSE questions. She did poorly on the leather lacing assessment. She also didn't handle imitating a placemat very well. This is one of the confidence boosters today – realizing the ADM craft placemat wasn't so hard and I wouldn't have to struggle to learn it.
I was the one who gave the MMSE with my supervisor sitting next to me. Pretty cool. Her “sentence” that she had to write (without any suggestions on what to write) was “Please understand”. It kinda gave me chills – considering the way she spoke so slowly and circular-ly.

2) The euphoric lady. She was living alone up until this hospitalization. Hard to imagine her being safe. Euphoria is hilarious. Her sentence was “I am a very happy person and I love everyone”. I did her MMSE as well.

3) This was awesome. We went back to do the evaluation on one of our earlier pleasant quiet ladies, and she was NOT in a good mood. She kept saying SHUT UP and NO. My OT was trying nicely to get her to participate – and she was having none of it. She finally said “If you don't go away I'll throw my coffee in your face!”. My OT didn't flinch, she stayed calm.

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I did a few mini chart reviews – learned that the Axis I diagnosis is what we have to use – did my two MMSEs – and learned how to enter in the info/notes for a group therapy session, into the computer. They still mostly use paper charts and their computer system is like DINOSAUR DOSsey, with like, using the function keys and arrows to get around, a TOTAL pain in the butt. It doesn't even word wrap!! Shockingly old school.

I need to practice the ACLS some more…that single cordovan stitch is going to be the death of me. And I'm not the only one. I know lots of other students who struggle with it.

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It's really interesting to me to see how people can be logical and smart in some ways, and then utterly incompetent in other ways, in these settings…the brain is so complicated!!! Spoken like a true neuroscience major.

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ANYWAY….this was a little disjointed, but whatev. I wrote it with lots of distractions. After work I went to the gym. I think physical exercise at the gym is going to be my saving grace for getting through this fieldwork with my mental health intact. That and wonderful friends. And SEROTONIN! Come on you little serotonies!! Work harder!! Be fruitful and multiply and stuff!

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Jan 07, 2009 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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