29 Apr 2007

Say Loving Through Occupation

I am working on a project (with a partner) where we have to pick an Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture and then write a 5 page paper on it and the author. We also have to do a presentation on it. Anyway, I was working on the summary today of our chosen lecture (Embracing Our Ethos, Reclaiming Our Heart: by Suzanne Peloquin, 2005) so I was reviewing the actual lecture. In it, she quotes a poem written by Janet Petersen in 1976. I think it’s beautiful and very applicable to the spirit of OT, so I am sharing:

There is a shouting SPIRIT deep inside me:
TAKE CLAY. It cries,

Any of you have favorite poems related to OT in some vague way?

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

26 Apr 2007

Occupational Terrorists!

My friend, Patti, the OT Tech, said she was asked this by a patient…

Patient: Hey Patti, are you an occupational terrorist?

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

26 Apr 2007

We survived our first biomechanics practical!

It was nerve-wracking! It dealt with everything from range of motion to manual muscle testing and more. Our patient was an older woman with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a wheelchair. The ends of her hands were essentially moosh (I like to use such professional terminology). It was startling and disturbing to see how much RA can ravage your body! She was very nice though, even though she must have been in a lot of pain.

I thought I was going to pee my pants or throw up I was so nervous, before I went in to do my parts with the lady, but it went okay. I did some fumbling and missed a few things, but overall the professor didn’t seem too disturbed. I didn’t like, trip on the patient or make her cry or anything so I guess that is a start! We were graded on things like comfort of subject/self, positioning, goniometer accuracy, etc.

I think the practical is good practice but it was SCARY! It wore me out! I came home and took a long nap with a bad headache! I do appreciate the professor setting up a real patient, though. That’s extra work for him! It’s very different when you just practice on your classmates because it’s obviously unlikely you will encounter classmates with severe arthritis, contractures or limitations. Plus your classmates are learning the same things and so they kind of know how to position their body to help you with your task. I think the best thing to do is learn with your classmates initially in the lab, then go find some friends/family that have no knowledge of therapy. Then practice on them. You’ll get a much better sense of what you need to say when you practice with someone who has no idea what you want them to do. For example, you can say to your classmate – okay, abduct your shoulder and externally rotate it. Even if you try to use patient-talk and fumble with the explanation, they’ll still do what they know you need them to do. If you practice with your friends/family, you don’t get that luxury because they don’ t know what you mean, and that is actually a good thing. There is a family here in town that has kind of “adopted” me, so I practice on them. It helped a little with my confidence and also my understanding, although it’s still easy to forget things. It looks so easy when your professor demonstrates how to do things, but then it’s your turn and you’re like wait, where do I put my hands again? It’s also kind of hard to explain to your patient how to move their body, because you have learned all the formal words like supination and abduction, which are words you can’t use with them!

Oh the trials and tribulations of OT school! Just kidding! It’s great, but I am glad the day is over.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

25 Apr 2007

The Ashley Treatment

I’m sitting here procrastinating. I have my first biomechanics lab tomorrow and I’m scared. So instead of studying, my brain is shutting down and I’m playing online, scrolling through links and watching House. I came across a bookmark for the Ashley Treatment. This is a really fascinating and controversial topic. You can read personal details at:


Basically, Ashley is a “pillow angel” with extreme special needs. Her family is invested in keeping her as physically small as possible. Their logic is that it is would be difficult for them if she got big, because they would not be able to include her in things as easily as they can now due to her small size. This means giving her medications and having surgeries that prevent her from going through puberty. Of course, there is a huge medical debate over such treatment and whether it’s ethical. I personally see both sides of the issue and find it fascinating. The blog link above is written by Ashley’s parents and they try to counter-argue all the ethical arguments thrown their way.

What do you all think? I can see both sides of it- and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in this situation.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

24 Apr 2007

OT Drama – We need a show called The O.T.

Just about any MOT program is going to have its share of student drama. My understanding is that most programs will have a lot of females and maybe one or two males. In my program, we have 27 females and two males. I think we all know that stereotypically, females are more known for getting riled up about things. Therefore, occasionally, grad school will feel a little bit like high school, with cliques, petty arguments, and tempers flaring over stupid things. That's the bad side of OT school. The good side is, it's wonderful to have a large group of girls to talk to, gossip with, hang with, and be friends with. I love chatting with the girls about everything from A to Z. So being a large of groups is a both a curse and a blessing. Mostly a blessing. I love my OT girls, and of course our two OT boys!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

22 Apr 2007

Anatomical Agony

Bones. Joints. Ligaments. Tendons. My cerebral cortex has reached its saturation point. If I have to hear one more muscle origin and insertion of an extensor carpi something, I’m going to scream. The professors do a good job and the material is straight forward, but there is just SO MUCH MATERIAL. I spend most of the 12 weeks I am in anatomy looking pale and stressed, rocking gently in my seat. Everything I see has an anatomical twinge to it. I see a shampoo bottle with symmetrical ridges and think “costal cartilage connecting to the body of the sternum. I see a strawberry with two tips and think “bifid spinous process of the cervical vertebrae. ” It never stops.

Well, actually it does, BECAUSE IT IS OVER NOW!!!!!!!!!!! In my program, it was a twelve-week course with the PT students, MWF 1-5. An hour and a half or so of lecture, then cadaver lab. Two OTs, two PTs to a table. We had an old man with paper-thin muscles, but little fat. If you are an incoming student about to take anatomy, here are a few tips.

1. If you have a choice, avoid the bodies with lots of fat. You’ll be picking off the fat (which looks like bright yellow corn) for hours otherwise. Also try not get someone TOO old and frail, or the muscles will be hard to separate due to their thinness.

2. Anatomy labs are always cold. Wear long underwear.

3. The scrubs or outfits you wear in anatomy will probably need to be thrown away when the class is over as the smell of the formaldehyde never really goes away. So don’t buy expensive scrubs or undershirts for it.

4. Don’t try to cram for the test, you’ll fail. Study as you go.

5. Use nmemonics to help you remember sequences. I think of the popular online acronym BBL (be back later) to remember bones-bones-ligaments. Or that BrachioRadialis is the beer-raising muscle (flexor). The latter I got from http://www.medicalmnemonics.com/

6. Don’t freak out about the body. Yes, it’s a little scary at first, but you’ll get over it. I guarantee you by the end of the class you’ll be resting your hands on the cadaver without thinking twice.

Update with #7: I just wanted to point out that our program had an AMAZING anatomy department and I fell in (platonic) love with all my anatomy professors & helpers. They were SO helpful and kind and great!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 3

21 Apr 2007

Youtube.com – OT



Thanks Patti for the heads-up!

I recommend typing in occupational therapy/OT/autism…whatever you can think of, at Youtube.com! Some interesting stuff there!

Update: My classmate Brooke (who went to the AOTA Conference in St. Louis) has informed me that the OT in this video was at conference, and that the keynote speaker was her patient!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

20 Apr 2007

OT School Rocks!

I created this blog today so I am in a frenzy of new thoughts, but I’m sure it will taper off soon. I should be studying for my neurobiology midterm, but well, clearly I’m not right now. Right now I am in Evidence-Based Learning, Biomechanics, Conceptual Foundations of OT, Neurobiology, Perspectives of Early Development, Leadership, and hmm, I think that’s it right now. We’ve already gone through Anatomy, thank goodness. I’m enjoying my classes. We’re really learning the importance of being evidence-based-client-centered-OTPF-worshippers. It’s so much fun to go to class each day and learn interesting things about muscle tone, brain damage, mental retardation, you name it. That’s not to say I sometimes don’t get sleepy or bored, because well, no school is 100% fascinating. But overall, I LOVE OT SCHOOL. I might sometimes complain and I am frequently exhausted, but it’s all worth it!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

20 Apr 2007

Lessons from OT…

My friend Patti just got into OT school in New Jersey. She is currently an OT Tech. Her blog address is http://thejourneyhasonlybegun.blogspot.com/

Here is a recent post of hers:

Lessons from OT:
… Having the ability to listen and understand is more powerful than knowing the right things to say.
… A person’s recovery is as unique as their fingerprints, you are never dealing with the same thing twice.
… Some questions might sound dumb, but they still need to be asked.
…. You will spend a great deal of effort helping someone out of bed, into their clothes and into their wheelchair. But once you head for the door, they will inevitably need to use the bathroom.
… There is no job duct tape can’t handle.
… If you show passion in your job, you can see its reflection in your patients attitude and outcome.
… It’s okay not to know everything, I’m sure even doctors need to use Google every now and then.
… Every day holds a learning experience, even when it’s something you really didn’t want to learn. 🙂

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

19 Apr 2007

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