21 Jul 2007

Good night!!!

I'm still dealing with allergies and feeling a little miserable. Going to skip a day or two of blogging! Shocking! Hope everyone has a good weekend, will write again this weekend I hope.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

20 Jul 2007

I forgot to share the best part about today.

While working out, I went to my first spinning class. As I spun, I noticed that my left pedal was getting a little jerky but figured I was doing something wrong, no big deal. As it got progressively jerkier I realized the bike pedal seemed to literally be spinning off, slowly, as if unbolting itself. Normally you would have been doing sit-stand combinations on the bike at that time in the class but I stopped standing once I realized that if the bike pedal fell off, I’d be landing on some very private areas. I just kept sitting and spinning. Good thing I did, because a minute later the left bike pedal fell COMPLETELY OFF. The instructor barely blinked, as if that was a common occurrence. Had I been standing on the bike when that happened, I’d be in a lot of pain right now. In fact I’d probably need some OT! (::warbles:: Sounds like…you need some O.T…)

Luckily the class was like 3 minutes from being over so I just stood there and waited for my friend to finish. I’m going to bring in a certified bike mechanic from now on to test my bike before I take a spinning class so I don’t ruin my OT career before I ever start it….just kidding.

The End.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

20 Jul 2007

Hmmmmmmm, inchoate thoughts secondary to sleep deprivation

The following post is not very OT-centric so if this is your first time here, you may want to hit the archives or I’ll end up scaring you away with a rather off-topic post. Sorry.

This morning we had a lecturer come in to discuss cardiac issues like congestive heart failure, as well as coronary artery disease He was a good presenter and people asked a lot of questions. We then had a quick research project design class. It really is hard to come up with focused research questions. I feel like I’ll never grasp how to do research – I’ve had a thousand classes about it in undergrad and still don’t get it. After that it was a looong lunch. At the last minute, four of us (Brooke, Allison, Virginia, me) ended up deciding to go to a local Mediterranean cafe, which was quite the enthralling hummus-filled experience. Then we went back to the school to work on various projects. We had an SPSS lab in the afternoon, which again is something I struggle with truly understanding – statistics was a class I frequently cried about in undergrad. Give me anything involving numbers (applied calculus, chemistry, stats) and I assure you I’ll end up crying. I can handle anything without numbers, though. Advanced neuroscience and immunology tests, no biggie. Hard, but not cry-worthy most of the time. Just for fun I went back and looked at some of my old tests and found answers I had written where I totally don’t even know what it means anymore…stuff like ” To determine if TRAIL is absolutely required for anti-CD3 antibody-induced thymocyte apoptosis you could use a soluble form of the DR5 protein. “

Okay…Yet while taking insanely hard classes like immunology, I was also in Chemistry 101 with a bunch of freshman and I cannot tell you how many tears I shed over that class because I JUST DIDN’T GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m mostly an A kinda person, some B’s, but in my undergrad career I got three C’s – Chemistry 101, Chemistry 102, and Cell Biology. I was lucky to get the C’s in Chemistry, even. I had a tutor and everything.

I’m a people person, not a cell person. That’s why I’m in OT! I am so grateful I will never have another chemistry class. Pretty much the only reason I have a B.A. versus B.S. is because I couldn’t handle the thought of taking the extra required year of organic chemistry so I settled for the B.A. (This is one of my pet peeves btw, people who have B.S. degrees who didn’t have to take organic chemistry for a year!!!) My undergrad had a VERY rigorous science program and I cannot tell you how many hours I spent in a lab at 2am. I am so glad those days are over. I’d much rather be up at 2am analyzing psychosocial issues in various clinical populations than analyzing functional genomic tests on unicellular eukaryotes.

I guess I got off on a tangent there, just trying to explain I have SERIOUS math/stat weaknesses! But I’m proud of my science background, even if I don’t remember anything I learned…it makes all the OT learning seem easy in comparison because it rarely requires as much brainpower to grasp. In fact, one of my issues lately is that in some classes it seems we are learning common sense things. I don’t like to tell people about things I learned when their response can be “But isn’t that common sense?” (Hi Mom). Although I guess a lot of OT is common sense & energy conservation/efficiency.

Since class let out, I’ve been to the mall to help a friend pick out a top, worked out at the gym with Allison, forced her to go to the store with me, fed cats, turtles, and chickens at a friend’s house, watered my landlord’s plants, showered, and am now writing here for leisure time…I’m fighting some allergies, a few days of sleep deprivation, and my body is rebelling a little bit against the high-impact jogging and stuff I’ve been doing, so I’m not feeling so hot right now.

I think I’m probably not going to do anything productive for school tonight. Tomorrow I am meeting a friend to work out in the morning, and then have wood-working at 2pm. That’s it! Of course I also have a ton of errands to run and work at 9pm, but it is wonderful to have a little time outside of class to get stuff done. This weekend I’ll be reading the new Harry Potter (I hate you NY Times for your spoilage), cleaning my house, meeting some non-OT friends, and organizing my school binders/catching up on reading for next week.

I continue to have a wonderful time with my classmates. While every day may bring a little new drama, it’s mostly SOOOOOOOOO MUCHHHHHHH FUNNNNNNNNNN. Like today, trying not to laugh hysterically at Brooke’s disgusted face as a highlighter exploded on her hand during a guest lecture.

HA! Wow, rereading this post, I probably need to be on Ritalin or something. Sorry, I promise to be more coherent tomorrow after some sleep. Going to bed now…

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

19 Jul 2007

Visual Calendars: A therapeutic technique?


I’m back. Two posts in one day, I’m sure you all are fainting with excitement. I need to go to bed, but decided to quickly upload some pictures I took today. I snapped a picture of my visual calendar right before I uploaded.

I lost 40 pounds on Weight Watchers about 5+ few years ago, and until OT school started, I pretty much kept it all off. Then the stress began and I drank a lot of milkshakes to try and calm that stress and we all know how THAT works out. So I’ve been working really hard on re-losing the 15 pounds I’ve regained. I know all the normal tricks – drink lots of water, eat slowly, eat on a small plate, put your fork down between bites, eat lots of fiber, check ingredient labels, blah blah blah. And obviously, exercise. But probably the biggest help to me lately in regards to my exercise has been my visual calendar. I got this tip off some random website a few months ago, and I cannot tell you how great it is. I’ve decided to use the color green on days I don’t exercise, orange on days I partially exercise, and pink on days I fully exercise at least a hour. I live for pink days and hate green days, so every day I color in on my calendar what kind of day it was. I’m so desperate to avoid green days (except twice a week as rests) that it really motivates me to keep working out. Plus, at a glance you can see how you are doing, visually. Seeing all that pink makes me happy.

I think this visual calendar technique (which may be a common OT technique, I don’t know) could be used for a lot of clients in different ways. You could use it with depressed patients to monitor bad days, average days, and good days. You could use it as an exercise or food calendar with people who need to develop better food or exercise habits. The possibilities are endless. The key is to keep it simple, no more than 3 colors. This way the client and/or therapist can just easily see how things are progressing with just a glance across the room at a wall.

All I know is, I love me some pink days!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

19 Jul 2007

The days are going by too quick…

Today was a long day, class from 8 to 5. We had to do our presentations on various receptors (Yay Ruffini, you cutaneous encapsulated mechanoreceptor you…). Then we had four hours of lecture on Group Therapy. I continue to get more and more excited and also scared about Group. The number one thing I need to work on, right this second, is being self-deprecating to a pathological degree! I’m driving everyone nuts but I can’t help it! I’d rather shoot myself down than let other people do it. Anyway. I regress. We then had a guest orthopedic surgeon resident come in and give us a lecture on amputations and fractures. We saw some gruesome pictures. The surgeon pointed out that there is a big difference in the needs of people who have undergone traumatic versus vascular amputations. For example, an old man with diabetes who loses his leg due to circulation issues is going to have different expectations than a 22 year old athlete who was in a bad car accident.

I didn’t sleep very well last night, and since I had to work until midnight and then be up around 6ish, well, yeah, I was tired. As fascinating as the orthopedic surgeon was, I had a hard time staying awake. I then met a friend to go work out (on the track and then twenty minutes of really, really bad tennis), then stopped at another friend’s house to learn how to take care of their cats, turtles, & chickens this weekend while they are gone, then came back to my house to water the landlord’s plants while they are out of town as well, then showered and am now eating dinner (gotta love frozen dinners) while writing this!

We haven’t been in class even 2 weeks and I already have a 3-inch ring binder (we’re talking like 700 pages here) stuffed to the brim that barely even fits in my backpack. I have about 30 different e-mails of presentations/notes I need to print out and I am scared that it is going to overflow the binder. While most of the notes are supposed to last us all semester, it’s still scary! I say that because I am staring at my binder right now in a mixture of repulsion and awe. Mostly repulsion.

So, I need to go see what I need to read for tomorrow and prep my stuff. It’s already 9pm and I’m just now sitting down, where does the time go????????

Tomorrow and Friday should be easier days, so I am hoping (I’m full of empty promises) that I’ll eventually write a post of prosperity and merit! Ok not really. Maybe at least I’ll add the two new OT blogs I found to my sidebar (Hi Cathy and Set a Man on Fire).

Good night.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

17 Jul 2007

Total Procrastination

Okay my brain is frazzled right now.
This morning we had a speaker come talk on home health. Fascinating as always. This afternoon we had a lesson on eating disorders and finished up our substance abuse chat. I'd like to write a post on how OTs can help with abuse/eating disorders/mental health in general, but it won't be today. After classes ended Camiell and Anna came over so we could work on making up a family history for a man with dementia and uses a walker. This will be given to another group. We have to fake modify two rooms in my house to handle a power wheelchair and bilateral upper extremity muscle weakness. Today we just measured all the walls in the affected rooms and will meet again Thursday to draw up the original floor plan. Then I started laundry, then my landlord called to show me what all to water for the next two weeks while they are out of town. This requires a LOT of time as they have a ton of plants, but I don't mind at all since they are so good to me. But I have to work in 3 hours and I still need to have dinner, shower, do a bunch of reading for class tomorrow, work on my Ruffini receptors presentation for tomorrow, organize the ton of stuff I printed out today, and just in general prep for tomorrow. So tons of things are swirling through my brain and it's hard to focus. It's also hard to get started. I feel like I've been on the go nonstop and I desperately want to rest my brain. Too bad there is no time for that!

I also want to spend more time on www.otility.com. It seems like a great resource and they have some message boards. I'm hoping I can get back to it in the next day or two. Not to mention the newest disability blog carnival is going on (where a bunch of people write blog posts about disabilities and submit them to one area) and I want to read them too! Ryn Tales (see link on sidebar) has a link to it on her blog, in case anyone is interested.

So….yeah. Tomorrow we have class 8 to 5 but if I can just clear that hurdle, Thursday and Friday won't be that bad at all.

I am pretty sure I will only get about 4 hours sleep tonight at best. Gotta keep truckin'.

Maybe I'll write more clearly tomorrow.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

17 Jul 2007

La la la…the start of week 2

This morning, we had a computer lab session today to go over using stat analysis in Excel. This afternoon, we had our beloved psychiatrist come give us a lecture on schitzophrenia and personality disorders. It was, as before, both fascinating and depressing. Then we had a class with the professor across the state, to learn about substance abuse and how OT’s can help in that arena. It was interesting material, but there were technological difficulties with the distance learning all afternoon, which was frustrating for both campuses. Overall it was just a “blah” day for me…I felt rather “dysphoric” if you will! (ahaha, I totally crack me up). After classes ended at 5, Brooke, Allison, Meg, and I then went to the gym. I was really hoping that I’d get some endorphin action to boost my mood, and luckily it worked. But now I am tired again, and it is only 8:20pm and I haven’t even started actually doing homework. Augh! Really really really tired! So I am procrastinating by writing in this blog for another minute or two and then I’ll somehow find the energy to do a little reading. It’s going to be an early night, I think.

While we were discussing substance abuse disorders, I got a little overwhelmed. Not by the material presented, but by the idea that us OTs could help someone with SO MANY PROBLEMS get their life back on track. We had a fake case study of an alcoholic and when we made his “problem” list, it was really long. It’s hard to imagine tackling so many issues successfully.

I think this is the shortest blog entry I’ve written in a long time, I know there are people dropping dead in amazement all over the world.

Tomorrow is luckily a shorter day. The big thing is that Camiell & Anna will be coming over to my apt to work on the home adaptation project. I don’t think any of us have ever made a floor plan before…should be a hoot. And by “hoot” I mean “architectural travesty”.

Good night.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

13 Jul 2007

Oh yeah, PS

Thanks for the shout-outs, Jackie and Angela!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

13 Jul 2007

Day 5: Woodworking and Wheelchair Mobility!


Today was really fun but sweaty and tiring!

Half the class met up upstairs at 9am in our lab to get acquainted with wheelchairs. Immediately, I made 3 mistakes. 1) I propped the outer door open 2) I got in a wheelchair and others followed suit before the professor got there and 3) I totally didn’t realize we had reading on the wheelchairs so uh, I didn’t do it. After a tense start based on people not having done the readings and not supposed to have been in wheelchairs, it got fun! Our professor named wheelchair parts, helped teach us how to adjust the foot/leg pads and gave us different cushions to try out. We had to use a ratchet and socket thing to adjust them and I have never touched one in my life. I was so lost. I am going to go ask one of my handyman friends (hi Burt) to let me experiment with ratchet/sockets sometime soon. Then we went downstairs, 5 of us in wheelchairs and 5 of us pushing, and started navigating. We went outside and practiced going up and down curbs, which was really surprisingly hard in some positions! I wasn’t able to bring someone up off the curb backwards.We also went on ramps and practiced tilting. It was hot/humid so it was sweaty work but good practice and fun. I took a ton of pictures because I think it is really important to document our journey pictorially, both for my own sake as well as all the girls in the class.

This way they have pictures to show their friends & family, and also we have pictures that can be used for promotion/publicity reasons. Unfortunately I can’t share the pictures of others here since I don’t have permission, although I may ask the class if there is anyone who is NOT okay with normal pictures being used here since I bet most would be fine with it. Okay moving on, sorry got sidetracked. Anyways, then Allison and I went to go work out, and then we meet Brooke for lunch and went to a yummy nearby cafe. I had a roasted chicken salad sandwich and felt so virtuous since I am trying hard to lose some weight. I did get one oh so sinfully delicious hush-puppy though, I was in heaven. Then it was back class to go to WOODWORKING (we were divided into three sessions so there was only 6 of us in each session).

I’ll admit I was nervous about woodworking. I’m kind of a slow learner when it comes to hands-on things, and I had no experience in this arena. Luckily the woodworking instructor (who is also a professor/dentist) was pretty much the most amazing person ever, so he made it a lot of fun and easy. We are constructing toolboxes. We had to take 8-foot pieces of wood and cut them down for the toolbox, using a handsaw. Then we got to use a table saw (?) for the beveled edges for the sides of it, and then use a drill thingie to make a one-inch hole for the toolbox dowels. Even though I tried really hard and was using a level and everything, I never once got a line straight. Or even if the line was straight, I would only saw a tiny bit correctly and then my saw would magically deviate elsewhere so I never cut it straight. I wasn’t surprised though, I have NEVER in my life cut or drawn a straight line. So my toolbox probably won’t fit together so well, hmmm. Oh well, as long as I can guide others as an OT and not have to do the straight lines myself, I guess it won’t matter. It was really enjoyable and again we took lots of fun pictures. I was glad Brooke had previous set experience in woodworking and was a huge help to me. I have confidence issues!

Anyway, I just got home, showered, and posted a bunch of pictures to Facebook. Now I’m typing this up quickly and gonna hang out/work a few hours before I work at 9pm. Tomorrow I’m hanging out with Brooke and we’re going to have a “What Not to Wear” tv-show marathon since I clearly need help in that arena. I’m bringing my schoolwork too though since we both need to work on it. That night we’re going to another OT girl’s house who recently got married and moved, so that should be fun. She’s invited the class over.

I doubt I’ll post this weekend, but we’ll see. It depends on how exciting my schoolwork gets and if it subsequently inspires me…hmm, unlikely this weekend.

I’ve noticed I use the words “fun”, “interesting”, “fascinating” and “exciting” a lot in my most recent posts Maybe I need a thesaurus, but it’s hard to describe it any other way. It’s JUST SO FUN INTERESTING FASCINATING AND EXCITING!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 4

13 Jul 2007

The end of the week draws neigh, or whatever that means…

Yay, it’s already Thursday. I’m going to try and be quick tonight since I need to make up a Powerpoint on a Ruffini receptor and I am tired.

Basically we learned more about visitable & accessible environments in our “Perspectives of Adult Development” class, then had an introduction to our new class of Research Project design, then I went to a faculty/student meeting, and then we had class on wheelchair mobility/acessibility/design. All the classes (well ok, research is kind of dry to me but whatever) were really and truly fascinating. You wouldn’t think it would be interesting to learn about pressure points in different types of wheelchair seatings, but it really was. Sorry to keep beating dead horses, but in the recent book “Miracles Happen” about the vent-dependent quad who graduated from Harvard, one of the main things that almost kept her from graduating was a bad pressure sore that wouldn’t heal.

Then Allison & I headed to a local pediatric hospital to learn more about a big affair they are throwing for their Rehab kids, since some of our class members will be helping adapt some typical carnival games for those kids, who vary in ability. Then we headed to the gym and thought we would be taking a spinning class, but we got the time wrong. So we ended up doing 20 minutes of yoga with (I’m sorry) a really inexperienced, therefore not so great, instructor. At one point somebody farted (I mean tooted) and I thought Allison and I were going to die trying not to laugh hysterically. I had to stop looking at her and I cried laughing. For like the second time this week. I think Allison is bad for me since she keeps making me laugh at inappropriate times! Anyway, it was fun. We finished our workout, I headed home to shower/eat, and now somehow it’s like already 930pm! It’s craziness!

Tomorrow we get to actually take wheelchairs outside to experiment with navigating on curbs/ramps etc and get a feel for them, and we also have our first woodworking class. I’m nervous, I totally don’t know what to expect and I’d kinda like to not saw off my hands. I have really, really, pathologically-poor visuospatial abilities, and I’ve never cut or drawn a straight line in my life, so I am concerned I’ll be BAD at this. It makes me sad because I want to be more like Ora Ruggles and be like, amazing at everything.

Oh, and the coolest news yet – I might get to do my specialty 3-month level II fieldwork in vestibular rehab! That sounds so exciting! If anyone has any good resources or has done vestibular rehab before, please share your thoughts.

Ok, sorry no pictures and just a boring post today, what can I say…I’ll try to come up with something amazing for this weekend, and by amazing I mean “slightly more interesting than my typical boring post”.

Karen

PS: My current favorite quote by another OT student during one of our dramas, in true George Orwell fashion: “It’s not that we don’t like each other, it’s just that we like some people more than others!”…
PS2: I just realized this post is insanely long just like the rest of my posts even though I promised I’d be quick. What can I say…

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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