Sorry for the blogging neglect. I hate the neglect because it's hard to attract new readers when all I do is say “More later, too busy!”
This thermal modalities course is pretty exhausting and I haven't had much time. Tomorrow we will HOPEFULLY get done early, and I am going to try and catch up on a few things as well as start a few projects that are coming due rapidly!!
Occupational therapy school, as always, is a wonderful thing that I recommend to everyone, but right now we are in a MARATHON of work and it's hard! You better be passionate about OT school (or any graduate school!) if you are going to survive it!
Hopefully tomorrow or Sunday I'll have lots to share with y'all about the last few days!
Ok, now I need to go study ultrasound and cryotherapy in preparation for the labs & tests & practicals tomorrow. I'm going to do it just 30 minutes and then just go to bed no matter what since I need to be up less than 6 hours later!
* And a Special Shout-out to Sarah's parietal, frontal, occipital, sphenoid, and ethmoid bones.
We had the Thermal Modalities course from 1pm to 6pm today (we got out early because the professor is sick), and we are supposed to have it from 8am to 6pm tomorrow and 8am to 6pm Saturday. THAT IS A LOT OF HOURS! TEN HOUR CLASSES FOR SEVERAL DAYS! AUGH! At least we will be certified in modalities. We did hot packs and paraffin and fluidotherapy (ground up corncobs!) today, and tomorrow we do ultrasound and cryotherapy, I think. We have multiple written tests and multiple lab practicals each day. Ugh.
I'm hoping we get out a little early each day, especially since I work 9 to midnight tomorrow. A 8am to 6pm class then working 9pm to midnight is killer!
Anyway, I'm exhausted and going to bed.
In IM last night with OT soulmate sister Patti:
Me: OMG OMG OW OW OW THIS BUTTER IS TOO HOT, OW
Me: OW OW OW OW
Patti: Don't be so orally defensive.
Today has been a blah day!
We had our final occupational therapy group today, and the group was on “closure”. It was nice and light-hearted. Then we had research project training for 2 hours, where we would spend long periods of time agonizing over the change of just a few words. I have a very detailed brain so this is the kind of thing I love. I'm pretty sure it's torture to the other girls though.
We learned how to give the Timed-Up-And-Go (TUG) test, the Standing Functional Reach test, etc.
Then, by some random remark by one of my professors, I ended up writing a quick blurb (and attached pictures) about Backpack Awareness day and submitted it (and it was accepted) for the next edition of our UT publication. That was cool. It takes a long time to write just a few sentences though!
THEN we had a occupational therapy media lab. It was making “Something out of Nothing” and I was excited about gluing random crap together. Which was silly, because doh, of course we wouldn't have a lab on that. Instead we were given case studies and goals for children and then had to make something that would help the child meet the goal, using just the random stuff lying around. It was challenging and a good lesson but I was sad because I just wanted to glue stuff.
THEN I went to a PiYo class (Pilates/Yoga), THEN I came home and goofed around when I should have been studying.
I was supposed to journal about today, and I just had no words. I was blah. It's the first time I haven't been able to ramble on endlessly.
So….I got nothing done today related to occupational therapy. I'll pay for it later!
Tomorrow we start our Thermal Modalities class for certification, it's a big deal. We have it from 1-5pm tomorrow, 8 to 5pm Friday, and 8 to 5pm Saturday. It's gonna be a horrible weekend. Especially because I have three projects due next week! Losing a Saturday is a devastating blow, but we are lucky to have this opportunity, so I'm going to try not to complain too much.
In general, I guess I'm a little bewildered about things. Kinda blah, kinda anxious, kinda unsure. The class dynamics are shifting with all the stress and everything just feels unstable. I'm sure it will all be fine soon.
Pictures and more fun blogging soon. If Brooke read this post she would call me “Debbie Downer” right about now.
So, you know my beautiful and profound “Balance of Occupation” post below? Since the time I wrote that post, I have A) cried on the phone to a friend about the stress, and B) been feeling like I'm having one long anxiety attack. I haven't been able to eat more than a few bites at lunch because the anxiety suppresses my appetite. Several girls in my class have discussed crying at night because they just don't feel they can handle the stress of occupational therapy school anymore. That is NOT said to scare away any prospective students – this is an anomaly for everyone to be so stressed. so don't freak out. Any graduate school program is going to have its ups and downs.
Yesterday, THREE GIRLS!!!!! IN ONE CLASS DAY!! CRIED!! AT DIFFERENT TIMES!! OVER DIFFERENT PROJECTS!!! And in all cases I was right there for the melt-down! (But I swear I was not the cause). It was a bad day, full of snarls and claws. Everybody was snippy and snappy and while I started the day in an okay mood, I was STRESSED by that afternoon. I called my friend and cried about it. It ended up being a better night though, it was Allison's pre-birthday and so Brooke and I took her out to a local Mexican restaurant called Los Compadres. We shared a margarita (Allison's first taste) and had a great time. So it got better.
Today, I realistically know that I've finally gotten close to caught up in my projects, and I shouldn't be so stressed out. But my body has a hard time listening to my brain. My heart rate is staying rapid, I feel fatigued and worried, and my tummy feels knotted. I went and worked out, hoping for an endorphin hit, but it never came. So I went to the grocery store to stock up, and now I'm home and writing in this a few minutes to chill out.
Tonight I work at 9pm, so I have 4 and a half more hours to get stuff done. I'm going to try and work hard on my book-based occupational evaluation, work on a community initiative paper, practice my assessments for tomorrow, and well, yeah, those are my three occupational therapy goals for the night. My non-OT goals for the night are to try and calm down and think about how I need to remember the lessons I learned and discussed in my Balance post below!
By the way, I'm going to give a shout-out to Google Docs. If you have gmail, you can have access to Google Docs, which allows you to share a document with other invited people. It's somewhat like a wiki, only private. I highly recommend it for OT students doing a lot of group projects – it's hard constantly downloading/uploading new versions and keeping track of things. The only word of caution is that it is beta (although stable), and so I highly recommend you do save the occasional draft to your hard drive, just in case.
Have a great day everyone. I'm pretty sure I'll post tomorrow on our final Group Dynamics session, my research group's first day of practicing assessments, and our media lab, which will focus on making something out of nothing.
Update: I’m taking this post down for good reason!
I wrote a small article that had to do with the balance of occupation (similar to my original post on the balance of occupations but not exactly the same), and I got a copyright release form! I don’t think that writing an informal version on my blog counts as a publication, but just in case, I’m taking this one down! It should be published in OT Practice in February if everything goes right!
Meg gave me permission to put this up. It’s different positions to use with the Reiki technique, using chakras. I took a bunch of pictures with her being silly and then used Picasa to turn it into a grid collage.
I just wrote three new occupational therapy posts below on adaptive technology, the VALPAR CWS 7, and therapeutic handling, so check it out.
I’ve been working on projects and I still have several big ones to go but I took a break to blog. Here are some blog posts I have in my brain:
1. Type A+ (can you stand the excitement, Mamachill?)
2. Top Ten Rebuttals Occupational Therapists can Give People Who Think Your Job is Just Playing/Common Sense
3. Life-saving books/toys/objects (imho) – I bet Patti can contribute some great items to this list with her multiple years as a rehab tech.
We had the second part of our therapeutic handling lab on Friday morning. We all showed up at the place and we were about to get started when the lights went out all over Germantown, TN. They stayed off for at least 30 minutes. We literally started watching occupational therapy sessions by flash-light. We were divided up into groups and we got to do some therapeutic handling techniques on the children. I don’t have any pictures since we were seeing actual patients and HIPPA is a scary beast.
One of the things I really liked about this lab is that it gives us more tools to use as rebuttal. I don’t know about y’all, but I get tired of hearing:
I) It looks like it’s just common sense. Why are you getting a master’s degree in something that I could do without training?
II) All you are doing is playing with the child. Why should you get paid so much for that?
The answer is – we are using play as the area of occupation that the child finds most meaningful at this point in his/her life. However, we aren’t just “playing”. We have advanced knowledge of anatomy & physiology, kinesiology & biomechanics, the neuromuscular system, and more. We’re working with all sorts of techniques you may not realize. Postural stability, enhanced proprioception, weight-bearing, joint compression, sensory integration, vestibular maturation, contracture prevention, ribcage expanding, using key points of control to facilitate movement patterns, etc.
Speaking of ribcage handling! I never knew that children are born with high ribcages, and that through natural movement/development, the ribcages move downward. Children who for whatever reason don’t get this movement may end up with high, small ribcages. The therapist can do ribcage handling to help facilitate the downward movement of the ribcage as well as the expansion of the ribcage, to allow the child to breathe better. Pretty neat!
I’ve mentioned the VALPAR a lot lately, since Stephanie and I are doing a presentation on it Tuesday.
Basically VALPAR is a corporation that does a lot of industrial-rehab related assessments. They have a line of work samples that help test a person’s ability to handle a job using similar needs. The Work Sample 7 looks at sorting, color discrimination, finger dexterity, etc. It’s a great assessment, although not very holistic – an occupational therapist who worked in industrial rehab would probably use the VALPAR as one of several assessments, in order to get a better feel for how ready the worker is to tackle a similar line of work.
It also, incidentally, turns out that “valpar” means puppies in Swedish, so if you search for VALPAR on google or youtube, you’ll see a lot of doggie pictures and a lot of the Swedish language. (I speak Norwegian and Swedish is similar so it’s easy to recognize. In Norwegian it is spelled “valper” though).
Stephanie and I have made our Powerpoint, printed out scoring sheets/administration list for everyone, made a VALPAR video of the administration directions, found silly pictures for “breaks”, and we are READY. Well, except for practicing.