25 Feb 2008

OT student learns some neat stuff…dementia

I wrote this hahardazardadly (sp) a few days ago. I thought it was neat even if my words dont' exactly sparkle. I'm trying really hard to get up the energy to do SOMETHING – Yesterday I had lunch with a friend, studied with her, went to an Oscars party at Brooke's, then studied with previous friend until 130am. And ended up awake until 3am because I had so much caffeine. Now I'm all zonked out and lifting a pinkie finger is hard. I'm trying to decide between getting an oil change and my car checked out – BORING – or going to the laundrymat and a foam factory – BORING – and wishing I could do both at the same time for efficiency purposes. Hmm. I'll figure it out soon I guess. In the meantime, the story below – the one about the crystal especially – is awesome! To me at least.

I am on a Gerontology Listserv for Occupational Therapists, and I’ve gotten to read some really interesting posts lately by OTs about behavior in dementia they have encountered in practice, and how it even bizarre behavior has some sort of trigger. For example, there was a woman who kept on climbing on her chest of drawers and was at a high risk for falls, obviously. The OT assessed the situation and found out it mostly happened in the afternoon, and observed the woman. It turned out the woman’s roommate had a crystal in the window and around 2pm the sun would hit it in such a way as to make a kaleidoscope of dazzling colors on the chest of drawers. This was the trigger for her climbing. The crystal was moved and the problem was solved. That was my favorite story because that would totally be me with the crystal. J Another story: an older man who fell constantly. The OT did research and discovered he loved biking. She also discovered that he needed a lot of vestibular input and sensory integration-based interventions, or he’d start trying to self-stimulate and would end up falling. Yet another few stories: A man always groped his caretaker at nighttime during bath time. It seemed like a huge problem, but the OT discovered that historically, the man had always bathed with his wife at night before lovemaking. By moving the bath to the morning, the problem was solved. Basically, the OT is often an investigator. There were other stories involving men urinating in potted plants and the like. I really liked the discussion because they talked about validation theory, retrogenesis, behavioral triggers, and more. It’s amazing to me.

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

24 Feb 2008

OT student life = homework on weekends. At least it's not rocket science homework.

I held a sleeping 3-week old baby for several hours on my chest today. It was the youngest baby I've held there and I was thrilled I wasn't scared. I got in a comfortable position and kind of dozed too, but mindful of my tube-covered baby of course! It was wonderful. It's nice to look at his tiny little hands against their face and to feel his feather-light body against mine.

Today I'm working on the Little People Wellness project, Tai Chi research, Well Elderly Project. I also set up a person to do a geriatric occupational profile person on . I am doing it on my friend's grandmother.

I have some comments/thoughts going through my head about some of the answers the elderly people have been giving when asked about whether they are worthless (it's a standardized question on a geriatric depression scale – we have to ask).


Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

22 Feb 2008

OT students and meals on wheels experiences with MIFA.

MIFA 2 – 2/21/2008 (Memphis Interfaith Association, a meals on wheels type of program, that we are doing three times for school credit, including journaling the experience). I actually think it's a great thing for people to do, and a good way to remember how blessed most of us truly are. Below is what I wrote for my journal, it is somewhat free-form and informal, so don't judge me too harshly. The “you” I refer to is my professor.

Today was actually kind of fun and relatively different from last time. We were a little concerned because we had heard yet another horror story from some classmates about where they got sent.  The route we got sent on today made me nervous at first because it involved being on Chelsea, which is notorious for being a scary street. However, it ended up being enjoyable. Allison was a lot less scared this time and didn’t need me to keep turning off the car to go up with her, for most houses. Also, people came to the doors quickly. Last time it seemed every person took 5 minutes to answer their door, and it took us hours to get through 14 houses. This time we had 16 houses or so and we got done in less than an hour.  When we were in an area with two MIFA houses, we’d split up, and if I could be right near the door with the car, Allison would go up alone. We only went together to houses that were extra scary or if there were a lot of people around. She had to help me open a simple gate at one point. I have so much advanced knowledge, yet lack some basic skills…ok, I know you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, talking about how we were concerned about where we were and being frightened, but we’re still sheltered in a lot of ways, and we have to get some experience under our belt before we stop being nervous. I’m sure that’s a huge reason as to why you make us do this. But I get frustrated when seasoned people seem to think we are crazy for being scared. It’s only prudent to be safe, and it’s normal to be scared of being in unfamiliar bad areas of town.  Also, as young 20-somethings, when people are out, we typically get cat-called, which can be scary too.  After today, when it really wasn’t that bad and it went quickly, I could see how it would be fun to do this regularly. I might try and do it every few months, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to do it alone though.

                It was an adventure, twisting around to get food, flinging ice around by accident, searching for addresses…it is like being a pizza delivery man and wasn’t nearly as hard as I would have guessed. The instructions were surprisingly simple and easy to follow.  The scariest part today was when we drove up to a house that had a German shepherd with a spiked collar hanging out next door, and several other strays near the car. We didn’t know what to expect, especially in regards to the German shepherd. We kind of hesitantly opened the door, ready to close it again if the dogs came to us. Luckily they ignored us and so we went ahead. When we got back, we told Helen that was the scariest thing we dealt with, and she said she doesn’t do dogs, and will keep driving if that happens to her. That made me laugh because here she guilt-tripped us about going to unsafe places but then admitted she won’t do dogs, which we were okay with braving. Honestly, unless I was so scared I'd want to pee my pants, the guilt trip of knowing someone wouldn't eat because of me, motivates me enough that I'll push my boundaries far beyond normal limits.

Sometimes we would pull up to a house, then realize we could maneuver the car in an easier way, and frequently you would see movement in the house like WAIT STOP FOOD. So we’d stop maneuvering the car to avoid their heart attack and just run in. It seems like some people just sit there, waiting for us, and that is sad to me.  At one house, we knocked on the door and got no answer. A man on the porch two houses down said, knock on the window to your left instead, she’s in her bedroom. So we did and it worked. That was so nice of him. We haven’t really had any problem at all doing this – I am having my eyes opened with this experience. Some people have more than others, and some areas might have more crime, but overall, most neighborhoods do have compassionate and kind people in them who are just doing the best they can under the circumstances. When you drive around, it’s so stereotypical – vulgar graffiti on dumpsters and walls, stray dogs, trash strewn around, R.I.P alters,  boarded up houses…it’s like being in a movie. And now I realize the people in most of those houses are just normal people. Not every house has angry gang members inside waiting to pop out. That’s not to say I’d go cruising in the area on a nice summer night, but overall it helped me have some more compassion. My anthropology professor in college once made us write a paper about a life changing experience, like going abroad, but he said – unless you went for at least a year, I don’t want to hear about it. Don’t tell me your life was changed after three months in another country, it takes longer than that for true change. So luckily I’d been gone a year and could do my story. But anyway, I feel like I’m being trite and stupid when I say that it changed me or opened my eyes – doing MIFA twice is not exactly a mind-boggling experience to most and it’s certainly not much exposure. I’m really not trying to act like I’m now a new person just because I was in a bad part of town a few times or that I deserve some reward. I just mean I’ve gained some new insights, which are important to me, and I want to continue to do so. My twin sister used to live in the ghetto in Washington D.C. and when I visited her, I was freaked out when we visited her old area, and she thought that was amusing. Now I better understand why older/seasoned people find it funny when we act so scared – there's really not much to be scared of, after all.

                One last thing – I’ve learned that in most cases, a friendly nod and smile or wave goes a long way. When driving slowly around, there are a lot of people walking on the street, and it’s so easy to just acknowledge them briefly, instead of acting scared. I think it’s true you have to fake it until you make it – show no fear, and hopefully you will A, not anger or hurt anyone, and B, eventually believe it yourself. I’ve always been a big fan of acknowledging others on the street even when my passengers think that’s stupid. I guess in general I like talking to strangers. I honestly wish, sometimes, that I could just talk to random strangers about their lives, Tracy Kidder style. It fascinates me. I used to want to write a book just based on spending weeks with a bunch of total strangers in various areas. I don’t know why I bring that up now – I guess because I can see how it would be neat to have the same route each week, getting to actually know your consumers and learn more about their stories. We have one more MIFA run coming up, and I'm almost looking forward to it. Watch us end up in the scariest neighborhoods EVER….lol

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

22 Feb 2008

Vandy has an awesome peds rehab place opening up…

This place looks AWESOME. Vanderbilt U in Nashville has a new pediatric rehab services opening up. Look at the description!!!


Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

21 Feb 2008

Bad news, good news…OT student blither-blather

Bad news:

A) I still hate Google for dropping me – DO YOU HEAR THAT GOOGLE? DO YOU HEAR THE BITTERNESS??????!! lol…in process of trying to figure out why, via Google Help boards. An algorithm thing I think.

B) I did not make the ASD Steering Committee ::sobs::, I got an e-mail saying I was unsuccessful. Somehow the wording stung. Ouch. Oh well. Thanks all who took the time to vote for me, and it's gonna be okay, I'll make my OWN DAMN CHANGES TO THE CENTENNIAL VISION!!! In your face Penelope Moyers!! Just kidding I love you… (Kerri said I shouldn't say that because it would burn bridges, but if you don't know by now I'm the biggest exaggerator in the world, then, well, you have no brain.) I would totally hug Penelope Moyers if she walked up to me right now. I promise. Even if I am hurting with the devastation. Ok new topics.

Good news:

A) I had my second MIFA (generic meals on wheels) run with OTS Allison for our occupation centered practice with adulthood class, and it was kinda fun and neat. More details later. The scariest part was probably the German Shephard with the spiked collar wandering one of the streets.

B) Writing the SOAP note/initial evaluation on a real patient was fun (as fun as homework can be, that is). It's due soon. I should probably go finish that.

C) The poor MOT 1's are really stressed right now with anatomy and frames of references presentations, and while I feel bad for them, the good news is, I should never have to be that stressed again. It's like a rite of passage, at least at my school. If you can make it the first year, you'll survive. It's gonna be okay, MOT 1s…remember us OT big sibs are here for y'all. We say “give me your poor, your tired, your…I forget the rest. Anyway, this semester, comparatively, is like a stroll down a sunny cherry blossom road. I should be a writer with that kind of poetry flowing from my neurons.

D) Cookie Gimp: I won't do any more narcissistic campaigning posts. 🙂

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

21 Feb 2008

OT student M&M addiction, thought-provoking comments, and music as a therapeutic language….yeah I don't know how to NOT be random. Or concise.

I just got my e-mail back down…and I'm taking a quick break so thought I'd quickly share.

By the way, we did a media project the other day where we made cookie jars with ingredients (M&Ms) and decorated them etc. Well I made them for some friends, but then I rationalized

A) they are on a diet

B) It isn't their natural organic ingredients they use

C) I wasn't sure I measured the flour and sugar accurately

So. I decided I had no choice but to eat the M&Ms. I strained the flour and sugar out using my strainer for the first time in like a year, and got white powder all over my kitchen table and floor, and myself, and made a mess in the sink. And then I got white powder over myself as I ate M&Ms until I felt sick. That was dinner. Now I'm feeling sick because M&Ms is not the best dinner for a hypoglycemic, or anyone I guess. Just thought I'd share my story of M&M addiction. 🙁 I almost took pictures of the incriminating white powder evidence…lol

Ok now onto the real point. I'm just copy/pasting some comments I got recently that I'd like you all to see due to it including neat information/valid points.

Joey, oh you awesome Joey, says regarding Little People “

Maybe you have seen this already….but just wanted to let you know about a movie about Little People that I watched a few years ago, as it seems you are doing a project about Little People.  It's fiction, not a documentary.  I don't remember how informative it was, but I remember some parts of it being interesting.  As a warning though, I don't remember thinking it was cinematic brilliance.  But just in case you are bored one night (unlikely with all the work you have I know!).  The movie is called “Tiptoes” and it has Kate Beckinsale, Gary Oldman, and Matthew McConaughey. “

Kristin says, regarding taking play seriously:

I've been on OT w/peds for about 8 years and I always tell my families that I do “play with a purpose!” It's supposed to be fun for the kids and most often they don't realize that they're working.

Anonymous said ” Ahhhhh, that scares me! I thought OT was supposed to an in-demand career in itself!” about the OT in mortal danger post. Don't worry, anonymous, us OTs have a great job outlook. It's just an opinion piece with a doomsday outlook. My philosophy is to not be Chicken Little, but to wear a helmet just in case. 🙂 SO GO TO OT SCHOOL!!!

OT student Karajojo, coolest name ever, says, regarding the movie Murderball:

we watched murderball the first year of my OT program and then one of the guys actually in the movie came to speak to us. it was really eye opening and covered a big variety of topics involving SCIs. it was crazy how physical they get…i could never do it. 🙂 anyway, just wanted to say that. he came all the way to north dakota, so i'm sure he'd come to other schools!

 One last random thing: My friend Suzanne, music lover, sent this article to me, about how “music mends minds after strokes”, helping them with mental function and lessening depression. I thought this was particularly interesting as I just finished reading Temple Grandin's Animal in Translation (?) book, and she talked about her theory that music was possibly our first language, and that music IS a language. Pretty neat.



Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

20 Feb 2008

My um, OT student schedule for this week. Yeah. Exciting…

We got to do a chart review and a fake initial evaluation on real patients today! And now we have to write a SOAP note! Due tomorrow! Midterm grade! Augh!!!

That's the main thing I'm working on tonight…well along with Little People project, and Tai Chi Research Introduction part of paper…

Today I spent the morning doing Tai Chi assessments, then the afternoon doing eval, walking landlord's dog while he was gone, and now working on SOAP note in a second.

Tomorrow is meals on wheels type thing in morning, then staff meeting for VPs of Academic Affairs & faculty, then finishing up SOAP note as needed, then preparing for management…etc.

Friday is Tai Chi assessments all morning, class all afternoon. Work 9 to midnight.

Phew. Kinda busy week… good thing it's kinda fun, even when it's stressful!!

I'll try to catch up on blog reader emails soon. I swear my mailbox balloons EVERY DAY AUGH

I need me some occupational therapy. Did you hear that Google? Did you? I'm a prolific OT poster and it's NOT FAIR YOU DROPPED ME IN RANKINGS FOR SOME OBSCURE STUPID REASON AND I AM SAD.

PS: I need to remember to write about our media presentation the other day, doing our memory fortune cookies….

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

20 Feb 2008

Frame of Reference Joke that will make you nauseated

Q: What conclusion did the sweet potato come to, after doing an activity using the *Psychosocial Frame of Reference?

A: I yam what I yam!!!!

*This frame of reference (shudders at flashback of unfair and horrible test last semester) is all about SELF-IDENTITY!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

20 Feb 2008

OT in mortal danger? Augh!!

Nivea, an incoming OT grad student, recently posted a message board entry she found through ADVANCE. It was by an anonymous OT and how he/she thinks the profession is in mortal danger. What do y'all think? Go visit her OT blog and check it out.


Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

19 Feb 2008

Remember your OT manners: Allison, Guest Blogger

Soapbox time!!  Let’s get sudsy!  I am writing this to let professionals know how important it is in healthcare to take your time and inform patients of what you are doing and why you are doing it.  My fiancé and I went to the hospital to visit his grandfather several months ago.  He is in his eighties and was put in the hospital due to pneumonia and dehydration.  He is very hard of hearing so when we spoke with him we had to talk loudly into his left ear.  We were just about to leave when a respiratory therapist came in to begin his breathing treatment.  She knocked on the door, came in, and went straight to business.  As soon as she put the mask over his face, he began to pull at it to take it off.  She stated to him that he couldn’t take it off.  As I sat there I wondered what I would think if I had been lying in bed in pain, and then someone comes in and puts something over my nose and mouth that is blowing cloud-like air all over my face.  Scary!  I quickly went over to his side and explained that she was giving him his breathing treatment to make it easier for him to breathe.  I told him that he just had to wear it for a little bit, and then they would come and take it off.  Everything was fine and he left it alone.  Was that so hard?  Two sentences.  Just a little bit of extra time…or she could have spoken while hooking up all of the equipment.  Do not underestimate the cognitive level of your patient, whether they are in a coma-like state or if they are elderly.  So, let’s take our time and remember that we are there for the well being of each patient we treat.  Get personal- it’s not the old, confused man in 408…It’s Mr. Smith! 


~Allison, MOTS

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 5