South America, Year in Review, etc- Occupational Therapy

Haven't forgotten about my sad neglected blog. Just busy. in South America now for a while. Meeting with a rehab director soon and hope to get to volunteer/shadow some OTs. I'm leery about posting much detail just yet for safety reasons and privacy reasons. Once I get more info I can hopefully go into more detail. Still gotta work on finding a job in La Jolla CA area!!! That's been on hold but needs to get crackalackin'. Updated my resume at least. Wish I was more comfortable in phys dys and especially wish I liked SNFs (skilled nursing facilities) since that's where the money's at lol. But alas that's not where my heart is, so I doubt it. Bleh. It's 3am. I was reading the new novel “Room” which is FASCINATING. I can't remember what all the blurb says so I don't want to give anything away but at one point it does mention the best treatment for the child would be a mental health OT 🙂 A lot of really REALLY interesting sensory tidbits. I highly recommend. That's why it's 3:15am right now – because I started reading it on my Kindle at like midnight and couldn't stop until I finished it. Boooo.

I'm soo paranoid about safety while being here so I am scared to even share tomorrow (at this point, today's) agenda, but I guess tomorrow I can discuss where we were! I'd rather be safe than sorry, blah blah blah.

I miss connecting with the blogging world. I felt pretty self-empowered and excited when I was really within the OT blogging world, and I loved all the reflection/thoughts/sharing/networking that went along with it. I highly highly recommend it as a supplementary tool to your education, with caveats of course in terms of privacy etc. As I've always said I wish SOOOOOO bad I could just share all my stories from being an OT here but it's too difficult. Too paranoid about all the privacy laws, even if I do muddle stories around.

I can't remember if I just shared recently that I had an ex-patient send me a snail mail. (My co-workers gave her my addie with my blessings). She had post polio syndrome and other issues and we really bonded. She'd even do things like bring us (we had a tiny satellite clinic) extra grapes from the store! She wrote me a 3 page note just updating me on life and asking me about my own. It meant a lot to me. I wrote her back. I've often thought about her and how she was doing…but I think of all my main patients, ie all the ones I had over at least a few months time span. I've had other patients, all after discharge, either stop into the clinic to say hello, or bring small gifts (things like homemade water color painting, grapes, fresh fish from a fishing trip, etc). Probably the most unexpected thing a patient did to me this last year – was – get this – FOLLOW ME HOME FROM THE CLINIC IN HIS AIRPLANE (I was driving – he knew I lived in employee housing of the main Institute.) Quite a story. Very startling when happened but it was with good intentions…freaked me out at the time though!

Anyway. Tangent. You have to be very careful with boundaries etc when dealing with patients – you do get close when spending a lot of time with them – I appreciated the small things but most of all I appreciate just hearing how a patient is faring down the line. Just knowing how they are doing and knowing they think of me fondly – as I think of them. I can't remember exactly the ethical boundaries of gift-giving with patient/OT care- I know like it's not really acceptable to do large gifts or gifts while in the care of the OT, but my understanding is that small gifts after discharge is not illegal or unethical or anything. Bleh. Wish I could remember the laws exactly. This seems like something that would get discussed in an ethics class “Is it ethical to accept this gift under this scenario?” As I recall when we had our own ethics class we students got frustrated that there rarely seemed to be a perfect black/white answer. 🙂

I try and think back on my first year as an OT and it's all such a blur. I know the things I enjoyed most were always education-related, such as empowerment via knowledge of energy conservation, joint protection etc….like the ones with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, etc. I remember one lady with fibro being so frustrated with all her doctor visits and the unrelenting fatigue and pain. We discussed all these principles of energy, joint protection, and how she could use these techniques/tools/devices to minimize pain, increase energy, etc. I really tried to focus on empowerment – that she was a smart problem-solver and with this knowledge, she had the power to make changes that would make her life better. That it was not her passively being “fixed” by a therapist temporarily, but her own active involvement in her own treatment. I only saw her a few times but she kept saying “This is exactly what I needed”. I knew she had a high co-pay she couldn't really afford so I tried to REALLY max out our time together. I saw her a month or so later in the waiting room (getting something from the PT) and she was glowing. She looked so peaceful and calm and self-assured. We briefly chatted and it was clear she had changed her thinking. She was no longer a frustrated victim of fibro but an empowered survivor. Not to say it was all roses from then on out, but it made a difference. Those were the cases I loved the most. I actually want to go into more detail but seeing as how it's almost 4am and I'm supposed to be up in 4 hours, I better stop.

I need to get a surge protector for my laptop – I hear here they have a lot of surges and I don't want to fry it. I also need to go to bed. Busy day coming up. I should have gone to bed sooo long ago but my brain was just so full. I just completely stream of conscious rambled this all out with no look-overs so sorry if its completely impossible to read. Just had to share. Dunno how many readers I have left but maybe there are some pieces in here that will in some way get someone thinking! 🙂 It definitely got me thinking!!

Looooove, KD

Nov 01, 2010 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 12

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