5 Oct 2008

Seasonal feelings + start of week 2

Good first week, am definitely behind on blogging. Have a post going on pain tolerance but its still murky. Also haven’t forgotten my gerotranscendance and low vision seminar blog – I’m like two months behind on it – but it’s in a pile on my desk, it shant (that’s a weird word) be forgotten.

I have to admit I’m struggling a little bit – Fall is typically a very hard time of year for me and I have my good days and bad days dealing with some seasonal depression. Yesterday was very hard on me, today hasn’t been nearly as bad. I’m doing laundry and wrote up this poem – it’s a piece of crap but that’s okay – because it’s basically how I see the seasons. I’ve been getting daily poetry from the Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keiller sp on NPR) and it’s like word candy to me so um, yeah. Anyway. I’ve got to go finish laundry, run some errands, get ready for tomorrow, blah blah blah, so I better go…I’ll probably post again tonight about expectations for this week – scary – when procrastinating. Click the read More to see the poem, don’t blame me if your optic nerve shrinks.


Some call her Autumn

She peeks around the corner

embraced with open arms

Come in, come in! Stay!

Pumpkins and turkey and family holidays

Chilly nights, hot cocoa and cider

Rosy apples & crisp cheeks.

Her husband is Fall; Aptly named

He arrives; my sanity departs.

A perfect inverse correlation

Unable to focus on Autumn’s kindly warmth

I am too distracted by his morose accessories

He is Foreboding; Gray

His incessant rain a smothering blanket

An army of red, yellow, purple marching

A flamboyant pride parade

Mocking in their colorful suicide

Leaves plummet

So does my mood




Panic rises as the sun sets

Earlier and

earlier each day.

It has not been a nice trip

See you next Fall


Banging, banging, banging

Winter barges in

I grudgingly accept; there was no choice

Landscape barren and deeply frigid

Mother Nature with an empty womb

Naked trees in nudist colonies

Everything exposed

I am Winter Alice in Wonderland

Bewildered; grimly desperate

Forging on;

Feeling nuts

But not berries.

Hibernation a constant craving shhhh

Sleeping away the harshness


Tiptoes quietly

Has a gentle pulse

Bringing along her favorite 4-letter word:


New beginnings a cliché

But that’s why it’s true

Hey little buds; glad you’re finally arrived

Thawing warming growing

Popping up like prairie dogs

A crocheted blanket of blossoms

Prissily sashaying in the wind

Winter has left the building.


Timorous blossoms fading way

Into Verdant maturity

Says the thesaurus.

Mannerly trees sternly chiding

the riotous kudzu.

Informing Kermit it’s easy to be green

Drinks of sunshine and lemonade

Children and cicadas shrieking with joy

Darkness a distant memory

Baking in the sunshine

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1 | Tags:

1 Oct 2008

Day 2 of 2nd rotation – Level II OT student, physical dysfunction

Today was my second day and my first day with my OT supervisor. I had been warned she was quirky and foreign and blunt and smart, and she was all of those things. I liked her a lot. She had spent the last 10 days on an Italian cruise – got back Monday night and was at work Tuesday morning – and she was remarkably unfrazzled. We had six evaluations stacked up since no OTs were there Monday, plus six patients to treat. So the OT assistant took the six patients and my OT took the six evaluations (since assistants can’t do evals).

We had three total joint evaluations – two hips, one knee – plus a mild stroke, plus two deconditionings. I am glad to say I did not see any bowel movements taking place today since that’s not really my favorite thing to observe, LOL. I did see some private parts but I tried to discretely position myself in such a way that this wouldn’t happen so much. We often double-gown a patient to help them preserve modesty if they so desire.

My OT is very good about the basics of – surprisingly – INTRODUCING herself and explaining what OT is. You would be surprised at how many therapists just start with their business without any explanation. She likes to explain things and is very thorough. I learned a lot from watching her today and she is definitely a good OT.

I was given a lesson on their computer system and got to write up one of the evaluations with some help from her. It looks so easy watching her and then it’s my turn and I’m like wait, what goes where? It’s amazing how much electronic paperwork can be amassed – education forms, consultation forms, conference forms, rehab forms, blah blah blah!

Apparently my OT teaches a joint replacement class at the hospital and encourages doctors to send clients to it before surgery – which is a WONDERFUL idea since many people have no idea what to expect or what they will need post-surgery – anyway, one well-educated man greeted us today and was like y’all are the sock-putter-onners…. (we show them the stuff in a hip kit, which includes a device to put on socks without bending)….I know he meant it to be funny, but I sure hope he realizes we didn’t get Master’s degrees for the sole purpose of teaching him sock skills, LOL.

My friend Virginia had warned me my hospital didn’t get very acute patients and that seems to be true of the ones I saw today – even our stroke patient could move his fingers just a few days post-stroke, which is awesome.

I got there at 8am and we got done at 430- things went slower than normal because of the stacked-up evaluations and because my OT was showing me stuff – but it’s an investment in time because she is slowed down now but will benefit a lot from the free labor in a few weeks, LOL.

I think my OT and I have pretty complimentary personalities and she clearly isn’t going to throw me to the wolves, so I’m a lot less nervous/scared.

When I got home tonight I rested a while and then played “soccer” with the landlord and his dog who is quite good at getting the ball…ate dinner with them and went on a walk with them at the beautiful Chickasaw gardens….and also put together a tiny bag of OT stuff to put in my lab coat pocket. It has some little tongs and some small objects to pick up, a laundry detergent cap to manipulate around in the hand, and a flimsy goniometer that I put popsicle sticks on – with a head and legs – to demonstrate the 90 degree rule. Oh and some fake money – to do some cognitive function stuff, and/or to explain energy conservation and the concept of only having so much energy in a day and using it wisely. That was Virginia’s awesome idea she shared with me and I ran with it.

Okay so here is my happy moment of the day at fieldwork – I feel like I have a lot of deficits in understanding phys dys so it is important to me that my OT not find me to be completely incompetent since I sure feel I am in this area.

We saw a total joint patient who was getting a blood transfusion and very sleepy. I’ve been at a pediatric cancer hospital for years and know that chemo kids getting transfusions for their low blood counts get Benadryl during the procedure to help alleviate problems. Benadryl makes you sleepy. So I knew this lady was extra sleepy for that reason (of course also because of pain and recent surgery). Anyways I mentioned it and then my OT asked the nurse who confirmed it, so I looked smart! Yay!

We saw a lot of patients today whose loved ones were curled up on a sofa with a pillow and blanket, clearly resting – you see a lot of intimate moments in an acute care hospital – seeing people at times of great stress and fear in their lives – it’s so important to be respectful and understanding of this – a clear introduction, a smile, an acknowledgment of their ordeal – goes a long way. Okay good night.

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25 Sep 2008

Kristina is doing well….was at two peds hospitals…

My sister’s ACL reconstruction surgery went smoothly, she is home – her boyfriend is taking good care of her – and lucid…:) Thanks everyone for your prayers!

Today I observed at two pediatric hospitals, went to my university, went to the mall with some friends Sarah and Brooke, and now have Sarah over. Saw multiple children with brain tumors, amputations, etc.

Okay. So I started the day by going to St. Jude, the famous pediatric cancer hospital. I’ve been a volunteer there for over four years now! I observed sessions from 9am to 1130- mostly outpatient, one inpatient. The kids are scheduled for only 30 minutes because they are so understaffed in OT. First session was with a child with low vision due to having a brain tumor on his optic chiasm – he needs work on compensatory strategies, visual tracking, etc. Saw two other young children with arm amputations due to osteosarcoma; surprising since osteosarcoma usually hits adolescents and usually is in the legs, not arms. Left the hospital and took a wrong turn and ended up walking half the campus – then in wrong side of parking garage so totally confused – spent like 20 minutes before I finally figured out where my car was. Wow.

Went to UT and dropped off eval to fieldwork coordinator – sat with some of the MOT Class of 2010 for lunch – then headed to next pediatric hospital for a very late orientation. One of the ladies getting oriented was used to the TCU – where all the kids have vents – so Special Care was weird to her! LOL! I learned a few new things, and got to hold a baby that was 5 mo old but looked like a newborn burrito. Very tiny. She got a tiny tiny bottle and I got to feed her and it took her, like, forever, to finish. Then we toured NICU, but I don’t understand why – in my humble opinion, the average joe volunteer should NOT volunteer in a NICU – the babies are too complicated and have too many sensory needs. Very few NICU babies are developed enough that they should be held by a random person. ANYWAY, then I went down to the cafeteria to get a drink to leave, and lo and behold, there was my former OT, in the cafeteria with a 3 year old boy, doing a feeding session with him. I had about 15 minutes to kill and I love feeding sessions so I stuck around – social support is big in these sessions! She had him eating french fries, a rice krispie treat, and chicken – and dipping in ketchup with the “Dip, Dot, Eat” – since he has issues with textures like condiments. Several times he’d wrinkle up his nose and go “That’s naaaasty”, lol. A few times he said some really funny things and I wanted to burst out laughing and instead had to look down so he wouldn’t be reinforced.

Then went and picked up Sarah at dorms – after getting confused in the UT parking garage as to what floor I was – and we met up with Brooke at mall – hung out there a while – brought Sarah back to my house to talk about her stupid sociology project involving ethnic restaurants/endangered species since we went to a Middle-Eastern restaurant a few weeks ago for it. Am about to take her home.

Tomorrow I get to observe a low vision session, go to the gym, volunteer at the Alzheimer’s Day Center, and meet up with a friend to go to a free outdoor concert in the evening…then maybe a mini OT girl reunion tomorrow night. And somebody better be Tivo-ing Gray’s Anatomy and The Office for me!

Oh…and I need to write up questions from the fieldwork final due Friday, and um, I need to start reviewing neuro/ortho and stuff……….um um um lots of stuff….and I’m behind on e-mail and blog stuff. Ok I’m done therapeutically blogging for the night, everything is out of my brain for now.

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24 Sep 2008


I’m very nervous about this upcoming rotation. I’m easily flustered, have a very weak core/back, and um, I dunno. I’m just scared. Scared of hurting people, scared of saying inappropriate things, scared of hurting my back doing transfers, scared of sounding or being really stupid, etc. I have days where I am like – oh man – I’m going to be a good OT, I’m cool, I’m all that and a bag of chips (to go like all 1990s for a brief minute, forgive me)….but then days like today I talk to Virginia and Brooke and they both just had their physical dysfunction rotations and they are so smart and knowledgeable and awesome and I feel puny in their majestic presences.

I guess it’s a matter of comfort – I feel very comfortable in pediatrics working with developmental delay – but physical dysfunction is a whole nother (whole nuther? what in the world??? why do we say this? it makes no sense grammatically??) ballpark. I have very little interest in phys dys and so I don’t retain it well – Functional Independence Measures, mod/max/min assists, manual muscle testing, neuro-IFRAH, hip precautions, BLAH BLAH BLAH!! Scares me!

Ok moving on to the rest of the day that does not involve massive drama (but does involve getting massively lost)

Virginia is amazing and went over documentation with me from the hospital system I’ll be at that she just finished at – stuff like abbreviations in medical charts such as EOB (edge of bed), BSS (Bed side sitting), tf (transfers), LOB (loss of balance), plus she showed me/let me practice on her, getting a client with stroke out of bed, reviewing some Neuro-IFRAH stuff like how to facilitate scapular mobility while shrugging shoulders, retracting the scapula, etc. And Brooke came over too and we all had fun visiting with each other. 🙂


This morning I joined Curves gym – Kerri’s aunt owns the one at Exeter & Farmington and Forrest Hill Irene area – and had a CurvesSmart orientation – it is an AWESOME program – for women only – you have a circular circuit you do of machines (it takes about 35 minutes and you do the circuit twice) and the smart microchip keeps track of speed, range of motion, reps, etc, and it flashes different lights at you so that you know how you’re doing – you want to always work consistently in the green light – if it turns orange you are not working hard enough. So it pushes you like a personal trainer! The instantaneous feedback is exactly what I need and I highly recommend the Curves program – and those two locations – to any female looking for a fun easy way to do some strength training. Join. Tell them I sent you.

Let’s not talk about how I got completely lost getting there and had Kerri guide me over the phone, then got UTTERLY and futilely lost on the way home (both times I was going for adventurous short-cuts and failed miserably). I ended up in COLLIERVILLE when I was trying to get to Midtown. That’s like going to Hawaii on your way to Maine. Poor Brooke was waiting on me but she was amused at how lost I got and that apparently took away some of the sting, because yeah, that’s pretty bad. We had lunch at Soul Fish Cafe – yum – and walked around Midtown..including petting a cat through the mailbox slot at the closed House of Mews- then I ran some errands – including throwing a Fedex box in a Fedex thingie that probably wasn’t intended for boxes of that size so I’m curious to see what happens – ahahahaha – and met up with Virginia and Brooke…which I already talked about above. Fun day, better get to bed – tomorrow I observe/volunteer at one pediatric hospital in morning, then stop at UT to drop off some things, then have a very-very-very-very late orientation at the other pediatric hospital – I’ve been volunteering there for um, oh, I don’t know, many many many months now – so it’s pretty funny to me. Seems kinda silly. Maybe I’ll learn something new tomorrow though. Then I’m meeting up with some friends.
PS: My computer is acting up – I’ve done disk clean up and I’m running a virus scan and next I’m going to defrag – but pray for its poor electronic soul, for I am nothing without my laptop!!

Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2 | Tags:

22 Sep 2008

Holding babies today…

Held two adorable babies today….

Babygirl was only 3 weeks old and crying. Went in and saw she had a Rapoogl (spelling?) which means some careful maneuvering, but then I realized that um, it appeared she had completely pulled the line out of herself, as all the tape around her face was messed up and the line was sitting in the crib when I’m pretty sure it is supposed to be down her nose. …

So I help hold baby’s hands down while a nurse comes in (not her normal nurse since her normal one was at lunch) and re-inserts the thing through her nose all the way down into her stomach. Held her for a while but was a little uneasy as it didn’t appear the thing was working quite right. A pediatric surgeon doing his rounds came in and checked on her though and I mentioned it didn’t seem to be suctioning well but he said the stuff was just really thick and it was okay.

Next child, baby boy, was 3 and a half months old and cute as can be. He was getting a G-tube feeding so couldn’t be held, but he was wide awake and curious/active so I entertained him a long time. The nurse was telling me how the other day he started smiling and cooing at her and she was like Stop it! Stop smiling at me! I have to go! And it suddenly occurred to me that in some ways, a smiley engaging baby can be a hardship for nurses, because they are almost always in a hurry – so a baby that really wants attention/sweetness kinda tugs at their heart because they don’t have the time. Passive babies are easier because they don’t demand anything from you besides the basic care. You don’t feel guilty running in and out jsut doing procedures/medication/feeding because the child doesn’t engage/seem to care. It seems like a lot of babies stuck in the care units tend to become passive over time- they learn they have no control over anything, as they are often subjected to painful medical procedures they can do nothing about, and just don’t really even try anymore. These babies have to be taught to care, kinda. Like to show them a little ball near them is something they can reach for and have control over, not just watch passively. I mourn for children who are born with conditions like gastroschisis – with intestines outside of body – because the baby ends up in the hospital for at least a month if not much longer…if I were to have a baby that had to stay long-term in hospital, I’d do anything in my power to ensure someone was with him at all times because I have seen how hospitals run – even the best nurses are over-stressed, over-tired, over-run, over-scheduled, and it’s just easy to make mistakes or to miss things. I know most of the parents do not have the resources to afford this luxury and I’m sure I wouldn’t either, but it would kill me to know my baby was in the hands of others.

Anyway, I sang and massaged the little baby for a loong time and finally he fell asleep. I love these babies.

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22 Sep 2008

OTS Brooke is back in town…

This weekend was nice…Friday night after work went to a friend’s house for dinner, and saw some friends afte rthat. Saturday I mostly rested, went briefly to the park with landlords, and met up with some coworkers from my last rotation, to watch the LSU game. Sunday (today) I held babies at the hospital, went for an hour-long walk on the track with my mp3 player, cleaned my house thoroughly, went to landlords for dinner, went to Kerri’s house, then went to Huey’s to see Dempsey’s and BROOKE!

My classmate Brooke is back in Memphis…..there was some fieldwork drama and I feel like she got kinda screwed and I’m unhappy for her, but it’s a long story with multiple sides I guess. She is going to work full-time at a local bookstore instead of doing a rotation this time around, and then when everyone else is done with fieldwork she’ll be on her last rotation. Anyway, Kerri and I met up with her around 10pm at Huey’s (yummy restaurant) to see the Dempseys (famous Memphis band, they were in Walk the Line) play. It was fun. She showed us a picture on her iPhone of the guinea pig that the recreational therapist had at her setting, his name is Elvis, and during their 70s week, he was in costume. Apparently Brooke loved Elvis the guinea pig and tried to incorporate him into therapy any way she could. She was like “My patient can’t move? Time to try to pet Elvis.” I begged her to send me the picture. So here it is.

Brooke also ended up with a lot of toothpicks and straws in her hair, because that’s what happens late at night. See attached dark and blurry and sideways picture.

Ok, gonna write one more post about holding the babies and randomness, then going to bed!!

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20 Sep 2008


Friday was my final day at my first rotation. 6 more months to go (Most programs require two 3-month rotations, ours requires three). I thankfully passed with flying colors.

Because Thursday was so crazy, Friday I didn’t go along on home visits but instead went to the clinic to finish up all the paperwork I was supposed to have been able to finish Thursday.

Between 930am and 2pmish, I transferred all photos to a clinic computer, tried to do Medicaid plans of cares/addendums for three kids (but did not finalize, wanted her feedback), made an autism brochure in Microsoft Publisher (have never used it before, pretty cool), prepped a mileage chart/directions chart so that it can be a future project for someone else, filled out Thursday’s billing sheets, and a bunch of other stuff. Since I could work uninterrupted (the clinic is pretty much closed on Fridays because it’s a home visit day) and I’m a fast worker, I got a ton done.

My OT got back sometime after 2pm and did my evals. She wrote a lot of feedback which was really nice. Also, the clinic director called to let me know there was a big water vase of plant clippings on top of the fridge that were for me. They are clippings from plants she had way back in the late 1990s when she was just growing her business, and she wanted me to have them so I could have a similar experience of growth…very sweet. I ended up seat-belting the vase so it wouldn’t spill, ahahahaa. Got to leave around 330pm when OT was done with my fieldwork eval….and then had a fun night socializing.

It’s shocking to think I’ve completed 1/3rd of my rotations now…next is an acute care hospital. I have one week off so I don’t start next rotation until September 29th, but it’s a cram-packed week because I am going to go volunteer and/or observe at 4 places I volunteer at, although for the first time in 3 months because my hours have been so busy. Plus have lots of appointments scheduled, so I’m going to be running around busy. Will try to get in some rest though! Plus I need to do a lot of review of ortho/neuro/deconditioning/adult goals/documentation/FIM scores/manual muscle testing/transfers….etc…after 3 months of peds, I’m rusty!

It’s Saturday and I’m exhausted…been on the go go go so long. Going to do NOTHING but sit around and rest alone for a few hours. Catch up on some reading and decompress. Going with some friends tonight to see the LSU football game, at the speech aide, Haley’s, house.

I have a lot of blogging goals to catch up on FINALLY, this week!

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19 Sep 2008

Treatment stuff…

Funniest moment of day:

Child with Aspergers says to Child with Down Syndrome and Open Trach: “Hey! What’s that hole you have there?!

Note: Open trachs are not cool/normal (huge risk of infection) and it’s bizarre to see a child with a hole in her throat without it covered up by ANYTHING…and this child with Aspergers was greatly intrigued/concerned…

Some interesting treatment thingies:

1) Child with autism that we have discovered LOVES climbing on heavy bolster within ball bath, then jumping off it into the balls…but I’m standing right there in the balls to keep the child from just like, cracking his head open…anyway…he climbs/uses me as if I’m inanimate in the sense that he doesn’t particularly care where he holds onto me, lol, but today he kept on kind of grabbing me and having me look into his eyes…would smile…and since things were chaotic of course my attention was divided, but he repeatedly – at least 4 or 5 times – turned me slightly to look into my eyes and smile. Very unusual…and definitely not typical of him (For those who don’t know, very few children with autism can stand eye contact)

2) Another child with autism who was doing well today…so I pulled out the fingerpaint and painted his face in the mirror because I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about it….not like elaborately painting, just a few strokes on his face for novelty sake…and I asked him where he wanted me to put it and he actually answered (he usually has to be coaxed to answer questions or, most often, completely ignores you)…and actually wanted it…and he would look at himself in the mirror, and then I’d put some on me, and he’d look at me. Very cool.

3) Child with severe behavioral issues…used a heavy bolster for him to kick and punch some…then laid down on a mat with lights off,read some from a relaxation book for kids…did some squeeze and tightening of muscles and then relaxing into a wet noodle…I actually wasn’t thrilled with the wording of the book, I’m like, I need to make my own! So we’d squeeze everything then loosen up noodley…

4) Child with Aspergers…working on a puzzle with trusty Mr Snail…and he needs to work on frustration tolerance…Mr Snail was asking him for lessons on it…he was like…”Stop…breathe…think!”…etc.

5) COTA got a grasshopper up her scrubs while we were outside playing with bubbles, hahaha

6) I just realized I didn’t tell a single one of my older kids – ie, all the kids above, that I would not be back…yikes. I guess it just doesn’t feel like I’m leaving so it didn’t even occur to me to say anything. And I took back some of the toys I had brought in – the snail puppet that one kid loves so much, the SpongeBob Potatohead (that apparently is not easy to find) that another kid is OBSESSED WITH, the Gary the Snail blow-up that another kid loves, etc…a lot of cool toys…

Okay….augh it’s 120am…gotta be up in six hours. Better go to bed. Tomorrow I have to create an autism brochure, maybe help write up a one page proposal for a community psychosocial fieldwork or at very least set up stuff for it, set up stuff for someone else to do mileage/direction charts (or do it myself if there is time but I doubt it), finish up a few plans of cares/addendums for Medicaid, and put together all the pictures in a folder to transfer so they can deal with making a staff/kid picture wall. Gonna do the Medicaid stuff first since it involves money, then the autism brochure since that’s legitimately a project, then make sure all pictures are together, then work on those other projects. Oh yeah, and in the early afternoon I guess we’ll be doing my evals!

I’m headed to bed…good night.

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19 Sep 2008

Very stressful day…

Soo…today was one of the most stressful days I’ve had at the clinic. Let’s just say it involved 2 OTs (my supervisor plus the new hire who started this week but has like thirty years of OT experience), 1 OT student (me), and 1 COTA, being pretty highly stressed, with the new OT on the verge of tears and ready to walk out!

Day started out with friend taking me to car place for brakes (a re-fix, long story blah blah). Did some paperwork, went to Target, wrote thank you notes for the sweet gifts and kindness of my co-workers…got to work right on time at 130pm but was already stressed because was running a little behind on things, I hadn’t yet had lunch even. Turns out everyone was stressed for various reasons – the new OT had been way overscheduled and was stressed to not have had paperwork time, and to have had two evals in the morning with no other OTs around and didn’t know where stuff was, blah blah. Was at her wits end, none of us blamed her. We all did some rearranging, and I took a few kids for her to give her some time, the COTA took an extra kid and co-treated, etc. Plus my supervisor had to do some last-minute stuff with the clinic director so I had some of her kids, etc. Plus I had a ton of paper-work to do and had been hoping to not have ANY kids, let alone hours of kids, plus we had toys EVERYWHERE because we were trying to divvy up the toy bags since we’re out of the clinic so much, etc etc. So from 130 to 630 it was a frenzy, at one point we had a child with Aspergers, child with Autism, two children with Down syndrome, and um I forget who else, all in the ball bath, plus four therapists and a ABA-trained therapist, in the one room. Pretty crazy. Especially when you factor in that none of those kids that had good safety awareness lol. Actually it all went okay though. Just all of us were stressed. Plus the COTA got some bad news about one of the test results of her mom, medically. That didn’t help. 🙁 Poor lady.

ANYWAY….very very crazy day. Final kid was done 630ish, I left around 650 and went to straight to babysit….and had never gotten to eat my lunch, so I ate my lunch around 730pm at her house, lol. Had a good time though, love the kids/family.

Got home around 1130pmish! I got my mom some psuedospheres (math things) Christmas ornaments from and so called her and we chatted…

Gonna do one more quick blog on 3 interesting things, then going to bed…just had to do some therapeutic blogging to chill out.

TOMORROW IS MY LAST DAY!!!!!!!!! It’s just a paperwork day in the morning (was going to go on home visits with my OT but after getting hardly any paperwork done today, had to switch things around since the paperwork is important!) …dunno about afternoon. Oh yeah, me and my OT will do my evals tomorrow too, I hope we are both in better moods! LOL

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12 Sep 2008

Week 11, Day 4, Not so bad!

Today involved my car door being fixed and a relatively smooth day in the clinic. Nothing overly exciting.

Today I got my car handle fixed – blessed car handle, oh how I missed your door-opening goodness – and got to ride in my friend’s VIPER. Wow. He confirmed something is wrong with my brakes that were just fixed (they had a visiting mechanic) and on next Thursday morning – my morning off since we work so much on other days – I get the distinct joy of going back to the car place for the 3rd week in a row. Yay. At least the repair should be free.

I also got a check for $500 – which was 3 months worth of mileage reimbursement at 30 cents a mile (HALF of what the IRS allows and much lower than normal) for about 1300+ miles, plus a little extra as a “bonus” to make up for the fact the reimbursement sucked (their therapists at least get paid for driving time which I obviously don’t). Not a thrilling amount considering I’ve had close to $700 in repairs in the last few months while there, and spent several hundred dollars on gas. But oh well, better than nothing I guess.

I was at the clinic by 115pm and was able to prepare for the kids I would be having – progress notes, billing sheets, and activities – which was great – and did some paperwork. We had several cancellations which was nice as the COTA took my kids if her kids were cancelled, plus the new clinic schedule for today was canceled due to various issues and so my OT Christy was in the clinic and could take several kids as well. I did a lot of “yoga” loosely based on BrainGym today – put a big mat in the office, turned off main lights, turned on fake fish tank, turned on soothing music, and had my kids do the “octopus” (on back, feet and arms in air wiggling), the downward/upward dogs, cobra, tree (hands in air, standing on one foot”, butterflies, an elephant with arms as trunks doing lazy 8s, etc. The kids liked the yoga a lot.

At the end of the day in the sensory room, I threw in a giant bolster into the ball bath like I typically do to make the kids push it out for some heavy proprioceptive work, but this time they started crawling on it, so I got in the ball bath with them for stability purposes and we used it as somewhat of a rolly diving board, except for feet-first only. The two little boys – one with autism and one with a major need to work on social skills – did really well, they loved jumping off the bolster and into the balls, and of course they were using me for stability – they were crawling all over me. The COTA (for child with autism), the speech therapist (a co-treat for the child with autism), and a speech aide (just saying goodbye) were all in the small room with me but not in the ball bath, and started chatting (just for like a minute), and I was like totally engrossed with the two kids, who were completely content playing with the bolster and balls with me, and then they were all like “Thanks for doing our session Karen” aahhahaha…it was pretty fun. We (the COTA and I) also went outside with the fire engine backpack hoses with those same two kids and had them squirt a brick wall (I swear, little boys love anything like that, I think it’s related to the way they pee!!!), I ran inside for chalk and drew circles on the wall and we helped them “wash” off the circles….the COTA had her hands full with the little boy that kept trying to squirt us instead, LOL.

My last kid of the day did not show up so that was nice – parents, I gotta warn you, in most cases, if your kid is the last of the day (especially if the clinic has late hours and the therapists have worked 10 hour+ days), there is a good chance he/she is not getting the best therapy – the therapists are tired after a long day and are much less creative.

Went straight to Allison to work with her on the SI powerpoint and then her little OT sib Hillary showed up to buy some of her books and we chatted for at least an hour, that was fun. Then Allison and I chatted a little bit about treatment activities for vestibular, tactile, proprioceptive senses. Her powerpoint is aimed at teachers and she pointed out her fiancee (a teacher) was like….these things have to be realistic for a teacher to implement with lots of kids. True, true. And we talked about how the main message to the teachers is – these are three senses that are often not looked at closely, but being under or over response to these senses can lead to a lot of behavioral issues due to sensory needs not being met, and that a sensory diet can do wonders – not necessarily this huge ordeal that is a lot of stress/work for a teacher, but just a general knowledge of things, like “deep firm pressure for kids that crave stimulation”, etc…and providing them with ideas for heavy proprioceptive work that all the kids can benefit from to help with hyperactivity, etc etc

Around 915pm I was like um….I had egg beaters with gypsy peppers at noon for my breakfast/lunch (lets just generously say 200 calories total), and I haven’t eaten since, and I’m getting hungry, so if you want me to stay, I need food. So Allison made me a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. LOL aww. Got home around 10pm and my neighbor had just come out and pointed out that gas prices might shoot up tomorrow depending on what Hurricane Ike does, so he hopped in my car and we headed to a gas station, just in case, since I was down to half a tank.

Now it’s past midnight. Tomorrow my OT, the clinic director/speech therapist, and I meet at a McDonalds in MS at 945am, we do one home visit that has two cousins, then we drive on to another small town to do two early intervention evaluations. That place is at least an hour and 15 mins or more from McDonalds, and I’m about 40 mins from McDonalds, so we’re going to be in the car together about 3 hours, and then I’ll be in my car over an hour as well, so lots of car-time!

I hopefully get to meet some OT students tomorrow night that I haven’t seen in a long time, I’m excited. 🙂

My cat is running around howling. His “lion ripple” cut is really looking cute now.

Today was a better day overall…still bummed about fieldwork (especially being told that the patient quota is very low there always and so typically OT students only see a few patients a day, plus it’s almost all ortho, plus my new supervisor is supposedly quite quirky and very very very scheduled which will be a shock to my system after this fieldwork but probably I’ll like it) , but at least the day went way smoother than it could have been.

So….Week 11, Day 4, complete…I can’t believe I am about to start the final week 12!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW, Sam Gonzalez, the AOTA Media Guy, Posted a Video on Facebook of Top Ten Reasons You Should Not Miss Going to Student Conclave….which is taking place in mid-November….it sounds awesome but I def. can’t afford it this time!! But those of you who can afford it, really need to go. 🙂 Because like the video narrator (Megan Doherty, assembly of student delegates chair), said……FREE PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No seriously….it’s pretty neat and it sounds like it is going to be a lot better even than last year’s. More on that later I guess.

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