Volunteer to hold babies :)
I know I said today is a shout-out post day, and it will be. I want to post about my day so far first and then I'll do my shout-out post! Because I'm allowed to post twice in a day! So there!
First thing I want to share is that as of today I have lost 12 pounds! I am really excited – with the exception of an occasional splurge, I have been working VERY VERY hard to lose weight so I am thrilled. Now of course this is just the loss of the weight I gained since starting OT school. AHAHAHAA – last semester involved a lot of milkshakes due to stress.
I'm trying to work out 5 hours a week (treadmill, elliptical, bike, swimming, yoga, pilates, Spinning, Weights, Core exercises, etc) – and stay between 1200-1500 calories a day. 1200 is actually pretty low though so I've gone up and I'm still losing weight just as quick, I think after a few weeks at 1200 your body gets angry and starts refusing to give up fat.
It's fun going to the gym at the university because it's filled with med students, physical therapy students, etc – lots of fit young people to motivate you.
Also, last week at Baskin-Robbins (getting a scoop of nonfat ice cream, thanks), I ran into a therapist from the local peds hospital. I couldn't remember if sh was speech, PT, or OT, since I was only there two weeks in March, but I knew her from the office. She was like Oh, are you a physician there? And I was like ummmmmm no, but thanks! She said Oh sorry, your glasses make you look so intelligent.
The funny thing is, I don't think she was being facetious? Or maybe she is just smart enough to always “guess up”….
Speaking of which, I'd like to go on a mini-rant here. When people say GUESS WHAT! and ask you to guess, always guess really low or really high depending on what they are excited to share. Like if they say guess what i got on a test and you say 100 and they actually got a 92, they feel bad. But if they say guess what I got on a test and you say 90? then they can excitedly tell you they got a 100. Work on that, people.
I also did my two hour volunteer session at the local peds hospital mentioned earlier. When I first walked in I went past their pictorial timeline of the last 40 years of hospital history. I normally ignore it, but today it got my attention. They had black and white photos from way back when, and the cribs looked so austere. The medical technology was so big and bulky and threatening, and even the wheelchairs were giant and wooden. The kids stared at you in these photos with a haunted face. I know it was meant to be inspiring, but it made me feel sick to my stomach. Thinking about the mortality rate of these children back, and how sterile and cold those environments used to be, made me so sad.
After that though, the volunteering was pretty good. I walked in and asked if they had anybody special they wanted me to go to. A nurse pointed me to a 5 month old baby who had been crying all day. I held him and he calmed down and fell asleep within about 5 minutes. He just desperately needed some human contact. I continued to hold him for about an hour as he slept because a lot of these babies need the stimulation so bad that it doesn't matter if they are asleep – they can still benefit from that touch. His IV went out though (not my fault) and he started to be in pain so I put him down so they could try to redo his IV. They tried multiple times and couldn't and had to get someone else in. Very traumatic for the poor baby. While they were doing that there was a little newborn squalling so all I did was stick his pacifier back in his mouth and press my hands against him a while, he immediately fell asleep too after staring at me a while. (I guess I'm THAT BORING! AHAHAHA) I stuck one of his beanie babies (he had the SNAIL beanie baby!) on his chest against the pacifier so he'd be less likely to have it drop out of his mouth. Then I went to the little girl I had held for 1.5 hours last time I was there. Unfortunately, I didn't realize one of her bigger tubes was actually pinned to the bed this time (normally you can at least lift them a little way and then start maneuvering the tubes), so I hurt her by trying to pull her up – it pulled on her stomach and she cried. I felt really bad. But the nurse came by and unpinned her and encouraged me to hold her because apparently she is just sensitive to the tube being moved by anyone period, and would calm down in a second. So I held her and sang to her for about 30 minutes until I needed to go and it was time for her bath. From now on I'll be more careful to make sure nothing is pinned down. Overall, with the exception of the tube issue, it was a good day. I wish they had more comfortable chairs though – it is really hard to hold babies for 2 hours in crappy chairs with nothing to put your feet on and IV poles and tubes to be navigating. One thing they have there that I really like is pacifiers sewn into the mouths of beanie babies – you can lay the beanie baby on their chest and stick the pacifier in their mouth and it gives them both firm pressure to the chest for calming as well as makes it less likely for them to lose their pacifiers, since most of them have a dysfunctional or poor sucking pattern.
One of the other things I thought was neat was that some of the babies had big notes tacked on their crib from OT/PT on them with advice like “Please try to play with this baby from her left side so she will move her neck more.” I tried to follow the advice because of my OT-osity, but really I just need to focus on holding the babies – if they are grumpy I am not going to irritate them further by forcing them to do things like turn to the left – my job as a volunteer is to calm babies, not piss them off. They burn more calories when angry due to the screaming etc, and none of them can afford to lose those calories – best to keep them calm. But I definitely would NOT be comfortable or have any idea what I was doing had it not been for my two weeks of occupational therapy observation there!
Okay this got long. Sorry. I'm really tired. I got home from the session and had lunch and decided to write a while. I also need to work out, study, and I am going to a friend's house for dinner, then studying some more. Not to mention dishes and cleaning the house. Etc. But now I am thinking that after I write the shout-out post I may just take a nap first. Don't y'all think that's a lovely idea.
Time for shout-outs.