Week 3, Day 2, Pediatric Fieldwork, my first day of AUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHh
Let's start at the very beginning…very best place to start…when you sing you begin with a b c…when you blog you begin with ….umm.
It's 1110pm and I was gone from 7am to 10:50pm. I was just going to jump in the shower tonight but the water pressure is insanely low from my landlords doing laundry I guess (they just got back from a funeral 🙁 ) so I will wait until morning. So I'll just therapeutically blog then go to bed with my mind emptied.
7am: Get up.
7:30am: Leave for work almost an hour early due to open house for new clinic in small Missisippi town about 40 minutes away from this one.
8:00am: Meet my OT at the normal office. Plan was for everyone to drive down together. Drama ensues as this turns out to not be the case. Try to follow other people once finally catch up, but they speed and I draw the line at catching up with them after I steadily go 80 MPH and there is still no chance of catching up. More drama as we get slightly lost. Finally catch up.
845am:Everybody assembles in new clinic. Open house commences with catering, chamber of commerce, mayor, others present. People mill around, get tours, chat, blahdey blah. I take hundreds of pictures because that's how I roll, yo.
10amish: I inform the mayor of this town that he has balls.
Undetermined time: Any faculty that reads my blog has immediate heart attack.
10amish+ 1 second: Mayor laughs hysterically. (I had encouraged the mayor (who was very personable) that he should get into the ball pit for a picture. He laughed and said he could see the caption now, something about mayor losing his marbles. I said no, it could say “This mayor has BALLS!” because I had talked to him enough to know he'd find it amusing and not offensive. :P) (Just for the record, the clinic director thought it was funny too. But in retrospect it was really stupid of me, yeah. Just sayin'. )
Undetermined time: I receive mail expelling me from my OT school and a stern letter from my fieldwork supervisor.
11amish: We pack up leftover catering to take to our home visit for the baby that is deaf-blind. I drive me and my OT + two speech therapists to projects. I sit on sofa entire time so that the two young speech therapists (who have never had exposure to this sort of thing) can participate fully and get to hold baby and such.
Side note: I'm proud of myself…one of the home therapists had brought a neat battery-operated fan-foil thing the baby loved but it ran out of batteries while we were there. It also needed a screwdriver to open….I dug out my eyeglass kit in my purse for a tiny screwdriver, then took two of the batteries I had been about to discard because my camera had used them up, and put it in there, because I had rsuddenly emembered reading that cameras use a lot of juice but the batteries that aren't good enough for a camera anymore might be good for small items. So yeah, it worked. 🙂 YAY!
Noonish: Head back to town, me driving three therapists….anybody who knows my driving history knows this is an amazing event (I've always been a scaredy cat of driving, especially others…not anymore I guess).
1pmish: Have been warned that afternoon will be crazy. Run to gas station down street to buy some honey nut cheerios/milk to gulp down for lunch and eat in 10 minutes. See schedule for first time. Cry inwardly 😉
1:30pm. Quietly grab first client, umm Pamela. She is a little girl that is so brutally shy it almost hurts. I have watched maybe a few minutes of sessions with her, enough to know she is there for visual perceptual difficulties, and problems concentrating, and social interaction because she is sooooo shy. I'm usually a little outgoing with kids but I know to be quiet/calm with her. I prepared some My Little Ponies stuff I knew she liked while I ate my cereal, in advance, so I was ready for her. I had her write down the six words she was going to search for in the puzzle (I color coded each handwriting line with a different colored circle), then we would systematically search for it in the word search, then she could circle it and cross it out on the other sheet. This was soo slow and it would have been slower if I had sat on my hands more…but A) I suck and B) this was my first session with her and I knew she was very shy and easily frustrated and didn't want it to be torture. Anyway. Then we did some fun Pony things that involved tape and I had to keep from cringing as I watched her struggle just with taping things. THEN I found some good worksheets and went to hurriedly copy them, leaving my fingers on the sheet as I did so without thinking…well the worksheets had my fingers copied onto them. I told the little girl she might as well give me some nail polish (color my nails in) on her worksheet, and as she did so with a red marker, I got the one and only smile for the session – that's how shy she is.
2:30 until 6:30pm: Start getting stressed. All the kids I see at this point on are more or less strangers to me, and are older and have issues with visual perception and/or handwriting, for the most part. My OT is caught up in several mini crises and other issues and is with the boss a lot, and I'm getting frustrated because while I know I need to be flexible, I'm having trouble even finding these kid's birth dates, or knowing their most recent goals/progress, so in other words, I feel like I'm going into it blind, with very little clue as to what I should be working on, and, worse, I feel VERY unsure about myself when it comes to these older kid skills like cutting, gluing, handwriting, visual perceptual games, etc – I have my play therapy down cold with developmental young kids, but the academic skills I haven't had a lot of exposure to. And since I have severe visual perceptual issues of my own, I struggle in that area – I can't help kids with puzzles because I can't do them myself without thinking a while (not even four piece ones – I'm not kidding 🙁 ) – I can't do mirror images or rotation, I can't copy items, I have a very hard time finding items in the I Spy books, you name it….I was getting very frustrated with myself and feeling out of ideas and the kids just kept on coming so it was like I had no time to sit and regroup (or at least it felt that way even if it wasn't exactly true).
The final straw came after a few hours – maybe 4ish – when I was at the tail end of a struggling session with a kid with visual perceptual issues, and then a therapist walks in ready to hand me a SEVERELY autistic child who is very difficult to handle, that I have never worked with, and I'm supposed to overlap them for 15 minutes. I almost cried. Luckily the kind therapist had no body else right then and she stayed to watch that kid for like 15 minutes while I just treated my kid alone since realistically I would have found it hard to babysit those two in a room, let alone do something therapeutic enough to bill for! Luckily things calmed down after that, I got to watch my OT deal with the child with severe autism and get some clues, etc. So while I make it sound like I was like completely tossed into the deep end, that was just my perception as I w
as frazzled and tired and unused to dealing with these kinds of kids (our COTA is on vacation as of today for two weeks). So I guess I'll get used to it soon, wow. Craziness. Between vacations, mini constant crises/emergencies/dramas, personell/staff vacancies/hiring, new clinics expansion, home visits, etc, it's pretty insane!!
When I finally left today I was pretty stressed out and frazzled and feeling bad about myself and my abilities…I know everyone else was stressed too. My good OT friend had invited me to join her family for dinner tonight, luckily, though, and she gave me some GREAT tips on how to handle some of the things I faced today. I literally sat down on the floor with a piece of paper and pen as she gave me ideas/explained things about visual perception, trunk control, etc. Very very very very helpful….will write that up in a second. She also gave me an AWESOME scarf!!!
I stayed with her family a while and then visited my friend Kerri's and Brent's who live down a few streets for about 15 minutes around 930pm, and they gave me two tomatoes randomly. Then I went to my friend Paul and Angela and their son Patric, on the way home for about 30 minutes and they gave me twelve beautiful orchard peaches, made me watch several YouTube Videos on a really insane show, let me play with their adorable dog, and just overall entertained me…and oh yeah I chatted with my friend Suzy on phone on way to Paul's and with friend Doug on way home from Paul's, and also must mention Talli who I ranted to on phone on way to OT friend's from work, and um so anyway, then I got home around 1050pm and now we are full circle, time to write up the great OT tips I got and then go to bed…midnightish.
Tomorrow I think my OT and I are down in the new clinic a lot, and then I babysit…..i hope tomorrow is a less stressful day.
And I REALLY hope Thursday is a short day since 45 minutes more the other day, 45 minutes more this morning, leaving only 15 minutes early tonight and having only about 15 minutes for a lunch, plus working most of a full day on Friday, means that if I have to work until 7pm Thursday, that I've worked like, way over time! Okay yeah I'm going to stop now. Tips, tips, gotta remember tips. Okay wow I feel like a cheater to keep saying I'd write it, but now I'm too tired to write up the full version tonight because she gave me lots of stuff to write about/think about, I think I'll have more brain power tomorrow, but for now, the MASSIVE key….HUGE HUGE HUGE key to my sanity, that she handed me tonight along with lots of individual ideas I'll write up tomorrow…..
SANITY KEY: SINCE OFTEN YOU CANT PREPARE FOR PATIENTS IN ADVANCE IN SITUATIONS LIKE TODAY, YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED WITH A “HOW TO COOK WITHOUT A BOOK” LIKE RECIPE – WHERE YOU HAVE GENERAL ACTIVITIES PLANNED OUT THAT YOU CAN JUST GRADE/ADAPT/MODIFY FOR VARIOUS CLIENTS…SO THAT EACH PATIENT MAY DO SAME THING THAT DAY ACTIVITY WISE, JUST MODIFIED FOR THAT PERSONS WEAK SPOTS. Like instead of thinking, what specifically do I do with this specific kid with visual perceptual problems, it's, here is a bunch of activities good for visual perception skills, now let's figure out how to grade it for this kid on the spot.
Since I'm so tired I don't have any ideas right off the top of my head that I want to share as an example but check back tomorrow, lol. And man I hope that tickling I feel on my leg is like my blanket and not a spider. AUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Today was my worst day yet – based solely on the afternoon since the open house went really well which is great for the clinic – but it could have been a lot worse. My mental health level is surprisingly good, considering…and my OT friend helped a ton with making me feel better about the rest of this week 🙂
Picture is of me and my OT at the gazebo in tiny new clinic town today 🙂 And the ball pit I spend so much time in. That is, if the pictures show up.
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