Wow. Emo Occupational Therapist Student, anyone?
JUST KIDDING. Today I was supposed to go volunteer in the morning but since I didn’t fall asleep until after 5am I ended up calling them to ask about coming in next week to do the database entry instead. I slept in until it was time to go to the Assisted Living facility, where I met my Tai Chi partner Julie, and then we went around scheduling people. Everyone is so nice. I ended up going to Kerri’s (who lives near by the place) for a few hours to work on stuff like PDEs, although I was exhausted enough that I ended up playing Super Mario Kart with her and reading a book. I went back to the facility at 6ish to help out with Bingo. It’s fun smiling at people and being around so many nice people. I think many “older adults” (the politically correct term these days) have a special ability to see inner sparks…lights within us that have nothing to do with age.
A few days ago I clicked on a site my friend had found that was made by a man who buys unprocessed film at like antique stores, to develop it. He put up his favorite pictures, most of which were decades ago. It made me feel odd to look at these flat images on my screen, random strangers looking into the camera, and knowing that there was an entire lifetime of history captured in that snapshot. So many emotions and so many stories that I would never know. I think that’s one reason I like OT – you get to know your clients. You get to have an intimate look into their lives, get to live a small part of their journey. You are medical enough to get to help them, but social/non-medical enough that they will tell you things they might not tell a doctor. You, if you do the job OTs are truly meant to do, have become a part of their history…not just a single sentence line in Reader’s Digest referring to the grueling months of rehab a person underwent.., but a living human being that worked with another human being, day by day, working together to help create a new fabric…I need to stop reading so many random books. I sound like an emo metaphysicist on LSD.
But seriously…I have thrown myself into OT…and it has nothing to do with wanting to do glitter crafts, or stack cones, or measure hand angles…it has to do with watching a woman’s eyes light up as she watches her daughter put on her own socks for the first time…in other words…it’s not about the skill being learned…it’s not about the job….it’s about the joy of connection, the joy of participating in activities that bring meaning. All careers have their pros and cons…but there is, at least to me, a special magic in OT…although it’s time for another Slagle lecture on why we need to not forget our roots… a famous reconstructionist aide (precursor to OT), Ora Ruggles, explained that it is the healing of the heart that is the most important…
One point of clarification since I know “Cookie Gimp” will fuss at me otherwise on how I’m talking about restoring and not about people with congenital issues….the joy of watching someone do something doesn’t have to be a physical task or gaining a new skill…it’s solely based on watching a person participate, mentally OR physically, in a task that brings that person some satisfaction or joy or enhanced quality of life…regardless of level of ability before or after. 😛