It’s only Tuesday!?

I’ve already dropped the ball and forgot to update the blog yesterday. I’ve been ripping down that damn wallpaper for 4 days, and I had my internship yesterday, so by the time I was finished with dinner, I was ready for bed! Whoopsie!

Monday I woke up early and went to the rehab hospital that I’m “working” at. Unfortunately, once again, I was late, but this time because of a horrendous storm that closed half of the highway. By the time I finally got there, I was 20 minutes late and felt terrible. Luckily, my supervisor was also somewhat late so she understood.

I got to work with a bunch of groups throughout the morning, and I think I can eliminate one branch of OT.. Cardio-pulmonary/respiratory. It was so BORING compared to orthopedics and spinal injuries! The first woman I worked with had heart surgery about 2 weeks ago and we had to teach her how to stand and balance on her own. I really did not even understand why she was there, or more so, why her surgery had thrown off her balance and her abilities to stand and walk, but I guess thats just how it goes.

The second patient I worked with had a double knee replacement a few days ago, and we worked with him on getting in and out of a shower properly, how to get into a car, and go to the bathroom. It’s amazing to see that only a few days after surgery, he was up and walking around, and getting back to his “normal” self!

The third patient I worked with was t-boned in NYC. He is a NYC police officer and was hit by one of the suspects that him and his partner were chasing. He had major internal bleeding, a broken leg, ankle and foot, and had to have a craniectomy to relieve the swelling and pressure in his brain. His accident was in April, and he JUST got out of the ICU on Friday!! The most interesting thing that I learned during my time with him was that when the doctors take a piece of your skull off of your head, and plan to replace it, they store it in your STOMACH! The environment in the stomach is considered it’s “natural” environment and it reduces the risk for infection once the skull is replaced. We worked with him on his memory skills, giving him a page of common household objects to memorize and testing him 15 minutes later (to see if his short term memory was still there, which it was!) as well as a memory-prompting game where he was instructed to place cards with pictures of household items in 2 piles. One pile was things that he had seen on the sheet, and others were things that closely resembled these same items (such as a different style of dress shirt). This was to test whether or not the information was being stored and simply needed a prompt to bring out! The man did fine, and everyone was thrilled that his memory seems to be fully functional! Finally, we taught him some exercises to do in his room to build strength in his arms.

The last thing I did was observe a group OT session, where there were patients there with different problems. Two had had strokes, and one had had some sort of spinal surgery. One woman who had a stroke was given the task to separate utensils into forks, knives, and spoons. It blew my mind that she could not recognize a given utensil and put it in a group with other utensils of the same type. We had to keep teaching her what each one was, but this was only for her to quickly forget. The other stroke patient had to place clothespins on a wooden rod in a certain pattern. I noticed that his speech was phenomenal and he had great memory, he was only struggling with the use of his hands. The purpose of the clothespins was to work on his fine motor skills and get his fingers working again. Once he had successfully completed that, I placed marbles into silly putty and he had to dig out the marbles from that. You could see how his fingers were getting so tired by the end, but he felt great that he was able to use his fingers in a much finer setting where he needed more control of them.

I find that I leave the rehab center each day with something fascinating that I have witnessed or someone that I helped to get a life skill back in use. I look forward to each session because I know that somehow, I will be positively affecting people’s lives and that makes me more than excited to go to grad school. I’ll have to remember how this feels as I’m taking classes this fall and next spring, and having to leave the house at 630 every morning to get to class on time.

All of the wallpaper in the house is FINALLY gone! Tomorrow we start painting, and I’m excited for everything to be done, hopefully by September! Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

xx
Ashley

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