So the week is ALMOST over. Thank goodness! It has been crazy, and my life is about to get even more crazy this weekend (YAY!). I have been running around all week going to class, taking tests, working, going to my internship (last week is next week! eek!), and getting ready to go to BLACKSBURG this weekend!
Monday I headed down to Burke and was on the Stroke floor all morning (which, oddly enough, has become my favorite unit of rehab). I worked with 3 patients and then in a group therapy session. The first woman was in her early 50’s and had a stroke a few months ago. She had the most inspirational attitude and was more than determined to be able to live at home again. She has little to no use of the right side of her body, but she has been able to learn how to use a walker to take small steps and how she can re-arrange her house and lifestyle in order to be able to move independently throughout both. She was determined to not have to have a live-in nurse or healthcare provider and rely on her friends and family for the support that she needs to live at home again. I have seen time and time again that the patients with the supportive families are the ones that have the best outcomes. I hope that when I am older, I can have people that can motivate me to work hard to reach all of my goals.
The second patient I worked with was an older man, in his 80’s, who had a stroke a long time ago and had been in rehab for a few months. He didn’t speak any English which made things hard because it is very difficult to communicate your needs to someone who wont open his eyes and can’t understand what you’re saying. Not to mention his native language is RUSSIAN, so there are obviously very few people in this area that are fluent in Russian. However, we were lucky that his daughter came to the session and could act as a translator, which was WONDERFUL. During this session, I was working with 2 OT’s, one who was older, and a girl who had just graduated from OT school. It was great to work with someone so young and close to my position. I could see how all of the other OTs were supporting her during her first week there, and it made me really excited to embark on this journey! While she struggled with this patient (I think its crazy that they would give HER this patient who didn’t speak any English as one of her first patients), trying to get him to move his legs with her assistance, the other OTs would give her help and show her how things worked. Luckily, with the help of his daughter, we were able to safely go through his therapy session, and even get him to walk down the hospital hall to his room!
The third patient I worked with had a stroke on top of a ton of hip issues. He was fairly young, and was nearing the end of his stay at the hospital. Most of what we worked on with him were endurance in walking with a cane, as well as transfers from wheelchair to walking to sitting and how to maneuver around his home so that he can live independently again. We also showed him all of these different tools that he could use to pick things up off the floor (since he can not bend down because of his hip precautions) and stand for a longer period of time if he needed to (like while cooking).
The final slot of the day was spent in a group rehab session. There were 3 stroke patients, and during most of the 45 minutes we did various exercises that will get the blood moving throughout their bodies and keep them as agile as possible. We also played a game with a balloon that practiced hand-eye coordination. The spectrum of abilities after a stroke. Some patients are incredibly willing to work to be able to live independently or at least with minimal assistance around the house, while others have accepted being “vegetables” and do not work at all in their sessions.
While I only have one more week of observation at this hospital, in October I’ll be observing at the Elementary school near my house and am looking forward to seeing a different side of Occupational Therapy!
I’m glad that this week is almost over! I hope everyone had a wonderful week and have some fabulous plans for the weekend! I know I sure do 🙂