Posts Tagged Internship

Thursday.

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 🙂

xx
Ashley

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Sunday Funday

I can honestly say that after this summer, I have absolutely NO desire to paint a room ever again. My bathroom was FINALLY painted today, and I have to admit that I’m super excited to start decorating it! It’s a pea-celery green which is a huge change from the ocean theme that it was before (whoever let a 4th and a 1st grader pick out wallpaper was seriously insane!). I’m getting a black and white designed shower curtain and getting black and white gerbera daisy prints to put over the towel racks. Then, I found a great idea for the bathroom (seen here) with a backboard painted black with a pink, yellow, and white gerbera daisy in the mason jar, these shelves (from Target) to put the radio, and all of my hair products (and I guess some of my brother’s stuff) above the toilet, and finish it off with some big, fluffy black bath mats! I’ll be sure to post pictures when I’m done!

Besides home improvements, I may have scored a second internship at a pre-school down county. It would be working in the Occupational Therapy department within a community center, which would give my applications for grad school a little diversity. I would love to have the experience of working with adults, children, medical settings, community settings, etc. when writing personal statements this fall. Hopefully this opportunity will work out, and I’ll be starting that on Tuesday!

I’ve got lots of things to look forward to this week, but a lot of work has to be done before then! I’m off to clean my room, aka find the floor. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

xx
Ashley

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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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Day in, day out, its the same old story

As I have come to learn this summer, being unemployed can have its perks (napping all day, Law and Order: SVU marathons whenever I feel like it, staying out all night.. oh wait, I have no friends here), but it has become more of a bore than I had hoped. No job means no paycheck to play with, and since I have no car, I really have no way of getting around (and for those of you who have been to my house, you know that anything remotely interesting is at least a 20 minute drive.. except for the “balanced rock,” but that is a separate story).  This is the first summer since I was 13 that I have not had a job of some sort, and this boredom is starting to take a toll on my sanity.

My mother had to drive me to my internship on Monday. Memories of Middle School came flooding back, being dropped off at dance practice and having to stumble out of the dark green minivan (also fondly called “Shrek” in our family). The only difference between those memories and this past Monday was that I had no choice in Middle School, and I am 22 years old now. How embarrassing.

Speaking of the internship, one item on my checklist was to keep record of every visit. This might just be the place to do it. As many of you know, I’m (hoping to) start Graduate school in the fall of 2011 for Occupational Therapy. But, one of the requirements for a number of the schools I’m applying to is a minimum of 60 non-paid observation hours/non-paid internship. I’m “observing” at a rehabilitation hospital for the next 10 weeks, going through all of the different OT units and seeing what my areas of interest are. I started on Monday (hopping out of that green van) and after only a few hours have fallen head over heels in LOVE with everything OT. I worked with three patients and one group session throughout my time there, and it boggles my mind how specialized and unique each of the cases are. One woman I worked with had just had a knee replacement. Caitlin (the OT) and I helped her to walk through the halls to the mock apartment that is set up in the hospital (complete with 3 different types of showers, kitchens, bedrooms, toilets, etc). We helped her learn how to get in and out of bed properly, and some tips and techniques for getting in and out of the shower safely. It was amazing to see how this elderly woman’s attitude changed from being pessimistic, feeling like she would never be able to get around her house, to feeling confident that with a little work, she would have the tools she needed to live on her own again, even with a bad knee. The second patient I worked with was a young woman (only 21) who had fallen 15+ feet when stairs collapsed and she landed on her neck. Needless to say, she had massive spine and brain trauma, and was having a much harder time recovering. Nancy (the OT) and I worked with her on a scavenger hunt on the computer. It was helping her to remember how to do things again, that she once excelled at. I could hardly believe that someone so young is having to work so hard to do things that I take advantage of everyday, even as simple as typing this post. The last patient I worked with was a middle aged man who fell off of his roof trying to fix his air conditioner. He landed on his back (which, needless to say is broken), and broke his femur (pretty tough to do). Even though he is expected to make a full recovery, he is going to be wheelchair bound for at least two months. That would suck. But let me tell you, this guy was so happy, and so eager to learn how to get around his house and get in and out of the shower and on and off of the toilet on his own that it blew my mind. I have never seen someone like that before. It was absolutely inspiring. These people are the ones who make me so excited to begin the next chapter in my life, and move on to a job that I know will be rewarding far into the future!

So, after this entry, I guess I’ve already kept up with 2 of my goals for the blog — posting everyday (even though this is only day 2) and keeping a record of my internship. Tomorrow starts a busy weekend, but I’ll be sure to make time to post (even though I’m not sure anyone reads this anyway)!

xx
Ashley

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