Posts Tagged Occupational Therapy

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

Advertisements

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Long Week Ahead

I realized today that I haven’t posted in a few days. I realized tonight that having a record of the fun/interesting/exciting things that I’ve done this summer has been nice, and while I had planned on not keeping this blog active once the summer ended, I think I’ll keep it, for a little while longer at least.

Kristen came up this weekend, which was wonderful! Even though she was only here for a night, it was a nice change to have someone under the age of 50 to chat with over dinner, and interact with someone my own age. I forgot how much I missed all of my friends until now. Luckily, I’ll be back in Blacksburg in 12 days, so I’ll get another fix soon 🙂

This week is going to be kind of crazy. I start classes on Tuesday (at 8am, ouch), will be working 2 closing shifts, and starting a new internship (as well as continuing the old one). That gives me about 12 hours each day to sleep, do homework, eat, go to the gym, and anything else that I might want to do. I’m also going to North Carolina on Friday for my brother’s parent’s weekend! It’s going to be the first collegiate football game that I have gone to and NOT cheered for Virginia Tech. Weird.

Tomorrow kicks off VT’s football season against #3 Boise State. While I know the odds are against my Hokies to dominate on the field, there’s a small hope that our defense will pull through and hopefully Tyrod Taylor will take charge on offense. Tuesday’s class will be either a great, or a terrible start to the week!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and GO HOKIES!

xx
Ashley

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Goals.

So here we are, at the end of August already. I have neglected to post the past couple days since I have been busy working (yes!) and taking care of the new foster dogs that we have rescued. Looking back on the goals that I had set to complete by TOMORROW, I realized that the only thing I have accomplished is painting my bathroom, which is probably the least important thing on my list.

Next week begins a new semester, a new routine, and I’m making new goals for myself. Many of my grad school applications need to be in by November 1st so I’m going to have to work hard to make that happen. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.

Fall Semester Goals;
Finish Medical Terminology class
Study, and take the GREs
Finish applying to Graduate School
Obtain the last 60 hours of observation for OT
Get an A in both of my classes
Spend less than half of my paychecks on clothes for “work”

Let’s see how this goes!

, , , ,

Leave a comment

On the road again

Today was filled with some of my favorite shopping of the year — back to school! I have a sick obsession with school supplies, and everything college related, so while it’s depressing that I was not shopping for myself, I still loved every minute of it. My family is hitting the road again tomorrow to go to North Carolina to bring my brother back to school (and stop and visit the OT school there!), so another 9 hour drive is in store. While I’m not so excited about moving furniture into my brother’s house, I am pretty excited to get my grad-school search started. I’m hoping to make it for a tour to see the facilities and the gyms and everything OT! Hopefully all will go well!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

xx
Ashley

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Busy, busy couple of days

What an eventful few days it has been! Such a change from the last few weeks!!

This past weekend, a few friends from VT came to visit, which was such a nice treat! I picked up Carrie from the airport and went to get Lesley in NYC from the BoltBus Stop near Chinatown. It was definitely an adventure getting down and back, but luckily, my Dad drove, so I did not have the opportunity to get us seriously lost or even killed, haha! We got back to my house and obviously immediately started the festivities of pong on the deck, and catching up. It felt so wonderful to actually have people my own age around (not that I don’t love the company of my parents), and be able to just have fun! It was a late night, but completely 100% worth it!

Early Sunday morning all of us headed into NYC to have lunch and take Lesley back to her bus. The trip downtown was great, and we got there quickly, however, the return trip was not as easy. We ended up walking over 5 miles around NYC looking at shops, and little restaurants, getting Lesley back to her bus, and then attempting to find a subway to take us back to Grand Central. All of the uptown 6 trains were not in service unless you wanted to go on a wild goose chase to find one, so we attempted to take a cab, which ended up sitting in traffic for $5 worth of our time before we realized we were going to miss our train anyway. At that point, we took our time wending our way back uptown. Stopped at Magnolia Bakery in Grand Central for cupcakes, and finally got on the train. Getting home from that point was uneventful, but since we had missed our early train, we had to rush to get back down to LaGuardia to get Carrie to the airport! Luckily, the drive down was quick and easy, but, I had no such luck on the way home. It took almost 3 hours to make the drive that usually only takes about 40 minutes. So not fun. Needless to say, I was completely exhausted when I finally got home, and went straight to bed!

Yesterday was the 3rd week of my internship at the rehab hospital. Every time I walk out, I realize how much I love this field. The feeling of being rewarded everyday is something that I look forward to when I finally get through grad school and get a full time job. I was lucky to be able to pick which unit I wanted to observe in! I love the spinal cord and brain injury unit, so I jumped on the opportunity to stay there for the morning. The first patient I saw (with the CUTEST OT ever! such a crush!) was an elderly woman who had had a stroke in 1994. She did not have the ability to speak, and she was definitely not all “with it.” The OT fitted her for a brace for her hands, because her brain is not sending the right messages to her hands to let them unclench on their own. Therefore, her hands are stuck in a fist position and she cannot really move them on her own without having someone stretch them first. The brace that we ordered was one that would allow doctors and nurses to stretch her fingers, and then place the brace on her wrist and hand so that her fingernails would no longer be digging into the palm of her hand causing breaks in the skin, and eventually infection.

The second patient I saw had suffered from a heart attack and was in a coma for almost two weeks before he came out of it. He was in OT to work on his balance and his endurance while standing, walking, and doing other daily activities that he would need to put himself back into the community. It was remarkable that he had only been in rehab for two weeks and he was making such progress. We did activities like sliding across a bed in order to build upper-arm endurance, as well as stepping on a block to build the endurance in his legs. I could visibly see how tired he was after each of the tasks, but he was determined to finish so that he could be healthy enough to go home as soon as possible!

The next patient I saw had a flare up from his MS. He had lost almost all of the feeling in his right hand (mostly his fingertips) and it was his first day at the rehab center, and I worked with the OT to do diagnostic tests to see where he was at, and compare his right and left sides to see what needed to be worked on. We did a timed test to see how long it took each of his hands/arms to grab 9 pegs and place them one by one into slots. He was timed on each side to compare the coordination. In his case, there was not much difference, which was good for him. He was then given a test where he had to close his eyes and we placed different objects in his hands and he had to feel around to see if he could figure out what they were. In his left hand, he was able to identify every single object, and pretty quickly (they were mostly easy things, such as a key, or a coin, etc.). However, his right side was not so great. If things were placed in an area where he had lost feeling, he could not even feel the objects in his hand. The final test was for him to close his eyes and he had to decide whether we were poking him with the sharp side of a pin, or the soft side. It was incredible to see how different his responses were depending on which arm/hand we were working on. He was quick to respond to everything on his left hand, but he had a lot of hesitation on the right side.

I really really love going to my internship every week. Like I said before, I am SO excited to be able to do this for the rest of my life (provided I actually get into a school somewhere!). I just wish that I could do this NOW and I did not have to go through all the applications and standardized testing and pre-requisites before I could begin on this journey!

Today was also quite busy, getting everything together for my classes at community college this fall. I’m taking an Anatomy & Physiology I course (and the lab) as well as Intro to Sociology. I had to gather tons of different documents for registration, so I spent most of the day doing that. The afternoon was spent with Corbin running errands and getting things together for our vacation on Friday!! I got a new iPod Shuffle so that I can use it when I run (the iPod Touch is SO inconvenient for exercising!), so I’m excited to get back to that routine! Tomorrow is going to be spent running even more errands and getting more things together for vacation! For now though, I’m beyond exhausted!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!

xx
Ashley

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

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

, , ,

Leave a comment

In the process of change..

Today, against my will, I was dragged to Home Depot, my least favorite store in the world (and obviously in the big green van). My mom, grandpa and I are about to begin a huge project – re-painting the entire house, power washing the outside, and putting down new floors. Yup, heard it here first, I’m doing major housework.. lets see if I survive.

I have finally gotten back into my routine of going to the gym, thank goodness, because I am finally getting back on track of my 10k training. I’ve also finally found a decent time to go, in between the soccer moms/business men and the much-more-fit college students, and now I just have to buckle down and get my butt out of bed in the morning. I’m hoping that by the time I go on vacation (23 days!) I’ll be halfway to my goal!

As for my other goals, my Medical Terminology class is being put on the back burner.. not necessarily on purpose, but I really can’t seem to find the motivation to actually sit down and tackle the 500 page book. There are over 600 terms to learn before the end of the course, and its all kind of overwhelming since it is online. I’m really struggling, but I really need to finish before I start my Anatomy and Sociology classes in September. Any suggestions for finding the will to spend a few hours a day studying when there are so many more interesting things going on (like stripping wallpaper and steaming carpets)!?

I have recently registered for classes at the community college “near” my house (as in 45 minutes away). I need to take Anatomy & Physiology as well as Sociology to be eligible to apply to Grad school. However, I am truly missing HokieSpa at this point, because this website I have to use is the most confusing thing on the planet. I am attempting to drop my 8am class to switch to a 6pm class, but in order to switch the lecture, I also have to switch the lab, even though I don’t want to. There are no other labs open, so this is leaving me frustrated, confused, and annoyed with how inefficient the system is. Ugh.

On that note, I’m exhausted, and have to drive my dad to the airport early tomorrow morning. Luckily, I’ll get back from dropping him off during the window of time that I can go to the gym, so it looks like I’ll have a busy morning ahead of me. Goodnight!

xx
Ashley

, , ,

Leave a comment

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

, ,

Leave a comment