Browsing "Occupational Therapy"

Ch…ch…Changes!

Now that everyone has that song in their heads… I have an announcement to make!

No, I’m not pregnant.

No, I’m not engaged.

No, I’m not moving.

Now that we’ve gotten those out of the way, I want to tell you about a journey I’ve been on for many months. I knew last year about this time that changes were coming and I tried to talk about it. I asked repeatedly for direction and clarity and provision and I was repeatedly told to wait. It’s been a year of prayer and waiting and budgeting and seeking. Many doors were shut, but one was opened.

(Have I dragged out the opening long enough?) Drum roll please!

I will be starting a new job in May!

I will move from being an Occupational Therapists working mainly with adults after neurological impairments to an O.T. working in the Neonatal unit and in pediatrics! I am excited about this for many reasons. Here’s a sampling of my extensive pro/con list:

1. I get to wear scrubs to work every day! And sneakers. This isn’t a new thing, but I’m appreciative for it nonetheless. Comfort level=maximized.

2. I will care for the least and the littlest of these and provide sensory input, play, and healthy stimulation unlike anyone else in the health care field. I started as an O.T. in pediatrics. So in a way this is coming home. I still miss my kids and wonder how they’re doing six years later.

3. I will be full time! With Benefits! Can I get an “amen”? This is the crux of where my mental journey started. I’ve been working for years as a per diem employee. So I got more per hour, but without any benefits. I began to feel the budgetary strain of paying for my own benefits and wanted to make an adult decision. I’m giving up flexibility for stability. That’s not an easy move, but I think it is right. After several interviews and months of asking, seeking, and knocking, my new boss thinks it is right too!

4. My back will thank me! I will now be lifting patients who can fit in my hands, slightly less effort than my typical patient now!

5. Less working weekends! I’ve been on the Saturday rotation for six years. This new job will be Monday through Friday with occasional weekend days. I will have two days off in a row and likely won’t know what to do with myself.

But it’s also new and different. I’m leaving a ridiculously cool team of committed, knowledgeable, and talented therapists who can both brainstorm how to rehabilitate a patient and make me laugh with an impromptu dance party. Or a where’s Waldo Holiday photo:

neuro team

Any change is scary. This new position will require some training and be significantly different from what I do on a daily basis now. But overall, I am excited to get started, looking forward to more learning, and so thankful for provision. I fret a lot. I think about how I could provide for myself, as a single person, if I were to get injured or fired or ill. I fret about the rising cost of benefits and housing and food. I constantly do calculations, mental simulations, and hypothetical imaginings about the future. I’m trying to take time and be thankful. God has provided a job with a population I love in a familiar location with benefits and a committed and energetic new team.

God sees and knows my needs.

I am thankful.

P.S. This is my 100th blog post — and somehow that just seems poetic! Thanks for reading, friends!

Backspace and Life

“It’s quite helpful to talk with you rather than just knowing what I read in your application essay. I think it gives us a fuller picture of who you are.”
“Of course. Essays you can backspace.”

computer key Backspace

This was the dialogue exchanged between one of my fellow interviewers and one of the applicants. I stopped and wrote her words down. They are profound. Truly, it is one of the things I love most about writing. I can craft, perfect, and hone each phrase before publishing. And even then I can re-edit if I wish. I express myself best with time and typing.

Whereas, I constantly second guess my communication verbally. Every time I make an announcement or educate a patient or speak publicly in any way, I ruminate over my words and think about how I could have said it better. It’s infuriating at times! I wish I had ample time to craft a perfect response. But I have to think on the spot, respond to the best of my abilities, and keep going.

Life is more like speaking than writing. Life doesn’t have a backspace.

Yes, there are apologies and forgiveness. There is healing. But that is different than erasing the existence of an event. Even with healing there is often a scar. So how do we live in the ever flowing current of life knowing that each word counts and there is no backspace, no Control-Z option?

Sweaty Handshakes

Caught your attention, eh?

My day was full of nervous laughter, trembling fingers and sweaty handshakes.

I was asked to be on a panel of interviewers to assess applicants to the Master’s of Occupational Therapy program at a local university. First of all, the applicant pool was rather impressive. Smartly dressed. Well-spoken. Passionate students.

But, boy, were they nervous.

Interviews Waiting

It was my first experience being on the other side of the table and that three feet made miles of difference. I’ve always been the student. The one trying to make a good first impression. The one tugging at sleeves, wiping brows, and trying to appear both at-east and articulate at the same time.

It’s exhausting.

I spent hours posing questions, jotting notes, and analyzing answers. I could see myself in each of these applicants. They’re nervous. Their future seems uncertain. They want someone further along in the process to calm their nerves and tell them it will all be okay. I want that too. I want someone to look into my future and let me know the answers to my questions.

I was bemoaning my own future options to a good friend recently and asking her for advice on many levels. She wisely interrupted me and said, “Kelly, it’s not about where you’ll end up. It’s about whether you’ll trust God for your future or if you’ll choose to be in control.”

Boom. Just like that she dropped some knowledge on me.

I fret. With as much time as I spend worrying, you’d get the impression that I am a professional fret-er. I want to trust in the Lord and quit my nail-biting, energy-zapping, anxiety-craze. Because worrying does not empty tomorrow of its problems, it only empties today of its strength.

Perhaps faith in a loving and planning God is the antidote for sweaty handshakes!

Apr 1, 2013 - Occupational Therapy    No Comments

A Job with 2% Unemployment?

That’s right, MY job, has 2% unemployment. I’m an occupational therapist. I use daily, meaningful, functional activities to help people be independent. Most of my patients need help doing things they used to take for granted. Basic things like getting dressed, getting out of bed and going to the bathroom. They often can’t problem solve to open the milk carton or can’t coordinate both sides of their body to get their shirt on.

It’s a tough job. It requires that someone trusts me and lets me help them. But my job is to teach them how to be independent again, not to do for them. I’m a cheerleader, a teacher, a coach, a detective, a counselor, and a  kinesiologist daily. I educate on everything from the biomechanical pull on a joint while doing exercises to the need for healthy stress relief. It’s rewarding to meet with people when they need it. When they’ve received a wake up call in life.

I definitely chose the right major!

OT skills for the job of living

April is National Occupational Therapy Month! Thank an O.T. for his or her hard work this month!

And check out this video for more information on my beloved profession!

(PS -One note on the video… I do not make near that much money!!)

Jan 17, 2013 - Occupational Therapy    1 Comment

Everyone Matters

I love everything about this story.

I love that a nine year old understands what millions of adults don’t — that everyone matters. All mankind is created in the Image of God according to Genesis 1:26-28. That means that we treat everyone well — recognizing their inherent value. No matter what each individual can offer in return, he is deserving of our best.

Connor Long understands. Do you?

Dec 15, 2012 - Occupational Therapy    No Comments

Living with Disability

“Disability says ugly things to me. God says beautiful things to me.” Krista Horning

This is beautiful. It makes my heart happy. I am surrounded by disability at work daily. I have to know how to handle it. How to struggle along with people, how to have hope in pain.

A friend sent me this video. I loved it. Hear more about Krista’s story and the beautiful things God tells her. “God’s words change everything. God’s beautiful words have changed my life.”

What am I Created For?

(Yes, the title ends in a preposition, Grammar-philes. Get over it!)

“If you had a million dollars. What would you do for a living?”

We’ve all heard it. Typically from the high school guidance counselor trying to guide us in future decisions.

I’ve been thinking a ton about this lately. What is my ideal job? What have I been uniquely created and gifted to do? How do we know?

When I thought about the guidance counselor’s question, I anticipated myself shooting out of be excited for every day. I’d be changing lives! Helping people! Rolling in the dough (I mean that’s in the prompt… I’d already HAVE a million dollars!)

So what happens when life doesn’t live up to those expectations? Am I in the wrong position? Did I choose the wrong major? Should I do something besides Occupational Therapy? Or is there another option?

I, ever the optimist, think there is.

Maybe you don’t love the paperwork, but you do enjoy getting to educate and train the new hires. Maybe you get annoyed by people and their constant messiness, but you are satisfied with a beautiful presentation or paper and can see a task through to completion.

Image credit: http://www.sarihands.com/page1/files/otlogo.jpg

Likewise, I don’t love every single aspect of my job. I could do without some of the bodily fluids, or crabby patients, or 6 a.m. wake up time, or extensive paperwork. But there are oodles of good things about my job too. I get to meet people when they need help and are typically willing to accept it. I get to practice both an art and a science. I get to be creative and MacGyver things – one of my favorite pasttimes! And I get to read research and know fascinating facts about the brain. It doesn’t happen everyday, but I have moments where I know this is what I’m supposed to do.

______________________________________________________________

What about you? What are you created for? What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

The Divine Booyah!

Remember the unlikely sister I met recently?

Our conversation continued. This woman was feeling down, beaten up by her complicated medical history and numerous surgeries. She was talking to me, but really encouraging herself with her discussion.

She began slowly, but became increasingly more feisty as she talked. “I just get so depressed about this stuff. I don’t want another surgery. I want to heal and feel like myself again. I’m tired of hospitals and doctors and stitches and pain. I feel like Satan is using this to get me down. I don’t want Satan to have such power over my emotions, or my thoughts. He can’t have his way with me. He doesn’t own me! He has no power! He doesn’t win in the end. He can exhaust himself fighting, but he can’t have me. My soul belongs to the Lord. God wins in the end. He wins! Do you know what I’m talking ’bout?”

She posed the question to me. I cracked a smile and responded, “Yes. God wins. It’s the Divine Booyah!”

She stopped, eyed me carefully and exclaimed, “I knew you had some black in you!”

It made me really happy.

 

 

Image credit: http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/hospital.jpg

Dec 8, 2012 - Occupational Therapy    1 Comment

Connections

I met an unlikely sister.

She was my patient. We had different backgrounds. Different life experiences. Different present situations.

But we clicked.

It just felt natural. Easy. Comfortable. I spent an extended amount of time with this woman. She had a complicated medical history and was feeling down. I was able to share her struggles and encourage her. It was beautiful. We both realized it too. All too often I feel like I realize good times after the fact. But I don’t want to live like that. I want to realize the special moments when I’m in them. Perhaps that’s gratitude, or living in the present, or just paying attention.

I’m not sure what to call it, but I want more of it.

Preposterious

Preposterous + Mysterious = Preposterious.

I’ve coined a new word to describe my day.

Even though it’s a Saturday, I had to work. Welcome to my world. I work EVERY Saturday. I’m an Occupational Therapist and I’ve learned that strokes just don’t seem to wait just because it is the weekend. So I worked.

I really enjoy my job. I get to meet people and help them when they’re scared and need comfort. I get to help people be independent and care for themselves again after a catastrophic change. I get to MacGyver things to make it work.

I enjoy my job… but today it was preposterous.

I had a string of interactions which involved people yelling at me for trying to help them. I was cursed at, pushed away, grabbed, pulled, and shoved. I tried to help one gentleman correct his posture while walking so he could look where he was going instead of at his own navel. He told me to mind my own business. And snorted.

I assisted another woman to the restroom to do her business and get cleaned up a little. She “thanked” me by telling me I was ugly and my mother too. No joke. Gee, thanks.

It was preposterous how people were reacting to good meaning offers of assistance and healing. It was mysterious why!

Why were people responding to harshly? Why were my pointers intended to help these people go home and live safely and independently being snubbed? Why were people so difficult?

And then the light when on.

I am just as difficult. I hate accepting help. I want to be the strong one. I want to do it all – by myself. I tantrum like a toddler. Sometimes I fight, push, snub, fuss, fret, and get angry with God. I want to control my own life and story and direction. And that’s not how it works. I think my ways are better. I don’t always see that I’m walking with poor posture. Or about to trip over something. I don’t want help – I think I can do it all. Suddenly the mystery was solved. But the preposterous-ness still remained.

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