Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Long Blog

I finally have a precious moment of free time!

Three weeks ago I did my second observation at an outpatient pediatric facility. I really enjoyed it because I have never really been exposed to peds, and had definitely never seen a sensory gym like this one before. They had so many neat things to play on! There was a zip line, multiple swings, toys galore, a trampoline, and this lycra-like material hanging from the ceiling for kids to climb in and be spun around. In a word… it was awesome! They also had individual rooms in the back for kids to work on things like handwriting and what the therapist called “finger games” for fine motor strength and coordination. There was a closet back there literally full of thousands of games. I also got to see casting done for the first time on someone else other than me (I broke a lot of bones as a kid). There was a variety of kids seen but the majority were undiagnosed, on the autism spectrum, or developmentally delayed. I got to see two kids with unique diagnosis that I have never seen before. It was an amazing, if exhausting experience. I really like working with children, but I think if I was ever to do it I would have to balance it with something else. It seems so mentally and physically taxing! Speaking of multiple jobs, I never even considered the fact that as an OT, I could potentially hold several part time jobs in different areas. I have met several therapists that do that and I think that is just so awesome! I guess I have not been imaginative enough to think that far in advance, but I think that is something I would like to do one day to keep things interesting.

Two weekends ago I went to conference which was also a really great experience. Five OT students from my class went and I think around nine OT students from the second year class went. The conference was in Philly for those that don’t know. We stayed at a hotel by the airport and rented cars to get to and from conference and to get around town. We left Thursday at 8:00AM and just barely made it for the opening ceremony. They played the top three videos from some video contest and the one that placed first was absolutely breath-taking. The girl who made it completely captured why I want to be an OT. I only got to attend four lectures while I was there, something that I kind of regret and will definitely change next year. The problem was that we stayed at the hotel by the airport because it was cheaper, but we were farther away and with driving, traffic, parking, etc it just took forever to get there. So collectively we decided to skip out on the 8:00AM lectures and try to get there for the 9:30AM ones. The first day we did not succeed in making even that one so we just went to the Rocky steps that morning. And yes, we ran up the steps and took awesome pictures that I will post when my classmates e-mail them to me. I did attend a feeding lecture, a lecture on sleep, one on parenting with conditions such as MS and breast cancer, and one on using art forms as OT research. I the feeding lecture was really great. I am interested in feeding because as a child I was an extremely picky eater. I literally went through a phase where I would only eat macaroni and pizza. The sleeping lecture was really amazing too. Again, I am interested in sleeping for selfish reasons because I sometimes struggle with sleep and my mother has huge sleeping issues. I think sleep is a major determinant of occupational functioning and I do not think it is addressed enough. The lecture on mothering with chronic conditions was also good. One of the speakers was actually the author of several papers I used for a writing assignment I did this semester on MS so that was pretty neat. The art one was good too, but it was completely different from what I expected. It was a collection of three research projects by students. I also spent a decent amount of time at the expo which was so neat! Not only to you get lots of cool, free things, but you also get tons of brochures and magazines that can be great resources. As a brand new OT student who was just trying to soak it all in, this was my favorite thing to get. Because I haven’t been in school long enough to immediately know what some of the things were and what they could be used for, I collected all the info stuff on them so that I can go back and learn about things independently and at my own speed. I am really glad I went because it was a great experience. I would highly recommend it to any student even a brand spankin new one like me!

In other news… FIRST SEMESTER IS ALMOST OVER!!!! Next week is my last week and then we get a nice three week break before starting anatomy this summer. The hardest part about this first semester was just the adjustment phase and well, of course physiology. I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but in my school we actually have to take nursing physiology. A lot of it was basic phys, which is beneficial, but a lot of it was geared specifically toward nursing which was frustrating because I will literally never need to know some of the intricate details of blood work and immunology which are quite hard to learn by the way! It was frustrating, but it is over! And I never have to take a class like that again because the rest of our sciences are with the PT students. One really great things about phys though, is that after countless suggestions, our teacher let us skip the 111 question cumulative final if we were happy with our grade since it was a graduate level course and not a jump through the hoops undergrad one. This was so amazing because I was literally dreading studying the entire semester of phys notes which take up two three inch binders on my book shelf. So my week has pretty much been great. We also did a pretty cool assignment for interactive reasoning last week. It was a group leadership project where we had to teach the members of our group something so naturally, I chose yoga. It was really fun and I think we are going to have access to everyone’s assignments so that we have activities to do with clients when we go out on fieldwork in the future. We also had a great lecturer come speak to us in my occupational performance across the lifespan class. She was wonderful!!! She did the elderly lectures and she was so informative and engaging. She truly seems like a creative and innovative therapist, so I really enjoyed listening to her lecture.

Despite the amount of work in store, I am actually really looking forward to anatomy this summer. I love love love love love anatomy! It was one of my favorite classes in college. I also got the opportunity to take cadaver labs already. I took a prosection where we just basically got to look and learn the parts but not actually do any cutting, and I also took the dissection where we had to dissect and learn all the parts. We only had three bodies so we did not get to personally dissect the entire body. We worked in teams kind of and each person took a part of the body to dissect. We also did not do the face which I believe we get to do this summer. I’m sure there will be many many more anatomy posts to come.

Puppy drama is winding down. Ellie has not tried to kill herself recently by eating or drinking anything poisonous or darting across any main highways. She did destroy my make-up brush, which is her new thing to try and get to when I’m not looking, and she also ripped apart four, yes FOUR, pairs of my flip-flops in the last two weeks. She is so sneaky.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


So much to write about... no time to do it! Did my second day of pediatric observation last Friday and it was amazing! Did first meeting of Asperger's group Saturday and it was very interesting. Spent weekend/week studying for physio so I could take the test two days early and go to conference which is tomorrow!!! So excited!! Have lots of things I want to write about from all the things going on and I'm sure I'm going to have tons of things I want to write about from conference so I need to have a date with this blog over Easter break when I have a moment to breathe. Still need to figure out how exactly I can write about my various experiences with different kids in observations, groups, and at baseball without being tacky. I guess I'm not technically under HIPPAA since I'm not employed anywhere? But after working in a hospital for three years I am super senstive to revealing too much information about people... especially if I am posting it all over the internet. I'm not sure how I would feel if I stumbled upon a blog and it was written about me or a family memeber even if it was written in good light. I need to think about this and figure out a good way to share... probably time to send another advice e-mail to my bloging guru :)

This is just an example of how bad/smart my puppy is.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I think I have actually refrained from mentioning yoga on my blog so far. I am in love with yoga, addicted to it even. I strongly wish I had the time and money to practice more. It helps me personally in so many ways. I have extremely tight hips and hamstrings. I have chronic low back pain and mild hip pain… and I am a young, healthy, active 22 year old!!! I have had these problems for a few years and it made me angry. I could never get comfortable when sitting for long periods of time and I was always hurting. Yoga pretty much erases this pain for me and makes me feel like a young, healthy, active 22 year old. My blog guru Karen posted this video a long time ago and I have kind of been infatuated with the idea of adaptive yoga ever since. This guy, Matthew Sandford, is amazing! When I was working for the young guy with a spinal cord injury aka Philip, I tried to find people in the Baton Rouge yoga community that could help us figure out how he could participate in yoga. Philip was cool in that I got to do fun exercises with him like hand biking and boxing and he was totally up for letting me experiment adaptive yoga with him, but we never found anyone that could help us. Still I think this is a pretty neat concept… one that I will hopefully learn much more about someday and maybe even find a way to incorporate it into my OT practice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm so busy in my head...

Things are still a little crazy but there are only four and a half weeks left this semester! I spent the majority of last week preparing for a physiology test and doing some assignments. I really liked the sexuality assignment we had for my interactive reasoning class. Each person in the class was assigned an area of sexuality, for example mine was sexuality and breast cancer, and we had to put together a short paper with four resources and descriptions of each. Today we are meeting with the COTA students from a local university here to go over them. I think we get copies of everyone’s work so we can keep these resources and actually use them later, which I really like. Other assignments include an adolescent interview for occupational performance class, an activity analysis for concepts class (decorating cupcakes), and two physio essays. Still have one more physio test to go the Wednesday after next before I am relatively assignment free which is great because that is the week of conference… which I haven’t even begun to plan for! I am still adjusting to school and with frequent test and so many assignments last week was really rough. I think the biggest adjustment is having to turn in so much work. In undergrad, I took a lot of science courses which required a lot of studying but not much paper writing. I am finding it hard to both study in depth and find time to do all of the written work and assignments… but I know I’ll adjust.

I was lucky enough to escape to the beach this weekend though! A friend/ classmate has a family member with a place in Gulf Shores so we got to stay the weekend and go to the beach all day Saturday. It was the first weekend since school has started that I did not do any school work and it was glorious! Exactly what I needed to stay sane for the next month!!! I was also completely inspired by her extremely fit relative that is in her seventies. She looks so great… she bikes and gardens and I want to be exactly like her when I grow up.

Some other things that are going on in my life is my new experiment with running (which was actually started prior to meeting fit seventy year old) and of course dealing with my crazy puppy. I started the running last week and I was completely shocked when I actually enjoyed it! I haven’t voluntarily run in several years (I did other cardio… sometimes) and every time I have ever tried it has ended badly to say the least. I am starting out slow only running 4 minutes or so then walking a minute for about 35 minutes… going to pump it up this week though. Puppy drama has included Ellie breaking two leashes and running across a highway, licking draino that I didn’t know was in the tub, and eating the plastic part of a pen than she had hidden under the couch… 6 more months until adulthood!

I’ve also been doing Miracle League which the buddy baseball program I posted about a few weeks ago. It is so much fun. There are kids of all ages, abilities, and diagnoses. They structure it so that every kid hits and gets a chance to score. Some need a lot of help and some, like my buddy, probably play better than me and only need verbal cues and reminders that it is there turn to bat etc.

I also have a unique opportunity to help out with an Asperger’s support group. A mother approached me at Miracle League and asked if I thought it would be something OT students would be interested in helping out with and I have a large number of students wanting to participate. Hopefully, I can get that going this week. I talked to our teacher that does a lot of mental health groups as well as the one that specializes in peds and got some ideas but I also plan to do some online research to figure out what we can do with these kids.

Think that is a good enough update for now… I see that more and more people are actually looking at my blog which makes me so excited!!!