random thoughts of an insomniac OT

Can't sleep and it's before six a.m. on a day I have off. Awesome. But here are some of my thoughts on things that have been happening recently.

First off, and rather obviously to anyone who has been with me in person, I am under a lot of stress lately. For an OT, I certainly exhibit a lot of poor patterns in dealing with stress when it gets to a high level. I retreat into comfortable things, procrastinate on other tasks (hello blog), and have a thousand questions running through my head all the time. I'm also increasingly more distracted, which feeds back into the procrastination. I've been waking up around 5 for the past several weeks, but for the most part I just stay in bed in a semi-dozing anxiety spree until the alarm actually goes off. Very stressed. Likely to get worse before it gets better.

Since I'm not concentrating well, I haven't been reading as much lately. But I have been attempting to get through a couple books that may be of interest to others. One is strictly a book for work: Yes/No Medical Spanish. I haven't had a chance to use it in person, but I love the concept and found just about everything I would need for an eval (adult or pediatric) included. Since I haven't had the time/motivation/follow through to sit and intensely improve my Spanish (and it would take a lot of classes before I could be fluent for medical things) this is a great resource. I may eventually make a master sheet out of several sections so that I could just carry a small paper for home setup and basic questions and hopefully by that time the interpreter would show up! But definitely a useful book, though not therapy based. The other book I picked up because I saw an interview on Daily Show or Colbert and thought it would be thoroughly interesting: Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines---and How It Will Change Our Lives. The interview was very interesting, and the scientist discussed his research using brain-machine interfaces and talking about how they would make it possible for paralyzed people to walk using their brain power, really innovative stuff. I don't think it's only due to my attention problems, but I have been really struggling through this book both with the reading level and finding things that are interesting in it. I have renewed it twice at the library, it's do or die time now. I finally just skipped several chapters and am reading only about the actual experiments, so it's a little better that way.

I feel proud since 2 of my completely not related to OT goals that I set for myself are coming along nicely. I am progressing well as a user of chopsticks (still much better with wooden ones than smoother surfaces) and I have been able to complete 3 medium difficulty sum sudoku puzzles. Everyone needs something to aspire to and in this instance, something that has nothing to do with a career. But yay... good achievements thus far since I started as a complete novice with both this year.

I had a really interesting person s/p TBI the past few weeks, and he would make a great case study if I can strip enough identifiers eventually. I had a man with a severe hemorhage that was hospitalized for several weeks and made terrific progress exponentially near the end of his stay. I also saw a man with an intriguing stroke presentation (basically a subtly expanding stroke over >1 week) who is now at the local IRF and doing wonderful per report. These people made me actually sad when they were discharged, since they were great people and their cases were interesting. It's difficult in acute care since stays are so short, ability to do treatments is rare, and you get no follow up on what has happened to the person. It's nice when you get to see someone make progress. And speaking as someone who has interests across the lifespan, it's nice to have something so interesting because I need some beacons to figure out where I need to go and focus with my career.

Some odd moments of feeling out the boundaries between therapy comrades. I was scheduled to see a child with torticollis and was interested to try out a new approach I had seen online. But then I found myself wondering if there was good OT justification for that approach. Usually, I don't feel that I'm the 'infringer' so to speak on the other practice domains, but that case made me wonder if it was a treatment true to OT practice. I think there are probably some ways that it potentially could be (use as a feeding position, etc) but it was odd to get that squeamish feeling. Kid never showed up anyway, so really a moot point, but made for some pondering.

I had several moments lately that made me proud to be an OT and do what I do. Despite being the 'young pup' of our current floor group, I am pretty much the only one with an interest in neuro, and people have been counting on me to various degrees for their own education, which makes me feel really great to have that level of respect from others. I got a nice sincere thank you from an elderly man whose wife had a stroke... he had been disappointed that I couldn't see her daily in the hospital but so grateful that I came back. I was not expecting it since the session had been very difficult for the pt and he had watched her struggle along with BADLs. I spent a lot of time with the family of the man with TBI, and they seemed appreciative of the resources given, and even mentioned to the SLP that they felt really prepared following our sessions. I was able to make a connection with a young Hispanic couple really unfamiliar with the health care system and things like inpatient rehab, and I could tell that they were happy to see me even passing in the hallway, so that was great.

I'm trying to really enjoy these happy and proud moments, really appreciate the little things. I have a tendency to be so pessimistic and do want to remember that there are good moments even when I'm in the midst of mounds of work and disappointing myself on other fronts. I'll get a semi-needed computer respite this long weekend and see if that helps things. Words of encouragement appreciated, and I hope to be through the rough spot soon. :)


still learning to deal...

I've been feeling pretty stressed lately, so I've been spending more time away from the computer. Plus, I did get to have a crazy amount of fun in April (1-2 awesome things per week) but things are finally calming down for May. Several entries in the works, but it's going to take some time to bring them online and keep me sane. MOTA readers (anyone?) can now check out the MOTA website for the updated legislative advocacy page.