Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Really Happening!

So, once again, I'm stirring up the pot of life. I recently took a travel OT position in Idaho! My first day will be September 13th. And just to warn you......this may be a long story. :)
Currently, I am covering for a couple people on/going on maternity leave. In my interview, they said that if I found another position that offered benefits and full-time work, they would be understanding, since they weren't able to offer those things at the time. I started looking for things around the area that would allow me to either do both, or just that in order to stick around. I was able to figure out a couple things, but after doing some number crunching with our student loans and our budget, we weren't sure what to do. During this time, the travel company I worked with previously kept in touch with me to see how things were going. I explained our situation and how we were hoping to put as much toward our loans as possible, but weren't sure how to do it with our current situation. She offered a few suggestions, and Andy and I sat down to figure everything out. We did want to stick around the area and liked our jobs, but also knew we wouldn't be able to put as much money toward our loans as we would like, and that there were other places, jobs, and adventures out there that we would miss out on completely if we didn't take a chance.
We are super sad to leave our family and friends that have been so supportive and loving toward us, but are extremely excited about what the future holds in store. I'm excited to be able to take different jobs every 13 weeks or so in different places. On one of my fieldwork experiences, I was under 5 different OTs, learning from them. I loved being able to pull from all of their ideas and ways of working. This will be an amazing learning experience and help me grow my OT skills. I am also excited about it strengthening our marriage. We have always been surrounded by family and friends in our comfort zones, and now we won't have much of any of that, only each other! We're going on this crazy ride together and hope to make a lot of memories. The plan is to do this for a year and a half, depending on permanent job offers after. But we are open to adapting and changing to whatever we need to do to make this work.
For those of you who don't know, travel therapy usually provides more income than finding a position on your own, and also provides great benefits. Not only do we have great insurance, but we are allowed up to a month off between assignments while still being insured. We are hoping to use this time to catch up with family and friends, as well as go on a trip or to if we are able.
God has really been working in this whole process, so we feel like this is what we are supposed to do right now. Some of the things we were worried about to make this whole thing happen were 1) Selling Andy's car, 2) Buying a van {so we can pack everything there instead of renting so many UHauls}, 3) Finding a place to live, and 4) Finding a renter. Well, we sold Andy's car to a high school kid that was SUPER excited, found a van that was really reasonable that my dad helped us get up to par, found a fully furnished great place to live in Idaho, and most recently, found an amazing renter for our place. Those are just a few of the things that have been great in all of this.
Can't wait to see what's to come. This weekend, we will be packing up most everything we won't be needing and putting it into storage. Hopefully we can get everything else to fit in the van! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Great Read!!


So, I'm currently reading a book called The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne (thanks Beth!), and it's pretty dang amazing. I wish I could tell you all about it, but I need some shut eye. I just think you should read it. Especially if you're into Jesus, social justice, or just being a good person. There have been a few parts that I don't totally allign my thoughts w/, but it is really good and definitely worth while!! Here's a link to the church he started in PA: http://www.thesimpleway.org/ and I will also connect it to the title. Now, go buy it, put your feet up, and do some reading! :)


This pic is me walking barefoot on a golf course...me feet fell in love!!


Here's another pic from my summer---was w/ my cousin, on our way to get a canoe to do some rowing. :)


B-E-A-U-tiful!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Becoming Part of the Team

So I have finished my first travel job and am now back home covering for some maternity leave at a local hospital. I did end up extending my travel position for a couple weeks and eased right into my current job. My first travel experience was great! The setting was a skilled nursing facility, a hospital (mostly swing bed), and an outpatient clinic combined, so I had a very varied caseload. My co-workers were fantastic and really helped me feel like part of their team. I am grateful for their positive attitudes and insight while I was there.

I am now in a hospital setting doing mostly acute care and TCU (transitional care, which is similar to a nursing home). I'll explain a little that I know for those who don't know, because I sure didn't a few months ago. In order to be eligible to go to swing bed, nursing home, or TCU while having your insurance pay, you must have a 3 day stay in the hospital, sort of as a 'pre-qualifier'. If not, you either have to go home, or pay out of pocket. And I don't know the exact details on this, but if you have the 3 day qualifying stay, you may then be eligible for a 30 day stay in swing bed or a 90 day stay in the nursing home (this all depends on which type of Medicare you have, so please don't hold me to it! :)). Sometimes people only need to stay for a week, which makes swing bed a good option, and some may need 2 months of therapy, which makes a nursing home a good option. Once people are in a nursing home or TCU, and are referred to therapy there is a lot more that happens regarding Medicare. But I won't go into it at the moment because I don't know as much as I should to be giving an overview! :)

Acute care is more for people are there for a short time: post surgery (knee, hip, back, shoulder, etc.), medical (pneumonia, mild CVA, cancer, etc.), telemetry, ICU, and others. It's been interesting for me because at my last job, I typically saw patients for a week to a couple of months, and now I may only have one or two days with a patient before they go home. I see a larger variety of personalities and diagnoses. Some are happy to see me, and some try their hardest to get me out of the room as soon as I get to their room. My goal with everyone is to find at least one thing to talk about with them that they are positive about. With some people, it's as easy as finding out what they do for a living or like to do in their free time and talking about these things. For those that think of me as the enemy, I have to work a little harder. We have to gain a better understanding of who they are and what their daily lives consist of before we can make that connection with someone.

I had a patient recently who was very angry to be in the hospital and was also in a lot of pain. After a couple of refusals from them one day, I decided to try one last time. I knew what they did for a living, about their home set-up, family dynamics, and their hobbies. But this time I asked, "If you weren't here right now, what would you be doing?" "Fishing," they replied. Finally it was something I could run with! I went on to ask what kind of fish was their favorite and what lakes/rivers they used the most. I don't fish often but I enjoy going and of course love eating it. So instead of telling them of my few fishing adventures, I went on to ask about the best ways to prepare it, and what they eat with it. It made me laugh when they told me how I prepare it is totally wrong, but were able to put me on the right path. I most likely won't change how I cook my walleye or tilapia, but it was nice to finally break through that wall and have them trust me a little more.

I wish I could share more examples, but I need to be careful w/ confidentiality. It's hard to blog about work & OT sometimes because the things I'd like to say may be about someone's family member or friend. When I was working in MN, most of the people had never even been to ND. Now that I'm working back in ND, it seems that 90% of the people I see are have connections within 1 or 2 degrees of separation. They may be from my hometown, are relatives of a friend, go to church with us, or anything else. I had a patient recently who used to be good friends with one of my grandparents growing up. It is definitely a smaller world in ND, but I do like that sometimes.

Anyway, I'll be done for now, but I guess what I'm trying to get at here is that we all need to be sensitive to our patients/clients/residents and their situations. It is our job to help gain their trust and to find connections with them so that we are part of their team and a resource for them rather than the enemy.

Happy birthday to new baby Liv (our 2nd niece)!!! We are so excited to meet you soon! :)


Thanks to these blogs for listing this one on theirs! Very encouraging. I feel undeserving, but thank you so much.
http://mastersinoccupationaltherapy.org/2010/top-50-occupational-therapy-blogs/
and
http://thinkingot.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/social-media-in-occupational-therapy-why-bother/


And for all of you considering going into OT, here is a link for possible financial resources for you! Good luck!!! :)
http://blog.onlinecollegeguru.com/health-care/financial-aid-for-occupational-therapists/

Monday, May 24, 2010

green can go with anything

So recently I read the book Green Goes With Everything by Sloan Barnett. She has a lot of great websites for various products, and since I need to give the book back to my cousin, I'm just going to put a lot of them up here so I don't forget them! :) Her main company she promotes is Shaklee and they have a ton of really great products in all of these areas. I know I will end up just buying the book so I can share it w/ friends and family. I'll just do the clean house and body sections tonight. I will do more later!

Clean House:
~Household Products Database - hpd.nlm.nih.gov
~Citrus Floor Cleaner:
1 gallon hot water
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
15 drops sweet orange essential oil
1/4 C. lemon juice
~Window Cleaner
3 C. water
1/4 C. white vinegar
1 T lemon juice
~Stain Lifter
2 T. cream of tartar
2 drops peppermint, eucalyptus or lemon essential oil
Water
Make into paste
~Toilet Cleaner
1/2 C. baking soda
1/4 C. white vinegar
10 drops tea tree essential oil
~Drain Cleaner
Bio-Clean Drain Cleaner, statewidesupply.com
Citra-Drain Natrual Enzymatics, citra-solv.com
Drainbo.com
Ecos.com
~Ourhouseworks.com
~Drugstore.com
~Air fresheners
Ecodayspa.com, Greenridgeherbals.com, Pacificacandles.com, Scentedroom.com, Vermontsoycandles.com

Clean Body:
~Deodorant
Burtsbees.com, Crystaldeodorantprotection.com, Kissmyface.com, Tomsofmaine.com
~Fragrances
Aveda.com, Dropwise.com
~Hair Care
Aubrey-organics.com, Aveda.com, Drhauschka.com, Giovannicosmetics.com, Jrliggett.com, Jurlique.com, Shikai.com
~Hair Dye
Herbavita.co.nz, Logona.com, Bewellstaywell.com, Iherb.com, Naturcolor.com
~Make-up
Aubrey-organics.com, Drhauschka.com, Eccobella.com, Paulpenders.com, Modecosmetics.com, Afterglowcosmetics.com, Alimacosmetics.com, Bareminerals.com, Shaklee.com
~Nail Polish
Topshades.com, Honeybeegardens.com, Iamapeacekeeper.com, Suncoatproducts.com, Zoya.com, Naturaleurope.com, Ourtatefamily.com
~Sunscreen
Albabotanica.com, Badgerbalm.com, Colorescience.com, Keys-soap.com
~Skincare
Burtsbees.com, Sephora.com, Eccobella.com, Shaklee.com, Jason-natural.com, Originsorganics.com, Renskincare.com, Sukisnaturals.com
~Oral Hygiene
Burtsbees.com, Jason-natural.com, Tomsofmaine.com
~Tampons
Seventhgeneration.com, Natracare.com


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I named her Megan

So I am currently on a travel assignment and in my 11th week! I really have only 2 weeks after this, but may extend it a bit, depending on if the travel company I am working with will help me out with it or not. Things have flown by, and I have had a lot of fun! It's a mixed setting and I've gotten to see people ages 2-100 from many walks of life. I really have enjoyed the variety, as well as the staff. They have been so great! I have felt so welcome and would definitely consider staying if it wasn't so far away from home. It's been fun, but I have really missed Andy, as well as everything else back there. My weekend was filled with graduation open houses, a baby shower, church, a bonfire, a GREAT walk, friends and family. It was so good to be back and was super hard to leave to come back to MN. I miss having my own house and yard....I even mowed our lawn twice this weekend! Haha.
A few things that I really appreciate about my job in Minnesota are the dynamics, support, and respect. Everyone gets along really well. There are the occasional little things, but everyone seems to resolve them before they are made into a big deal. Everyone really supports each other and we try to make things work as a team as best as we can whenever we can. The manager also is really considerate of everyone. There have been a lot of interviews lately, and each person that gets interviewed also has a time where they sit with the entire therapy department so we can all ask them questions. It's nice to see everyone ask what they'd like and for the staff to get a feel for that person to know if they'd be a good fit or not. Those are just a few of the many things. :)
During my time here, I have seen a wide variety of diagnoses. A few of the patients I've had in the nursing home have passed away, some have made amazing strides forward, and some are still making baby steps. Overall, the environment in the therapy department is really positive. Most people are trying to get better, and want to; some are willing to do the work, some aren't. We get to know our patients and what their lives consist of, and we often become entwined into their lives as another branch of their days.
I am a fairly optimistic person, but I really appreciate getting zapped by reality from time to time. A couple weeks ago, after laughing and joking with a patient who has made amazing improvement, I brought them back to their room. As I was turning the corner to go back to the therapy department, a girl who looked like she was in her late teens/early 20s was walking toward me. She was crying, and trying to hold sobs back. I wanted to stop and talk and see if she was OK, but she didn't make eye contact with me, and I thought it may make her feel even more uncomfortable. I automatically assumed that she may had just found out she was pregnant, but her tears may have been for a ton of other reasons. But assuming she was, I just kept thinking of how many drastic life changes will be coming into her near future. Telling the guy, her parents, dealing with her body and emotions as things go forward, and MANY other things after that. Her life could be forever changed by that one visit.
And last week, we had a little girl come in for therapy. I had seen her around before, but not for OT. She always seemed to be cheerful and eager to do whatever they wanted her too. I learned one of the first times I saw her that she was going through cancer. I don't think the prognosis was good, but that didn't change her lively spirits. We have a PT student right now who has gotten to work with her a few times. The girl came in for therapy with one of the therapists, and then went looking for the student. She knew that Megan was not going to be a student with us much longer and wanted to tell her goodbye in case she didn't see her again. After finding Megan, she gave her a big hug and said her goodbyes. She started leaving the department, but turned around and said, "Wait, look at my new doll!" Megan commented on how cute she was and this little girl responded by saying, "Yeah, I named her Megan!" I'm not sure why that sticks in my mind so clearly, but it's so great to see how much one person can affect another. We are constantly working with different people and need to be constantly reminded that even our smallest interactions can affect people in big ways. I also loved that despite this little girl's own life issues, she remained so focused on finding Megan and letting her know that she named her doll after her.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Convicted

Lately I've been reading the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I just finished a chapter called 'Profile of the Lukewarm' and it really was good for me to hear. The entire chapter is great, but this is the part that convicted me the most:

"Lukewarm People do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens--they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them--they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live--they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis--their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God."

This is sadly true in my life on multiple levels, which is hurtful to me. I know God has done some great things in my life and has answered many prayers. He as guided me through many situations, but there are many situations where I did not come to Him, and just made things happen my way on my own terms. That is not why we are here. Sometimes when I look at my current situation, mostly financially,and how it affects my future, I try to figure out what to do to own my own to improve it. If I would have just given more of my plans and decisions to God before they were happening, I don't think that I would be in the same situation. I don't know this for sure, but I feel things would be a little different.

We plan things too often by ourselves and for ourselves. We have our game of life mapped out with little room for bumps, turns, or possibly total detours. Many of us have food in the fridge and at least some money in the bank. We don't go to God often enough to figure out how to improve our situation, or how to be used in a better way by Him. I would really hope that my life would look different if I suddenly stopped believing in God. But many times I slip and fail and get lazy or mess up. And at those times, I tend to start caring more about myself than about my walk with God.

So maybe it's not a challenge to you at all, but it really put me in my place and gave me a good (new) starting point. Andy and I were talking about something the other day and something he said also gave me a jolt of reality. We were talking about Jesus and the huge sacrifice that was made for us. He said something like, "It's just so crazy, He died for us. People like us continuously spit in His face, let Him down, and beat Him just like they did on the day He died. We do it so often. And even though we treat Him horribly and abuse Him, He would still die all over again for us." I know I've heard that concept before, but it just really hit me that time. Like wow, I am a total loser who treats Him like dirt at times......but His love for me is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO unconditional.

Anyway, I really need to get ready for bed. Here are some verses that are also in that chapter:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." ~Matt 7:21

"Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation" ~Amos 6:1

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" ~James 1:22

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he out to do and doesn't do it, sins" ~James 4:17

"I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead." ~Rev 3:1


And another paragraph that I really liked:
"When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines.......What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. And I hate running.
But you know what? I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would've been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you.
Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn't say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, "Take up your cross and follow me."


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I wanted to post this earlier but didn't think the timing was right, but it's official......I quit my first official OT job and am now doing some traveling OT! Crazy, right? I really didn't want to quit, but they no longer needed regular help at the pediatric clinic that I was helping out very part-time at and my job wasn't gaining hours (they hoped I'd become full-time), but instead was slowly coming to a halt. I feel horrible that I had to quit and a part of me almost feels like I was a failure because I was unable to get things going at a higher volume. I was doing inservices for 4 facilities and putting fliers in mailboxes of these residents as well as offering free screenings. They were great people to work with but it just didn't work out. :( I honestly have never quit a job before that. In high school I worked at Dairy Queen until I went to college. In the summers I worked at pools or camps so employment ended before school started. My first year of college, I coached gymnastics and cheerleading to little girls and then transferred. One of the jobs I had at the next school ended up going out of business, and the other two I still help out at. I just really like working there so I want to still feel like 'I've got it'. I hope I can find an OT job that I really like that much.

Right now I am in a hospital/nursing home/outpatient setting in a smaller community. I have actually really liked it and have learned a lot. The people are great and I kind of feel like I have been here forever and just slipped into it with ease. I hope to get some feedback of how the director feels things are going soon, but it's been so busy that I almost feel bad interrupting the schedule. It will happen though. They just had one of their physical therapists quit, so if anyone is looking for a PT job or and OT job---let me know! :) I've gotten to see a lot of variety too so that's been fantastic. I love listening to people's stories when they come in. To get to know about their lives, what they like to do, what they do or did for a living, about their children. I think I could be a professional chatter. (may not be a good thing!! lol) It's only a 13 week assignment and so I'm excited to see what our next adventure will be.

I am interested to see how this new health care plan is going to affect us as OTs as well as consumers. I am definitely up for some reform, but don't necessarily agree with some of the things in it. I have been getting pretty annoyed with the stories of 'Republicans' who are lashing out with hate toward the democrats who voted for it. It really bothers me. I don't consider myself associated truly with a certain party at this point but I am more on the conservative side with my values which tends to lean more with the Republican views. But I almost feel ashamed that these people who supposedly have these great value and moral systems are sending hate mail, throwing bricks through windows, cutting gas lines off of peoples' houses, etc. What great examples of hate you are to your children. :(a.k.a. my generation and those following) I am not saying that is what everyone is doing or that Democrats are angels, but I just wish that people could be more respectful and civil.

Last month, I was part of an AMAZING 'rally' where I learned that great things can be accomplished by just being kind. There is a bill that people like me wanted to get through quickly to stop and prevent more kidnappings, rapes, and murders in Africa that are going on right now. There is a rebel group called the Lord's Resistance Army (find more on www.invisiblechildren.com) that is now in multiple countries in Africa (Uganda, Sudan, DRC, etc.) and spreading quickly. They kidnap children and train them to be soldiers to kill their own people. The young girls get raped, and the children to small to carry guns (4 and 5 year olds) are given whistles and sent to the front lines to scare the armies, but most becoming easy targets (www.fallingwhistles.com). My heart breaks for these children and for the families that have been torn apart. Anyway, this bill was being held back by one Senator (www.coburnsayyes.com). Hundreds of teens and young adults camped outside of his Oklahoma office for 262 hours. I was only part of it through their live streaming of the event on the internet. They made signs and stood outside his office, being super kind. People were curious and they shared with them when they asked. Everyone knew what to kindly answer for questions being asked and people responded to them with great generosity and kindness in return. We wrote emails to him and called his office thanking him for the things that he has supported that we also support and then urged him to please consider passing this bill to help arrest Joseph Kony (the LRA leader) and put an end to the longest running war in Africa. And guess what? After all that time of being friendly and kind, he supported the bill!!! He actually thanked the people from Invisible Children and Resolve Uganda (www.resolveuganda.com) for doing this the 'right way' and he mentioned that he had only heard good things from everyone who had told him about them and this bill. It was just really cool to be a small part of.

Wow, that got a little long, but I just had to get some of that out there. Hopefully I'll start posting a little more consistently soon so I don't have to have wordy spells as often. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quote

Here's a fun quote I saw in a movie last night. Thought I should share:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
~Marianne Williamson

I wonder what it would be like if everyone pursued their dreams and ideas and gifts that God has given them with every fiber of their being? The world would be so different. I find myself falling back into patterns of laziness or content much too easily and I'm not sure why? Maybe because it is comfortable and doesn't take much work? I have so many dreams and passions in my life, but I find myself not pursuing them with all I have. I always get to thinking, "Yeah, I could spend time on this and this and that, but then have no time to do anything else," or "I'd love to do that if I wasn't working at this job or as much, etc." Lame. I'm playing small and not letting my light fully shine. Hopefully it is at least glowing and I'm at least giving some of my potential. But that's not good enough, I need to radiate! I hope and pray that 2010 brings many changes, both big and small. That I am able to change my typical pattern of contentment and start becoming more bold and unafraid of what challenges I may face along the way. People are in need. And I want to give.

So look at your life. "Who are you not to be? You are a child of God. "

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another chapter in my book of life....

How sad is it that I haven't blogged in almost a year? Craziness. I've meant to quite a few times but never seemed to find the time among work, church, other activities, and having a husband. :) Well here goes....
I officially finished OT school last May ('09) and became a REAL occupational therapist in July. Since then, I've worked in an outpatient clinic focusing mainly on geriatric patients, as well as filled in for a pediatric clinic a couple days per week.
I have a new-found love for older adults that I have never had. :) I never disliked them by any means, but just didn't think I'd ever want to work with them. My dad has been a nursing home administrator my whole life, and my mom a nurse.....usually in the same place. I've grown up in them, helping decorate for holidays, watching Full House after school there in elementary school, ate meals there occasionally, and bombarded the activity rooms to 'make gloves' with the paraffin. I thought I'd probably end up working mostly with kids in the big scheme of life. Through my job (w/ more geriatric clients), I have met some amazing people, and heard of great stories. One of my patients used to be a dancer, some were missionaries in far off places, one boxed in a small town ND cigar shop when they were a teenager. One of them even saw Mussolini's body when he was hung upside down for all to see he had been killed. All of them have such interesting stories and histories. All important, but many are not remembered or known by others. I wish I could compile their stories and put them into a book. :) I could probably keeping HIPAA in mind, but that would mean I find LOTS more free time!
There are many new adventures in my life that are ahead of me, some of which I hope to share here. But not today.

In place of more verbage from me, here's a great video a friend posted today. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-l0tK8Ok0