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.