Wednesday, May 4, 2011
We have been traveling now for about 8 months, and so far so good. Northern Idaho, which was gorgeous and crazy, Texas, where it was great to spend a warm winter with some fun co-workers, and now Minnesota.
We now think we have packing down to an art form, and Andy has been the best husband a girl could ask for. I think it would be a lot harder to travel if I didn't know anyone, but still fun.
North Idaho was a sub-acute/SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility, a.k.a. nursing home) mix which was all about Medicare. It was a great learning experience and I was able to work with some great therapists who had a vast array of knowledge. A lot of places work unethically with Medicare and either don't utilize it correctly or just try to take as much as possible from it. You can usually tell this very early in an interview. I try to avoid them at all costs. :( This place was very good in utilizing things correctly and giving patients as much therapy as necessary to assist with that individual. And it was in a BEAUTIFUL area. North of Coeur d'Alene, tons to do, lakes, mountains, forests, etc. If my husband could get a job around there, we would seriously consider moving there! :)
Texas was crazy but great, in an LTAC (Long-Term Acute Care). I didn't really even know what an LTAC was before I got there, but they are super cool. They are for the patients that are super sick or in between acute and home/Assisted Living/SNF. Many patients had oxygen, feeding tubes, wound vacs, foley catheters, and IVs, and some also had vents, rectal tubes, drains and more. I had never really been exposed to a lot of these things while doing therapy, so it was like diving into a brand new pool. It was so great to see that even though these patients were medically unstable and very weak, that therapy still can be done with them and that it is vital for them in order to get better. Some were told they wouldn't survive, came to us and ended up doing great, and others came there in their transfer to hospice. I hope I gained a lot of empathy from my time there. I learned a lot more about appropriate vitals, blood work levels and what affects they have on someone, medications, telemetry, etc. We ran all day from patient to patient, and had a great team of OTs, PTs, SLPs, and techs that all worked together and all genuinely cared for the patients. A lot of great friends were made there that I will definitely keep in touch with.
In Minnesota now, and I am in a mixed setting. I've only been here 3 weeks, so I'll post more when we've been here longer. So far so good though!
It's so interesting how many different opportunities OT offers. I mean we can work in practically every setting and spin it to legitimately be OT. Schools, group homes, factories, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, LTACS, outpatient clinics, in people's homes, in psychiatric facilities, with horses, vision, driving, the list goes on and on!!! Craziness! Looking back to when I had to choose my future 'career', I am so glad that I was able to talk with the people I talked to. I had no clue what OT did, but I just wanted to check it out. Our director at our school at that time was so on fire for OT and so incredibly convincing of how that would be a good fit. Well, she sold me on it, and I'm so thankful I made the decision. I wish high schools and colleges would step it up a little on educating students on their career options and what those options are like. I would love to be able to do that some day. Just go in and brag (nicely, of course) about how cool our job is. But for now, I'll just stick with this.
This experience has been so great for learning more about OT, and gaining knowledge from other therapists. It has also been great for our marriage. I mean, if you have to be sent to a place for only 3 months at a time, move often, and be away from family, you grow a lot with each other! God has done some pretty incredible things in each place we have been, and we are excited to see what will happen here!
That's all for now......next blog I think I'll blab about continuing ed! :)