Friday, December 12, 2014

The Countdown to Christmas

Christmas has done it again. It has a nasty habit of sneaking up on me. I hate that!

Every year I keep an ongoing list of things my family might like or need for gift ideas. I even keep a list for myself should anyone ask. I do this so that when a grandparent or spouse asks the inevitable "What do the Myrtles want for <insert gift-giving occasion>?" I can provide some kind of intelligent answer because otherwise I will draw a complete blank.

Unfortunately, everyone's current list consists of major purchases or candy.

With that said, I try to make most of my Christmas gifts so I start looking for ideas around May. The really GOOD ideas don't arrive in my brain until the first of December and most of those ideas take about a year to make. So I write the idea down with full intent on beginning said project after New Year's only to forget about it.

Since the Myrtles are my primary gift targets, they will often see me working on some project and ask the obvious question, "Whatcha makin', Mom?" to which I am forced to reply, "I don't know." or something along that line. Over the years this has become a twisted code which has us all very confused.

So at the present time, I am have completed one major project (which took from May to September to finish), am less than 1/2 way through the 2nd major project (started in September), completed one minor project and am less than 1/2 way through the 2nd (both started in November). I have not started the other four projects that I had planned, nor do I have a clue what I'm going to do instead.

And Christmas is in 13 days.

So...what does one do in this situation you might ask? Never fear, I have been in this situation many times before!

1. I will finish the 2nd minor project (yea, me!),

2. I might wrap the two major projects in whatever state of completion they may be. I say might be wrapped because I will probably be up all night in a mad attempt to finish the 2nd major project. It will probably end up draped over a stocking or stuffed in a colorful gift bag. (This is a family tradition that I did not start.)

3. Everyone else will get a hug.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

One Proud Mama

It's time to brag a little. I am a proud Mama of two terrific girl children. Between the two, I have learned and experienced more than I ever expected. Most of those experiences were due to my own involvement because I firmly believed that if I did not chaperone, help, clean, or help out in some small way, then my child would not have many of the experiences that they sought. So I was/am a children's choir director, Destination Imagination manager, band mom (of the World's Largest High School Band--google it), FFA mom, archery mom, youth counselor, dessert auction chair, field trip chaperone, or anything else that was needed.

Today I was the archery mom. Myrtle the Younger has participated in the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) for the past 3 years and has gone to the state competition each year. She had a tournament today and scored 262 out of 300. That ties her personal best and it's still early in the year.

(For those who do not know about archery tournaments--there are 3 sets of 5 arrows shot at both 10 meters and 15 meters for a total 300 points. A bullseye is worth 10 points. There are kids who shoot in the 290s. The highest score I have seen was 298. The nice thing is that the (most) kids are only concerned with their personal best. No one has a sense of how others are performing, except maybe the person who they are partnered with for scoring. I think that is why Myrtle the Younger enjoys the competition. (No stress.)

She has another tournament on Thursday on home turf. Both today's and Thursday's tournaments are state qualifiers. She should make a team again this year based on the 262 score, but she is hoping for a higher score on Thursday.

Go Myrtle!!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

"You're Going to Find Me a Job, Right?"

I can't tell you how many times I heard that, or a similar, question in the past 20 odd years. Some people ask it to be funny, but most are serious.

"But grandma just got a new hip! She doesn't need a job!"


"That's like Physical Therapy, right?"

No. Similar. If it helps you understand better....

Sigh. I spend more time explaining Occupational Therapy than I actually get to work as an Occupational Therapist.

If you ask a group of OTs what an OT does, you will get a different answer from each one. It is one of those hard to define professions because there are so many facets. There are OTs in hospitals, rehabs, nursing homes, schools, mental health facilities, prisons, and community outreaches to name a few. OTs work with physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and developmental challenges. We work with everyone from premature babies to elderly. Some OTs work with people who have hands and arm injuries, joint replacements, home modification, artificial limbs, biomechanics, learning disabilities, health coaching, life coaching, arthritis, balance issues, swelling, strokes, Parkinsons, cancer, swallowing, substance abuse and the list goes on.

Do I do all of those things? No. I have experience in many of those areas, but there are many areas I have never worked in. For example, I am not a pediatric therapist. I have treated children with hand or arm injuries, but I am not skilled in evaluating or treating developmental delays in conditions like autism or cerebral palsy. It would be like asking an English teacher to teach a Chemistry class.

So what is T's definition of OT, you ask? OT helps people overcome or adapt to challenges that interfere with living the way they want or need to live.

Clear as mud, right? Does it help to say that how I define OT depends on what setting I'm in? No? I didn't think so.

So what do I do?

So far, this week I have:
-evaluated a breast cancer survivor for arm swelling and made recommendations for a compression garment, exercises and treatment to decrease the swelling,
-helped a woman walk from her power chair to her bedroom to practice rolling and getting out of bed,
-exercised with a man who had a head injury years ago and his arm wants to hang at his side because he forgets to use it,
-made sure a man with severe weakness and tremors could walk to his fridge and get the meal his wife prepared,
-worked to improve balance and strength and decrease stiffness in a patient whose multiple falls this year have broken several bones,
-helped a below-knee amputee get in and out of her shower and build her confidence to take said shower without someone holding on or doing it for her,
-made sure a patient could walk to her apartment dumpster and mailbox without getting too tired,
-worked with neck and shoulder pain so the patient could get out of bed,
-evaluated a patient with balance and weakness issues affecting her ability to stand and brush her teeth or fix a sandwich safely.

Pretty important stuff, don't you think? I think so. Yet patients want more Physical Therapy. ("I want to walk!") Well if you can't do anything once you get where you're probably need me, too.


(Side note--PT is very important. I love PTs. They just get most of the glam and glory.)