Enjoy the day-to-day adventures of an Occupational Therapist in training!

Posts tagged ‘dream’

Great Responsibility?

Confession: I am a thinker. Scratch that… I am an over thinker. I’ve spent the last few days reflecting (cough over thinking cough) about what happened on Monday night at DR. In Monday night’s post, I just relived the experience without much thought to what it meant for me to have had that experience. So sit back and enjoy the product of an overactive mind :). 

This is going to sound silly, but when James fell of the horse (let’s just call it “the incident”), the level of responsibility that I have really hit me. You never really think that those “here’s what you do if…” situations that you learn about in training will ever happen to you.  “The incident” made me realize that I will have to be prepared for anything and everything while on the job as an OT, and even now as a DR volunteer. I know that situations such as “the incident” are rare, but they do happen. I sincerely hope that there are courses in grad school about crisis management-sign me up for all of those please! Both people and horses can be unpredictable. Then you add  disabilities on top of that and you come out with a situation where, in reality, anything can happen. A rider with Autism could go into sensory overload and have a melt down. Conceptually, I realize this. It’s hard to imagine it actually happening to me… and it’s weird to think that it did happen, scary to think that it could happen again. 

I felt guilty after it happened; could I have done more and/or should I have done more? If so, then what could I have done? What else was there for me to do but jump out of the way, stricken with dead-fish syndrome. I guess it’s human nature to assume you’d be a hero in a crisis situation- or at least do something. After all, I was the oldest person in that team..even though the other 2 young ladies have been working with DR for a long time and they’ve had more experience with patients, I still felt like as the oldest, I should have been able to do more. Can you say first born mentality?! Was it my fault? Was I holding onto little James’ ankle as tightly as I normally do? I guess the answer here is that there is no answer. Crap happens. Luckily, the girl whose side he fell on was ready to catch him, and no one was hurt. 

Another scary thought is that James can’t talk… he wasn’t able to communicate that something wasn’t right, or that he was losing his balance. He simply just slid off the horse. I’d venture a guess that a good number of OT patients do not possess the ability to verbalize when something doesn’t feel right, or that they feel a seizure coming (for example). Even if they can, will they tell you in time for you to do something about it. I know the career field that I have chosen isn’t going to be glamorous most days, and I’m sure that there are times when I’l be scared and unsure. I’m glad, but not glad, that this happened to me and not someone else. Of course, I would never want any rider to fall off a horse, that would be cruel! But I am glad that this served as a reminder that some scary stuff is going to happen. 

I’d be a liar if I said that I wasn’t nervous to go back to the  barn tomorrow. I’m hoping that I’ve learned to be more calm during “crisis” situations like this one. I don’t want to forget this experience, but I don’t want it to hinder my work. In other words, I don’t want to shy away from doing my job because I’m fearful that this sort of thing might happen again! 

He puts the “Hyper” in Hypertonic

Tonight was a lot of fun! I worked with Max, who I’ve worked with once before. Max is 8 and has hypertonic cerebral palsy (CP).  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure what condition brought him to DR; he looks and acts just like any other 8 year old boy.   I didn’t realize that there were different types of CP until I read Max’s file. According to http://www.childbirthinjuries.com , hypertonic CP is classified by rigid muscle tone and spastic movements. The CDC has determined that is the most common form of CP- about 80% of all CP diagnoses fall under the hypertonic category.  Max also has a condition known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) which makes it difficult for him to say certain words, syllables and/or sounds. This speech difficulty doesn’t stem from facial paralysis. It is caused by poor “planning” by the brain to send the proper signals to the correct body parts involved in speech (lips, tongue, etc.) Max is well aware of what he wants to say, he just slurs his words a bit. Neither condition seems to slow him down at all, especially not tonight! He was extremely hyper.  In no way am I poking fun at his disability in the title of tonight’s blog entry… just so we’re clear! He was talking all about his upcoming trip to Lego Fest, and asking me all kinds of questions just like any other 8 year old boy. He finds it fascinating that I share a name with the main character in one of his favorite books Sammy the Wonder Dachshund. I tried hard not to laugh when he asked if he could call me Sammy the Wonder Dachshund, of  course I said he could… it’s such an awesome nickname! He wasn’t so keen on me calling him Max the Wonder Cowboy, but it’s whatever! He kept me laughing and laughing throughout the lesson! I think my favorite comment that he made tonight was: Which husband do you want to marry? That was met with a laugh and a “That’s a GREAT question, Max.”  The answer to that question is  a blog post for a different day! 🙂

Working with Max tonight reminded me, in a different way, of why I love working with children. Anybody that knows me even a little bit can tell that I am goofy! I love to laugh, and to make others laugh! Kids are like little sponges; they absorb what we, as adults, put out there. I was energetic and silly, and he responded in the same way. That being said, I need to be careful about how I present myself in front of the riders. If I acted as tired as I felt tonight (it’s midterms week!!!) then he would have picked up on that and probably not been excited about learning how to pole bend, or even about being on a horse. Working with kids is a lot like performing on stage. You’ve got to be loud, exaggerate your movements, and keep moving forward-no matter what happens, the show must go on! I really can’t even describe how excited I am to make a career out of what I am doing now!! It makes me so happy to know that I can be a positive force in a child’s life. Gah! I’m getting goose bumps!

I’m leaving for spring break on Sunday, which means that I won’t be at the barn at all next week! I think the staff and the other volunteers are going to miss me.. and if not, they faked it really well! I feel like a part of the DR family, and everyone there takes time to thank me for being there and being willing to help do whatever. I don’t think they realize the impact that the farm has had on my life, and it has only been a month! Also, for you faithful readers, and followers, thank YOU so much for reading my posts each week! I have to do this to get credit for my internship, but it means a lot to me that I can share my experience with y’all. I have to write, but you don’t have to read it… so thanks.. really 🙂

Hours at the Barn:

Monday 2-24-14- 1:45pm-7:00pm

Thursday 2-27-14- 4:45-7:00pm