Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Texas!

As I sit in my apartment tonight, the eve before Thanksgiving day...I think about all the many things I am thankful for in life. It is so easy to go about our day in a fast forward motion, that we often forget to stop and tell someone how much we appreciate them or even count our blessings. So here is what I am thankful for:

  • First and foremost, my wonderful family...Dad, for his big smile, constant support, love for my mom and siblings, and happiness that he brings to the family; Mom, for her huge heart, love for my Dad, siblings, and godson, ability to stay strong in every situation, tremendous work ethic, and amazing cooking skills; Jenn, for always being there for me no matter what day or time, for bringing such a beautiful and wonderful nephew into my life, being an amazing role model to both my brother and I, and always supporting me and my crazy life decisions; and Trent, for making me view life from a different angle, see the smaller things in life that are important, always being there to share a good laugh, and being supportive in every situation; and Buster, our fat and happy yellow lab...for bringing so much happiness into our family, especially my dad's and Trent's and most certainly, my late grandfather's.
  • My beautiful friends...I won't list them all b/c it will take all day and you know who you are! I have gained something from each friendship that I have formed in my life. At least one of you have lifted me up from the ground and pushed me to stand taller, told me how beautiful I am, taught me to love myself more, encouraged and/or motivated me to try new hobbies or activities, laughed so hard with me that our cheeks hurt, challenged me, been that shoulder or ear I needed to listen when I cried for hours, pushed me to take risks and not be sooo responsible all the time, b/c we learn from our mistakes, danced with me until my hips hurt, did something you did not want to do but did b/c I wanted to...for all of the reasons above, I am thankful for my friends.
  • My health...I have been lucky to have been blessed with good health thus far. Within this past year, I worked my butt off to lose 20 lbs...and I still have more to go! Everyday has been a struggle for me...b/c I tend to be an emotional eater. I can have very poor self-control at times too, especially when it involves summer BBQ food, cake, christmas delights, and cocktails to unwind with. But, when I hear other people's stories that are in their late 20's, I count myself lucky that I have never had to have a major surgery, never broken a bone, never had a cavity, worn glasses, never had braces (but i did have a horrible palate expander that traumatized me), or encountered any major illnesses as of yet.
  • Lastly, my job...I love being an occupational therapist! I feel lucky that everyday I am able to improve one's quality of life by providing them with the skills necessary for living, whether it's giving a patient a reacher/grabber to help them put their pants on b/c their broken hip will not allow them to reach their leg past 90 degrees, or simply giving a patient an adaptive cup so they can drink their juice b/c their arms are paralyzed...I feel blessed.

So enjoy your day tomorrow and please take a moment to tell someone how much you appreciate them...

Much love from Texas and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nothing strikes fear in Texans like a Yankee with a U-Haul...

After living in the 2nd largest state in America for nearly 8 weeks (Texas, if you didn't already know)...I've heard numerous jokes about Yankees. I think the first thing that comes out of anyone's mouth is, "You're not from around here are you?" I'm currently residing in the Hill Country of Texas, also known as "Anti-Yankeeville." Prior to living in HIll Country, I was living in Redneck-ville...also another Anti-Yankee territory. I have yet to live in the cities where cultures blend, people are more open minded and liberal. I lived in that for 3.5 years, which is why I'm thankful for being placed in the rural towns, because I've gained a whole new perspective on things and appreciate how hard these folks work down here. I've learned, that really, the only difference between a Southerner and a Yankee is the manners, the weather, and the food. The people in the south address everyone as "Yes/No Ma'am" or "Yes/No Sir." No one ever "cusses" down here, as the southerners would say vs. "swearing." Also, the younger men and of course older gentleman open all doors for you and allow you to get off the elevator before they do. I think the last time a guy did that for me was my Dad. Furthermore, NO ONE ever honks their horn, lets you cross the street, and does not have road rage. So, yes, the southerners are more well-mannered than us Yankees. The weather, well the Northeast wins there. I love nothing more than having 4 seasons. We have the beautiful coastline too and gorgeous moutains. The south, well they have large bugs, flat land (for the most part), a lot of road kill, a lot of humidity, tons of rain in the fall, and tornados! The food, well now, that's a tough one...I love Mexican food. You cannot get good, spicey, authentic Mexican food in the Northeast. It is all American-ized. Even the chain Mexican restaurants down here have better food than the same chain restaurant up North. The food is full of fat and who doesn't like fattening food? It's comfort and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and then horrible when I'm trying to run it off on the treadmill the next morning. Whenever I reach for milk at the grocery store, the skim milk on the shelf is overflowing and the whole milk is almost gone! But when I think back to living in the Northeast, I feel as though we have many different types of food that they just cannot master down homemade Apple pie with Macintosh apples (they do not exist down here), Italian food, good quality beer, sushi, Thai food, and organic produce (the word organic does not exist down here!). I could go on and on, so yes, the Yankees win for this category too. So looking back on this post, I guess the Yankees do still kick butt...

My car hasn't been keyed yet, so I guess I'm fitting in pretty well or just keeping my mouth shut so the local folks do not hear my voice that lacks a thick, strong accent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This is why I became an Occupational Therapist...

I walked into work today feeling as though it was going to be a good day from the moment I woke up. I am starting to feel comfortable with the paperwork, staff, organization of the department, and orientation of the hospital set-up. I am also starting to realize how much I really do love acute rehab. Your patients are with you for about 10-14 days, so it really allows you to really understand, appreciate, and watch your patients progress over that timespan. My very first "acute rehab evaluation" was on a little 89 year old man who recently lost his wife this past October. He fell this weekend and sustained a lumbar compression fracture. His wife would normally help him around the house, but ever since she passed, he has had to manage everything himself. He has managed to hide his grief behind a big beautiful smile and jolly laugh and will constantly joke with me about how "efficient" I am and work his "bottom" off. For an 89 year old, he is just as sharp and attentive as a young 20 year old. He has rarely mentioned his wife to me and I have not asked questions because it is a very tender subject and situation. So today, I was helping him with his morning routine (he is very impulsive with his rolling walker and has become very weak since he has fallen) and going about my buisiness when he told me to stop and looked at me intently with his gorgeous sky blue eyes and stated, "You know sweetheart, my wife used to help me button my shirt and get dressed but she's not here anymore." Tears quickly formed in his eyes and I didn't say anything...instead I put a hand on his shoulder and got down to his level and said, "I know, and that is why I am here...I want to help you get better so you can be back home living with your wife's memory, the way you want to." He then smiled and said, "You know, I don't know if anyone tells you this everyday, but I sure do appreciate you...your smile and the warmth of your hand just made my entire day, let alone month...i haven't felt that sense of peace since my wife passed." Needless to say, I started to cry. We often take too many things for granted in life. As I was once told by someone very special to me, "Smile everyday, because you never know who is appreciating it."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to Kerrville!

Well folks, I successfully made it to my next traveling OT assignment. I love it here! Above is a picture of my apt community and lovely pool (sorry had to add that pic first for my family and friends back home that probably haven't seen an uncovered pool since maybe August? haha), which is gated access and very beautiful, as you can see! It surpasses Mrs. B's cottage by far...even though Mrs. B's cottage had a lot of character and comfort added to it, I was starting to get tired of finding dead water bugs and cockroaches in hidden spots...yes one of those lil' brats chewed a hole in my cashmere sweater!!! Let's just say, when I was packing up, I screamed when I saw the lil' bugger attached to my sweater and cried when I saw the hole shortly after! Everyone that resides here is so pleasant and welcoming! Come to find out, there are about 5 therapists that live here and are working in the same hospital as me, so it is nice to have something to relate to. My apt is also convienantly located only a mile down the street as well, which Jackie the Jetta is happy about considering she used to spin her wheels nearly 40 miles a day to work (that is a lot considering she never drove in Boston, maybe once or twice a month). In regards to the hospital, I love where I work and it's only the second day! It's an acute care/acute rehab setting, which is what I am familiar with and feel the most confident with my clinical skills. Furthermore, the department is very organized, the staff is very happy and content with their workplace, and my supervisor is superb! It's just amazing how I have gone from one extreme to the next. I still am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and I can already think of a few reasons why I was placed in Mount Pleasant first and why I was forced to leave so early...I will not mention those reasons...but I think a few of you may know why;) I will write more stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Now what in heck is a FLAPPER girl?" Bringing the 1920's back to Texas...

Another Halloween came and left! This year, I decided to take everyone back in time to a 1920's Flapper girl. I had a lot of fun creating the costume too! As my friend Kristen would say, "you are such a dork," but yes, I watched YouTube videos that displayed make up tutorials on how to apply 1920's-style make-up. I gained a bigger appreciation for these beautiful women after going through what I did to look the part. Flapper girls wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to the new jazz music, and flaunted their disdain for what was considered acceptable behavior. They were seen by the public as brash for wearing excessive make-up, drinking, smoking, flirting, taking work outside of the home and driving automobiles, which basically challenged women's traditional social norms. Overall, a flapper was reckless, attractive, and independent (sound familiar?). This behavior redefined women's roles forever. We are the women we are today in part, because of these beautiful flapper girls! i am...the finished product! I hope you all had a very safe and happy halloween and I look forward to y'alls photos as well!