Monthly Archives: September 2010

She was 103 years old & radiant

Yup.  She *is* 103 years old, and sharp as a tack.
She was having trouble with pureed meats, as they were getting caught under her dentures – she recently lost weight, and her dentures are fitting much more loosely, thus pureed meats get caught and become uncomfortable.  She moves a little more slowly than she used to, so it’s increasingly difficult to get up & rinse her dentures during a meal…. she recently did fine with chicken from-a-bone her family brought in.  Could she try regular meats instead?

So I went in and introduced myself.  We talked.  For a while.  I brought in several consistencies of meat during lunchtime.  She always takes small bites.  She did well with no signs or symptoms of aspiration & her swallow was just fine.  She handled the regular texture just fine…

and while we were talking during our 45 minute interaction, she was glowing.  Absolutely radiant.  She was talking about her faith.  Her belief in GOD.  How good HE is to her.  Some of her history when HE has intervened.

and she was praying for me to come – I was an answer to prayer.  She was so thankful for me. So glad I had come.

All I could think was “um, it’s not that difficult.  I’m in the building – just ask the nurse and I’ll come do an evaluation for you” .  I felt very heathen-like, or rather unfaithful…unbelieving?  there’s a better word out there.

But her faith was so strong.  About everything.  …it really WAS a strong witness…

and I hope at some point, before I’m 103, my belief system will be more of a foundation than it currently is… radiantly glowing.

what a difference one week makes

One week ago tonight I was feeling anxious, sick to my stomach, anxious, nervous, upset, teary (and did I mention anxious?)

However, after the first day was the 2nd…then all of the sudden I’ve wrapped up day #5 and I’m familiar with the paperwork, the rhythm of the facility, am remembering some names of people in the building, and am feeling really happy about this change in practice area.

Which is such a blessing.
Because I was really questioning myself and recent decisions.
(Seriously…things got pretty dark for a while the last few weeks)

I’m also exhausted at the end of each workday b/c I’ve utilized so much mental & emotional energy at work, but that’s a different post for another day.

After the overwhelming first day (which was 10.5 hours – long for me after not working since June!) the consecutive days got better. And now I’m not phased when new things come my way – if I can’t figure it out, there’s always someone to ask.

I’m providing mostly dysphagia (swallowing) therapy with elderly adults in a medical rehabilitative setting. Also some cognition and motor speech therapy, too. Basically I make a “to do” list for the next day, and when I walk in that next morning I may have a new evaluation to do for a new patient (or three), see my regular patients, handle things as they come up…and make a new list at the end of the day for tomorrow.

I’m using many of the same tools in my clinical tool set as those I made & used the past 10 years in the pediatric setting…except my clients go by “Mr” or “Mrs.”, have a more advanced vocabulary, and often make great strides in recovery in short amounts of time (although sometimes the patients remain the same…or perhaps they decline in status). That’s how it works.

There are still many weeks ahead on this particular canvas (possibly until early November, but may be extended to December) but I anticipate it will pass quickly, I’ll learn a lot, and no one will get hurt.

So far, this particular brushstroke in the Blank Canvas Project may tentatively be categorized as a success.

A brushstroke (Blank Canvas Project #1)

And this post is illustrated with photographs!
Harrington, DE 109

Why haven’t you been around recently? I’ve been wrapping up life in the mid-west so I could start living on the east coast.  This involved a lot of phone calls, many tears, and a lot of lists…I mean, a LOT.

What has this last week been like for you? Good question, let’s see… Last Saturday I took my parents to the airport after their visit, then packed my clothes, gathered my belongings for the next three months, then packed my car….said goodbye to friends, did lots of last minute things, frequently referred to my lists, and between Tuesday and Friday I packed the car, drove 1/2 way across the country, and arrived in Delaware ready to move in

How long did it take you to pack that little 4-door sedan? Two days.

Were you able to fit everything you wanted to bring? Amazingly, yes!

How did you actually do that? Well, after much consideration, I settled on a bag system.  With everything in its own bag, then it was all able to nestle in together.

What??!  No boxes? Nope.  not one box came with me, nor did I use any luggage.  Look at all this stuff!

Was your cross-country trip eventful? Actually, it was pleasantly uneventful.  My car started making a continual MOO-ing sound somewhere in Ohio, however I’m hoping it’ll go away at some point.  If need be I can always get it looked at.

So how long did it take you? That’s an interesting question, because it should have taken about 16-ish hours.  But since I decided to sleep in the car (so my bike & clothes on top wouldn’t get stolen en route) it took about 23 hours the first day, then 2.5 the next day.

You slept where? In the car – and the seat didn’t recline b/c it was so packed… as you can imagine, I was thrilled to stretch out on a bed the next night!

It sounds like you arrived safely.  After you signed the rental paperwork, what did you do next? I spent a few hours unpacking the car – it looked like one of those circus clown cars.  Things kept coming out of the trunk!

How many times did you go up & down the 2 flights of stairs to your apartment? I couldn’t begin to tell you – I stopped counting after 172, but my muscles are pretty sore today.

You mentioned some pictures? YES!  Please see below… I forgot how to share & embed & comment, so I’ll do my best.  These are from the day I arrived (yesterday) and I’ll have more images to share of the town very soon!

Harrington, DE 098 the very packed car!
Harrington, DE 092 from the back ….and Harrington, DE 091 the other side!

(I got a lot of odd looks from local townsfolk when I took these photos – they were just going about their business on a Friday afternoon…and here was a lady with Missouri license plates taking photographs of her own car, IN THE RAIN, in front of the post office.  Why?)  :)
(Harrington, DE 097 a view into the back seat… amazingly it all fit.
Harrington, DE 095 my passenger seat during the drive (the red balloon didn’t join me until the end of the trip – see below)
…and this is what it looked like unpacked:
Harrington, DE 113

Harrington, DE 112

Harrington, DE 111
these 3 duffel bags were in the rooftop carrier – 11 cubic filled with clothes (summer clothes, winterwear, and stuff for the beach!)
friendly welcome at FriendshipVillage a welcome basket!

And here are some town photos… more to follow soon! :)
the public library
it's a bus barn!
Harrington, DE 106
The bank is on Commerce St - of course! …so where’s the bank? On Commerce Street!

please join me next time when I’ll provide more images of the local, rural, town :)