Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm an Occupational Therapy Graduate!

 Last week was my very last Occupational Therapy appointment.

I have been with my occupational therapist at the Easy Street Program for just over 2 years now. I have had weekly appointments and I have done a phenomenal amount of homework. I can't begin to tell you all the material we covered and all the information I learned or relearned in this time. I keep saying that I have never really worked or studied so hard before in my whole life. I didn't even know I was capable of working this hard!

I have had a lot of cognitive problems.  At this point I am coping pretty well. My memory, for example, is not the same as it was, but between using memory tricks, taking notes as I go and recording little messages to myself I am really functioning pretty normally. I wish  all my cognitive problems had just gone away or I had "recovered" but the fact is I have recovered a bit and I have learned a lot of adaptive strategies.  I know that I will still keep coming up with different cognitive problems in my life but we have worked on developing the skills and techniques to allow me to solve my own problems in the future.

 We have been picking up the loose ends and making sure I was in a good place to move on with my life. We did a few more cognitive tests to check on my status as well as other evaluations and we worked on those last few worries. I now have some future plans, like job rehabilitation, and possibly even going back to college. I can keep working on developing my current strengths and learning to be the best I can with where I find myself now.

During the last month my therapist had one last project for me. I was to gather up all the occupational therapy notes and handouts from the past two years and get them organized into a resource binder that I can turn to in the future. The second week I came up with a very long list of all the different skills we had worked on, and all the different goals we had identified.  The third week I went through the previous list along with my actual papers and I tried to make categories for the papers. For week four I had my binder organized, but it became obvious that a little more refinement was necessary and I added an extra category and printed out an index page and added labeled dividers between the sections.  My binder has my handwritten notes, it had jokes, and quotes. It has handouts and worksheets and list of questions I had written out to ask my therapist. Yes, it is a resource binder, but it is also a diary that reflects so much about me and my struggles over the past couple of years.

The last page of my binder has photos of my front steps we had to show the therapist why I was having trouble getting in the house. At the beginning of this journey I would sit on my walker crying at the bottom of the stairs because I was unable to get into my own house. That seems so long ago in some ways and like it was just yesterday in others.

I wanted to give my therapist a little gift.
I photographed a little angel statue in the hospital garden.  I thought it would be meaningful to her and that it would reflect some of the issues I had worked on.  I printed it up and put it in a pretty frame. I knew that she would love it and that she will think of me in the future. I hope that she will also remember with pride what we have accomplished together.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Linda .. congratulations .. and am so pleased you sound positive and happy .. the main things, despite all the challenges.

Keep up the good work .. and well done for organising your binder - a really useful reference tool ..

The angel picture sounds lovely - thanks for sharing .. Hilary

garydotgray said...

Hi Linda, Thank yo for sharing this wonderful experience. Being the best that we can be is really key. You are such a special person. Someone who helps others to be the best that they can be as well. (example, me)

I love the binder idea and also the gift of the angel image to your therapist. You are very special Linda.

Wishing you the very best of everything in your life now and always. :o) - Gary

Sara G said...

Stopping by to say Hi. Congratulations and thank you for sharing with us. Many hugs, Sara

Grace Carpenter said...

Congratulations, Linda!

p.s. Canada's healthcare must pretty good. Two years of OT is almost unheard of.

Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

Congratulations on your spectacular progress. I wish you continued success as you navigate the future independently! Sounds like you have a number of tools, great job! Looking forward to hearing about your further accomplishments. Best wishes.

Lori said...

Thanks for posting this, I am in reading recovery as well!

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