Thursday, June 10, 2010

Renewed Hope

An OT classmate and friend of mine was recently featured in the Batesville Daily Guard, for the impact she has had on a patient during her clinicals there. I love to hear how everyone is doing as we all "fly the nest" to become "real OTs", but its usually shared on Facebook or in a text message...not on the front page of the newspaper! It's awesome for Jessica, and the profession of OT, to be recognized for great work that makes a difference.

To the certain delight of our faculty, she showed that true OT is not just armbikes and pegboards (the same thing for every client) but discovering what is truly valued by that individual and helping them do what it is they are passionate about. She took the time and thought to help this person do what she loves again...and no other OT she had worked with for the past 2 years had done that. The things we love to do are just as important as the things we have to do...It's what makes us who we are. Here's the feature article below. Awesome Jess!!

Occupational Therapy Gives Patients Renewed Hope
February 2008 is a month Samantha Bower can barely remember, but will never forget. While driving her son’s truck near her hometown of Newellton, Louisiana, she swerved to miss a car in her lane. The truck then jumped two culverts and slammed into a tree, propelling its loose speakers into Samantha, which caused significant damage to her face, head, neck, and back. When she woke up in the hospital weeks later, Samantha knew she was in bad shape. Worst of all—she could not feel her legs.

“Even though I don’t remember a lot about what happened, I’ll never forget the doctor coming in my room and telling me I would never be able to walk again,” she said. After spending months in the hospital, Samantha, a single mother of three, was finally released into her family’s care. They did the best they could to care for her, but it was very difficult, so she was taken to a nursing home.

“There I was, just in my 30’s, and I’m sitting helpless in a nursing home,” said Samantha. “I felt like a shell. I just sat there all day and cried.”

However, Samantha was far from helpless. Her physician recommended her for Occupational Therapy (OT) at White River Medical Center. Occupational Therapists (OTs) help patients develop the skills to carry out everyday tasks such as grooming, working, or playing. OTs work with patients who have an illness, injury, or disability that prevents them from doing day to day activities.

Now, there’s no limit to what Samantha can achieve. With the help of her OT Janet Wood, Samantha does many exercises that help her build upper body strength, improve stability, and perform activities of daily living. Samantha has learned to sit up on her own, bend over to put her shoes on, and do housework. She has also learned to dress herself.

“I’m proud of learning to get myself dressed,” said Samantha. “My daughter was dressing me before. She said she didn’t mind, but I could tell it was hard for her. I didn’t tell anyone that I was learning to dress myself. Then one night, I told her I was going to get ready for bed. She said, ‘Well, don’t you need my help?’ I said with a smile, ‘Nope, I can do it.’ And I did! It was a great moment.”
Samantha credits all her success to WRMC and WRMC PROS services.

The OT staff in Acute Inpatient Rehab at WRMC helped patient Linda Phares get back something that she thought that she had lost forever.

Landscape painting was an activity Linda Phares took great pleasure in.
“I have always enjoyed painting scenes,” she said with a faraway look in her eyes and a smile on her face. “One year, I won grand sweepstakes in the Imboden County fair. I was so proud of that.”

Linda had all intentions of entering another painting in the fair. Sadly, in 2008, Linda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a disease of the nerves that causes uncontrollable shaking. Linda’s hands were no longer steady enough to paint the beautiful scenes that she always enjoyed.

“Learning that I was never going to paint again was a hard pill to swallow,” she said, as her smile began to fade.

Although she worked with OT’s to learn how to function with Parkinson’s disease, it wasn’t until recently when she returned to the Inpatient Rehabilitation for a fractured arm, that she discovered that her passion was not forever lost. During a session with Jessica Krug, a University of Conway (*should be Central*) Arkansas student doing OT clinical training at WRMC, a “fire was re-lit.”

While attending Occupational Therapy during Inpatient Rehab, she told Jessica about her love of painting. Jessica mentioned something Linda had never thought about—abstract art.

Jessica found some paints, some paper, and a brush. Although hesitant at first, Linda started painting. It wasn’t long before a familiar sensation came over her. She was back to doing what she loved, just in a different way.
“Now I have my passion back. I developed a new ability to delve into a different medium and I have OT to thank for that,” said Linda, with the smile returning to her face. “Abstract art is definitely something that I am going to pursue.”

Linda has visited the Inpatient Rehab several times since her discharge, each time with a smile and an example of her most recent painting demonstrating how an old hobby brings her renewed joy.

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