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Tales from the Pokemon Center- My Adventures in Healthcare (Story #6- April is OT Month!! What is OT and Why Do I Hate Matt Damon? 4/8/21)

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Hi folks!

As the title suggests, I've decided to start a casual blog detailing my experiences in various aspects of the healthcare field. As of this first post, it has been my job to provide care to others in some way, shape or form for nearly ten years now. I've been a veterinary assistant, a tutor, a TSS (therapeutic staff support), and most recently an occupational therapist!!

And from nearly a decade in so many areas of the medical field, I have accumulated some WILD stories in my time. Some are sad, some are triumphant, and some are just plain hilarious. I've always wanted to write them down for my own personal memory, so why not share it with you guys at the same time? Hell, maybe I'll even raise some awareness about what it's like to be on the other side of the scrubs!

To keep with the heart of the forums itself and to protect the identity of those involved with the stories I share, all names will be replaced by Pokemon species names!

Since this is a casual blog, there won't be much rhyme or reason to the order in which I post my stories and how often I post, or even how long each post will be. But, if anyone does read this and has any questions or wants to hear about something in particular, please feel free to ask away either on this thread or via DM, and I would be happy to answer/discuss either in private or in a new post!

 
Last edited:

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
Bedbound

*Possible Trigger Warnings- dementia/Alzheimer's, aging, severe disability*

At this time of writing, I've been a real, working occupational therapist for 3 weeks. I am currently working at a skilled nursing facility (a nursing home), where I have been seeing a lot of patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of severe dementia.

We'll call one such patient Lotad. I had been treating Lotad for a few days, and her main problem was that she was not sitting well in her wheelchair, which was causing her difficulties with eating. She sat with what we call a strong "posterior lean", where she is basically so slumped backward that her bottom could slide right out of the chair and land her on the floor. And when you're that poorly positioned, food tends to go down the wrong pipe a lot when you're eating and can cause them to aspirate and possibly lead to pneumonia.

There's also very little Lotad could do about this herself, since she has very severe dementia and is unable to recognize if she is poorly positioned in her chair or bed and cannot communicate any discomfort she does feel. I had been trying to use different cushions and wheelchair adjustments during my sessions, but she never seemed to keep a good position for long and would still slide forward in the chair.

One day, I went to see Lotad at lunchtime for my session and found that she was still in bed. I went to the nursing staff on duty and said that I was ready to help her get in her chair for lunch. But the CNA told me that they were no longer getting her out of bed, not even for meals, because she was no longer safe to sit in a chair because of the risk that she would slide out.

This was a blow to me. Once a patient becomes bedbound, it's very likely that they will progressively decline from that point on. Their muscles weaken from disuse, they're even more prone to aspiration while eating, and their sleep/wake cycle becomes disrupted (which can cause increased confusion, especially for patients who already have dementia). It's just a huge decrease in quality of life, and it broke my heart that one of my first patients was never going to leave her bed again.

And, of course, please don't mistake this for me blaming or badmouthing the nursing staff in this scenario. Keeping a patient in bed is never an easy decision to make, and one that is not made lightly. Patient safety is the highest priority. And if a patient is at risk of falling out of their chair and getting hurt, that risk far outweighs the long term effects of the patient being bedbound. Sometimes, as much as it sucks, it is the safest solution in some instances.

So anyway, in a desperate last attempt, I scoured the place for a whole new wheelchair. I tried to find one particular wheelchair called a Broda, but the two we had at this facility were broken and it's hell to try to order a new one thanks to insurance (the quality of skilled nursing facilities and the difficulties caused by insurance could be one hell of a post in and of itself). But I did manage to find something different- some sort of frankenstein chair I'd never heard of with a higher back and a sturdier footplate. It was originally meant for another patient who left the facility.

Desperate, I decided to give the Frankenchair a try. I convinced a CNA to help me get her out of bed and into the chair for lunch...

....And lo and behold, it worked! Lotad looked better than ever, and didn't choke or cough at all for her whole meal! For the whole rest of the day I kept walking by her hallway to see if how she was doing, and every time she was still looking great and was in no danger of sliding! She stayed in her chair for the whole rest of my shift.

Hopefully I'm not bragging by saying this, but it just feels really damn good to, in my first three weeks as an OT, be the one to pretty much single-handedly save a person from being bedbound. THIS is exactly why I busted ass all these years in school to become an OT. It just makes me so excited for the future and so ready to help as many people as I possibly can.
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Taco Tuesday

*possible trigger warnings- severe intellectual/developmental disability, toilet humor

Before I became an occupational therapist, I was a TSS (therapeutic staff support). Apparently TSS are called different things depending on the agency and location, so not a lot of people know what they are and what they do. Basically, TSS are responsible for behavioral therapy for kids with special needs. However, we were often seen as babysitters or a meat shield for school staff if our kids started to flip out.

Whenever I told people which facility I worked for, they cringed. Most of my clients belonged to a private school specifically for youth with severe developmental disabilities or behavioral disturbances. The school had a reputation for being a very difficult place to work, since it took kids no one else would take. Honestly, as difficult as it was sometimes, I loved my job and I loved working with the kids and young adults. If it had paid better, I might have made it my lifelong career.

Anyway, one of the kids I worked with-who we'll refer to as Pancham- was a teenager with a very severe developmental disability. He could not talk or communicate with a device and was unable to recognize colors or shapes or anything like that. But he loved Disney, so we got along great.

Pancham was also about a foot and a half taller than me and about double or triple my weight. And sometimes, at seemingly the drop of a hat, he would throw fits. One time, when I was trying to block him from throwing a chair, he literally picked me up off the ground and threw me out of his way. The kid was like a linebacker. He also, especially when he was mad, would like to sit on the floor in very inconvienent places and refuse to move for hours on end- which is a total mood if I'm being honest. Not even the crisis workers (a group of very large men whose job it was to physically intervene if some of the stronger kids became too much of a danger to themselves and/or others) could move him when he decided to "drop".

Often times, his fits happened when he was in the bathroom. Pancham was incontinent in both bladder and bowel, so this often resulted in unpleasantly messy confrontations. Side note- incontinence is a sensitive topic that I have a lot of thoughts on, and I might make a little PSA posting about it after this.

One afternoon, I was coming into this school to work with Pancham after seeing a client from another school. When I got there, Pancham was in one of his "drops" in the middle of the hallway. It was also Taco Tuesday, so the staff members who were working with Pancham at the time told me to run and get one before they clean everything up.

I did and came back, placing my burrito (I have a beef with tacos in that they are simply unfinished burritos and therefore shouldn't exist) on a high cubby shelf so that I could talk to Pancham and try to get him to go back to class.

Suddenly, Pancham stood up. I was happy because I thought his drop had ended and he was going to cooperate. Nope.

He reached up, grabbed my burrito in his fist, and whaled me in the head. It was like a reverse pinata. Kablooey.

This was not the first time Pancham had used food to attack me. One time he was eating a cupcake during a class party when a fit took him and he crushed the cupcake with his hands. I tried to turn around to protect my face, but he reached around and slammed his hands over my spectacles, covering them with icing and effectively blinded me while he beat the everloving snot out of me until help arrived.

Anyway, after a brief struggle and some help from the crisis staff, we were able to calm Pancham down and get him back to his room. I went to get myself a new burrito since my old one was now mashed into the carpet and wall. But for some reason everyone was looking at me with extreme horror on their faces and saying "oh my God!". I decided I better stop at the bathroom on my way back to the burrito stand to clean myself up.

When I saw my reflection, I realized I was covered in refried beans. My coworkers, knowing the history of the kid I worked with, thought it was something quite different.

So yeah. I had to go around telling everyone I was not walking around with feces all over my face and hair and that I had simply been bludgeoned with my own burrito's intensines.

Fin.
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
My Thoughts on Incontinence

*possible trigger warnings-incontinence and the conditions that cause it

As I alluded in my last post, incontinence of both bladder and bowel is a topic I have a lot of thoughts on. It's something I've seen a lot of over the years, and it's always an uncomfortable topic to broach. But as an occupational therapist, it's my job to talk about it. Can you transfer on and off the toilet? Can you pull your pants up and down? Can you wipe yourself without help? Those are questions I have to ask people every single day, because guess what! Toileting is an occupation, folks. Everyone does it every day, several times a day. And if something in that process goes wrong, it can be lifechanging.

Having those conversations with people SUCKS. Telling people I have to see if they can use the bathroom safely before they can go home-and yes, I actually have to observe the whole process in order to make sure they can do it- SUCKS. Not because I personally find it difficult or repulsive. But because I hate the way people get embarassed or ashamed when we have to cover this topic- especially if it turns out the person actually does need help.

Everyone knows about the 'movement' to normalize sex and sexuality, which is great! Sex is natural and we should be having more open and realistic discussions about it (and fun fact- sex is an occupation that is totally under my jurisdiction to treat if a patient needs it). But I think we should be giving the same treatment to toileting and incontinence. Because it breaks my heart when I'm helping a patient get themselves cleaned up, and all they can do is apologize over and over again. I always try to tell them there's no need to apologize. I do this every day; it doesn't faze me at all. This kind of thing happens sometimes, especially when you're in the hospital. But it never makes them feel better, and that's what sucks. I treated a man for a few weeks who had a stoke and could barely talk, but he always managed a 'sorry' whenever I helped him clean up in the bathroom.

I guess my point is, I want people to stop apologizing when they need help with these personal tasks. I want people to stop being embarassed. And I know that's impossible, because I know I would likely feel the same way if I were in their shoes.

But here's the thing people don't realize- this isn't just an 'old person problem'. Incontinence could happen to literally any one of us at any time. I've treated very very young individuals before. Usually it's due to an accident of some kind- injured their spinal cord in a car accident, or their brain. And sometimes, if you damage one of these important body structures like that, you lose control of your bladder or bowels- maybe even permanently. I just don't want to hear any more 18-year-old kids apologize to me for helping them. Recovering from an injury like that is physically and emotionally taxing enough without feeling that kind of guilt and embarassment on top of it all.

I don't really have an answer for this problem. I know this is always going to be an awkward topic. But I guess I can shed some light on it and get peopke thinking, and maybe not feel so uncomfortable if it comes up again in my future posts or in their daily lives.

In other words, #normalizepoop, I guess? Yeah, that about sums it up.
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Resilience

*possible trigger warnings- nothing much really; fall injury with broken bones

I was gonna post something different for my next entry- something about my time at the veterinary clinic to shake things up some- but something new and exciting came up that I just couldn't wait to share!

This one is about an adorable little lady we'll call Wurmple. Poor Wurmple is a 89-year-old lady who had a bad, BAD fall down the stairs. She broke her neck (4/5 of her cervical vertebrae, to be specific), I don't remember how many vertebrae in her mid-lower back, and both of her wrists. She has to wear what's called a Miami-J collar on her neck, a TLSO brace when she's not laying down, and she has two big red casts from her elbow down to her knuckles.

I had never seen a more broken little old lady in my entire life- it's honestly a miracle she's alive at all. It was kind of terrifying to know that I was going to have to treat her and try to figure out how to get her fragile little body to move again without inadvertantly breaking her further.

I already knew I was going to make a post about Wurmple, for the following reason: One day, I was working with Wurmple on self feeding. With her fingers so swollen and being unable to move her wrists or neck, feeding herself is a huge challenge. I was mainly working on having her hold an empty spoon and trying to bring it to her mouth as best she can while I feed her myself in between. While I was stretching her arms, she asked me if she still had her casts on her arms (she can't turn her head and her collar blocks some of her peripheral sight and didn't notice them until I stretched them into her field of vision). I told her she did still have them on, and she told me that her husband couldn't believe it when he saw the casts because they were red. I asked her why he was so surprised about that, and she said it was because red is her favorite color and he couldn't believe she didn't pick them out herself. She gave herself a good laugh thinking about it.

And that was just mind-boggling to me. It's just amazing how people kind find joy over the simplest little things in the face of so much strife. Like. This lady is broken into a million different pieces and she's happy about the color of her giant bulky casts. I hope I can muster up that much positivity if, heaven forbid, I'm ever in that situation.

So, after having that conversation with Wurmple, I knew I was going to put that story in my lineup of posts. But then, today, something even more amazing happened.

My homegirl WALKED!!! I worked together with physical therapy today to get her out of bed, expecting just to stand her and see how she did from there. We had tried to get her out of bed when she first came, but she was in way too much pain and couldn't do it. But today, that tough little lady walked all the way across the room and back with honestly not that much help from me and the PT! We were STUNNED. We are going to have to rewrite all our goals for her because we had such low expectations that she already achieved them all!

And guess how long she's been here for.

FOUR. DAYS. Four freakin' days, y'all! Looking like the freakin' paper skin and glass bones Spongebob guy with all her gear on and she's already walking way the hell across the room!

And THAT'S why I couldn't wait to post this one. I am just so proud of my patient you guys!!! She is one badass little lady, and I'm so glad I get to tell you guys about her amazing accomplishment! Here's hoping we can get her back home to her family soon!!!!
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
Trap, Neuter, Return

I think it's time to take a break from my stories about human patients and take a dive into my two harrowing years working in a veterinary clinic.

Working as a veterinary assistant was the most stressful job I have ever had to date. looking back, I honestly can't believe the things I did on a daily basis and the danger I was in-since the assistants were the ones responsible for restraining the animals during their appointments and procedures. It was an absolutely batshit job. I was like the Crocodile Hunter but for dogs and cats.

In addition to being scary as all getout, it also paid minimum wage, and the vet and his wife that I worked for had a pretty bad temper. It was my very first job, and it came with a LOT of responsibilities. I had to assist with surgeries and all sorts of crazy procedures, and if I didn't know where an item was kept or if I couldn't hold the animal still enough, I would get cursed out. It wasn't just me who got screamed at, so I didn't take it personally- even the vet and his wife had their share of screaming matches at each other. But it was still ridiculously demanding for a first job that paid nothing.

But silly young Specs thought she wanted to be a veterinarian, and so I pushed on. And with time and a lot of my coworkers coming to their senses and jumping ship, I became the most competent assistant on the team. I was given a key and tasked with taking care of the boarded animals in the evening after hours on the weekends, and if we didn't have too many animals staying over, I would often do the work by myself.

One day, a lady came in who took care of stray cats, and wanted to start bringing some of them in for the TNR (trap, neuter, return program). For those of you who don't know, this is basically a movement to try to control the feral cat population by luring them in a carrier with food, taking them to the vet to be neutered and vaccinated, and sending them back on their way. Honestly, props to this lady and whoever else would spend their time and money taking care of these wild cats out of the goodness of their hearts.

BUT! Being on my side of the TNR program was far from pleasant.

The vet told me that this lady would be bringing in a cat while I was working on my night shift alone, since she couldn't make it to the clinic during open hours. He said that the cat shouldn't be too difficult because she had earned his trust enough to be able to pet it, so I should be able to handle it myself. I, like a fool, believed him.

The lady drops off the cat, and it's ABUNDANTLY clear that this thing wants to eat my goddamned eyes for breakfast. Every time I so much as look at the carrier he was in I would hear this awful, low MROWWWWRRRRRRRR. And I'm like "Good, yes, he will absolutely want to cooperate for getting out of the carrier for me and into a cage. we will be best friends and I will have no injuries by the end of the night"

I take the carrier into the "cat room", hearing vicious hissing with every step. I get the cage set up with food, water, litterbox, blanket, the works. Such a lovely home, how could he not want to settle in? I don the thick electrical gloves we wear when we're dealing with particularly bitey critters, open the door to the carrier, reach in.... and the cat flips shit. Even though he can't hurt me through the gloves, I can't manage to pull him out. If you've ever seen a cat truly cut lose, you know what I'm talking about. They turn into a freaking tornado of claws and fangs.

Finally, I pop the whole lid off the carrier, revealing fucking lucifer himself.

I go to grab the cat. He jumps. I miss.

Screaming at the top of his little cat lungs, he goes absolutely apeshit. Tearing across the room, pissing everywhere, including all over me (and let me tell you, I have smelled all manner of bodily fluids in my time, and nothing smells worse than cat piss). Shitting explosively at the wall (that mercifully missed me). I'm desperately trying to grab the thing but he starts scaling the cages, finally settling down on top of the set of cages just under the ceiling.

I just stared up at the cat, trying to process what the fuck had just happened and how I am going to reach this demon spawn from all the way up there. For a fleeting moment, I thought about calling the vet and asking for backup. But I would rather face the hellcat myself than deal with the wrath of my boss, and so I grabbed a nearby broom and started to fricken sweep the cat off the cage top.

The thing is SHRIEKING, attacking the broom. I have no plan for what I'm gonna do when I sweep the cat off the top. But on I swept, and pushed the cat over the edge.

It's falling, right toward my face. Thank merciful Mew he didn't take this moment to gouge my eyes out and was more intent on escaping me, because he twisted himself midair and grabbed onto the cage again, but this time within my reach.

I dropped the broom and grabbed the cat, prying it from the bars of the cage. The cat starts gnawing on my gloves and it sounds like MYAMYAMYA and when we were almost to the door to his cage I had set up, he manages to somehow rip one of my gloves off. Thankfully I got my exposed hand away in time and was able to all but throw the cat in the cage one-handed. I shut the cage and the thing charges at the door, but it's over. I had won. And I didn't have to call my boss.

The next day, we had to prep the cat for surgery which was a whole other dance I won't get into because at least I had help that time. The lady continued to bring more cats for TNR, all just as psychotic and ONLY while I was working by myself. Next time, I knew better than to let the cat out in the cat room. The exam rooms are much better because they're set up so that the countertops actually extend all the way to the ceiling and all the way to thr ground, so there's nowhere for a cat to crawl on top of or underneath and there's nowhere for the cat to go that's not chest high.

One day when the kennel was more full, I had another assistant helping me on the evening shift when our lady brought in a cat for TNR. Making all hell of demonic noise.

The other assistant is looking at me like she's questioning all her life choices, as she should be, and asks "So.....how do you usually do this?"

I sigh, a grizzled old TNR veteren now, and showed her my method. She watches me, mouth agape, as I calmly unleash the devil cat in the exam room, watch it flip out and piss everywhere, and snatch it as soon as it's still for a moment. Her jaw drops further as she watches me calmly carry the cat to the waiting cage as it tries to eat my hands through the gloves. In one deft motion, the cat goes in the cage and I slam the door just in time to beat its charge.

Honestly, as crazy as that job was, there really was a sort of satisfaction about getting that kind of reaction out of people. I was such a badass back then.

The moral of the story- please respect your vets and their employees. Hell, respect your groomers and your trainers and anyone who works with animals for a living. It's so much more than playing with puppies and kittens all day. I know I couldn't do it forever, so I have mad respect for those who can.
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,587
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
I am officially impressed that you survived TNR with your sanity intact.
 

RubyClaw

Challenge Seeker, Completionist and Rule Designer
🌱Featurer
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
22
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
1,933
Location
Kanto Route 1, 1% encounter rate (Israel)
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
That sounds intense, you're indeed a badass and should be proud of it! I have a friend who used to work for a couple of years as a veterinarian's assistant and she had similar horror stories, including one time a cat actually managed to bit her in the arm, which swallowed and got infected for months after that and was extremely painful. I'm a huge cat lover, but man don't mess with an angry cat.
 

Fool

I’m too tired for this.
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
280
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
779
Location
No.
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
Call me whatever you want.
Pokémon Type
Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Don’t talk to me about BW2, ever. I don’t want to talk about it with you.
I’ve been wanting to comment for a while since I started reading this, I just wanted to say that I’ve got the utmost respect for you and the work you’ve done. Reading through some of the horrifying and/or saddening stuff you’ve had to go through makes me realize kind of how under-appreciated a lot of these medical jobs are. You’ve done a lot of good things, I don’t know to phrase the rest of this, so I guess I’ll just say thanks for doing what you do, you’ve helped a lot of people (and also animals).
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,587
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
I'm a huge cat lover, but man don't mess with an angry cat.
Can confirm. They are little attack machines. I once had a cat with attitude issues and we tried to give her Prozac. It was not easy, and eventually we had to give up on the medication because we couldn't get it in her safely.
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
@Trollkitten - Honestly, it really is a miracle I made it out of my time there mostly unscathed. Also, your description of cats as attack machines is spot on. And pilling cats, dear lord, is nigh impossible if the cat won't fall for pill pockets.

@RubyClaw - Ah, my days of badassery in this regard are long gone! I look back at those years and think I must have been a different person because I could never do those things now. Ugh, cat bites are the WORST. They may not be as immediately dangerous as a bite from a large dog, but cats have a ton of bacteria in their mouths so their bites are extra infecty. Thank the lord I actually made it through my time there without ever being bitten by a cat, but I had a coworker who did badly and it was not pretty. One of these days I'll make a post detailing all my bites (sadly, it won't be exclusive to my time at the vet clinic lol).

@Fool - Thank you so much for your kind words!! I will say us therapists (especially us OTs) do feel a little forgotten sometimes in the grand scheme of things, so it is nice to hear you say that! :)
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
518
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
Happy OT Month! What is Occupational Therapy and Why Do I Hate Matt Damon?

In honor of April being OT month, I thought now would be good timing for a little post explaining what exactly occupational therapy is, since it's one of the lesser known professions with a confusing name and a lot of common misconceptions surrounding it. If you don't know what OT is, don't feel bad. I didn't even know what OT was until I was looking to get the almighty hell out of veterinary science and my former-best-friend-current-fiance introduced me to it (he is also an OT).

The easiest way to define occupational therapy is to define 'occupation'. A lot of people think an occupation is strictly defined to what job you have, and that can be part of it, but truly an occupation is anything you do that 'occupies' your time. So that not only includes any work tasks you may have, but getting dressed is also an occupation. Cooking and cleaning are occupations. Leisure pursuits are an occupation (and one that I wish insurances would pay to address more, especially in nursing homes). Even sleep is considered an occupation that OTs can treat if there's a disturbance there.

So basically, occupational therapists help you do the things you want and need to do in your daily lives.

Here are some common incorrect definitions of OT:

"You guys help people find jobs, right?"
Nope! Occupations are more than just work. However, searching and applying for jobs is an occupation, and so we can actually help people find jobs if it's something that they're struggling with. This comes up a lot in psych and when working with teenagers/young adults with developmental disabilities.

"OT and physical therapy are pretty much the same."
I will admit, in certain settings, it can seem that way. When I was working in an acute care hospital for fieldwork, OTs often cotreated with PT because these patients could only tolerate so much- sometimes all they can do is sit at the edge of the bed and that's it. But sometimes we have to start with those baby steps- you can't put your shoes on if you can sit upright. A great way to differentiate between OT and PT is this: PT will help you walk down the street, but OT will make sure you have pants on while you're doing it!

"PTs work with your legs and OTs work with your arms."
This is another tricky one. OTs do work a lot with your arms, because your arms and hands are what you do all your occupations with. And physical therapists help you walk so of course they work with your legs the most. But in reality, PTs can work with your arms and OT can work with your legs! If you have a problem where you can't move your arm as well as you should, PT can help you stretch and exercise that for you. If you have a problem with your leg and you can't put your pants on because of it, OT has you covered. I will admit, I am actually guilty myself of giving my patients this inaccurate definition because in some cases, it's easier for them to understand. Especially if the person is too weak to even work on basic dressing yet and I'm just trying to build up their upper body strength so we can eventually get to that point.

So I am going to try to be better about educating my patients on what OT really is, because we need to advocate for ourselves and our worth! OTs (and even therapists in general) are quite underrepresented in media. Think about all the medical drama shows out there- have you ever seen a therapist on one of those? Sometimes it's the doctors themselves helping patients get up and walk- that literally never happens lol. And I get it, it's a fictional show and I don't want them to make up characters for the sole sake of representation.

BUT. If you are going to include an occupational therapist in your movie, PLEASE make it accurate and respectful!!! You'd think that would go without saying, but apparently it's not! Because in 2017, a movie called Downsizing was released where the main character, played by Matt Damon, was an occupational therapist. My fiance and I were so excited to hear this because you never see OTs in any kind of media, so we were super pumped to see our profession on the big screen for the first time ever! Then we watched the movie... and we find out that Matt Damon really wanted to be a doctor and just "settled" on being an occupational therapist, and he hates his job and is living in poverty because he doesn't get paid enough. To say we were disappointed was an understatement. It was so bad that AOTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, released a statement about the movie's inaccuracies and poor representation. It was also very long and boring, and I've never regretted spending money on a movie ticket more than that day.

And that's why I think it is important to spread the word about what OT really is, because if we don't do it, no one will! Or Matt Damon will, and he'll do it wrong. As always, if you have any questions or anything, feel free to ask either on this thread, in my DMs on here, or on Discord!



...I also feel the need to clarify that I don't REALLY hate Matt Damon and I'm sure he wasn't responsible for the poor portrayal of OT. I just have an irrational dislike for him now because I can't separate him from the slandering of my beloved profession.
 

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Happy OT Month! What is Occupational Therapy and Why Do I Hate Matt Damon?

BUT. If you are going to include an occupational therapist in your movie, PLEASE make it accurate and respectful!!! You'd think that would go without saying, but apparently it's not! Because in 2017, a movie called Downsizing was released where the main character, played by Matt Damon, was an occupational therapist. My fiance and I were so excited to hear this because you never see OTs in any kind of media, so we were super pumped to see our profession on the big screen for the first time ever! Then we watched the movie... and we find out that Matt Damon really wanted to be a doctor and just "settled" on being an occupational therapist, and he hates his job and is living in poverty because he doesn't get paid enough. To say we were disappointed was an understatement. It was so bad that AOTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, released a statement about the movie's inaccuracies and poor representation. It was also very long and boring, and I've never regretted spending money on a movie ticket more than that day.

And that's why I think it is important to spread the word about what OT really is, because if we don't do it, no one will! Or Matt Damon will, and he'll do it wrong. As always, if you have any questions or anything, feel free to ask either on this thread, in my DMs on here, or on Discord!



...I also feel the need to clarify that I don't REALLY hate Matt Damon and I'm sure he wasn't responsible for the poor portrayal of OT. I just have an irrational dislike for him now because I can't separate him from the slandering of my beloved profession.
My grandmother probably shares the same view of that movie, since she was an occupational therapist way back when. :XD:

But yes, occupational therapists such as yourself are amazing people, along with the physical therapists. I've had first hand experiences with both, and they take amazing people to do those things.
 

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