Monday, April 30, 2012


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My twin, Elle, visited me for several days and she walked me to the door this morning as I left for a half day work before spending the rest of the day with her.

She looked me over. Grey-blue Grey's Anatomy scrubs

down to my Mary Janes

"Hhhmmmm, I like your shoes!"

I told her, "So does my 93 year old patient. Every time she looks down and sees my feet, which is at least three times a treatment session, she breaks out in her wicked-witch-of-the-west voice,

"Now you can just put those shoes right in my closet!"

(little deeeaarrriiiee)....really, she could have been on the Wizard of Oz...

and Elle said,

"You need to write about shoes!"

I've procrastinated tonight, having spent the evening with Elle and another wonderful little sister, Kate, so I'm going to make this short and sweet.

Choose the right shoe!

I had gotten to the point a couple years ago when I was limping by the time I got home. I was wearing expensive running shoes. They didn't work for me! By fluke, I was in a uniform store in northern California that carried a brand called

Alegria (the emphasis is not on the leg  but on the gri .) Click on the link and it will take you to their website.

Check them out. Really! Within a day, I realized that I had no  foot pain. I have been brand loyal since then. Not only do they feel wonderful, they look great. Someone comments on those shoes every day.

We healthcare providers spend too much of our days on our feet - and you know the saying - we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others....

so, take care of your feet...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bathing Whimsy

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The patient I wrote about yesterday?

Eva looked like a different person today. Honestly, I was dumbfounded at how much she had improved since yesterday. I have to give credit where credit is due - I have to believe divine intervention played a part. It was too much of a turnaround to be chance or meds or anything other than what it was.

Anyway, this morning I introduced Eva to a leg lifter. It's used primarily following hip surgeries to help lift the leg when you're getting in and out of bed.

Eva sat on the edge of the bed without assistance and began a bed bath with a pan of soapy warm water. She did great! Of course, she couldn't reach her feet (gotta be careful about bending!). I assisted, and she did the rest.

As she worked her way toward the middle of her body, she started to tell me a story.

"When I was a little girl, my mom used to say,

Wash down as far as possible,

then wash possible."

I paused a second before it sunk in. Then I began to laugh.

I had never heard that before! What a kick! That was my whimsy for the day. I learn something new every day, and today that was it. A new description for that part of the body.

When I told Stacie, the COTA, she had heard it before. In fact, she could add to the story. One of her patients (this must be a Kansas thing) had told her that Loretta Lynn had sung about this....

Of course, I tried in vain to find the song to include it in the post, but no luck.

Do any of you know more of the story? Send it if you do!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Healing in All Forms

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I'm at the three week mark,

almost a month, in this new assignment...

I can't believe it!

This is a really great place.

I've come to enjoy how easy it can be to do therapy when you have all  
  • the staff (5 OTs/5 PTs/1 ST)
  • equipment (anything we need)
  • beautiful living environment  (clean, quiet, well decorated, like a hotel)
  • and support (manageable caseloads and efficiency standard/tech/great Director)

that is possible in a company.

It’s nice to have an easy  assignment!!

In addition to work, I'm enjoying visits with my parents every weekend, laughter and deep life discussions with my many siblings, and working on a small cottage my twin and I purchased near mom and dad. I’m connecting with dear friends from the area. Family is why I have returned.

I loved California so very much. Although it was difficult to leave there, I am grateful for this time with my family and lifelong friends.

It's amazing how when we make a change, our schedules and daily priorities can shift!

At times during the week, I find myself


It is natural when one is in a new assignment. It is easy to connect with the patients. It's not always easy to make new friends right away. In fact, I found that the point at which you really make a good friend is about the four-month mark, just after I have extended... It just seems to happen that way…for me, anyway.

Something happened today that lessened the loneliness.

Today, I had the pleasure of co-treating with a physical therapist with whom I have had limited contact.  Our patient, Eva, admitted on Thursday evening last week following a hip revision (a re-do) in which the ortho surgeon actually broke her femur as he was trying to get her original hardware out.

To top it off, when I evaluated Eva on Friday, she was having hallucinations from her medications and was unable to keep food or fluids down. She required max x 2 for all tasks (that means she needed almost total help for moving in bed, dressing, toileting and standing). She could not cognitively follow the NWB order (non-weight bearing) on her leg.

She was just a mess.

I came in this morning (Monday) a few minutes after the PT had arrived. We gently guided Eva from lying in the bed to sitting up, allowing her to do as much as possible. The PT was on one side of the bed facing Eva’s back, and I was on the other in front of her. As soon as I saw the PT place hands lightly on Eva’s shoulders to guide her, I knew immediately that she was a fellow energy worker.

It was the intention she used. It was lovely!

“Do you do energy work?” I asked her.

She looked me in the eye. I smiled. She smiled back.


“I’m a Reiki practitioner,” I revealed. I was so happy to find someone like me. It’s the same way I feel when I meet a twin, or a person from a large family, or a person who loves the same out-of-the-way places and activities that I like. Or a kindred spirit like Elsje, a talented ST I met through writing this blog.

“You’re one of only two people who have noticed this in all my years of doing PT.”

Eva began struggling with nausea and pain. We moved from our conversation to supporting her with healing intentions. What followed has few words to describe.

Our focus became only about silently providing Eva with the highest level of support to assist her in moving past this difficult place in which she found herself. We moved in tandem as if we knew what the other was thinking without speaking. Eva reached a point in which she could sit nearly unsupported; however, we both kept hands on her as she began a series of deep, thrusting dry heaves and began vomiting.

I have to admit here that I have never been able to deal with vomit, except when my children were young. I could hold a cool cloth to their heads and take care of them without blinking an eye. When it comes to any other person in the world, my hyperactive gag reflex kicks in and I will lose it if I am in the presence of someone losing their lunch.

We were in such a deep and almost meditative place of providing support for Eva that in a surreal way, it was the first time I didn’t bolt for the door and call for a nurse. It was as if the three of us were surrounded by Divine support and guidance. It’s difficult to imagine that a scene such as this could be a spiritual experience, but it was.

It was about caring for someone else at the most basic level – and really, it’s about why we are all here. It’s about loving humankind. We intended God’s highest and holiest healing for her, and it took us out of the “now” moment of oh-my-gosh-she’s-puking to a place  I can’t describe.

In a few minutes, Eva made a remarkable change.

She was able to get dressed with assistance, make an amazingly improved transfer following her weight bearing status from the bed to the wheelchair and then pushed the wheelchair to the therapy department.

If you had seen this woman at the beginning of the treatment, you would never have guessed she would be able to do this.

I am convinced  that something very meaningful occurred,  that it propelled Eva’s healing…and that it came from a Presence much greater than either of us.

What IF …

each day

we intend

the highest and holiest healing


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coming out of a "Dry" Spell

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This is how I have felt creatively for the past month:

Just a quick note to tell you
to hang in there with me.
My creative juices
are going to flow again soon!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Amazing People Everywhere

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I am going to admit something.

I did not expect to get warm fuzzies with anyone here in this small town. I don't know why. I just planned to focus on work and traveling on weekends to spend time with my parents.

I'm living about 9.5 miles from work because I could not find a place in the town where I am assigned. Every rental I viewed in the assignment town was jaw droppingly, heart skippingly, absolutely terrible. I'm talking mustard yellow shag carpet with olive green walls and the nastiest kitchens

and bathrooms you can imagine. If I'm going to be honest, I had a short panic attack between lodging hunting and arriving at my sister's house an hour later. "What the heck am I doing??" I thought.

The following day, I traversed 10 minutes north of the assignment town and found a charming (yes!) long-term-rental motel that had been renovated into an Embassy Suites-type place. Only better. Fully furnished with really upscale furniture, a dining area, fully stocked kitchen and bath, comfortable queen bed and spacious closet. The owners are amazing - and that is another story for another day (very soon!)...

I've been here a week.

Work is well stocked with equipment, well staffed, and very, very quiet. Most of my patients are ready to head home. My fellow therapists are very welcoming and kind! I should be in heaven....

...and I'm missing my loud, confused patients from station two in the northern California fishing village.

I go back to my life instructions (March 5):

Give up all the other worlds

except the one to which you belong.

It's time to connect with the locals.

My bike needed its spring maintenance (like an oil change for cars). The owners of my motel recommended a local guy who doesn't have a storefront, but who does a great job servicing and refurbishing bikes in his "shop" at home.

Tonight after work, I looked up the Bike Guy and called him. Dave exuded midwestern hospitality. Since he lived on a gravel road, he suggested we meet at the local gas station so he could show me where his "shop" was.

"Meet me at the Casey's at 6:45, and I'll lead the way," Dave said.

At 6:45 sharp, hs truck pulled into the Casey's.

We shook hands through his truck window and entered into a quick discussion about why I was in Kansas for 3 months. Turned out Dave had gone through occupational therapy following a finger surgery and a knee surgery. His 101-year-old mom had lived in the building I was assigned to, and she had passed just weeks before I arrived. He knew most of the staff at the building and was very fond of them.

I like this guy already!

I followed his pickup truck past the Dairy Queen, along the two-lane roads between the two towns, and turned left onto a gravel road.

"I'm glad my mom doesn't know I'm doing this!" I thought as I drove, knowing I was safe, but realizing that it might not sound safe to a mom.

Slowing as the dust on the road curled up like fingers motioning, I followed Dave into his driveway. I could see the wide door of his workspace open in an outbuilding.

I should have taken a photo of "the shop." Rows of bikes were lined up in his shop. Tools were organized. It was grand! (Those of you who know me know I would rather shop a hardware store than a mall.)

While I unloaded my Giant, and we set up the terms of service, Dave told me his story (everyone has one!)...and I knew right away, he had found his passion by accident. Literally, he had hurt his back and could no longer do the work he had enjoyed. The problem was he was 59, and no one would hire him. By fluke, he bought a bike repair business, and he loved what he was doing!

What's amazing is the connection he had with the owners of my motel! Catch me again very soon for that story!

We got along so well that he motioned over to me. "C'mon, I want you to meet my wife!"

I tagged along behind him as he called through the kitchen to his wife. In the living room were his wife and her mother, a beautiful older lady sitting in a recliner with a large tray on her lap. I was immediately drawn to her.

After a few minutes of talk, I felt as if I had known these people forever. It hit me how lucky I was to run into this family. This can happen anywhere.

It doesn't matter where you are. You find great people anywhere you go.

This experience with the Bike Guy and his family confirmed for me that in order to live life fully, I must continue immersing myself in my current culture.

What about you?
Are you?