Work Life

Friday, March 04, 2011

Whatup party people.  As you can probably tell, things have been a little crazy around here.  I went from crazy work to having house guests, back to crazy work to a girl’s weekend in Georgia to crazy work, and now it’s March!  I want to tell you all about the girl’s weekend, but I didn’t take any pictures and I haven’t jacked any off of Facebook yet… I also have a giveaway to tell you about but it seems a little random to just throw out there after a week’s absence.

So, I decided to tell you about crazy work!  Why not, right?  It’s what I do all day, it’s what’s keeps me from blogging {sort of}, and it’s been the driving force behind a ton of changes in my day to day world.  I feel like I used to tell you all about life in grad school all the time, but I never shared what grad school life turned into…

So, here it is: crazy work.  My day to day, non-blog life…

In reality, work isn’t all that crazy.  I’m a physical therapist for a medium-sized, private pediatric practice in Arlington.  We specialize in sensory issues and autism, so we have a ton of OTs {Occupational Therapists} and I am just one of four PTs.  I see between five and seven kids in a day depending on my schedule, but it’s always changing with the weather or when bugs are going around, kids cancel, etc… I spend 50 minutes with each kiddo and have 10 minutes in between to debrief the parents, finish my paper work, take a sip of water, and sit down and breathe before the next one {This is why I never respond to your emails!}.  Thirty patients a week is considered full time in peds and this week I saw 22—not bad since my caseload has been built from scratch!

So that’s the boring part… The fun part is the kids!  The patients I see range from infants {my youngest is four months} to late elementary aged {my oldest are 10 and 11} , but I generally see more infants and toddlers: my faaaaavorites.  Each kiddo has their own slot, so every Tuesday at 9:30 I hang out with Abigail, every Wednesday at 2:30 I hang out with Ben, etc… You get to know these kids so well spending one on one time with them each week and I’m pretty sure they love it just as much as I do! 

Our clinic looks nothing like the PT clinic you went to for your ACL rehab—it’s full of slides and swings and mats, scooterboards, balls, tricycles, bean bags, and wedges.  We have a fine motor room full of paint and scissors and stickers, an infant room with every blinking and singing toy known to mankind, and a game closet with every puzzle, board game, and book ever written.  Kids walk in and whisper “Whoooa…”

And people ask me all. the. time. “What, you help kids who broke their arm?” “Do you have to pin them down on the table and make them cry??”  Nope and nope.  I have a few kids with orthopedic issues, but I generally see kids with gross motor delays.  For various reasons and diagnoses, these kids just aren’t moving and developing in the same way as “typical” kids.  So we evaluate them and work on stretching, strengthening, moving, playing, fitting for orthotics, whatever we can do to catch them up to be “age appropriate.”  Or at least function at their highest capacity in the body they have.

Most of the infants I work with have torticollis, a muscle tightening in the neck that causes their head to tilt and can severely effect head shape, facial symmetry, and gross motor development if left untreated.  A few others were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, born with clubbed feet, born prematurely, and then there are kids that just aren’t crawling or walking on time for no big reason.  And we play and rattle and roll and facilitate to catch ‘em up.  A huge portion of my job is educating parents {Get rid of those jumpers, moms!!}, teaching them how to adapt their homes and carry over what we work with in the clinic to their day to day routines.  Parents can sometimes be the most difficult part of pediatrics, especially in a high powered, over-educated city like DC, but I’ve had great luck so far and my parents are great!  {Knock on wood.}

I know way too much about Nickelodeon shows and nursery rhymes, and have baby spit up on my person far more than anyone without kids should have.  I spend all day without shoes on and I’m surprised the knees to my jeans are still intact.  But I am still a baby in my career.  I’m not some rockstar PT, but I love my kids and I love my job—every day is filled with games and laughter and sincere appreciation from parents, so it’s easy to love.  It was worth all of those years of studying, tests, anxiety, and money. {Lots and lots of money.}

And at the end of the week I’m exhausted.  So do the happy dance with me—it’s Friday!  Tonight I ripped my stockings up the side and put glitter on my eyes to go-o-o get crazy and….see The King’s Speechat 5:30pm…so we could be lazy and go to bed early.  We’re wild like that.

Happy Friday folks!  It’s good to be back—hope you have a great weekend!

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