Occupational Therapist

All posts tagged Occupational Therapist

Tuesday

Published September 20, 2021 by helentastic67

Tuesday

Had a crazy Tuesday this week. Now it’s Friday and I’m sitting at my fave café for what has become my new normal day here to lunch and write. It’s the Covid normal.

In my early days of diagnosis, I felt the need to explain my life was less Brain Injury and more normal and my first specialist explained I was a high functioning ABI.

So, Tuesday was a bit more crazy than usual. This is probably a good example of me being high functioning. Keep in mind, Helen is not a morning person.

9:15am – Usual carer arrives for Personal Care. She does all her chores and I do mine.

I make breakfast and sit to eat. (Slam down my entrée of pills)

Turn my phone on. It starts, the bells and whistles, texts and calls and messages. I don’t know why I need to go off grid on the weekend.

I call and negotiate with my young John to get me to my first of two appointments. He can squeeze me in.

11.45am – I’m meeting my Neuro Physio. He sits on the floor trying to stretch out my left calf and front ligaments.

I have been diagnosed with a clunky ankle. It’s an official medical term. It’s causing and adding to my knee replacement one day. It’s already nice and crunchy! (My knee)

So, he’s doing him. I’m doing me. I’m checking texts, sending texts, then I’m required to stand favoring my left side and sit, twist my upper body towards my left to help my leg and foot do leg and foot. 

To be clear, all this teases my brain. It’s not super fun, because my right-side brain is saying “you want to do what? Get firetrucked!” (Trying not to swear!).

And I’m dealing with one of my two agencies to fill a shift, the following day on the Wednesday.

It’s a 6-hour shift where I get escorted out, I do the things, we have lunch either out or at home and I set them chores while I scooter out to other appointments, they don’t need to take me to. It’s also when I fit other things in where I need muscles and things that I can do by myself or on P.T.

It’s a 6-hour shift. The texts from my agency go back and forth. Eventually, I’m offered 3 hours which I later describe as like putting a band aid on a bullet wound. It’s a great image, isn’t it?

I was responding that I could offer their shift to my other agency, as in the whole shift 6 hours. What pretty band aids on either side of that 3 hour. I need the whole 6 hours.

I mention via text, I’m in the middle of something and I need to be present in my appointments, but then I get a rather long shitty text stating they had spent 4 hours messaging other carers and clients to find me someone. It sounds like they think I’m ungrateful. The grumpy text ends with an apology for the text. I am now getting busy – this is eight days after I started.

Hopefully I can do it justice. But otherwise, could be, I didn’t get to read her whole message. I got the gist and immediately texted my other agency and if the person was not in the office, I rang them directly. 

When I rang, I could even interpret the pause and inner office convo that happened in the background. A carer they have been wanting to send me for some time, they were just waiting on an NDIS checklist.

I confess it’s been two weeks since that fateful day. So, while this may not flow seamlessly from the previous post, I hope you can keep up?

So, I text the agency who is choosing to do their job the hard way, that in the middle of two appointments I need to be actively present at. I’ll get back to them.

It does already look like I’m covering the following days shift myself another way. I flick a text to my other agency. In case that staff member wasn’t in the office that day, I quickly call.

“What’s that?” I’m on the phone while my Occupational Therapist, (OT) who I’m just meeting for the first time is with me. “No, I told her she could absolutely go pee.” Respectfully, that makes us friends for life.

I call the agency and I can tell exactly the conversation that’s happening in their office.

“Oh, send X, Y, Z!”

“Is that Helen? Just fill that shift!”

There is no better motivation than me missing a specialist appointment because their afterhours staff member fucked up my Monday morning. My Botox appointment was rescheduled for two months further away. Botox keeps my left toes from curling (I know. What?). Yes! Botox in my leg.

Anyway, yes. The NDIA survey has been completed and X, Y, Z can cover my Wednesday shifts until my other agency can cover it again.

After my OT appointment, I head out and call my Heidelberg taxi driver. Young John is best at this time and so is Sean! 

I hoof it to my far local pide dealer. Pide is not code for anything. It’s just where I get my vegie pide from. Another taxi driver has arranged that I can wait around the corner to make life easier. 

On the drive home (10-15 mins) I text the first agency. I confess I was pretty grumpy earlier and wished to call my support coordinator to growl at the agency because I just didn’t have the bandwidth to give the polite diplomatic response.

Yet, I messaged something along the lines of, ‘I appreciate how hard it is to fill shifts when my regulars are away or don’t have a weekend. Then something that I genuinely did appreciate her efforts. Despite that, rather than ring me first to ask if she could wriggle things so she could cover three of the six hours of my shift. Would it be enough?

Sometimes it is but this particular day, I had placed other things in around and in between the appointments that required wheels and muscle.

I did all of this with a migraine.

So, that shift was moved for a month or so to another agency. 

The following Tuesday I received a message asking if I expected them to cover my Wednesday. I had to remind them I’d moved it temporarily. This is what happens when someone tries to cover a bullet wound with a band aid.

Hot off the Press – 15th June 2021

Published June 15, 2021 by helentastic67

Hot off the Press

Change does not come easy.

So, I guess my posts these days have become more of a Hot Off the Press edition. Today, I’m writing on a Friday morning and every day this week I’ve been needing the pennies to stop dropping if you feel me.

There is just something fucking new every frigging day, I’m up to pussy’s bow, the end of my rope, not sure my nerves will cope with much more.

You may be aware, earlier this year I may have mentioned my shrink (makes me sound crazier). My psychologist is wanting to retire. WHAT? I know.

She’s mentioned for a while now, over more recent years and I’ve been in denial, obviously at some point she decided she was more and more serious and in 2021, it’s happened. She’s winding down. Very sad face!

You see, I’ve been seeing her for 13 years, I know, still not fixed (That’s a mental health joke!). I tried to entice her to stay, but I haven’t unpacked my baggage from my teenage years yet. I think we all know I have, but she could not be encouraged to work forever.

I asked if I could have half my money back, as I’ve got to start again with someone new.

Anyway, this week I found out why I’ve been unable to nail down my Support Co-coordinator (fancy name for a case manager). I’d been told she was sick, I now also imagine she’s been doing a job trial for her new job, because she’s leaving. Meanwhile, I don’t know if my new shoes have been paid for? Well, they haven’t and I guess now, I’m making sure all the wheels are turning.

Because the NDIA makes sure everyone else gets paid, even if they haven’t been doing their jobs. So, of course I started making calls. Like I don’t have enough to do already? FFS!

Have been meaning to do this blog post for days and yesterday I realized why I hadn’t, all the pennies had yet to drop.

Thursday, found out I’m also getting a new Occupational Therapist (OT). Are you breaking up with me too? So yes. She did too. I’d only had this OT a few months as I’d finally kicked the last rubbish OT to the curb.

2020 is still kicking me in the pants and I’m over having to rehash all the things. FFS!

I need a cheat sheet!

Wednesday, I heard (got a text!), I’m at 81% of my year’s funding and it ends in December. So, I need a review and my support coordinator better bring her A-game.

The NDIA like to give you just enough funding to cover you for 10 months of the year and then you have to go beg for more, by which time they have moved the goal posts to mean you can’t have what you previously had. I also heard the NDIA has trialed a new ‘thing’, it’s called Personas (Independent assessment) and an algorithm.

It’s just a funny way to put us all in little boxes as if we need the same things. We will all hurry the fuck up and go do study, or just get a job and not be a drain on the Australian government. It’s like they realized people with disabilities deserve a normal life and things and human rights. Until they realized how expensive having ethics is. Then they’ve tried to take out the human element so they can be more economized.

Advocacy never ends does it.

On the upside, Smith Street in Collingwood was voted the best street in the world! Voted by the editors of Smith Street has been named the coolest street in the world (timeout.com)


I got to catch up with Noelle last night by phone. I’ve started calling her every few weeks to chat. We were commiserating over how bitterly cold it got all of a sudden. Winter has hit. And Melbourne has come out of lockdown 4.0. We still need to wear masks and Noelle is in Sydney and they do not.

So, I just tease her at least we have heaters in Melbourne. They had their coldest day on record in 37 years yesterday and the rivalry continues between Sydney and Melbourne.

We still have better coffee, art and street culture. I mean they don’t even have a National Gallery, it’s in Canberra. WT Firetruck!? (Trying to swear less, is it working?)

We have the MCG and the laneway street art; Melbourne has all these things. Just saying.

Trying to end on an upbeat.

HellonWheels

Published May 21, 2018 by helentastic67

Hellonwheels

Hellonwheels

How she came to be? As you may already be aware Hellonwheels was a nickname a friend of my sisters gave me, way back when, even years before I got my license to drive and that wasn’t until my thirties.

Drivers licence

SHUDDUP. I will not take any criticism about how slow I was to learn to drive and get my license. I was a thing and then the other thing and then you will hear about getting it just in time later.

But, today I thought I’d give you the rules and regs of having a mobility scooter.

Rules for Mob Scooter

My process was when I was referred to the council, The City of Yarra a year or two after I developed my disability, it all started to happen.

I was referred to many people to act upon all the things I needed and wasn’t aware of. I thought I’d just start getting carers to help me dry and dress, make my bed and clean my home. An OT (Occupational Therapist) would come out to access how I manage, how I get around, transport etc and she had the brilliant idea to organise a mobility scooter.

Mobility Scooter

Some people just think you go to a shop and buy one and your good to go.

That’s not it at all…

The OT negotiated with my GP, had a copy of all my medical conditions etc. It was deemed I would be safe on a scooter and that the general public would also be safe on the streets and then the man with the van came out from Scooters’ Australia with three scooters.

Test Drive

The first one he told me all about it and I got on and they walked beside me as we did a block on the footpath, we went over some cobbled stones in the guttering, (difficulty rating: some) and along Hoddle Street past my favourite shop there. (It’s called Schotts) Past a laneway, which I did not stop for.

First test drive

Not stop for prompting him to tell me “I just got killed!” Prompting me to tell him cars never come out of there. My left foot drifts out of the footboard, all because of my Drop-foot and if I’m not putting weight on it, it just does what it likes. Back home, the man disappeared into the van and backed out on a second scooter, slightly bigger.

Second test

I got on that one and repeated the ride, being careful not to get myself killed in the same places I’d neglected my basic knowledge of road rules as the first time.

All went well, I can’t recall much about that scooter, it might have been too bouncy or rather big? Big can be a problem when it comes to storing a scooter.

But alas I almost forgot, the man disappeared into the van a third time and came out the biggest scooter. Good to have options and all but I confess I looked at the OT and told her ‘this one must be the big fat Elvis!’

Third test

I think I had a little ‘Go’ on the big fat Elvis, but didn’t bother going around the block like I did with the first one.

Now which to choose?

Choosing scooter

Choosing scooter 1Choosing scooter 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s just tell you all the reasons why I chose the first one. It was the smallest, easier to store, the seat comes off, the front handle (part thing) folds down and the scooter (I’m told) fits into my car boot. Except and he rattled off several cars makes and models, so let’s just say most. Probably not a Porsche or Mini Minor or even….  I don’t know.

Mini Minor

My mum has a little Mazda and I don’t even know if it fits in her car boot as we’ve never tried. Point being, if you go to a shopping complex or a day away holiday, you can take Hellonwheels with you. The tyres are solid, so no worrying about flat tyres and I have a satchel on the back.

Mazda

My scooter was the cheapest at $4,000.00. Of which I obviously did not have and she was not at all fazed by this.

The OT got her letter writing hat on and started pounding the pavement to get me funding.

Now, you probably wonder where Hellonwheels lives? When I first got her, I lived in a single storey terrace house opposite Public Housing. I had a small backyard and no cover out the back. Again, no money, again more potential funding.

Shed for scooter

The gate at the front that gave us access was replaced and a power supply was required. The landlord also sorted the power supply in my backyard for the scooter.

Funding was sourced for a shed to go in my backyard. It ended up with the scooter and my gardening supplies. It took up half my backyard and because the clothes line was so loose it was able to stay up and I still had half to use for my washing.

Shed

The shed has been mine to keep, the next house I lived in, the scooter lived under a BBQ cover as there was not enough room for the shed to go up.

Hellonwheels now resides in my scooter shed under the building I moved to 6 months ago, with my gardening things. There is power to the scooter as it needs to be constantly on live power. Not a battery. Every outing on my scooter is a potential adventure. Also, a possibility of a way to engage the community in discussion about disability and hopefully not a chance to need to make a claim on my Insurance. I have up to $10,000 if I injure someone but I’m really not planning to need it. Fingers crossed.

Underground garage

Real

Published July 28, 2017 by helentastic67

Get Real

Real

Let’s talk ‘REAL’ for a moment. Will I ever get the use of my left arm back?

My Radiologist, who did my treatment, told me yes, I would. The Physio specialist upon my returning to him wondered why I was back and asking him to help me get the use of my arm back, he kinda expected me to read between the lines, when he told me he had been doing “this” a long time.

Physio

A few years ago, I saw a younger OT chick who didn’t sugar coat it when she said “Yes!” You will get the use of your arm back, but you will never get the strength and dexterity back you had before.

OT

Ironically, I didn’t have much “before” as it was…

I think realistically, if I do every exercise I’ve ever been told to do every day, several times and the other one’s I’ve been shown to improve, if I do all the computer/gadget based activities, commit to extra tiredness and migraines every day, it will improve some.

Realistic

Someone suggest – why not have my arm amputated? To be clear, I couldn’t be offended. She was a double amputee and she had, had to choose to have both her legs amputated!

Apart from the obvious, that I wouldn’t ever know if I could prove that specialist wrong if I had NO left arm to rehabilitate, I imagine my clothes would not sit properly. I will get even more weird questions and I would instantly go on a diet and lose 5 kilos (I don’t know how many kilos does one of your arms weigh?)

Specialist

It’s the wrong way to lose 5 kilos.

Weight lose

Stop Helping

Published October 28, 2016 by helentastic67

stop-helping

Stop Helping

I’ve just writing this post in my head, so despite not finishing my admin for the week past and coming or starting to wind down and it’s midnight, I’m going to smash this thing out.

Did I mention I’m a night person?

Some of the worst advice I’ve not been given for how to manage my disability and maintain independence one-handed has not been given to me by an OT!

ot

Remembering an OT is an Occupational Therapist!

Early days an OT asked how I managed to open things, particularly in the bathroom or kitchen.

I replied, I use my teeth!

how-not-to-open-a-bottle

I was smartly told not to do such unless I could afford to fix my teeth!

Um, FYI. No I cannot.

The end!

Yeah! No! There is no great wisdom on how you otherwise do that! While I’m still waiting so can you!

Done!

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