I have been an occupational therapist for almost 20 years. For those who missed my previous post, this means that I work in a hospital to ensure that people will be able to take care of themselves when they go home after an illness or injury.
In 2011 I left the world of hospital OT for a management position in a nursing home. While I learned a lot about insurance, medicare and medicaid, I also learned that management in that setting was not for me. I decided to move on and return to being a therapist working with patients in the hospital.
On my first day back my first patient of the morning was a woman in her 60s who had undergone a hip replacement operation the afternoon prior. She was blessed to be in good health aside from the arthritis that caused her pain and began to limit her activities. As a long time therapist I have seen hundreds of patients after their hip replacements and know that with some diligence on the part of the patient (do your exercises!) the operation is usually successful and patients return back to their lives with more mobility and less pain than before. I also know that every patient is different and there is no cookie cutter approach.
This woman was scared. She had not been out of bed since the operation the day before. There is no rest after surgery like in the old days! Taking our time, I helped her get to the edge of the bed, stand up then move to a chair next to the bed. She promptly burst in to tears! Was she in pain? Sick? I had no idea so of course I asked.
“Ms X (patient privacy!)! Are you OK? Are you in pain?”
A big smile came through her tears and she replied “I am just so happy that is over with and I am out of bed! That wasn't’t so bad.” She gave me a hug when I left the room and left the hospital a couple of days later.
I was back. This is why I became an occupational therapist.