Day 5: Emotional.

So let’s go back to Friday. On Friday, I experienced irritation, disappointment, despair, apathy, pride and elation.

I woke up feeling irritated for no apparent reason, although it could have possibly been because every night that I’ve been here, the two men I live with have been rather disruptive past 11pm, which is the definite point at which I try to walk and talk quietly. Every night I have struggled to go to sleep, including on Tuesday (?) night, when the one set the fire alarm off multiple times after midnight while drunkenly trying to make cheese on toast.

Disappointment joined the lot when I discovered that my job is hindering my attempt to lose weight (yes, I do need it, but not as much as some people). My diet is pretty open to tons of food as long as fats and oils are limited. I don’t cook with oil, instead using a spray thing, yet I eat heaps of carbs. This has been very successful in the past, but working every day doesn’t easily allow for sticking to this diet, especially when the office biscuits are positioned right next to me. Also, when doing cooking sessions, we try to eat the food the patients cook, which, of course, won’t be tailored to my diet. So, lo and behold, I put on a couple of kgs last week (which have thankfully dropped again this weekend). I was always an overweight (but not obese) child, and I don’t want to go back to that.

Despair – I wasn’t the only one feeling kind of low on Friday morning, though. Some of the patients who are usually more cheerful were also a bit down. One of them had  a bit of tantrum in a meeting and said all of the staff were terrible and careless at their job, and I had to battle not to take this personally. All of the patients are prone to saying things like this, and I was told that I shouldn’t listen to the negative, but still try to see where the anger is stemming from. It was a struggle, though, and the hurt only calmed a few hours later via apathy.

Things changed after lunch when I had my formal supervision. My PE was so encouraging, and couldn’t think of anything negative to write on her portion of the form. It really helped to hear that, despite the patient’s earlier raging, I was doing well so far. She commended me on my eagerness and my ability to connect with the patients. She also said I was excellent at being aware of the patients and potential risks, which I said was probably a result of my years of experience being an older sister, cousin and babysitter.

Finally, elation. There was a disco for the building’s patients yesterday, with karaoke and the option to come in fancy dress. It was incredible to see some of my patients so engaged in such a normal teenage event. So many chose to sing, as well, something I didn’t expect. Even I was roped into singing, and it took me back to years of living in Japan, singing karaoke and organising dances for the younger students at my school. I felt so at home and so happy then. It only got better when I was leaving to go home and saw the two most timid patients in my ward coming down with smiles on their faces. If they didn’t know already, they know now that I’m a bit loopy, as I did a whole double fist pump act. At least this amused them, and I saw one smile for the first time.

That was my rainbow of emotions at the end of my first week.

Day 4: All is Awesome in the Land of the Awesome.

As you can tell, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, and I’m not even being sarcastic! I love my placement and my practice educator loves me. All is right with the world ward.

Okay, not everything. We have our ups and our downs. The girls are fantabulous and impressive in so many ways, even though I encountered my first act of violence today and read in one of the notes that one of the girls struggled through the night. It was quite shocking, really, and it was only today that it hit me how potentially dangerous a setting I’m in. However, I know that the rest of the team, especially my PE, will be there to get me out of danger when necessary.

Otherwise, I’ve been given informal feedback saying that I’m brilliant. I have formal supervision tomorrow, and I actually filled out my supervision form ahead of time! Unlike last year, when I filled it out five minutes before supervision…

Summed up:

  • I think my greatest strength is, at this early stage, my eagerness to learn and get involved, which will hopefully make up for my lack of knowledge and experience eventually.
  • I’m less confident in finding the boundary between being professional and connecting with the girls. It’s difficult, as I’m the same age as some of them, and not much older than the rest, so it’s very easy for me to fall into being their peer or treating them like I’d treat my younger cousins.
  • I need to understand where my limits are. I’ve pushed myself too hard this week; being the first week, this wasn’t necessary. I need to understand that patience is necessary and that I will eventually be able to do more once I’ve gotten more used to the setting.
  • My PE can further assist me with providing me with the schedule for the whole week so I can refer to it until it’s become habitual.

I’m horrendous at coming up with proper, professional goals for myself, but here’s my attempt to be done over the next week:

  1. To read patient histories so that I can have a more complete knowledge of each.
  2. To write a structured reflection.
  3. To begin putting together my resource file using the suggested sections (found in the placement handbook).
  4. (To improve my personal goal-setting skills.)

The start, or how I’m supposed to at least.

First off, you don’t have to read this. Really. This probably won’t be that interesting to you, unless you’re an OT student and want to know how other OT students prepare and reflect. I’ll try to balance out OT-specific posts with the Life of Munchkin posts as soon as I get more settled here in my new placement accommodation.

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