I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wheelchair Swing Fundraiser

In addition to working with children, I consult for group home for developmentally disabled adults.  I am hoping to raise funds to buy a wheelchair-accessible swing for one of the homes so that its residents can enjoy a calming activity and spend some time outdoors.  My goal is to raise $2000 to cover the cost of the swing and shipping.  I'd love to have the funds by November so that I can give the swing to the house as a Christmas gift.

If you'd like to help, here are some ways you can do so:
  • Join www.igive.com:  Join iGive and support cause number 61591 (Tana Jimenez - Wheelchair Swing Fundraiser).  If you join and make a purchase within 30 days, you will automatically earn a $5.00 donation! 
  • Make a purchase through Celebrating Home during the month of May.  Just enter party code:  TanaJimenezWheelchairSwingFundraiser295056
If you would like verification, I will gladly send you a copy of the quote from the company.  Just send me an email at tanajimenezpt at aol dot com.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Because I care.

Over a year ago, I started receiving calls from a Service Coordinator who works with our county's Regional Center.  She chose to contact me directly instead of going through the company I contract with because she specifically wanted me to be the PT for children on her caseload.  I was (and still am) flattered, but have to admit that I was a bit puzzled.  Finally, the mother of one of the kids revealed to me why the Service Coordinator likes me so much.  It's because I care.

Seriously?  Because I care?  I was floored.  Are there therapists who don't care?

I got my answer soon enough.  Another PT who contracted with my company was taking the summer off and several of the kids on her caseload were transferred to me.  When I contacted her to discuss each case, I was stunned at how she referred to the children.  I asked about "Adam" and she said "Oh, the [insert city here] kid?"  When I spoke to her about "Jeremy," I asked if she wanted to do the closing report in September because she had been his therapist for so long and she replied, "Oh, no.  I don't want him.  He's yours."  And when I asked about "Donald," I was told that he was a difficult, clingy child with a crazy, overprotective father.  Nothing about his goals, what they were working on, or what motivated him.  These children have names.  They are human beings.  They have stories.  They have dignity. 

I know that the majority of Physical Therapists entered the field because they wanted to help people.  Over time, our vocation may become merely a job to us, but our patients are still humans with inherent dignity.  If therapists find themselves referring to people by anything other than their names (unless HIPAA is in practice at the moment, of course), treating patients like objects or mere jobs to be done, prescribing treatment programs that aren't individualized to patients' unique needs, perhaps a career re-evaluation is in order.

If therapists find themselves lacking the passion the once had for helping people, perhaps their talent, education, experience, and expertise can be better utilized in PT research, administration, education, or advocacy.

As I prepare to go to work, I occasionally find myself not wanting to go, but once I arrive and see the smiles on those little faces and witness the progress being made, I remember exactly why I got into this field.  I love my job.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

10 Things You Don't Know About a Special Needs Parent

Maria Lin has written an excellent article titled "7 Things You Don't Know About A Special Needs Parent."  This article touched me immensely and I wanted to add a few things to her list.

  1. I am tired.
  2. I am jealous.
  3. I feel alone. 
  4. I am scared.
  5. I wish you would stop saying, "retarded," "short bus," "as long as it's healthy... "
  6. I am human.
  7. I want to talk about my son/It's hard to talk about my son.
  8. I am sad.  I am not sad for myself.  I am sad for my son, whose playdate invitations have evaporated down to nearly nothing over the past 2 years.  I am sad for my son, who when doing schoolwork and struggling with his writing throws his pencil and workbook to the floor and cries "The people who wrote this book hate me and think I'm stupid!"  I am sad for my son when his tics escalate and he complains "I just have to do it."
  9. I am embarrassed.  I am not embarrassed of my child!  I am embarrassed when he throws wicked tantrums in public and people stare, make comments under their breath, and take down my license number in the parking lot.  I am embarrassed when people think I'm a bad parent when I am trying my best.  I have taken parenting classes.  I have read books.  I have sought advice from friends who are pediatricians, occupational therapists, and marriage family therapists.  However, in the court of public opinion, I am a failure because my child is not as quiet, calm, and well-behaved as they think he should be.  I know I shouldn't apologize, but I'm sorry.
  10. I am a great actress.  My friends tell me that I am remarkably patient with my son.  I wish that I could be as patient as they think I am.  They don't hear the yelling, they don't see my tears, they don't see how much my blood pressure has gone up in recent years.  Towards the end of the day, my patience is often worn thin or completely away.  There is only so much arguing, contradicting, defying, hitting, spitting, running away, screaming, and harassing a mother can take.  Fortunately, most days are good days!

Though a lot of these statements sound negative, I would not trade this life for anything.  My son has taught me unconditional love and self-sacrifice.  He continually teaches me patience.  He makes me appreciate the good days and the kind strangers whom we have encountered.  I share in his joys, his triumphs, his tears.  I have watched him grow and learn.  I love my son and that's all that matters.