Saturday, August 23, 2008

Seeing things through a medication haze

It is the last week in August, and I have started my September sick already. There is something about September that has brought out the allergy/cold/cough stuff in me for the last 13 years. This year, it started early.

I spent most of Friday wishing I was medicated. Today, I am. This is a good/bad thing because the medication that I take has a 24-hour adjustment period where I am extremely tired and dizzy. After that initial 24 hours, I am able to function with a slight level of drowse. So, I have to start the medication on a day away from clients. It kinda defeats the purpose of having a music therapist who snoozes through music therapy sessions.

Today, I spent some of the day at the car dealership getting an oil change and having a tire patched. I then spent the rest of the day sleeping. My brother woke me up with a phone call. I am now tired, but awake, and doing some thinking about therapist wellness.

My illnesses are not life altering or serious for anyone but me. I am prone to asthma here in the Midwest, and it is getting progressively worse as I continue to live here. I am going to have to move somewhere else soon, I think, just for the health of my lungs! I do lots to keep myself breathing - I don't smoke, I avoid situations where I know I will have a reaction, I use my inhaler when needed - but there are times when the things I do fail me. Like now.

One of the things that I have always found to be important to my well-being and health is the sick day. I use my time when it is needed. I do not like to be around people who are obviously sick, so I selfishly keep my germs to myself. I wish that others would do the same. There are times when we need to be away from every other human being in the world, especially when we are emitting contagion! Use that time!

Wellness for a therapist is essential to good therapy. If a therapist is not able to focus out of his or herself during a session, how is the client supposed to be assisted towards growth and development? It is better for a therapist to acknowledge the effect of her or his health on the therapeutic relationship rather than inflicting germs on clients. Now, most of the time, all of my clients have the same germs, which I appear to be rather immune to, thanks to my own complicated health issues, so I don't often skip days, I adjust. But there are times when I am not fit to be around other people, especially the clients I serve. So, I stay home.

Here's hoping that I get accustomed to the medication before Monday!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

IT's the End of the World as We Know It...

And, I'm not sure that it's all that fine.

Last Thursday, I found that my computer hard drive had crashed, just as I was getting ready to backup all of the wonderful things that I had traveled to CO to find. The disc is toasted, and I, now significantly poorer, am waiting for my next paycheck to finance a possibly fruitless expedition into the murky depths of the disc to try to mine some of the files. So, I am becoming resigned to some changes in my life. At the moment, I am looking for a MONDO external disc drive to accommodate all of my files in backup forms and will be more faithful in backing things up!

My current school projects and business proposals will also have to change, especially if I cannot find them on the toasted disc.

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Touristy Things

I left the hotel at 6:15 this morning to explore the Fort Collins area. I started off for Poudre Canyon and made it a good distance before I started to react to the pines and the altitude. I had a chance to dip my toes into the river and watched my first ever fly fisherman. The drive was eventful - cattle in the roadway around turns. I had to keep my eyes open and my foot near the clutch at all times.

After I started the allergy reaction, I turned around and leaded for Laramie, Wyoming. When I told my dad this, he asked, "Why would you go to Laramie?" My answer was that it was only 70 miles away, and I had never been to Wyoming. All I can say is that it was a pretty drive. The actuality was not as thrilling as the idea, but now I have been to Wyoming.

I got back to the hotel and went to the "First Ever Fort Collins Irish Festival." It also sounded bigger than the actuality, but it was fun. I had a chance to look up the only confirmed Irish name that I share with my ancestors, Rainey, and it was actually listed. It is nice to know that my Irish ancestors did not change their names when they were sentenced to the colonies for horse thievery! Ah, the skeletons in our closet!!

I am ready to start for home tomorrow. I miss my cat.

I doubt she has missed me!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Wading through History

So, my sojourn through the music therapy archives has ended with around 200 pages of information scanned into my computer, ready for further digestion. I probably have enough for two separate papers - one on competence development in interns, and another on the history of internship programs themselves.

Like I said in my last post, the archives are very user friendly and everyone is helpful. I highly encourage everyone to dive into the archives at least once in their careers.

I have some pictures from a scrapbook assembled in 1965. There are pictures of therapists, clients, and music therapy dignitaries. I do not know who assembled the scrapbook, but they did everything that I've been taught to do in my own scrapbooks. It was interesting to look at, matted well, and had wonderful front pages for each of the sections. It was humbling to realize that the scrapbook was older than me (Can you tell I work with folks who have some egocentric outlooks on life?). This profession has a history that extends before and after each one of us. We owe so much to those who have gone before, and we owe the future generations the benefit of our knowledge and interests.

It has always puzzled me why research is concerned with only the previous 15 years. I could understand that if the topic that you are researching has changed dramatically in the past years, but music therapy has not really changed that much. (Ooh, potentially inflammatory statement!) We seem to be doing the same types of things that the music therapists of old did with clients. We may know more about what is happening within the brain when we sing or play music, but we are still singing and playing that music. There is a link that we miss when we ignore the previous 45 years of music therapy tradition.

I am interested in what music therapists did with persons with intellectual disabilities in the past. I am more interested in how they led sessions than research. I have a yearning to know what others do when they are leading sessions. Tell me what you do in your sessions. What types of clients do you work with? What is your favorite thing to do during a session?

My favorite is "rocket raps," named for the visual aids that I used - no other reason. I have a bunch of words written on rocket cards and a CD full of beat tracks. I start the CD and then we pick a rocket. Everyone makes a comment or adds a word to the rap as we pass the rocket around the group. There is no time limit for length of contribution. We can generally go on for 25 minutes without stopping. The words vary - some are silly, some are serious, some are specifically chosen to elicit information from clients. It works.