So my week in Hamilton has come to an end (already!!)
I have been staying with a lady I work with, her boyfriend & her brother. They have all been so kind & welcoming to me so I can't thank them enough. I have spent pretty much every evening hiding away in my room doing uni work, feeling very unsociable, but they have understood & been cool about it!
I have had an interesting week at work! The clients in this facility require a lot more hands on care which is what I'm used to/prefer, so its been great. Ive noticed quite a few differences in the way they do things compared to at home, such as medication. At home it is the nurses responsibility to administer drugs, and only the nurses allowed. Here in NZ, the nurses check the drugs when they arrive from pharmacy but the healthcare assistants give out the drugs to the clients throughout the day - they come in blister packs/dossett boxes so its pretty simple but still, its a big responsibility & Im not sure they'd be aware of side effects to look out for etc.
I've met a lot of new clients this week, and heard a lot of fascinating but sad stories. Lots of stories to share..but obviously no names or places mentioned due to patient confidentiality :)
One guy, in his 30's, fell asleep at the wheel of his truck & drove off a flyover sort of thing, flipped the truck, landed back on the wheels & drove into a tree. By some miracle, he had a triage nurse & a GP following him...so they were on scene immediately and most probably saved his life. He broke both his legs, his hip, his arm... but he was actually VERY lucky to just come away with broken bones. He was only in the facility for rehabilitation so he can learn to walk again after his injuries.
Another guy was taking his 15 year old daughter on a driving lesson. They had a very serious road accident hitting into another car, and the dad was left seriously brain damaged. He is wheelchair bound, has very limited speech & will never return to a normal ways of living again.
1 client was a farmer, who decided to go out in his tractor late one evening. He had a fall, hit his head against the tractor & was left lying there until he was found the next morning. He has been in a vegetated state for 2 years now and any chance of improvement is very unlikely.
Apparently 90% of improvement after a brain injury is done in the first 2 years after the accident.
There are a few clients who are responding well. Another young client, 29yr old male, was in a road traffic accident and was in a coma for 6 months. When he arrived in rehabilitation he was semi-comatosed & pretty unresponsive. A year on from his accident he is now walking with a frame, talking (slowly - but improving every day) and looking to get back out into the community to live his life independently.
Most of the clients I've met will make it back into the community and will live a pretty independent life. Some will require years of rehabilitation to reach a level where they can return home but will need full time care, and sadly others will be completely dependent for the rest of their lives. It really makes you appreciate life, and make the most of every day as you really don't know whats round the corner. Its very sad, but at the same times its very rewarding when you have the chance to help & encourage them. I LOVE rehabilitation & I know its definately for me when I qualify!
So something freaked me out during my week here....
In New Zealand, brothels (&prostitutes) are legal!! I was told by a member of staff that once a month most of the clients go to the 'parlour' to see the 'girls'...in other words they go to the brothel to sleep with the prostitutes. I was shocked!!!!!!!!! YES I know people have sexual urges & its pretty normal but, I just found it a bit disturbing. Also, its all planned out. For the over-sexual ones they have medication to reduce their sexual urges...but when they have an appointment coming up the nurses stop their medication 3 days before so that they are able to 'perform' when the time comes. OMG!?!?!?!??! shocking!!!!!!!!!!!! All I can say is I am soooooo glad this doesn't happen at home cos it just freaks me out :/
Today I went with an occupational therapist and took a client horse riding. This guy is wheelchair bound so I wondered how on earth they made it happen. This place had an area with a hoist, so for disabled people they could hoist them up and onto the horse - and they have someone walk around with them so they're safe. It was so cool!! They do this every Friday and I thought it was a wicked idea! Just because ur disabled doesn't mean you have to be restricted to things & I really felt that today. I also took 3 clients swimming yesterday in a hydrotherapy pool which was amazing! Ones that can't normally walk were able to walk across the pool and managed to achieve loads so impressive to see :)
Anyway...another essay from me. Am off soon to meet my friend Sarah & travel to Rotorua for the weekend so I will update my blog when I can :) thanks for reading!!