Even the longest journey begins with a single step.

-E.J. Dimera (Days of Our Lives)

I have kept saying that I should write a book, about my life experiences, because in these 33 years that I have been a person, many more experiences have happened to me than to most people my age.  The problem has always been the motivation, I kept using the excuse of “not enough time”.  The idea of recording my life experiences hit me in college.  That was my first excuse, as soon as I complete school, I can write my book.  I graduated with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation, but then I wasn’t motivated to write my book and found a job.  That was nearly 9 years ago, and I have worked in the same nursing home ever since.  I have a part time job, when I first started I was working 5 days a week, for only 6 hours a day.  My schedule was wacky, on the Special Care Unit, in activities, we were under the same category as the nurses, with an inconsistent, work 2 weekends a month in no particular order schedule, with 2 days off during the week, maybe a Tuesday and the next day Wednesday, with sometimes working 6 days in a row!  But for the past 3 years, on second floor we have been under the main Activity Director supervising us.  She gives us every other weekend and the same weekdays off.  As I was all stressed out before my wedding 6 years ago, I went down to working 4 days a week to prevent further anxiety attacks.  Hm, it worked, I just used my off days to sleep mostly.  And working I thus continued.  I found my career path working on the Special Care Unit of the nursing home.  I want to help others in an unfortunate situation; although these residents are severely affected by Alzheimer’s type dementia, or another form of dementia, or just difficult to care for, I think that I can make these individuals quality of life’s a better while they are with us.

However, this did nothing for the motivation of taking care of myself.  If anything, MY quality of life was inhibited, suffering from the anxiety of trying to handle life and at the same time dedicate most of my days to the residents.  I continue to occasionally wake up with a Frank Sinatra song (hey, at least HE’S not that bad!) or another song from the 1940s or ’50s in my head, or having a dream in which a resident on my floor of the nursing home randomly appears.  I recently got semi-laid off (almost, but not really) scheduled to work every other weekend, and every other Monday and every other Friday.

I was crushed when I heard the news about my reduced schedule 3 weeks ago, because ever since graduating college from Longwood University in Farmville Virginia, I have defined myself solely by my job.  Helping others was what I “do”.  Now I am searching for a new definition.

I know if any of my co-workers look at this, they would be making “Pshah” noises and saying I only worked part time before, this is just a shortened version of part-time.  Only it doesn’t feel that way.  I put my all into my work, and actually concentrate on new arts and crafts programs that we could do, looking on Pinterest and getting signed up to all those Therapeutic Recreation/Activity professionals groups on Facebook [OUTSIDE of work].  I have worked at this nursing home the longest than any other Activities person.  I feel like second floor is ‘my’ floor, and I am the one who cares the most about the residents residing on the Special Care Unit.  I may make activities ‘funner’ than the other workers there, with all my positive uplifting energy, but who am I kidding, the residents certainly wouldn’t remember it, although the family members might.

I’ve been trying to do constructive tasks, like now I’m taking 2 yoga classes weekly, I can finally say that I’ve started this blog, and since the weather will be getting nicer, there’s always the pool and I can try my hand at gardening.  This ‘glorified housewife’ thing may actually be a good move.  I can explore other areas at which I can create enjoyment for myself.   The possibilities are endless, and the road’s wide open.

About Danielle!

A young professional Longwood University alum, with a traumatic brain injury having previously worked in the Therapeutic Recreation field with the elderly at nursing homes in Fairfax, VA. Now as a TBI advocate, trying to help others learn more about TBIs is involved in support groups, as well as very involved in my church, child care, and working part-time at a library
This entry was posted in aging, inner reflection, Traumatic Brain Injury, work and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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