Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In over my head

When I was going to school, I spent two semesters participating in a V.A. work study program at the Dallas V.A hospital. The first semester I spent mainly filing documents and learning why government run health care really is a mess. But, the second semester I was assigned to the Recreational Therapy Department of the Nursing Home Care Unit (NHCU) at the hospital.

The N.H.C.U. was where patients were sent for long term care and included people with a variety of conditions, from having terminal cancer to working on recovering from old age related fractures. It really was a good experience. I got to take field trips to art museums with Smithsonian level security, meet characters that dropped A-bombs on Japan, fought Japanese (and other service members) in hand to hand combat, commanded tanks against the Germans and had numerous other exploits. One of my coworkers who was doing an internship was married to the lady who was the first female to be ordained by Southwestern Theological Seminary. We even got to attend her ordination ceremony.

In spite of all the fun, I think I was in over my head. They had me attend joint care meetings with other department heads and give my recommendation for the patients care. They didn't like it when I recommended the terminally ill come play dominoes with the rest of us, or we bring the dominoes to them. And speaking of that, some of the patients went to regional dominoes tournaments whilst I was still learning that dominoes weren't just for lining up and knocking over.

And maybe it wasn't the best idea to design a soccer-like game where you can use your hands, but all the play is done from wheelchairs with a kick ball. Some of those old guys were pretty aggressive. No wonder they had broken bones. None, thankfully, were from the game.

After the first year of school, I figured out that the money from the work study wasn't adequate to pay all the bills and what not, so I had to take another job But, I still have some good memories of those guys at the Dallas V.A. N.H.C.U.

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