Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To my PT-self of 6 years ago...

While I am no longer working as a physical therapist, I did practice for 6 years in pediatrics before Dominic was born.  God willing, I plan to go back to work some day, in some capacity, when life calms down and I'm not needed here as much.  I often think about those years when I was practicing and laugh.  A yearning, grateful laugh for the opportunity to see the amazing kids I got to see everyday, and an embarrassed laugh because of some of the stupid stuff I did.  Here is my list of the top 10 things I wish my "now self" could tell my "then self":

#1. Don't lecture families about how important it is to do exercises, wear braces, and make PT a top priority in their life.  They already know all of this but it sometimes literally can't be fit into the day, and honestly, it's NOT the most important thing in their life.

#2. Don't EVER buckle a child into his wheelchair when the mom didn't already have the seat belt fastened and proceed to tell her how important it is to always have this done.  She knows.  You're lucky you didn't just get decked.

#3. Don't talk to the parent like they don't know stuff.  Assume they do and ask them if they would like clarification.  Remember, they are the expert on their child, not the doctor.

#4.  Don't get so irritated when a kid in a wheelchair, or with special needs is a few minutes late.  Your life is not that hard.  You have no idea.

#5.  Don't ignore the siblings of a special needs child... they get ignored enough.  Incorporate them into the treatment as much as humanly possible, or else they may start to fake a limp so they get "special therapy time" too.  :)

#6.  Realize the sacrifice of bringing a kid to therapy every week, sometimes even 2-3 times a week, and make every session worth the time.  If they are sleeping, wake them up.  Use every second of time you have wisely!

#7.  Don't make stupid goals.  Find out what the kid likes to do, and work from that.

#8.  Be a little more understanding that wound care or unpleasant treatments of their child makes the parent want to knock you out.  Stop saying "it's okay, older kids say this doesn't hurt."  Bull, it hurts so just admit it.  Apologize profusely.  Hug their kid.  Apologize again.  Make sad eyes to the mom.

#9.  Give each kid the VERY BEST of you for their entire treatment time.  Even if you're tired.  Even if you have a headache.  Even if you're 9 months pregnant.  Feeling short changed sucks.

#10.  Don't touch, mess with, or push a kids wheelchair without permission.  Their chair is like an extension of them and it's irritating having people act like they have the right to touch it.

If I ever go back to work, I can't promise I will be the best therapist, but I sure will be the most empathetic.

In Jesus and Mary,

Brother Timothy Stephen cuddling little man  :)
(Because a blog post without a picture stinks)


  1. Chasity, I always thought you were amazing during Brits therapy time. You made me feel comfortable, like I was doing an awesome job at home and you really liked my child! Just thought you should know!!

  2. I really like this post. I wish all my child's therapist could read this. Perhaps I will print it out and post it on the front door and not allow them entry until they read it.

  3. Chasity,
    This really hit home for me - as a therapist. I immediately asked my next kiddo if it was ok for me to push his wheelchair! This has really opened my eyes. Thank you.