Always find the silver lining.

I am sitting here at the Uconn health center, waiting for my yearly checkup to begin. I haven't been here for about a year, so I was completely lost when I parked in the parking garage. The campus almost feels measurable to Uconn Storrs campus: very large. I asked a nice man for directions when I parked and he sent me to the wrong building. Oh well, he tried.

I am off from work today and plan on illustrating my book this afternoon. I could do house work, but I want to dedicate my time to my little Edward story.

I went for jury duty yesterday, and was chosen for a jury service case. It will take place next week for 3 days. It should be very interesting and educational! I can't speak about the case with anyone until it's over. I will be missing work, but as I've said to friends and family...we are very lucky to have this type of judicial system in our country. Instead of complaining about it, I look at it as a great opportunity to help someone out. Something out of my ordinary day. Although when I work with patients with dementia, an ordinary day is never ordinary.

During my wait period for jury duty, I met some people from surrounding towns. It was nice to connect with new people, and network. Very nice people. The employees played a movie for us and had board games available to play with the people you just met. One of the ladies at my table said, "Oh great .. Board games to play with a bunch of strangers". My thought when she said this was, " these are not strangers.. they’re just friends you haven't met yet". Keeping an open mind is key! If you think about it…a person’s friends were once strangers. There was another girl at my table that looked absolutely miserable. With a scowl on her face, she kept repeating, "Ugh…I just want to go home". I decided to start a conversation with her, and she said she was from south Windsor, and moved to Northern California for a few years. My face lit up when she said this, as I loved visiting that area of Cali in the past. I said, "Oh that's awesome that you did that!" She immediately responded "Oh it was awful. Ugh.. Just awful. The people, the economy .. And ugh. It was just way too hot. Terrible, terrible, terrible." Surprised, I responded with an apology, "Really! I'm sorry to hear that." She proceeded to tell me all the negative things about Northern California. Absolutely nothing positive. I thought to myself…how unfortunate, that a person could live somewhere for 2 years and not find one positive aspect about it. This makes me think about finding positives in any situation. People tend to focus on the negative experiences, not the positives. And trust me, it's hard. I do the same at times. You really have to make a conscious choice to look at the positives, in any given time and place. During any moment of a situation, you may not be able to see it. But when you reflect upon it, take something positive from it!

Anywho, I am at the Dr's office now, waiting for her to come in. Passing the time away by writing my thoughts.

I am staring at this very sterile room. In a gown. It makes me think of my residents at my job. Some sit in bed all day with gowns on. But this is their preference of course. The majority of them get dressed. Some do not, and lose a lot of hope, as they fall into depression, thinking that this is the end. But my team (Therapeutic Recreation and Art Therapy) always tries to encourage them out of their room to improve their quality of life. I often think… If I had to be in a long term care facility, what would I be doing? I would most likely be creating art. Or writing and reading on my computer. I would probably want to go out and socialize, depending on my situation. If I were lucky, I would have an art room to go to, as we currently do at my job. Residents love that room, and feel like it is a breath of fresh air from their normal surroundings. I find that doing art therapy with them is so helpful to express themselves. We paint quite a bit, as research has shown that the process of painting allows more freedom to express than a colored pencil might (a more rigid tool). We also use collage, watercolor pencils, and clay, just to name a few. Many residents have physical limitations and use wheelchairs. Many of them have had strokes and are no longer able to use certain hands. Some of their speech and memories are impaired. Some are non-verbal. Through art, patients are able to express who they are. Thanks to Lynn, our Recreational Therapist, she helped me with ordering adaptive equipment for those physical limitations (such as build up hand grips for brushes, portable clip lights, and dysom grip so a paper will stay in place on the table).

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