Traveling Therapy: 2

I never knew a job could be like this– I basically have an “office” in every corner of Chinatown, NYC as a traveling home care physical therapist. The library, my grandparents’ apartment, Starbucks, etc…

I came directly from the hospital so I can’t say I’m used to this new job yet– in the morning I take a van from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I stop at the subsidiary office of my company and then go to my first patient. From that patient, I travel door to door to the next patient, sometimes having to hop a bus because it’s just not walking distance from one patient to the next. I had to take a train to one patient actually, who wasn’t part of Chinatown– imagine the way my eyes widened as I stepped into the patient’s building, complete with a doorman and concierge, a beautiful gym that Balleys can only dream of, and penthouses with amazing views. I can’t say I prefer high-scale places to cockroach/bed bug infested tenant houses– the reason is ritzy high scale rich patients expect better treatment and they have the tendency to nitpick and complain at any chance (from past experience). When I treat my patients, I can’t say I’m completely unbiased, but I try to treat every patient the same way. It’s hard though– even physical therapists are people too. We have our prejudices and mind-sets, right?

As spring approaches and the weather’s getting better, I do enjoy people watching and ambling the busy streets of a great city– this job is tough but it’s given me a chance to see and experience so much– in one day, I get to see more than I do in years. I go to Chinatown to have fun– I’ve never worked there before (wait I had a volunteer experience, but I guess that doesn’t count). I never knew there were so many government projects, so many sad lives, and creaky stairways. Do I miss the cushy life back in the hospital? Well, yes and no. Back in the hospital, I had doctors, nurses, and social workers a phone call away, in the same building. I had coworkers, I had a scheduled lunch time and bathrooms on every floor. (I also had no respect and had to basically transfer patients in and out of bed all day, 16 patients a day, six evals or more, plus ten treatments). As a home care therapist, I’m a walking social worker. My most important “weapon” is my phone. And if anything happens to a patient at home, well you’re alone to take care of that patient (imagine the patient suddenly having cardiac arrest or a stroke). It’s scary, but overall, I know the experience is worth it. At least it makes me appreciative of being healthy. My grandpa had a talk with me today about how he lived in the days of Mao and Communism, and worked until his spine became curved and then straight again– life has been tough for my grandparents, for my parents too– and now, I’ve chosen a tough path, but it’s nothing compared to what my family had experienced… So I know I can do this, I can bring independence and function back to those who need it and want to stay at home with their families– after all, why go into a nursing home? The best treatment is to be loved by a wonderful family, no? And to be where you’re most comfortable– home.

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