Four months since my last post -- where in heck have I gone?
Well, I'm still here, still in Edmonton, wrapping up my LAST semester of classes ever, about to embark on the scary world of external practicum experiences. I'm sitting by the window of my apartment, facing the dusky glow to the west. Today, I started studying for finals. This poor blog, despite my thoughts and intentions, has fallen by the wayside. In this world of Facebook and Twitter, it's no wonder so many blogs have faded and vanished. It's a miracle that some have managed to survive.
It's December, the time to reflect upon yet another year, yet another step toward realizing myself more fully. This past summer, I had my first experiences being a "real" speech-language pathologist by providing one-on-one treatment to several children. I miss them. In what will hopefully be a long and fulfilling career, I'll always remember these first few clients. I'll remember the last day of throwing water balloons out behind the clinic, of trying to escape the mosquitoes, of playing Twister, of making our magic witches' brew that foamed and overflowed all over the place.... In the fall, I worked with clients who were recovering from strokes. Instead of playing hopscotch and fishing, it was a time of encouraging breath support and using letter-boards. It was working with families and being there to listen as they blinked back their tears when describing the difficulties their loved ones had been having post-stroke. It was pulling myself together and not falling apart in front of them, when all I wanted to do was mourn their loss with them. But, as the weeks progressed, the glimmers of the client's former selves - their "true" selves - shone through in spite of their communication and mobility challenges. In those crisp evenings of first frost, we took comfort in the ability to laugh at ourselves. Through our discontent and sorrow, there is hope still. When asked how many grandchildren he had, my client held out five fingers, but said, "Three." Then, catching himself, he said, "Five," while manipulating his fingers to show three. Puzzled, he looked down at his hand, and laughter erupted from deep within his being. His dear wife, who had stopped knowing how to talk with him after his stroke, who knew only to ask him to label objects as one might a two-year-old child -- even she started laughing. And, in that room, in the long-term care facility that would become his home from then on, there was a sense that things would be all right after all. They might find a way to have a sense of family yet.
As for my little family here in Edmonton, there has been a new addition since the end of July. Chelsea joined us from the Humane Society. We were in the middle of a move to our new apartment, and weren't sure that it would be the best time to have a new pet. However, through a string of circumstances, we had found our perfect dog, and although we had much trouble getting her home (that story's for another post!), we persisted and here she is: