Week 12: D.O. for my B.O.

Sunday’s are my favorite. It’s 10 AM as I write this and I’ve already ran 5 miles with Pearl, did 2 loads of laundry, cleaned my bedroom and bathroom, and loaded/unloaded the dishwasher. Sunday’s are usually a day of meal prep, playing catch up and doing last minute homework for me. Historically, my family and I would go to mass (I go on Saturday evenings now), eat a big brunch (which left our house and clothing smelling like bacon for at least a week), and then nap all afternoon. I miss these days! I realize I may never have Sundays like that again, but I look forward to more Sundays like today where I have a productive morning and move at my own pace the rest of the day. With. No. Homework. This blog post is technically one of my last assignments ever which is surreal! I will spend the next few days catching up with classmates, doing last items of business before graduating, presenting a poster for my capstone, participating in my hooding ceremony and finally, commencement!

Before I get ahead of myself, I’m going to give you the skinny on my last week on rotation. I gave 4 separate presentations on caring for individuals with dementia to staff and nursing and this went very well! The night after my 1st round of presentations, I dreamed my dad gave me several tubes of deodorant if that’s any indication of how nervous I am with public speaking and how ingrained that is in my psyche 😉 (in case you were wondering, it was men’s D.O. and I accepted it all after ensuring the smell was gender neutral haha). I got a lot of good feedback after my presentation–everyone seemed to take home a different point or two.. the ultimate test of the effectiveness of my presentation remains to be seen–this will be proven in the change in the approach taken by care providers. I will have to keep in touch with my CIs to follow up on how this is going!

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Apparently talking with my hands is a thing I do…

My last week also included a few trips to the sensory room with favorites, creating a quick go-to document with activities for caregivers to complete in the sensory room to promote increased use of the room and latency of the program. The Jewish Press even published an article about the room which I believe will further promote its use.

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In regards to wrapping up the Memories in the Making program, it was such a rewarding several days. One of my favorite painters declined painting due to not feeling well, but we still reminisced over our art and said our goodbyes. I got one last session in with the rest of my regular participants! One of my residents voiced her interest in continuing to paint after my departure, so I provided her with a list of supplies for beginners and she plans to have her nieces get these for her. 🙂 Many of my residents expressed their gratitude to me for spending one-on-one time with them, but I think I gained more than they did from this time (*sappy cliché alert…). I can’t express how much fun I have with my residents and especially so on a one-on-one basis. Their stories, humor and ponderings always leave me with a smile and I feel so blessed for this. The activities director at the facility and I had a great conversation on my last day and she decided to display some of the artwork from MIM in a display case with the residents’ ceramic projects–I was tickled to see this. check out the Memories In The Making Art Collection post to see a slideshow of all the resident’s art).

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Before relinquishing my ID/key at the end of the day on Friday, I went next door to the Jewish Community Center and visited the Institute for Holocaust Education’s photo exhibit. It was such a moving experience. A photojournalist had captured and displayed raw, beautiful images of area Holocaust survivors along with their stories–life in concentration camps, time spent in hiding or on the run and details of their lives in their later years. Several NE natives’ photos were in there as well–these were men who had served in WWII and aided in efforts to help the Jewish people. Experiencing this museum really put things into perspective. Oftentimes in my life I find myself getting worked up about minor things, things trivial in the grand scheme of life. These individuals suffered more trauma than most ever will, and they were successful, loving individuals in spite of the odds stacked against them. It made me think back to my friends in the D.R. and the lessons I learned there about how little material things mean and just how much love and quality time with those you love is paramount.

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Local Holocaust survivors and artwork created by one of the survivors.

I had such a variety of experiences in my last semester of school. With these experiences came feelings of triumph, loss and defeat, celebration, anxiety and excitement. My impending graduation is both exciting and terrifying as one of my classmates so accurately put it over supper last night. We have our whole lives ahead of us. First real job. (Hopefully) a place of my own (finally). Paying for health insurance. Cherishing vacation days. Adulting. Making a difference in patients lives on a daily basis. My journey at Creighton has been challenging but incredible. The growth I’ve seen within myself in the last 3 years would not have been possible without this life changing opportunity to pursue this higher level of education and work towards my dreams. I am so grateful for everyone who has supported me along the way… I wouldn’t be where I am currently without the love ad patience of so many lovely people in my life. 🙂

Lastly, please note that this blog doesn’t stop here! It will be more about the pursuit of employment, studying for boards and figuring out what to do with my life post-grad (just more personal in nature), so I hope you keep checking things out my way, dear reader!

Blessings on your week ♥,

(soon to be) Dr. Kerber

P.S. I am never actually going to make anyone call me doctor except my dad… I may or may not request that he call me this for at least a couple of months after graduating 😉

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