Allied Team Training for Parkinson's-Day 1

Here I am for my first trip to North Carolina. Chapel Hill is beautiful! I haven't seen much of it, but it definitely has a good vibe! I'm here with part of our newly formed Parkinson's Rehab team. We have an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech language pathologist, social worker and me representing music therapy/neurologic music therapy.

There is only one other music therapist here, so our training with Connie Tomaino tomorrow will be VERY individualized! Woo hoo! It is a true rarity to be able to learn from such an innovator in a field, and in such an intimate setting!

I actually met her before dinner tonight...only long enough to introduce myself, shake hands and hear her say, "I was glad to hear there was going to be another music therapist here."

I'll take it!

I've been making notes to myself all day about how our team can be effective in delivering services and communicating information to other healthcare professionals and the general public. Inspiration that will lead to an amazing resource of information and care for patients with Parkinson's and their families. I have the best job ever!

Had a great dinner conversation in the hotel bar with my team and a PT from Montana. After our new friend from Montana excused himself to watch his alma mater's game on TV, we discussed as a team what our educational backgrounds are and how we came to be in our respective disciplines. It was a good bonding experience and helped lay the foundations for our team to develop trust in working as a group.

My beloveds often talk about my amazing networking I met a nurse from Ontario, got a lot of appreciation from the desk clerk for understanding her inability to answer questions about a shuttle service the National Parkinson's Foundation arranged for the hotel and chatted a bit with our Iranian born bartender who appreciated my live and let live attitude toward people that don't look just like me. One of the best part of my passion (some call it a job) is that I connect with people everyday. Humanizing our interactions with people is something most of us could benefit from.

As a species, we spend far too much dehumanizing others instead of humanizing them. We develop the classic "us" vs. "them" mentality. The "us" is always the more proper or correct way of thinking or doing and the "them" side is heinous and unthinkable in their actions.

What we fail to acknowledge is that there is no "us" and "them"...there's only "us."

We are building a global culture where finally it seems that the differences we have become our greatest the old Star Trek adage: infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

There is the potential for conflict between the American and Iranian governments currently. If I took the "us" vs. "them" stance, I would make some cultural slur about how all those Middle Easterners are the same...they just want to kill Americans and they should be grateful because we buy their oil...

Instead, I learned that Rasool came to American in 1982 and has lived different places in the country, which affected his accent when speaking English although he's never picked up a bit of a Southern accent. I have no issue with Rasool because he used to live in Iran. I have no issue because I choose to humanize people instead of dehumanizing them. To me, he's not a "towel head", he's a person. A person with hopes and dreams and fears and frustrations. He's also good at schmoozing with the bar patrons!

I think I will remember Rasool for a long time. The look of joy and acceptance he had on his face when we were talking had an impact on me. He seemed glad that someone understood that he was a person even though he and I had cultural and ethnic differences. We all want to be happy. We all want to be accepted.

My team was idly curious about where he was from originally because of his accent, so I asked. That simple question may have brought just a sliver more peace and acceptance into the world tonight.

So humanize your interactions with people you meet every day! Comment on their beautiful children. Express your appreciation for the outfit someone is wearing or the way they style their hair. Even brief conversations can affect how those people (and you) interact with others that day. Pay it forward with small bits of kindness and genuine interest!

Wow! What a first day! I'm eager to see what inspiration tomorrow brings!

Part of me really wants to get some riq practice in...but I'm so wiped out from a busy day that I'll probably read for a while before turning in. Not sure how far the sound of a riq would travel in a place like this and it's 2230 already. No need to wake the neighbors :)