With Love, Heart And Hands We Will Fulfill God's Plan...

My Story of God's plan of how I became an occupational therapy assistant to writing about wheelchairs on the web

I am Marceline Slack and in the photo with me is my husband Dennis. I have been an Occupational Therapy Assistant for over 22 years. I love working with people and helping them return to their ultimate level of independence. This has taken on many forms of mobility and through practical experience and research I have been able to assist my clients to get what they want and need. Check out what I have learned in the business. I know I can help you.

Walt Disney and I have something in common. You say no we don't. I say yes we do. Walt Disney considers the town of Marceline, Missouri his boyhood home. Needless to say, my dad visited this town and liked the name. Along came me and you got it-named me Marceline. You can call me Marcie, all my friends do. I was born in Centerville, IA and raised a country girl in south central Iowa.

Country Girl With Big Dreams

I attended a small school, which has since closed its doors. That fact leaves me a bit sad. I am the second in a family of four, two brothers and one sister. I liked to climb and hang upside down in the apple trees. I did the usual country girl chores – gardening, mowing the yard, walking beans, putting up hay, housework, and at school I played basketball, enjoyed drawing and excelled at the clarinet.

Before attending college, I had dreams of flying an airplane, the big jets, and thought about joining the Air Force, but ended up getting married instead. Mine is a blended family – the yours, mine and ours kind. I have worked hard, maybe not so smart, and have been somewhat adventurous.

I have been through a divorce, worked as a CNA for minimum wage, took a job cleaning my church and realized that I needed more income if I was to raise two young boys and support my family. God was guiding me to try it his way. This is where I took a leap of faith, and had no idea how I was going to make it all happen. I had no income and was having to bow my head and ask for government assistance. Where did it all go wrong?

This was not my dream of what I wanted out of life. So, I took it one step at a time. I researched different courses and took an interest survey to help me decide. I can remember that I was compatible with two different professions-occupational therapy and as a forest ranger working outdoors. I knew that I liked being active and staying fit, however, getting lost in the wilderness was not something I was sure I wanted to do. After a little more research I decided on an occupational therapy career and applied to the program, was accepted and then faced another hurdle. Looking back it was blind faith-God was in charge when I let him lead me.

Overcoming Obstacles

I lived in Chariton, IA a town three or more hours from Cedar Rapids, IA. How was I going to get to class and back home? I was going to be on the road all kinds of hours. Who was going to take care of my kindergartner and toddler?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu

It was at that time I met this wonderful man. Now, “Lord, I ask you why do you make me choose between college and this man?”. Well, it was a test for me and I chose college, he went with me and was beside me every step of the way. We found an apartment, he found work in Cedar Rapids and we moved close to the college. It was more than I had ever dreamed was possible.

My parents always said “don't dream so big”. But I didn't listen too well as I was the first in my family to attend college and get a two year degree.

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.

Leon J. Suenes

Oh No, What Have I Done?

It was a very scary feeling as I was a non-traditional college student. It had been ten years since I was in a classroom. All these young people knowing what they want and just out of high school. What was I doing here? Would I survive? I wondered if I would be able to complete the program and have time to be a mom. I had to leave my best friend downstairs helping care for my boys while I hibernated in the bedroom with my nose in a book.

I remember sitting on the couch talking late into the night as we didn't have much money then but we both had lots of dreams. We did a lot of talking and a lot of dreaming. (Oops, I didn't listen to mom's words about dreams). He was starting his new adventure of owning his own business and I can remember talking about what we wanted out of life. We wrote our list of dreams on a piece of paper and ten years later we discovered that most all of the things we had set out to do we had accomplished! (Actually, we had forgotten about the list until cleaning one day).

The future depends upon what we do in the present.

Mahatma Gandhi

Opportunities Abound

I have an AAS degree in Occupational Therapy from Kirkwood Community College. With my best friend supporting me I graduated near the top of my class while together raising two young boys. I remember spending many nights studying at the card table up in the corner of the bedroom.

After Dennis started his business we moved from the apartment to a house in the country, where we remained until college graduation. We were a busy couple, I was going to college, and he was starting his business and to make ends meet he took a paper route. We would get up on Sunday mornings (actually in the middle of the night), put a mattress in the back of our van, bundle up two young boys and they would sleep while we delivered papers. There were some cold and snowy nights, but somehow that seems so long ago and almost as though it never happened.

Before graduation I had interviewed and accepted a position in my field. I still had to take the national certification exam and was excited about my new career. I didn't even know how much money I would be making. I just knew that I would be doing something I enjoy-helping people and getting paid for it! Thank you God for this opportunity.

A New List

I married my best friend and it has been a life of adventures. After discovering our old list and all that we had achieved we made a new list. And at this time several of those dreams have come true. We have been in the honor snack box business which transitioned to the vending business, built and raced go-karts (actually the youngest son raced and dad built the engines)-traveled the mid west and met a lot of nice families. We were consistently in the top three for wins everywhere we went. We have sold lingerie (a little risque!) on line (done the eBay thing) and now I am writing about wheelchairs.

I enjoy photography, (my first camera was purchased with box tops from cereal). I even learned to ride a motorcycle at the age of 45, and have the leather chaps and jacket to prove it. I love the outdoors (most of the time). Riding gave me a sense of freedom that no other activity has done for me. We decided that if we were to meet the pavement it may take awhile to get back on our feet so we sold our motorcycles.

I am a mom to 5 kids, grandma to 7 at the present count and like traveling in our motor home. We haven't gotten far from home at this point, but hope to see our great country someday soon! What was that commercial jingle - ”See the USA in your Chevrolet”? I look forward to spending time with my best friend.

Retirement is just around the corner for both of us (he is closer by a few years than me-but if I sweet talk him I may be able to retire early) so we can travel. This is our dream.

God's Love Guides My Hands And Feet

I currently work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in a long term skilled nursing facility. I started my career working in a hospital. Life's choices and faith that God would be with us wherever we were allowed me to spend some time away from the health field. Several years later prayers were answered and I was able to return to the hospital setting. I was very nervous and wondered if I had made a mistake. It took me about a year before I felt comfortable with myself and my abilities.

The past 20 years I have met so many wonderful people, made several friends and hoped to have made a difference in just one life. It was through the loss of my parents and my first born son all within two months of each other that I found my faith in God to be strong. Of course, I have my moments of sorrow, but looking back years later I can see how his hands have had a huge part in molding me and making me who I am today. He is the director of a great orchestra and we are his instruments.

Time passed and again through prayer I was given another opportunity to work in a different setting. This time in a long term skilled nursing setting. It is by faith that God leads me as I found myself working for a contract company and traveling to three facilities every day. Once again God had something else in mind for me. I get up before the sun and enjoy working with those who are recovering from surgery or illness to return home and with those who currently reside in the nursing home. They are a special generation of people, lots of times lost in the shuffle of life.

I have been able to work with nursing home administrators who understand the importance of maintaining as much mobility independence as possible. This does not just mean walking in the facility with a walker or cane unassisted. It does mean training individuals to learn to use manual, power wheelchairs or scooters safely around other residents in a long term nursing facility. The correct type, size and accessories for a chair are critical to the success and benefit of the client.

Life's Changes

As we age, I have seen how wheelchairs or power mobility devices can be an important part of the people's lives who may need them. I have had the opportunity to work with wheelchair techs and other therapists to come up with the “right fit” for several different individuals. It has been an eye opener to me that too many facilities are buying their wheelchairs from companies on line just because they think it “will work fine” and the upfront cost is less.

Anyway, back to who I am. Why am I writing about wheelchairs? I feel that there is unchartered territory regarding wheelchair education in nursing homes, let alone getting the general population to understand the differences. I have found through research I have much to learn and am busy staying up on the latest technology.

This is where I can make a difference by writing about my experiences and knowledge. Age can have it's advantages! I hope you leave my website having learned a little something about wheelchairs. If I can write about what I love I know that you can too.

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There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way.

Christopher Morley

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You only live once. What are you waiting for?

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