My name is My-Huong Elsa Bui and I am a Vietnamese Texan, born and raised. You can call me Elsa.
This is my Covid haircut : )
THE SHORT STORY
The reason I share about my life over the last 20 years is because as I am moving from the stage of worker/householder (20s - early 40s) to a stage of higher purpose sometimes referred to forest-dwelling or being a sannyasi (Sanskrit).
Many people desire a shift in their 40s, because they change internally as people. It is not only desired but naturally necessary in order to progress through life, to the later stage and to the beyond, peacefully.
Not to worry, I have tons of energy left and 2 young children to keep up with, but the energy is shifted now to this new purpose.
I feel I can help those more aged and
life-experienced than me transition better in their last stages, with less fear and depression, if they have the opportunity to have some simple wishes fulfilled, right now!
THIS IS MY MOM
She's a senior and has asthma, so every precaution I take for you, I am doing for her also. And she likes the Weather Channel so I am always up to date on storms brewing !
THIS IS MY FAMILY
Our first Christmas as a family of 4 was in 2019. We visited my husband's family in Scotland.
THE LONG STORY
I am a physical therapist by trade and an empathetic soul by nature! At the age of 16, I realized I wanted to become a physical therapist after watching the movie, Regarding Henry. It’s about a not-so-nice guy who gains a new outlook on life during his rehabilitation from a gunshot wound. He was motivated, guided and inspired by his therapist as he made small improvements and eventually returned to a life better than before his neurological injury. So the remainder of my time in high school I volunteered at PT clinics to peer into the world of healthcare.
After completing my prerequisites as a biology major with minors in chemistry/psychology at St. Mary’s University in my hometown of San Antonio, I transferred to start a Master’s program in Physical Therapy at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. After three intense years supported by good friends, knowledge imparted by quirky but genius professors and good ole junior experience during my clinical rotations ... I graduated in 2001 and embarked on a career path that would define me for almost 2 decades.
Initially as a young therapist I was driven by idealism for improving people’s lives as I began working in neurologic rehabilitation of with people who had experienced stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis. I worked at University Hospital (San Antonio), Quentin Mease Community Hospital (Houston). Oftentimes my patients had experienced a physical trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall and sometimes the trauma was also cognitive. Sometimes I would see an accident being reported on the news and a couple days later would meet that person who was injured and it was my job to guide them through rehabilitation. During that time patient care was deeply personal: spending time helping people improve basic skills like simply being able to stand up or get onto a toilet safely, or walk an arbitrary distance of 150 feet. Those were the years in the trenches, there were many laughs (naturally some tears as well) and I loved it!
In 2006, I made a shift to outpatient care at thee Memorial Hermann SMART Clinic, where my time was more focused on fine-tuning. And somewhere between getting married and receiving my Neurologic Clinical Specialist Certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2007, a move to Austin seemed inevitable.
As a new Austinite working in amongst awesomeness at Family Health Chiropractic and later traditional outpatient orthopaedic PT clinics, I continued to fine tune my own skills. My last clinic director job had me spending a lot of time typing at the computer, supervising staff and at least 3 patients at a time. It was like a drive-thru and I had very little time with the people who needed me.
I was broken and didn't feel effective as a therapist.
In a bold move in 2009, my husband and I opened Eastside Yoga, so my holistic side had to find a way to live in tune with my medical side. Some days they butted heads and some days they lived in harmony, and somehow I wished my personal life could be reflected more in the work I was getting paid to do. I began to teach gentle yoga to people with injuries but I was still more a PT than a yogi. I was a trained problem fixer and was good at it. Analyze, Fix, Prevent, Done.
But as you know, that doesn’t always work because people needed and deserved more time and attention than I could give. And every time I climbed up the career ladder, I realized I didn’t want to be there. While helping run Eastside Yoga behind the scenes, I found that shifting to home health care was the best way to balance my time. I shifted to Home Health in 2012, which allowed for juggling personal growth and traditional work. Even though I made my own schedule as I treated patients in their homes, eventually the juggling of a 7-day a week business became depleting. We had a baby boy in 2015 and his needs became another huge priority and joy to juggle-struggle!
We let go of Eastside Yoga in 2018, after almost 10 years and it was so hard. But the universe was smiling upon us - we made much-needed room in our lives, and smiled upon a baby girl in 2019! Naturally, as I changed with age and experience, and especially when surrounded by people attempting to grow spiritually everyday, the desire for a deeper dharma drove me to a more definite career change. THIS!
ELDERWHEELS WAS BORN!
In January of 2020 big changes in home health happened. To me it was less care for our elders, more and more documentation for me, less satisfaction in doing my job, but the same expectation to rehabilitate people. And then our friend Corona happened.
Mask deep in the Covid-19 pandemic and a guest in patients’ homes, the ability to guide and help seemed to get more and more suffocated in rules, regulations and fear. I was still working, a little bored but super busy between work, kids and trying to live in an ever-changing situation. Week by week I encountered my elderly patients, some of whom were just happy to see a friendly face, because they were even more isolated from society than ever before. Many felt lost, alone and more depressed as they were literally stuck at home.
I see the positive in the pandemic. For the first time, I had time to think about what I really wanted to do. Yes, I baked bread and I grew my garden, and we homeschooled ... I came up with so many ideas that I am pretty sure my husband gained a few new gray hairs, too.
I came to the conclusion that I should start here, in Austin, doing what I know … but doing it in a way that fulfills my purpose and helps to elevate our elders also!
Thanks for reading this far ...