Surviving Boards

I survived the weekend. I was wondering if I would. Although I'm not entirely sure I'm still intact. As I've said before, there's not really anything that can prepare you for boards. All of the studying, reviewing, and cramming isn't going to make everything magically retrievable in the head. There's always something that slips through there. We hope that it's not too much, but in the end, it's not the things that we remember that we worry about.

Now that boards are over and the waiting game has begun, I've had a tiny bit of sleep and I'm now focusing on regrouping and moving forward. Job hunting is in the definitive future, and with that comes the prospect of moving. Moving brings with it a mixed bag of reminiscing and looking forward. Today I pulled a box out of my living room that had some old cords, digital cameras, and random electrical stuff. I plugged in the cameras and found myself reliving moments over the last couple of years and wondering what I was thinking. For a while I was writing myself notes on the chalkboard at the entrance to the house. I called them "Notes from the Chalkboard."

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Now that, hopefully, Part IV boards are behind me, I'm working on the next chapter. It's been no great shock to my classmates that I hope to leave Florida. Preliminary job hunting has illuminated a couple of options, but more need to come. My heart has been elsewhere for a long time. Seeing these boards written years ago reminds me. It's time to clear the muddle of my mind, free my heart, and fly.

Have a Great Week Everyone! If I don't reach you before Thanksgiving, have an AMAZING Turkey Day.

Doctors (Almost) as Patients

I HATE being injured. I REALLY hate it. Inevitably, the doctor becomes the patient. And everything that you hear about doctors being horrible patients -- is completely and utterly true. We're non-compliant, cranky, and just generally difficult. And if you can imagine the worst of the worst patients -- that would be me.

Why am I telling you this? Well, on Saturday, I hurt my back. I've done it before, but this time seemed to be worse. There's something extremely humbling about not being able to do all the things you normally do: get in and out of a chair, put on pants, walk. We don't think about it. They've become second nature; we take them for granted. And even as (almost) doctors, even though we've maybe felt the pain before, it's really easy to forget how it feels.

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I hobbled into the office Monday morning, and declared, "I need to be seen by whomever is available as soon as possible." People cleared their schedules. They juggled patients. People gave up their treatment times to help me (Thanks, Dave). I sat and filled out the same paperwork we give to patients. Where is the pain? Does it radiate? What does it feel like? If you've ever been on the filling out end of these papers, I'm sure you know what I mean when I say -- trying to fit how you feel into a form or a diagram is HARD. I still wrote in the margins.

When my time came, my intern took me back into the patient rooms and I sat and experienced everything that our patients experience: the waiting, the orthopedic tests (some confounding and some painful), the range of motion, the poking and prodding. She drew up a treatment plan, the doc looked it over, and she went to work.

I'll spare everyone the details, but after a few adjustments and some soft tissue work, I was sent on my way, to do that to a patient myself.

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It never hurts to be reminded what it feels like. I'm doing better -- getting a little bit better every day. I'm grateful that there's a whole team of people here to take care of me, which is helping me take care of everybody else.

Special thanks to Leslie, this week, for getting me back on my feet.

Have a great one everyone! I'll be taking part IV boards this weekend, along with many of my classmates. Good luck to everyone!

Better Late Than Never

I find myself having the hardest time believing that school is almost over. As I sit here contemplating what to write, my mind wanders over things like jobs, moving, and what will happen next. It's terrifying, and exciting. It also feels like the most daunting prospect I've ever come across.

I'm starting to look at job postings. In some ways it seems presumptuous. After all, it's about 6 months away. And at the same time, I can't help but look. How early is too early to apply? Maybe I should buy someone's practice. Is that really something that I can accomplish? Maybe I should just work somewhere for a while rather than try to make things move on my own. I just can't quite wrap my head around all of this just yet. There are so many decisions to make. Where do I begin?

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

We've had nearly record high numbers of patients at the clinic for the last couple of weeks. We were shy about 8 last week. Given the number of cancelations and no-shows that we had, we would have far surpassed the clinic's highest record. We're lucky to have all of the SPC students and faculty, as well as the other NUHS students and faculty as our patient base. It allows us to see a wide variety of people with an even wider variety of conditions: from eczema to complex neurological syndromes. Rarely a day goes by without something unusual. My patients keep me guessing, and laughing. I really appreciate the sense of humor in many of them. Even in the midst of pain, they still find time for a smile. It makes my day go that much easier.

Last week, Julia, Dr. Jourdan, and myself hosted an NUHS booth at SPC's career day. We were tucked back in the back, but got a chance to let a few people know about the school, what we do, and what we offer to other students there. Most of the students at the career fair were nurses. That didn't stop them from picking up brochures about the school. We're thinking that maybe we'll end up with a couple of new students from the day. We've already had a few start as patients. It's great to get a chance to talk to people, have them get excited about what we do, and then see them bring it to fruition.

I guess that's what it's all about, right? Getting your foot in the door? Maybe that brings me back to looking for a job. I've had people come out of the woodwork in the strangest of places, offering me information or connections. As much as I loathe the concept of networking (yes, I mean that), having conversations with people and finding out there's some type of mutual interest -- now that's making a connection.

Hope everyone has a great week. I'll be working and studying for Part IV boards. We're getting closer...

Anticipation - Participation

Anticipation...

It's hard to describe that feeling of waiting for board scores. If you are lucky, the days and weeks following a board exam are busy enough to distract from what feels like impending doom. The day gets put on the calendar and slowly approaches. The night before, there's this nagging feeling like something big is happening tomorrow. And then there's the sinking feeling, when I realize what it is. The nausea sets in, and maybe a headache. Time ticks so extremely slowly. It's like Christmas Eve, and you're 6 years old, but waiting for the zombie apocalypse. Morning comes. 8 am rolls around. Scores are in. Sitting in clinic seeing patients, I try not to think about what's waiting for me. Others have already checked. They passed! Congrats to them. I want to throw up.

I'm sure that they're smarter than I am. They must be; they passed. I don't know what my scores are. I'm too chicken to check. Patients roll through the clinic and I am trying not to think about it. Good thing I have complicated patients. "Thanks for the challenges and the distractions," I keep thinking to myself. Oh no. I remember what I have to do when I get home. The day is over. And even though I've stayed late to try to distract myself and get all of my paperwork done, I don't want to go home. I don't want to see my scores. It's the end of the world.

I make the drive, get home, and Grey meets me at the door. "I have to do something," I say. He's telling me about his day. I sit down and open my computer: NBCE in the Google window. And then I wait. All that stress to a final moment I click on the link: September 2014 scores. Click. One eye open, the other looking through fingers, squinting, scared -- Grey is still talking to me, trying to distract me. I can't look. I open my eyes. No stars. NO STARS!!!! There are NO STARS!!!! I passed. (Stars mean that a score isn't passing. If there's a star there, then the score is too low.) All of that stress for absolutely nothing. The scores are fine. OK, now I can go on with my life. Done. *Whew*

Participation...

Now that all of that's done...

Last week, I had the great pleasure of participating in "All College Day" for SPC. At All College Day, all of the SPC campuses and staff come together for workshops and seminars. It also gives all of the University Partnership Program participants and affiliates a chance to come out, remind people that we're still here, do some demonstrations, and hopefully bring some new patients to the clinic. There were two sessions, a morning and afternoon. Julia, Daniele, Brian, and Manuel held down the fort in the morning, and Theresa, Antoinette, and I kept things under control in the afternoon. Of course, Dr. Harrison accompanied us throughout the day. It was a great day!

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Many of the staff weren't aware that the clinic was available for them. I've said this before, but I always love the response I get from people when they hear "free healthcare." We were using the G4 Massager and giving free massages, and also performing postural screening and giving evaluations. It was a TON of fun. It's nice to get out of the office every once in a while and do some outreach. But also amazing to reach some new people, and see them come into the clinic shortly thereafter. It's also great to see some of our patients out running around in their natural environments.

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Lots of incredible things coming up in the next few weeks; I'm on to the next great adventure. Part IV Boards.

Have a Great One, Everybody!!!!!

Life Is Chaotic, Complex, Fragile

This last week has been a swirling vortex of chaos. Problems arise. Complications erupt. Solutions are concocted. Time passes. Sometimes things are solved and sometimes they aren't. Life is complex. And it's fragile.

Image from momonthegoinholytoledo.wordpress.comWhen I was pregnant with Grey, I was a member of a moms' group. All of our kids were due in April of 1997. Now, we had some extremely premature kids born in December of 1996, and others born in May of 1997 (like Grey), totally unwilling to come out into the world. Through the years, our group has seen health problems, additional children being born, family member's deaths, pregnancy losses, divorces, etc. But this week, we're seeing our first "April kid" die.

One of the boys, it seems, as teenagers are apt to do, decided to try a combination of substances, and it induced a heart attack, respiratory failure, and subsequently brain death. He's been in a hypothermia-induced coma for the last few days, waiting to see if he would recover. Things have gotten worse. This boy was a swimmer, a lifeguard, and a senior in high school. From everything I know about him, he was gregarious and good in school, much loved by friends and family -- and now his parents are having to decide whether to donate his organs or not.

As a parent, this is your worst nightmare. We spend the early years trying to compensate between lack of sleep, juggling obligations, and trying to keep the kids alive. There's a mentality that happens after a while, especially once they've passed toddlerhood, that gives perhaps a false sense of security. Especially if the kids are prone to being sick or have some type of chronic condition, if they've made it to the teenage years, it's easy to feel like you've made it. This situation is just another example of how that's really not true.

As a healthcare practitioner, it's still a tough situation. Granted, most of us aren't going to be in the position of making life or death decisions or counseling people on organ harvesting, but it's not unheard of that chiropractic physicians become trusted advisors and friends. It's easy to refer someone to a counselor or therapist. It's harder to sit and hold their hand as they deal with some of the worst grief of their lives. At some point we realize that there's nothing that we can say or do to make the pain go away. We simply must be present and with our patients, our family, or our friends for support.

Grey and Forest and I have talked about what's happened. It's probably affected me more, as a parent, than it ever will the boys -- since they weren't close to the boy. It reminds me how fragile life is, how it can all fall away because of one decision, and how lucky we all are to have each other.

Hold each other close, Everyone.

For more information on Grief Counseling, please see: