Welcome Back Everyone

It seems like ages since we last "talked." How was your Christmas? Did you have a Happy New Year? Hope everyone has made great strides on their new year's resolutions (or didn't make any).

While everyone was away, I was hard at work here in the clinic seeing patients and thinking about what's coming up next. Which reminds me, we only have a handful or so of weeks left. I am pulling things together, working hard on my master's, seeing as many patients as I can, and focusing on getting as much exposure as possible.

In a few short weeks, I'll be starting a rotation at the VA hospital where I'll be helping to treat a number of our veterans. Here at our clinic, we typically take our time with patients. Depending on what type of visit, our appointments can be 90 minutes long. However, at the VA, appointments are much shorter, and instead of about 5 patient visits per day, each practitioner sees about 20. That's going to be a big change. I'm anxious to work with a wide variety of patients and deal with some of the unique problems they're facing. It should be great experience!

We've welcomed our new interns to the clinic. Three fresh and new interns are now working with us - one of which started Trimester 1 with me, but took a different path. Several of the interns in the other clinic started with me as well. It's good to see them make it to this point! I'm really proud of all of them and honored to call them my colleagues.

We're down to the wire on a lot of things around here. At my house, we're almost done filling out college applications for Grey - down to one that's due in about a week. We'll sit in wait on all of them to see where he ends up. I have done some research and it turns out the state licensing exam for Oregon is the day after graduation. Yikes!!!!!!!!!! (Unless I want to wait until July - which I don't). So, plans are being made to fly out of Chicago right after the graduation ceremony and take the exam the next morning. Grey and I have set a tentative date for moving: June 10. This has brought a flurry of activity into the house: getting rid of things, deadlines, prep-work, etc. There are times when I feel completely overwhelmed, but I'm also REALLY excited. That having been said, I kind of feel like this:

Have an AMAZING week Everyone. Back to work! It's going to be a life-changing Trimester.

Holidays

I've waxed sentimental about this time of year before. There's something about the holidays. I've talked about my dad and our ventures hunting for that perfect tree. I've passed on random thoughts of sappiness here and there.

This season seems to be hitting me pretty hard. It's dawning on me that this is the last of so many things. It's the last blog of 2014, of my 9th Tri. This is the last Christmas where both of my boys will still be "boys," and maybe all of us will be together. It's probably the last Christmas that I'll be in Florida, and probably the last holiday season where I'll be around all of those that I've grown to love and be close with over the last 3 years. This is a pretty big deal.

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Image source: www.elledecor.com

I always have the grandest ambitions around the holidays. I keep wanting to decorate the house from top to bottom, get the biggest tree, pull out all the stops - complete with candy and paper snowflakes. Truth be told, I started watching "Elf" a couple of weeks ago - in part to cheer me up, and otherwise to get me into the spirit of things. This morning I softly threatened to decorate the clinic office Elf-style. I'm almost always the last one to leave and it would be so easy for me to do. I think it'd be a blast. I'm not sure how others would take it though. It never hurts to have a little whimsy in our lives.

I have been a long-time fan of Christmas for just that reason. I'm not sure whether it was my dad that did it for me, or the idea of everything -- how we could all be just a little bit kinder, a little bit sweeter around the holidays, and it was totally OK. Even as a kid, I don't think it was about the presents for me, but rather about making things special. The presents had to be "just right" - something unique that we never had throughout the year, or a trinket or "need" dropped as a hint at a time that no one else could have possibly remembered. But I always kept track. That made things all that much more magical.

I used to go so far out of my way to decorate -- even when I was little. People close to me know I'm a bit goofy, but when I tell them about recreating my bedroom as a winter wonderland by covering huge portions of the floor with Styrofoam beanbag pellets, they often scratch their heads and walk away. Incidentally, my mom still finds those pellets on the floor, even though that carpet was traded out years ago, and she's probably vacuumed it over a thousand times.

Many other years, I've felt cheated by living here. I miss the cold and the snow. Yes, I just actually said that. I miss what it feels like to really be in the spirit. I've found the holidays kind of depressing. It's hard to be festive when Santa is on the beach in his speedo (yes, I know you didn't want that mental picture -- imagine how I felt). But as it's beginning to set in that this is the last year here, I keep wanting to make it special. It should be, after all.

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Image source: www.mrwallpaper.com

It's December. Time has passed; seasons are changing. And even though it doesn't necessarily feel that way, the changes just keep coming. I'm thinking we need to embrace them for what they are -- not what they could have been or what they will be -- but exactly as they are. We need to make the magic happen one more time while we still can - to tell those around us that we love them and show them just how special they really are.

So, with that in mind, dear blog readers -- thanks for joining me on my journey. May the joy and whimsy of this season -- however you choose to enjoy it -- fill your lives with hope and wonder.

Annual Florida Turkey Bowl

The NFL is merely a tribute league for The Turkey Bowl. These, and many other words were uttered by our fearless leader, President Joseph Stiefel, in his Newt Rockne-esque speech leading up to the Turkey Bowl last week. I wasn't sure whether we were going into war or going to the fields.

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President Stiefel gives the speech to end all speeches

For those not familiar with the Turkey Bowl, it's National's annual foray into the world of sports, celebrating all that is football, camaraderie, and Thanksgiving. With flags and fanfare, students, significant others, faculty, family, and friends clad in shorts and T-shirts charged onto the gridiron, doing everything that they could to avoid a pile up on the field. The Turkey Bowl is, of course, a flag football event. And might I say, I saw some pretty amazing acrobatics from players trying to avoid tackling. Flips here, somersaults there -- it was quite impressive.

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Everybody :)

We had enough players for 4 teams. Forest even played. All players, in fact, were welcomed with open arms. And of course, both guys and girls play, which makes it even more interesting. And the number of people on the sidelines cheering was phenomenal.

There were new rules this year. Some were pretty hilarious. I'll leave names out of it, but one of my esteemed colleagues had a rule named after her -- just to illustrate that tackling is absolutely prohibited. And there's also the rule that if you've been hurt before, you're excused from playing. Granted, all of the injuries at The Turkey Bowl have been pretty minor: bruises, sprains, small bones broken. Everyone is a GREAT sport.

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The winning team

Our MVPs were Bryan Nicholas and Dr. Michelle Jourdan. I'll put a plug in for both of them. I don't think I've ever seen Bryan without a smile on his face. He's just an all-around good sport and he plays hard. Dr. Jourdan is one of the most enthusiastic players I've ever seen. The NFL's got nothin' on either of these two.

I'm keeping it short and sweet for this week. Hope everybody had an amazing Thanksgiving!

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!