The trimester is coming to a close, and I can honestly say it's
flown by. We're all scrambling to meet deadlines in the clinic:
this many of this, that many of that. It hardly seems that about 12
weeks ago we were terrified we'd be horrible at this. Truth be
told, I didn't think anything about deadlines and numbers and
paperwork (OK, well I did think about paperwork a little bit).
That's probably why I'm scrambling now.
The last couple of weeks have been discussions about who is
transitioning to the other clinic, and some talks about where we'll
end up. Half of our crew is moving to the other clinic. It's
unlikely that I'll see them very often. Perhaps we'll have seminars
or training sessions of some sort, or get together outside of
school (although we don't do that now). But in a few weeks, there
will be another big transition for all of us. Some of us have been
together, nearly every day, for about 3 years. This will be
something really new.
Newness. It reminds me of my theory about Maslow's Hierarchy
from last week. Incidentally, I've been working some more on that,
but I'll spare you all the details. I had the pleasure to discuss
it with two of my fellow interns today, the concept of new ideas.
We were talking about my theory, and about other theories -- things
in medicine and science that seem to have been left behind. We were
discussing the idea that there are no new ideas.
Image by http://mladavid.deviantart.com
Mark Twain said:
"There is no such thing as a new
idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put
them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and
they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and
making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old
pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the
I grew up not far from good ol' Mark Twain's stomping grounds,
but between you and me, his writing always made me crazy. No matter
how much I tried, I couldn't understand the dialect he wrote. I'm
not sure that I agree with Mark; it seems we're discovering new
things all the time. From god particles to medicines, we strive and
learn how to change, adapt, and understand the world around us.
If the last 12 weeks in the clinic have taught me anything, it's
that we have no standard approach to treating anything. We have to
be willing to come up with new ideas, or at the very least, new
applications for old ideas. For every patient that comes in, even
if they have the "same" diagnosis, what works for each one of them
is likely to be something completely different.
I'm fairly certain that our discussion today came to the
conclusion that there has to be something new. There has to be a
pursuit of Science that crosses boundaries into new territories,
that bypasses the need for a randomized controlled trial of
everything, and simply embraces discovery for the sake of
discovery, and implementation for the benefit of the whole. Perhaps
we're all idealists. I see no problem with that. Being idealistic
just promotes my love of the field and my hope for making a
Neil deGrasse Tyson, in his series "Cosmos" said:
"To make this journey, we'll
need imagination, but imagination alone is not enough because the
reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can
OK, Neil. I'll take that one to heart. The greatest theories
come from crazy idealists.
I wish you all many great new discoveries. May your kaleidoscope
always look just a little bit different.
How are everyone's midterms going? I'm on break from the
master's program. I had finals last week. I'm glad to have a couple
of weeks off to catch up on a few things, including all the reading
that I didn't get done during the quarter. My pile is still
astronomically large. We'll see how much I can get done. I figure
if I don't get it done before classes start there again, it's
probably a lost cause.
Last weekend, my friend and classmate Julia, went to homecoming
at the main campus in Lombard. I want to say, to everyone there in
Lombard, thanks for taking such great care of her! She had glowing
remarks for everyone that she met. There were meetings and events,
information sessions, etc. She was able to meet Dr. James Cox (of
Cox flexion-distraction fame), and many of our illustrious
Dr. Strauss and Florida students with Dr. Cox at
Julia was able to reassure us students about one of the issues
that we find frustrating. We are always hearing that we'll not be
able to find jobs or make a decent salary. Even though I've yet to
meet anyone at school that's "in it for the money," we're all
hoping that we'll be able to make enough to at least pay back our
student loans, and maybe have enough for food. Even speakers that
have come to the school (non-alumni) have commented that it would
be tough for us to make a living.
The problem is, with all of my research, and all of the alums
that I've spoken to and heard from indirectly, this is FAR from the
case. Julia confirmed this when she spoke with alumni at
homecoming. She said that everyone that was doing VERY well for
themselves. People were not only successful and able to pay back
their loans, but also contribute back to the school. It was
inspirational for her that not only would we be out and in the
community, but thriving. I'm glad she shared that with me, because
I needed the inspiration as well.
We're finally starting to see the light at the end of the
tunnel. It's halfway through 8th Tri. In a few months, we'll only
be in the clinic. No more classes. No more random exams. No more
quizzes, papers, or random presentations. It's been REALLY easy to
lose track of time this tri. Alarmingly easy. I've been caught up
with patients, in my own stuff, with the master's, and classes. I
honestly can't wait for classes to be over.
I was asked today how I liked clinic. I've said this before, and
I'll say it again -- I love it. I love the idea of being able to do
this every day. Even with the challenging cases (my favorites), the
idea of being challenged to learn all the time is exciting. I never
know what I'm walking into, and I find that absolutely enthralling.
I can't imagine any kind of job, ever, that would be anything like
this. When I'm in clinic working, I am more than pleased with my
Have a great week everybody!
Nearly two and a half years, countless exams, memorization of
facts and figures, pathologies, prescription drugs, and maneuvers
that scare you to death -- and you think you might actually know
"something" (but not everything). And then the first patient walks
through the door and you realize nothing you could've possibly done
thus far could have prepared you for what you're about to
experience. Welcome to being a student physician.
Throughout my various collegiate undertakings, I've felt
ignorant. There was never much of a point to thinking I knew
everything or even all that much because I was constantly reminded
that whatever bits and pieces I've pulled together meant only a
drop in the bucket toward what's out there. I hate feeling
ignorant. Maybe that's why I'm constantly reading and researching
-- because I know that I don't know anything.
Ricky in Radiology Positioning class
(Special thanks to Dave Aiello and Ricky King for this
Dr. Harrison, our clinician, brought up an excellent point last
week (he has LOTS of amazing pearls of wisdom). He said that the
stuff that we learn the best is the stuff that we're faced with. If
there's a condition that we, a family member or friend, or a
patient has, we WANT to learn about it. And so we learn those
things the best. But when something is sitting right in front of
you, there's this overwhelming need to know it -- right now.
Sometimes that learning curve can be pretty frustrating.
Questions get asked. Tell me about your family. How are you
feeling? What's going on in your life right now? Can you describe
this or that sensation? As the physician, you're supposed to know,
not only what it is they're talking about, but also how to put all
of it together to make sense of what is in front of you. It's a
complex task. Then you have to take the person in front of you, and
figure out how to make them better, take away the pain they're
having, help them cope with what's going on in their life, and help
them re-enter their space of wellness. And of course, you hope that
they're working with you on this. This takes skills they don't
teach in school. We can take all of the interviewing skills
sessions, basic and clinical sciences, and psychology classes and
still not be able to put all of these "issues" into the complex
Being that sits in front of us. So, as I sit here wearing my white
coat, I can honestly tell you that nothing I've done over the last
two and a half years prepared me for my first patient. Not a thing.
Not even remotely. Of all the things I've learned, even over my
whole life, listening seems to be the most beneficial.
One of my biggest fears when starting clinic, besides being
worried I wouldn't know what to do, is that I would be stuck with
pure musculoskeletal cases. I know, this is chiropractic and
musculoskeletal would theoretically be a big part of most chiro's
practice, but I wanted the hard cases. And I'm getting them. From
complex vascular issues to hormone imbalances, I've had to do
research in the first week on topics that we didn't learn in any of
our classes. Before any physical exams, before any orthopedic
testing, just doing the history, I'm learning so much. I love
learning this way. Get a topic, find out as much as you can, and
then apply it.
Pick up a copy of Harrison's Internal Medicine, and
also a copy of the Textbook of Natural Medicine, and
Textbook of Functional Medicine. All three of these will
serve you very well. Even though these three are great resources,
there are some things that still require digging. I love a
challenge. Good thing I'm in the right field.
Two weeks of break isn't anywhere near long enough. It seems
like just about the time that I get into a new groove of being out
of school, things start up again. But, this time -- it's different.
I'm an INTERN!
My intern badge
Last week was the first week in Student Clinic. We went through
procedures and charting info and a bunch of other things. I think
it's going to be AMAZING! Dr. Harrison (our clinician) has taken
the time to explain so many things to us already. It's a whole
different world, now. I don't know what I thought it was going to
be like, but it's different. And I think it's going to be great. I
started out this week as a secondary, and I see my first patient on
Break was wonderful. I was able to take some time off, do some
volunteering, and work on some projects. I feel "lighter" -- having
been able to accomplish some things that I hadn't had time for thus
far. That having been said, I'm still behind. That's not
tremendously surprising. I'm making lists and slowly getting things
Sunrise over Tampa Bay
The Master's has been ongoing. My classes right now are in
Botanical Medicine and Immunology. I've learned so many fascinating
things. Last week I got stuck in researching zonulin and tight
junctions. I've been trying to pool together all of the locations
that contain tight junctions in the body, so I might be able to
link proteins and chemicals that disrupt the tight junctions with
disorders that occur at those locations. I have to stop myself
sometimes, from going too far down the rabbit hole with some of my
research -- because I'll get so engrossed that I forget about
everything else. Sometimes I have to stop myself at the point of
too many questions. It turns out that some of the ones that I came
up with last week (according to my professor) don't currently have
answers. I guess I'm not the only one with questions.
I'm looking forward to the Tri mixer -- whenever that will be --
and Wednesday with my first patient. I'm secondary on patients
before then, so that will be interesting as well. Mostly, I just
want to say how excited I am to be here.
Welcome back, everyone! I'm glad you're here.
We made it! Well, almost. It's week 14 -- which means there's
only one week left. This week and next week are finals. This week
is mostly practical finals, but I have a few written as well.
Acupuncture, the practical, was over the weekend. We also had the
clinical entrance exam for physical therapeutics. We have to pass
that exam, in order to progress to the clinic and treat (using
those modalities). We were all pretty nervous -- because we're all
anxious to get to clinic.
After next week, I'll be in Tri 8. Tri 8. (did you hear that
sang angelically and see the beams of sunlight streaming down onto
those two words?). They did. We've been talking about schedules and
who will take what shift -- and how nervous some of us are. I'm not
nervous -- at least that's what I'm telling everyone. I'm anxious
to see what all we'll end up doing. What most people don't know is
that any of the St Pete College and NUHS students can come to our
clinic for free (and their immediate family too). We're really
hoping that we see a lot of people -- that need all kinds of help.
We do more than MSK -- just to let you know. I'm really hoping to
get some functional medicine and nutrition patients as well.
So, after the "festivities" of the next 2 weeks, we have break.
Break (did you hear the angels again?). This will be the first
break that I've actually had since Fall of 2012 -- not because we
didn't have a break, but because I was so busy. I worked, moved,
studied for boards, worked -- and now, I finally get a break. I'm
so excited! What will I do? I am going to a festival, the first
weekend of break -- and I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't
been to one here in about 4 years. I'll be volunteering as a Medic
(only requires CPR certification), and I always have an amazing
time. I also still have Master's work to do (which starts back this
week), and random stuff around the house -- projects, prospects,
and purpose. I'm trying to stay focused on finals and studying, but
the allure of "free time" is haunting the back of my mind.
So, I figured you all needed to see something new around the
area, so I went to Gulfport. I don't know why I haven't taken you
all to Gulfport before -- it's only a hop, skip, and a jump from my
house. While most people spend their nightlife in Ybor in Tampa or
in Downtown St Pete, I tend to go to Gulfport. My favorite karaoke
bar (O'Maddy's) is there -- where on random weekend nights I might
be found singing Pink, Bonnie Raitt, or Evanescence. Really,
Downtown Gulfport feels like a really small town right on the
beach. There are some little shops, open air bars/restaurants, and
a beach. It reminds me of the little beach towns in movies from the
50's and 60's.
So, featured in the pictures today is the Gulfport Casino --
right at the center of Downtown Gulfport. Here's some history about
Then And Now: The Gulfport Casino Ballroom. The Casino, as it
stands now, was built in 1934 -- and architecturally it fits into
the time -- beach-Craftsman era. They host all kinds of events
there now -- including ballroom dancing. If you're in town --
before or after you come by the school, I recommend stopping by.
And if you see me at karaoke, I might even sing you a song. I know
that I'll be spending some time there over break. I'm really
looking forward to it.
So, I'll see you guys after break. Good luck on finals. Enjoy
the time. Next Tri means big, big things.
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
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