Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Ran!

And there wasn't even a crowd around me or anything!

This past weekend, I discovered that I have actually acclimated to the Denver altitude, and could actually be kind of less slow if I put some effort into it. I went to visit my parents in Texas and discovered that my sealevel cruising pace is my mile-high miserable race pace.


Not only that, but I cruised through 4.19 straight miles with only one stop. And that one was at my grandmother's house for a glass of water. Because I could.

Oh, and that dip around mile 1 was Schooner St, which has this horrific hill I just didn't see coming. Not cool.

Anyway, I really don't have a lot more to say about it than that. I had a route planned out (3.25 miles) and then proceeded to miss literally every turn I intended to make before decided to just play it safe and stay on the main drag for a bit. It was humid and cloudy, so I was drenched by the time I got back, but it was so worth it.

Guys, seriously. I think I kind of actually like running a little bit now.

But don't tell anyone ok? I'm still undecided.

In other news, the only race in Denver this weekend is the ridiculously over-priced Christmas Carol Classic. Boo. Maybe I'll just drive down to City Park and run there anyway, for habit's sake.

Not that kind of habit. That would be a hot mess to run in. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Race Report: Ugly Sweater Run. Or: I'm Too Sober for This Run

Today I ran the Ugly Sweater 5k.


I guess I've been getting spoiled with all these smaller races. Last week's Rudolph Ramble had 400 or so runners. This week's run (not a timed race, but I'll get to that) had over 7000.

Seriously, 2000 more people than meters in this run. I guess that's what you get when a beer company sponsors it.

Naturally, I had to dress for the event. Nick's Aunt Kelly sent me this gem, which is not only hilariously festive, but it jingles.

That hat, sadly, stayed at the race. I put it in my pocket and it fell out somewhere on the course. I went back to look, but it was nowhere to be found. RIP Newfoundland were a good hat.


On a happier note, my pace improved on this course (City Park in Denver) compared to the Bare Leg Run in October:

 Bare legs official time was 26:30.
Ugly Sweater unofficial time (based on Nike Plus pace...totally not official) was 26:12. So, you know. Yay! :-)

Next run on the books (officially - I'm hoping to peer pressure my parents into running another one in Austin next weekend while I'm home) isn't until January, but I'm hoping to get myself into better workout habits between now and then. At the very least, I'm going to need to start running with the pup in the mornings since come January I'll be in clinic all day (YAY!). I just wish the sun came up before like 10 AM...

Anyway, that's today's rundown. There was a climbing comp I thought about going to tonight, but I'm going to save that $10 to put towards joining the Log n Blog team next month. :0) I'll go climb the problems tomorrow and bring some textbooks/powerpoints with me to study while I'm taking breaks.

Just 4 more days...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Quad R - Rudolph Ramble Race Report

My folks flew in this weekend for a sort of multiholiday weekend with my brother, husband, and me. Earlier this week I discovered the RunDenver race series and asked if they'd want to run the first 5k with me today. They could have justifiably said "no thanks", but they stepped up and agreed to run with us.

They're pretty awesome folks, that's why.

Sadly, I don't have a single stinking picture from that. Argh.

Here's the official pics (which, naturally, managed to capture the folks in front of us and the folks behind, but Sigh).


It was a good run. I ended up running with my dad the whole way, and we managed about a 9:27 pace, which isn't too shabby.

We only slowed down for a short bit just before the first mile, but kept it up the whole rest of the time. Pretty awesome. :-)

I'm not really sure what else to write as far as race reports go. I wish I had some better pictures to share, so instead here's a picture of what happens when we go to a museum.

Love my family. :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CU DPT Log n Blog Team has arrived!!!

Some of you have seen me posting about the CU DPT Log n Blog Team lately.  I should probably have written this up sooner, but today we officially got preapproved for our team!

The short n sweet version of this is that it's a fundraiser for the Foundation for PT ( that has a little school rivalry component to it. 

The funds part is simple: to join the team, donate $10. All $10 goes directly to the Foundation. You can donate more (or you can convince others (parents, colleagues, favorite running/biking/outdoorsy shops, etc) if you'd like, but to join the team it's only $10.

The competition part of it is also simple: for the next year (starting January 22, 2013) you just run, bike, or swim as many miles as you can.

Each week you log your miles (either by sending me an email or by logging them directly on the website that goes live January 1) and we keep a running tally. At CSM 2014 (in VEGAS!!), there will be a big grand somethingorother where we are announced the winners for logging a mind-boggling number of miles in the year they announce the winners. I'm not sure what the prizes will be, but there are competitions for both the teams with the most miles accumulated and the most funds raised.

Rumor has it that at CSM 2014, there will also be a triathlon to run, so all your training will definitely pay off!

Aside from donations for joining the team, folks are also free to donate as they see fit - you could get a parent/friend/stranger to pledge $xxx per mile run/biked/swam (swimmed?) in a given week/month/fortnight, for example. Any flat donation that comes in can be counted towards membership dues - so if someone chips in $50, that's 5 new team members sponsored! If you know of someone who wants to donate but doesn't want to run/bike/swim, that's great too! Just send them my way and we'll talk logistics.

If you want to go a step further, you could also get involved in the blogging aspect of this. I'm not 100% sure how it'll all be set up (they're still developing it), but as I understand it, all team members will be able to blog about their experiences running/biking/swimming. Anything from hilarious mishaps to inspirational soapbox speeches are welcome! (There will be folks moderating it though, so nothing offensive please.) No commitment is required (so if you miss a week or whatever, no big), so any time you're feeling something worth sharing - share it!

This would also be a great gift to give if you're looking to encourage someone to be more active - you donate to a great cause AND you have a reason to hassle them about getting moving for the next year! (I actually threw together a certificate just for that...boom:

Anyone can be on the team - they don't even have to live in CO or be in any way connected to the PT field.  (Cough ROSE cough). We just want folks who crank out the miles.

If you're interested in joining the team or have any questions, leave me a comment but make sure I have an email address to get back to you!

I look forward to running/biking/swimming with you guys!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So this just happened...

...this may be turning into a running blog after all. I just signed myself up for a 5-race series that culminates in a half marathon.



A half marathon.

Can we all just take a moment and panic about this please?

It's the RunDenver series, and it starts with a 5k on Sunday.

The best part? My folks are flying into town for the weekend from Austin, and they've agreed to run this first one with me!

I'm not setting any time goals for myself - I just want to run the whole thing without stopping.

I'm also thinking about signing up for this race:

They have hot chocolate aide stations and a sledding hill mid-course.

Anyway, that's what's up.

I'm also giving up on trying to write blog posts with any kind of length and/or substance to them. That clearly hasn't been happening, so I'm just going to start posting what comes instead of waiting for brilliance (HA!).

Oh, I also bought a membership to Rock'n & Jam'n finally, so I've been climbing...4 times this week I think? Something like that.


All good things.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wild Wild West

Sometimes things live up to their stereotypes. On the way up to a race this morning, we saw buffalo, roaming free. Shortly after, we saw a tumbleweed float across the road, right before crossing town lines into Idaho Springs, "where the gold rush began".

Oh, and it turns out there are guys who (seriously) pan for gold in the creek a mile from our house. No, seriously. And they find stuff too.

It's the wild wild west, y'all.

The race wasn't half bad either. Not a 5k - more like 4 miles. But it's done and now I can sit on my butt for the next 24 hours guilt free.

Probably won't though.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

APTA National Student Conclave, Or: I Got More Swag Than P Diddy

Does P Diddy still have swag (is he even still relevant)? Did he ever? Am I completely out of touch with what "swag" means outside of the expo context? 

Whatever. Get off my lawn. 

National Student Conclave. I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what to expect when I showed up at the Hyatt Regency on Friday morning. No, that’s not true. I was expecting, at the very least, to come home with a bunch of brochures and pens from the expo. In that respect, NSC more than delivered:

23 pens, 6 goniometers, 7 measuring tapes, 9 reusable tote bags, a laptop bag, 2 t shirts, and a magic 8 ball (among other things) later, I’d say the expo part of NSC more than lived up to what I was hoping for.

The vendors at the expo were impressive. I learned a lot about residency programs (before this I hadn’t even considered residency as an option, but now it’s definitely on my radar…just need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and I’ll find a grown up to get me there). I learned a lot about options for clinical rotations, including a few that would REALLY help with flexible location options if hubs ends up across the country come August. I learned that not all companies are created equally, and that the personalities they send to conferences really do impact how the brand itself is perceived. (One girl texting and not making eye contact, sitting next to a pile of brochures and pens? Can’t imagine why that booth wasn't more popular… ) Some came off as genuinely passionate about their brand and what it’s doing to move PT forward – others came off as sales pitches so heavy-handed that I felt like I should have walked away with the keys to a used car in my purse.

For the most part, it was the former: representatives who humbly but passionately believe that their company is the best one to work for. They were inspiring and motivating, and made me antsy to get into the real world of patient care.

The APTA special interest group booths were interesting, but I felt like I didn't have any intelligent questions to ask. I was interested to hear that many groups provide journals for their members – that made me want to join a few of them, just to keep up on current research. The Sports Ortho group actually gave out current issues, which was really cool. They even gave digital copies on a 1 GB flash drive. Loved that.


Outside of the expo, there were lectures throughout both days that ranged from current specialty topics (peds, neuro, onco, etc) to post-graduation and political topics. I sat in on the neuro (Non-invasive Brain Stimulation to Guide and Enhance Poststroke Rehabilitation), oncology (Current Trends in HIV: What Every PT Student Needs to Know Today), and geriatrics (From Frailty and Fall Risk to Function and Fun: Improving Strength, Endurance, and the Quality of Life for Older Adults) sessions.

I have to admit, I didn’t get a lot out of the neuro session – it was full of charts and graphs that didn't make a lot of sense due to my currently limited exposure to all things neuro.

The oncology talk wasn't as PT-centered as I had hoped it’d be. There were a lot of interesting statistics (for example, 20% of people who are HIV+ don’t know it – terrifying), but I had hoped the speaker would focus more on how an HIV+ diagnosis would impact a patient’s PT care. There was one case study that briefly mentioned some neuropathies that patients may experience, but it was at the end of the session and we had run out of time so he really just glossed over it. I’m going to have to see if I can find the neuropathy he was talking about. Especially for PTs working in underserved areas, this seems like a pretty relevant topic.

Geriatrics is my current favorite area of PT (I’m torn between that and VA work – not that they’re mutually exclusive), so the geriatrics session was my favorite for obvious reasons. There wasn’t a whole lot of new information (mostly touched on balance issues, complications of dealing with patients who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, and general psych/soc issues of working with older adults), but a few points did hit home with me. One of the cases Lucy presented was about a brother and sister (Ed and Pat I think) duo dealing with the Pat’s Alzheimer’s. She often didn’t recognize her brother, but knew he loved her, so wouldn’t let him go. He stayed by her side until she died. The interesting part of the story, though, was the patient goals for the situation. Ed wanted to attend his granddaughter’s wedding, but wouldn’t leave Pat alone for that long. To that end, the PT worked with them both to make sure she was able to safely be transferred (by him or someone else, I wasn’t sure) to/from cars and chairs so that he could attend the wedding. In the end, she showed a picture of Ed dancing with his granddaughter at her wedding, with Pat in the background just smiling away. It was a great reminder that patient goals aren’t always as simple as “walk my daughter down the aisle”, and can even include making sure your own patient is a safe caregiver for another person. Love it.
The session ended with a video about a program called Laughysema. The gist of it is that there’s a group that gets together and does some light exercise (think Tai Chi style movements), then…laughs. The idea is that laughter, literally serving as medicine, helps COPD patients increase forced exhalation, which leads to improved ventilation.

Seriously, I dare you to watch that video and NOT giggle.

After that session Saturday morning, I wandered the expo again (for the 3rd time…don’t judge) and made a few more connections. One of the vendors (Evidence in Motion) actually used our labs at CU for their brochure photos, which was a great conversation maker. I’m excited to work with them when they come out again in March (just helping run AV and whatnot – pushing buttons is what I do).
They provided lunch for us both days, in pretty sweet reusable (and insulated!) lunch bags. Here’s a picture of the whole setup from another twitterer:

At lunch, we made friends with a couple of other PT students from…I don’t remember where. That was honestly the first time I’d spoken to anyone who wasn’t a vendor or a classmate though. I know these things are meant to be networking opportunities, but honestly…it was just so overwhelming and crowded, and everyone kind of clung to their own school groups that I found myself being far less outgoing than normal. (It didn’t help that I’d gotten in around 2 AM Friday either.) One of the students was a 3rd year, and he had some good insight on how to treat these conferences – I wouldn’t have thought to email vendors I liked, but that was his suggestion. Email the person you spoke with, with a single-line phrase to remind them of your conversation. They’ll remember you, and bam! Connection! I think the next time I go to one of these, I’ll bring some kind of notebook to keep track of who I talked to and want to keep in touch with, and what key things we talked about – if I can’t remember a single vendor, there’s no way they’ll remember me, right?

After that, my classmate headed out and I ran into one of my twitter followers (hey Nicole!). She was literally the first person I’ve ever met from Twitter, so it was kind of a trip to put a face to a username. I look forward to seeing her again at other conferences too. 

I have to admit – at this point, I was getting pretty worn out and was debating calling my ride to pick me up early. I still had one follower to connect with though, and I’m so glad I did! Matt DeBole, the famously bowtied PT twitter circles guy, was promoting a booth for this new program called Log N Blog, that’s going to raise a TON of money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy. There are a few more details to work out before it’s officially unveiled (and I really want to dedicate a whole post to it), but it’s going to be HUGE and a ton of fun! (Hint: dust off your running shoes, pump up your bike tires, and unearth your Speedo – you’ll need them all!)

On that note, I have a bunch of reading/studying to get done before class tomorrow, so I'm off! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

It's a known fact that I don't like choosing the easier path.

Pretty much by definition, if there's a harder way to do something, that's probably the way I'll do it. Sometimes it ends in disaster (see: first anatomy exam) but sometimes it ends in awesome (see: Tough Mudders 1-3). In this case, at the very least it ends in funding for the American Lung Association of Colorado.

Last night I signed up to run the Run the 'Rocks 5k in a few weeks. It's at Red Rocks park/amphitheater and seems like a normal 5k at first...except that the end is UP the amphitheater.

Please note: The last mile of the course has a steady incline and finishes by going up the amphitheater stairs.  Please train appropriately.  
My lungs are crying just looking at that. My legs are excited. For now.

If you're interested in contributing to the cause, you can donate here. Please note that the text there is prefab. The real reason I'm running it is because it sounds hard. It's a bonus that it goes towards a cause that helps a friend breathe easier so she can laugh at me while I struggle up that last hill.

A mile of incline. Sheesh.

Aside from that lapse in judgement, it was a good weekend. We (hubs, bro, dog, and I) went to Red Rocks on Saturday morning (hence the inspiration) to meet up with my classmates who'd hosted some Japanese exchange students over the weekend. We doinked around the amphitheater, then went and had lunch at the Blue Cow Eatery. Good food, snotty balanced out to an acceptable experience.

So that's what's up.

Oh and there's some rumblings about running a marathon next year. Probably the Denver Rock n Roll marathon. There's a reasonable chance I'll do another triathlon again too, after seeing pics from a friend's race this weekend.

Probably means I should start running/biking again at some point. Dang.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hitting my Stride

As long as I'm failing at doing anything related to school, I may as well blog about it. 

Today was a good day. It was a long day, with 6 hours of hands-on labs (literally, the first two hours were learning about myofascial release and trigger point therapy) and 4 hours of "make it count hands on experience building", but it was a good day. I feel like I'm finding my place here, even if it's not one that's photographed well with Instagram and whatnot. 

At lunch, we had a meeting for the Night Owls. It's basically a monthly parents' night out for parents of kids with special needs and their siblings. It provides one on one care for each kid, which is critical for some of these kids. I'm really excited to start volunteering in a couple of weeks! 

(Shameless plug: if this is at all something you're passionate about, Night Owls is run entirely on private donations...if you want to contribute, visit the link above and see what it's all about!)

After the 6th hour of lab ended, I took my poor aching body (mostly from climbing last night, but partly from some solid trigger point work this morning...ouch) over to the lab that pays me, to get started on the data processing grunt work. I won't lie, I actually kind of enjoy the monotony of click n wait data processing. It's like guilt-free down time...I'm not thinking too hard, but I'm still doing something. 

Too bad we hit a minor snag though, and the data wasn't as straight-forward as we'd hoped. I tend to have that effect on data sets. 

The whole thing resulted in me poking around the software, figuring out how they took the data from the machine and made it into the data that we were looking at, and feeling strangely at home. I guess you can take the girl away from testing but you can't take the testing away from the girl. Or something like that. 

Anyway, I should actually get to bed. But life is good, y'all. Life is good. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All or Nothing

Watch out guys, things just got legit up in here.

You know this one, I promise. 
In the interest of not doing anything halfway, I've started attending (and committing to attend) APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) conferences, gatherings, and D&D meetups networking opportunities. To that end, I just registered for the National Student Conclave in November.

Does this nametag make my street cred look big?
So that's exciting. Should be a good weekend of networking and learning how to get a job in 3 years. I hope. With any luck, i might even post about it during/after the event. Maybe even with pictures. Woah.

In addition to that, I'm also starting work on some research stuff within my department which is still a little bit vague to me at the moment (in terms of my role, not so much the project itself). I can't tell you how embarrassingly excited I was to start talking data processing (with Matlab and everything!) with the post-doc was yesterday.

It's also come to my attention that I may be the only one in my class who actually enjoys working with data at all...this is completely confusing to me because I just don't see how it couldn't be interesting to find trends and whatnot. But...apparently that's just me. The upshot is, that makes me a special snowflake in terms of expertise and capabilities, so hopefully that'll translate to an interesting (and lucrative?) job post-graduation.

So that's exciting.

Anyway, it's time for a practice Therapeutic Interventions lab and this comp is on STM, thermotherapy, and compression. Translation: massage, heat, and mud wraps. It's like a spa, but without the cucumbers.

Have a great day y'all.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spanning the Ages

I know, I know. I'm a terrible blogger.

Honestly, most of it stems from the fact that I really haven't been working out pretty much at all, and this blog was supposed to be about my journey as a fitness instructor. I did get an email requesting an audition a couple weeks back, but when I told her my schedule she never responded. Bummer too, since I was pretty excited about working at that particular club.

Now, I'm thinking I may start talking to local senior homes/centers about starting a Saturday or Sunday morning strength class. Nothing too fancy, just basic moves to promote strength, balance, and stability for the most fall-risky population.

Just like that. 
From a quick Google Images search, it looks like I'm not the only one with this idea...that's good.

I'm thinking this would be a win for everyone...there'd be one more activity (an active activity no less) for folks to do each week, and I would get to teach. I'd also get to learn more about the limitation varieties there are in that demographic, as well as how to cue for them. (So if I wanted people to practice sit to stands without using their arms, but someone isn't capable/comfortable with that, I would need to make sure to cue for the next step down with both proper instruction AND positive encouragement that makes sure the person knows they're doing well as long as they're doing their best.)

So that's my excuse for not writing more. That and the mountains of reading and homework I keep finding creative ways of putting off.

I have a feeling this is going to be the most "fun" semester. All the classes are geared towards making us useful at our first clinicals in January, so we've got a lot of toys and babies to play with. Last week alone I got to experiment with electrotherapy (NOT the same as electroSHOCK therapy...) and watch how a 3 year old plays...while holding her 3 month old brother.

My face exactly. It's been literally years since I've been within probably 10 feet of an infant, let alone holding one. Fortunately, this kid liked me a fair amount so that helped.

That's actually a strange thing that's been happening suddenly like me. His sister liked me. The neighbor kid LOVES me. I have literally no idea what to do with kids, so I just kind of stand there and try not to make any sudden moves. They freaking love that apparently. Go figure.

Anyway, I have some household chores to get done before I can work on my homework, which I need to get done in order to have a few minutes to sew this afternoon. So I should go. With any luck, I'll be posting chair workouts here soon. We'll see.

I get to learn to use that machine next week. It'll be on the final. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oh Hey August

What's up? Semester's over? Check. Passed all my classes? Check. Going back for more on Monday? Check.

In the mean time, I'm working on packing, refinancing, and getting set up to be a research assistant for something awesome I haven't heard about yet. Oh, and I'm going to spin on Wednesday just for kicks and to see you guys (if you're still out there). So, you know. Come say hi!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Too Sober for This

It's a Saturday night and I'm working on new and interesting ways to draw the sacral and lumbar plexuses.

It's suuuuuuper exciting you guys. Like, fist pumping in Jersey exciting.

So instead of drawing that...again...I'm going to compile a list of shots (courtesy of that are anatomy related. (After reading through the list, I feel like a total prude because...seriously. Some of these are just plain obscene. I'm omitting those.)

Absolutly Screwed - if you've ever take an anatomy exam, you know this one is relevant.
Actual Buttery Nipple
Bare Ass
Breast Milk
Boot to the Head
Brain Damage
Brain Destroyer
Brain Eraser
Brain Eraser #2
Brain Freeze
Brain Hemmorage
Brain Hemmorhage #2
Brain Hemorrhage
Brain Tumor
Brain Tumor #2
Braindead #2
Buttery Nipple
Buttery Nipple #2
Buttery Nipple #3
Buttery Nipple #4
Buttery Nipple With A Cherry Kiss
Buttery Nipples
Cardiac Arrest
Cerebral Hemorage
Cerebral Hemorrhage #2
Evil Tongue
Frosty Nipple
Head Shock
Heart Attack
Heart Throb
Live Human Brains
Mind Eraser #2
Mind Eraser #4
Mind Game
Slippery Nipple
Slippery Nipple #2
Slippery Nipple #3
Tonsil Tickler

Lotta nipple stuff. Lotta genital references too, but, well, we don't learn about that until next summer so I'm omitting it.

Anyway. Back to nerves and stuff.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Naming the Beast

They always say things are easier to handle if you can name them. The monster in the closet is a lot less scary when you know his name is Frank.

The pictures in this post may seem irreverent, but it's a heavy post and I needed to break it up somehow. 

Putting a name to the guy who did what he did on Thursday night hasn't done anything to help. In fact, the fact that he has such a generic name has made things worse.

Let me back up a step.

In case you've been living under a rock (lucky you if you have), last Thursday a guy named James Holmes, after apparently months of preparation, walked into a theater just a few miles from campus and shot over 70 people. He killed 12 of them, and when he was done (his THIRD gun jammed before he could use up the 6000+ rounds of ammo he had with him) he walked out to the parking lot and didn't even resist arrest.

Something like this has never happened so close to home for me. Even 9/11, which happened in the backyard I'd just moved away from, didn't freak me out this badly. I won't lie...I haven't been as nonchalant and brave as I'd always hoped I'd be in the face of something like this. And I wasn't even at the theater.

But I've got exams to take and a summer to survive, so I need to process this and move on. So to that end, I'm going to put a name to my emotions. Think of it as a little roll call for the monsters in my closet. Maybe it'll help some of you guys who may be dealing with this too.


There are some obvious sources of the fear. The big ones stem from the what ifs though. Like, what if we hadn't had an exam on Friday morning? Half my class would have been at that theater that night, quite possibly at that showing.
Or what if he'd decided to take his show to our school instead? He was a student at UC Denver AMC (my campus) until last month. He still had access to all the buildings, which are unlocked during the day. He could have come in to any given classroom and pulled the same thing. Wouldn't have had quite the theatrics of a dark theater and tear gas, but the devastation would have been similar.
And the what ifs don't stop at the past...what if someone else out there is just as sick and decides to copy him? What if this becomes a thing?

Which leads to the next monster:


What he did was heinous and horrifying. But it was also infuriating. How dare he invade a place of assumed trust? How dare he take away one of the few places that people can go and be gathered in the dark and feel safe about being there?

A little history on me: I don't like haunted houses. "Don't like" is an understatement. I have a long history of complete and utter terror in small, dark places where I think someone might be out to get me.

Movie theaters have never been an issue for me - they're dark and closed in, but they're big and there's no one trying to startle, scare, or kill me. Or, you know, that's how I felt before Thursday. Friday night, my brother went to see the movie in another state, across the country, and I literally couldn't breathe until I heard he was out again. That shouldn't happen. It's a freaking movie theater for crying out loud.

So, I'm angry. He didn't "just" hurt and kill all those people, he stole a safe place from the rest of us.

Which is a nice transition to the next monster...


Not only did he steal the sense of security we have in a favorite place of pastime, but he betrayed our ability to profile. Bear with me here.

This guy came from a good family. His parents are smart, kind people (per neighbor accounts), and he was raised in a good neighborhood. He's smart. He's awkward, geeky, and probably was a little reclusive from moving to a new place.

Guys, this is what's killing me the most.

He's my people. I know his type. I watched the video of him giving the speech at summer camp. I know exactly the kind of guy he was before this. He's familiar territory for me. He could have been any given one of my classmates in undergrad.

Not only is he familiar territory, but for those of us who spend 8-16 hours a day on campus, he was one of us. When you go to a place every, school, etc...there's an implicit pact you're making with everyone else who goes there every day. By showing up every day, you're saying "I'm part of this community, and so are you. You may annoy the crap out of me, but at the end of the day I've got your back." Maybe he missed that memo. Maybe no one told him he was part of the crowd. But he betrayed that pact in the worst possible way.

He brought a darkness and a chaos to a place we all held to be a safe space. It is a medical campus. Inherently, the place is there to teach people to do no harm. Of all the campuses and schools out there, this is the type that should be the safest of all. He broke that.

But on the flip side, there's this last monster...


He walked our campus for months, and still in the end didn't feel connected enough to not do what he did. He didn't see himself as enough of a part of the organism that is our community to stop him from destroying it. Where were we? Why didn't anyone notice? He spent literally months preparing for this. Why didn't anyone notice?

I've found myself searching through half remembered faces to figure out if there was ever a moment where I might have run into him and done nothing to bring him back to the light side. What if I kept my eyes on the ground instead of looking up and smiling, at exactly the moment when he turned? What if I'm still doing that? What if there's someone else out there, breathing the same air I am, decaying inside because they don't feel connected to humanity anymore? I know, I know...everyone is responsible for their own decisions. But if everyone's seemingly independent decisions add up to a complete breakdown for someone else, it's hard not to take a little responsibility for that. I've been trying harder to make eye contact and smile when I'm's hard, coming from 6 years of New England hospitality. But it's the only thing I've found to "do" right now that feels like I can at least say "I did the best I could" if something like this ever happened again.

I don't really have any answers here. I just needed to put it on paper (or computer) and name what I'm feeling so I can start moving on. We've had heightened security on campus this week, and they evacuated two buildings yesterday because of "suspicious packages". None of that's made me feel safer about being on campus. I think if they'd been more discreet in their security and let us keep pretending it didn't happen here, and it wasn't our campus, that maybe it would be easier to manage. But that's not the apples in this bushel, so we keep trucking.

Anyway, sorry for the heavy post. I hope it at least helps someone else process this...or at least doesn't turn everyone off reading for good. I promise, I'll have more fun stuff posted soon...ish.

Go hug a loved one. You just never know.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sometimes Google Images Is Helpful...

...and sometimes not. Looking for a good line drawing of the superior aspect of the skull, and this is what Google Images thought I wanted:

Nope. Not helpful.

The quest continues.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not Dead...

...but not for lack of effort on school's part.

This semester is kicking my trash. Right now, I'm so burnt out, the only way I can study is to draw diagrams over and over. Even if my conscious brain isn't acknowledging receipt of information, my hands will know what to do on the exam and it'll be sort of like I have a note card there with me, if I can draw them right.

All faculty hazing aside, now that I'm seeing it applied I am really enjoying anatomy. It's fascinating. I am hopefully studying better for this exam than for the last one, but only time (ie, next Friday at 8 am) will tell. For now, here are a few of the less cadaverific things I'm learning:

Manual muscle testing.

If someone comes to you with a limitation, say, of the shoulder, there are a series of steps to take to determine what's causing the limitation. You first ask them to make whatever motion is limited (for kicks, let's say flexion, which is bringing your arm out in front of you) using both arms, to compare the two.

Clearly the limited side is his right side. 
You then "passively move the arm through the arc of motion". Translation: tell them to relax their arm, the bring it out in front of them as far as possible.

Now comes the Choose Your Own Adventure part of things.

If you can get the shoulder into full flexion (about 170 degrees), you test the shoulder flexor muscles' strength.


If you can't get the shoulder into full flexion, you pay attention to whether the patient is actively resisting (which might indicate pain) or if they simply can't go any further (which might indicate muscle shortness or tightness).

From there, you do stuff we haven't gotten to yet.

Anyway, that's my update. I'm still alive. School is kicking my trash. Tomorrow is an exam. Next week there are effectively 3 more (FOR THE SAME CLASS). The week after that there are 3 more, two of which make up 75% of my grade in one class.


You know.

Still alive.