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There is a Beginning and There is an End

Yesterday it hit me. I have 13 days of didactic work left in physical therapy school. 13 days. On August 7th, I will start my 1st clinical internship and begin the last chapter in physical therapy school. Looking back on my experiences in school, there have been some really great times, some really bad times, a lot of tears and hard work, social events and activities, volunteering, and built relationships with faculty, patients, PTs, other PT students and students from other disciplines. If I were to recap everything in PT school, this post would be CRAZY long; however, I do want to recap a few things from each semester.

Semester 1 (summer 2015): This semester was a blur. I LOVED anatomy but hated physiology. This semester made me realize I was capable of learning a TON of information in a short amount of time. I also learned that you cannot be too self-conscious considering you take your shirt off in front of everyone on day 2 of school and have to palpate.

anatomy

Semester 2 (fall 2015): This semester was my 1st glimpse into true physical therapy classes and the beginning of my love story with neurological rehabilitation (even though I didn’t know it yet). I also experienced my 1st clinical rotation (1/2 day rotations 1x/week).

Semester 3 (spring 2016): One word. ORTHO. This semester was rough! Once again, a lot of information in a short amount of time. This is the semester that I realized that I was not as interested in ortho as I thought I was going to be (came into school with my mind-set on doing sports PT). This scared me a little bit because I was going through school with NO idea what I wanted to do. It was a very overwhelming and emotional semester. This semester I completed an 8-week Monday only rotation in the pediatrics setting. I respect Peds PTs SO much after that! I was exhausted every Monday (in bed by 830pm).

Semester 4 (summer 2016): This semester was tough, but was a good little breather from ortho semester. This semester included our 1st therapeutic exercise course and our 1st manual therapy course which was SO much fun. At the end of our short semester, I completed a 6-week rotation in an outpatient orthopedic setting. This rotation has been the most impactful so far. I learned how to complete an evaluation, document, write a plan of care and goals, and implement exercises I had learned in class with my patients.

Semester 5 (fall 2016): The hardest semester in PT school. All of the classes seem very randomly put together. Manual 2, peds, geriatric, cardio, electrophysiology, neuroscience 2, and prosthetics and orthotics. Though it was, in my opinion, the hardest semester of PT school, I finally began to realize that neurological rehabilitation was something I was very interested in. Over Christmas break, I decided to observe with one of my neuro professors in the clinic to be able to apply what I learned in class to real life scenarios. This semester I was also elected Student Government Association (SGA) secretary.

SGA 16

Semester 6 (spring 2017): Pharmacology. That was a HARD class. But I learned SO much. Wound care. GROSS, but again interesting and I learned a lot. I learned that wound care graces us with its presence in every setting, so I better suck it up!! This is semester I made the BEST choice of my life – to take Smart Success PT with Greg Todd. It has taught me how to leverage and market myself, that goal writing is imperative for success, the payor system in PT (which is CONFUSING), how to use social media as a marketing platform, how to rock an eval, and SO much more!!! I also attended Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) and met my mentor Greg Todd, Matt Villegas, and many other SSPT students.

CSM

Semester 7 (summer 2017): Easiest semester yet!!! With that being said I have had a hard time figuring out what to do with my free time! Honestly, it is weird having so much extra time. In our curriculum, the 3rd year PT students TA in anatomy during this semester for 2 of the 4 tests. Tomorrow, I will be heading back into lab to TA for test 4 material, head and neck. This is the semester I was able to be a guest on Matt Villegas’ Capable Body podcast and discuss living with MS (link below).

capable body

It seems like yesterday that I was starting my 1st semester in PT school. It is crazy how time flies. To look back and see where I was to what I am now is insane – how much I have learned, the skills I have developed, the people I have met, and the personal development that has occurred is so astonishing. I cannot wait to see what this last chapter has in store for me!

Capable Body podcast link:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-capable-body-podcast/id1254308538?mt=2&i=1000389851232

Google: https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iajgb5qxc7jd63cqner44wlseam

Emergency Room Shenanigans

Hello all! Today, I spent my day in the urgent care and emergency room. I woke up Wednesday morning and drove back to Shreveport from Dallas for class. While on my ride home, I began experiencing right-sided back pain. I just assumed it was due to my posture while driving or sitting down for 3.5 hours. I arrived Wednesday afternoon and continued to experience the safe back pain throughout the day. After class, I took some ibuprofen and went to bed. I woke up Thursday morning with extreme nausea and diarrhea and by the end of the day (after urgent care had closed), I began to experience pelvic pain as well as right-sided back pain. Friday morning I woke up and went to urgent care thinking I had a kidney infection. BOY was I wrong. After being told I “have the cleanest pee” the physician has seen in a while, I was asked to lay down on the exam table. The physician poked around and did several tests. She then pushed on my lower right quadrant and I almost flew off of the table. At that point, she suspected I had appendicitis and referred me to the ER immediately. Luckily, it was across the street, I walked in and only had to wait about 5 minutes. They got me back to a room, drew some blood, gave me and IV then told me the doctor would be in shortly. The doctor didn’t show up, but a radiology tech showed up to take me to get a CT scan. I had never had a CT scan before, only MRIs. This CT was ordered with contrast, which, when injected, made me feel like I was peeing my pants (the weirdest feeling ever)! I was taken back to my room and told the results should be back in 15-20 min. 50 min. later, no sign of the results. About 5 min. later, the nurse comes in with my paperwork and says “you have an ovarian cyst. I am going to get your IV out of you so we can get you out of here.” I tried to ask the nurse several questions and got a reply of “I don’t know.”Let me remind you I have not seen the physician the entire time I have been in the ER AND no one can/is willing to answer my questions. The nurse takes my IV out, hands me a prescription and an information packet and begins to walk off. I had to stop him to ask how to leave the hospital! I was just another body, another number coming through the ER.

Y’all… SO frustrating. I mean, I don’t expect top of the line treatment at the ER, but I expect to see the physician and to be informed of what my diagnosis is. I was sent home with pain pills and no direction on where to go next. This is the problem with the healthcare field today. Physicians are sending their patient’s home with pain pills and with no direction. Those pain pills wont work forever!!!

I know I have harped on patient education enough and y’all are probably tired of hearing about it, but I don’t think people fully understand the frustration the patient feels when they are not properly educated until you personally experience it. I know I didn’t. Needless to say, I will be following up with my OB/GYN to get this sorted out, because I refuse to be taking Tramadol long-term!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Just wanted to write very briefly about my experience yesterday evening with my friend. I have a friend I have known for about 4 years who has Multiple Sclerosis. Yesterday, my fiancée and I went to dinner with him to catch up. Of course, our topic of discussion was MS. He told me a little bit about his story and the difficulty he has had getting the diagnosis. He told me when the neurologist diagnosed him with MS my friend asked the physician what MS was and the physician’s response, “It is what Montel Williams has.” This brings me back to the patient education topic (once again). My friend had to go buy books and go online to research what MS was to fully understand it since his physician did not/could not explain it to him. This should NOT be the case in any healthcare setting! As a healthcare provider, it is our responsibility to make sure the patient completely understands their diagnosis and the challenges that come with it.

Throughout dinner, I was able to answer some of his questions and educate him on different things pertaining to MS and physical therapy. As we walked out of the restaurant, I observed his gait (because I can’t help it) and saw his cane was WAY too short and he had a lot of spasticity in his right upper and lower extremity. It seems to bother him a lot, however, I was able to inform him how to try to reduce his spasticity with stretching and weight bearing, as well as recommend him see a PT for his falls and spasticity. I made a simple adjustment to his cane and I received a text from him late last night telling me the cane adjustment made a world of a difference. When we got to his car, he stated he had an AFO, so I asked to see it. It was a posterior leaf spring (*face palm*). As someone interested in neuro PT, this KILLED ME. Not only did he tell me he had a terrible PT experience, they gave him a posterior leaf spring that he doesn’t wear because his spasticity overpowers it. I was able to discuss different AFO options and ones that are used more for neurological patients and have the potential to decrease spasticity/tone. I also recommended he go see a PT that would address his problems. I told him I would love to meet with him again when I have more time so he can ask me the questions he has regarding MS and musculoskeletal problems. Every person deserves an explanation and patient education. To me, it is the most important thing and will help build that trust between you and your patient.

Okay, I’ll get off of my soap box! 😊 have a wonderful 4th of July, be safe, and enjoy the beautiful day!

Most Likely Awards

I am going to keep it short and sweet tonight because my fiancée surprised me yesterday and is only here until tomorrow morning!!! Today my PT class and I went to have brunch at a place here in Shreveport called Bistro Byronz. A few weeks ago, we decided to give out “most likely” awards. There were awards such as “most likely to be at Starbucks, most likely to get engaged next, best smile, best nickname, most organized, most likely to tell a riddle, most likely to solve a murder mystery, most likely to volunteer as the patient, etc”. I know some of these are odd, but our class can be crazy! I got “most likely to volunteer as the patient” because I volunteer the majority of the time when a professor needs to demonstrate something. Our class seems to have struggled a lot over the 3 years in regards to “gelling” with each other. Now that we know everyone better than we did 1st year, this was a really great way to come together one last time and nominate each other for “most likely” awards. Though there are a lot of controversy on participation trophies, I do have to say, I am happy that we got an “I participated in PT school” trophy/certificate. It’s been one hell of a ride and in 40 days, I will be starting the last chapter in PT school, rotations!

Father’s Day Madness

Hey Guys! Sorry for not posting last week. I had 4 midterms and a presentation and did not prepare ahead of time to have my blog written. I will say, you will NOT want to miss the story below!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Father’s Day! I was able to go home to Dallas, TX to visit my dad for Father’s Day (which hasn’t happened in a while). I arrived Friday evening and worked on some homework due on Monday. Saturday morning about 9am, I woke up to go look at apartments. My fiancée is currently living with her mom, I will be done in Shreveport on August 4th, and our lease in Shreveport is up July 22. I traveled all over the Dallas area and suburbs, visiting 12 of the 14 apartments on my list. There were some great ones and some not so great ones, and one that I drove by and said HELL NO!!! I arrived back to the house about 6pm exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of information I had just received. My fiancée sat down and discussed what our plan would be and what I thought the best place would be for us. The biggest issue we had was the apartment I really liked said we would not be able to move in until August 11 and our lease in Shreveport is up July 22 – what were we going to do with our furniture and stuff in our current apartment for 21 days?!

apartment hunting.jpg

Sunday, I went to church and lunch with my parents and younger brother then headed back to Shreveport. A 3-hour drive ended up taking me 4 hours due to the highway leaving my parent’s house was closed due to construction, a wreck on 635 that had the highway shut down to 1 lane, tons of traffic and crazy drivers, and I-20 shut down to 1 lane while entering Shreveport due to a stalled vehicle. Needless to say, I was ready to get home!!! I got home, unloaded the car, showered, and got into my pajamas to start studying. About 8:45pm, I was minding my own business when my front door knob started twisting and I could hear someone trying to get in. I live over the pool, so I figured it was just a drunk person thinking that my apartment was theirs. Well, it continued to happen. I looked out the peephole to see a topless woman trying to enter my home. I called the cops and while I was waiting on them, she decided to descend the stairs and start wandering in the parking lot, still topless and now shoeless. The cops came and, after talking to her for a bit, they knocked on my door. I opened the door to find her shoes and socks all over my front porch and her shirt was in my bushes. Apparently, she told the cops that she lived in my apartment. FALSE! Come to find out, she was on meth and EXTREMELY messed up. After calling what seemed to be the entire city of Shreveport (fire truck, ambulance, 2 cop cars = 6 1st responders), they checked her out then put her in the back of the car and drove off.

1st responders.jpg

Needless to say, my Sunday was one hell of a day and I was ready to go to bed. After checking out the window and out the peephole about 4 times, I finally went to lay down and luckily fell asleep pretty quickly. Educational tip: LOCK YOUR DOORS!!!

lock your door.png

Sidenote: In regards to the apartment situation, our current apartment is going to let us stay until August 11th and our applications have been submitted to the apartment we want!