Blog and public health and school23 Jun 2018 03:49 pm

I was looking at a bunch of old posts and I realized that what I’m doing is crazy!  Going back to school in a completely different profession with some pretty severe impairments is pretty ambitious.  I’m still testing my limitations but figuring out how to address them.  I always have intentions to blog, but I routinely get side tracked.  I got lost last semester in academic work.  I feel like it is an uphill battle learning new material/concepts with short term memory impairments.   Academically,  new concepts are stored in short term memory unless they are applied.  This is part of the reason why I’m having difficulty returning to school.  I need to apply what I read or see.  In physical therapy school, labs were very useful to me to experience direct application of techniques and concepts.  I’m more of an experiential learner.  Reading puts things in my short term memory, but now my short term memory is impaired.  Studying for quizzes and exams is now more time consuming.   I’m taking 2 web based classes this summer semester which are self paced, but we will see how that goes.

It has gotten harder to meet new people in Houston because when people meet me for the first time, they see the scooter and all my physical impairments.  “All-the-things-I-can’t-do” is now the first impression  me.  I have learned that in order for people to see past my impairments, I need to look past them myself.  It is much tougher to meet new people because I’m limited by my mobility, it takes me a long time to get anywhere via public transportation so it is much harder to drop in on somebody.  Most of the time, I get to hangout with old friends in Houston.  Hanging out with new people is much tougher than I anticipated.

Physical/Cognitive impairments have surfaced as major challenges in a new academic environment.  I’m definitely re-creating myself again, but this time it is much more challenging because at least last time I had an idea of how to address challenges/obstacles as a PT. The social sciences is completely different from what I am used to.  I’m learning more about myself on the fly. Addressing new physical barriers (sidewalks/extreme rain/extreme heat), unfamiliar academic challenges, and being “the new guy” has made things interesting.  This “kick in the head” is exactly the challenge I was looking for.  It’s all about adapting to the new challenges… stay tuned.

Blog and school28 Aug 2017 10:48 am


Things are definitely not boring!  The transition back to school has been hectic.  First off getting to Houston from San Diego has been an adventure.  The movers came to pick up my stuff from San Diego, and the price jumped up from $1700 to $2500 because I had more stuff then I was originally quoted.  They changed me for an extra storage pod.  I had extra items that weren’t listed, but I didn’t have huge items to pack. The biggest items I have are: my desk my TV/TV stand, a big book shelf, a dresser, my old wheelchair, a table with 4 chairs, a mattress/box spring, bed frame, and a few extra boxes.  I think on my quote I had listed 15 boxes, but some of my furniture (shelf, dresser) were classified as bigger than expected, jacking up the price. I don’t think I had that much stuff.

To make matters more complicated, the weather in Houston has been crazy! Rain and flooding is at a 500-year level high in Houston.  Luckily, I was able to take a Greyhound bus to Dallas on Friday to avoid the flooding in Houston.  Apparently the Brays Bayou by my place close to the med center floods frequently.  This sucks because I need to be in a first floor apparent due to the fact that there are no elevators for my scooter.  My place is probably flooded due to the storms.  Good thing is my stuff hasn’t arrived in Houston yet.  I’ve been calling to figure out where my stuff is, but they close at noon on Fridays.  I’ve left messages and am still waiting to hear back from them since Thursday.

The biggest dilemma for me is… when to return to Houston.  It is supposed to continue raining till Friday.   Navigating the city will be complicated if public transit is still down.  Maybe I invest in a canoe… seriously. Classes got cancel this week, they resume next Tuesday.  Hopefully, things will clear up (dry up) by then.  I wonder what the water levels will be like and when it will be safe to go back!  Turns out that the movers might charge me more for storing the items due to the inclimate weather.  We shall see.  I’m hoping to get my stuff soon when I return to Houston!  Moving and evacuation has definitely made this transition memorable.  I’ve been through tornados, earthquakes, fires, and now hurricanes and floods.  Lesson here is that if there a difficulties with physical mobility… get out early if you can to avoid potential issues…It helped that I knew some people outside of Houston.   I really would have sucked being stuck in Houston with no tv service, phone service, spotty internet, questionable power sources, and mobility impairment.  I really don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t gone to Dallas!  Thanks again Dave Chen, Becca Wong, and family!  We will see when my stuff finally arrives in Houston… first order of business when I get back to Houston is get a couch to sleep on… not a leather couch because I will stick to it!  School starts next week!  Stay tuned… I’m sure more exciting stuff is in the works.  It has been a very eventful 2 weeks!


Blog and school29 Jul 2017 09:41 pm

I can’t believe the semester is over next week!  The semester flew by! I was just getting back into my “student groove”…

I’ve learned a few important things…

  1. I have difficulty physically taking notes in class.  Need assistance.  I write main points, but it is a crap shoot if I will be able to read them later!
  2. Writing is still illegible, actually worse. It was bad before, but it’s pretty bad now!  Typing is slow because I can only use one hand.
  3. I need to sit in front of class to avoid distractions.
  4. Review lecture readings text twice before class.
  5. Sleep early… no TV till the weekend… luckily no football in the summer… this is why I like watching movies in the summer…
  6. Eliminate distractions… BYE BYE FACEBOOK!
  7. Caffeine can help delay the need for an afternoon siesta, but I crash hard!
  8. Quizes/tests require extra time.  Need extra time to make accommodations to comprehend (minor double vision issues) + respond with typing/emailing my answers…
  9. Participating in discussion is sometimes difficult due to mild speech issues.  I’m better in one on one/small groups.
  10. I like listening to movie soundtracks, Rat Pack/Big band, and classical music when studying…

I’m wondering how other students with physical disabilities address classroom issues.  I’m still pretty sure my cognition is intact, but I think the physiological challenges of returning to class can be addressed!

Blog and school08 Jul 2017 01:22 pm

The first week of school went well.  I feel so old!  I think that I graduated college before some of my classmates were born!  (technically, I could be their father…) HAHAHA!  I thought I stuck out before… now I really stick out! (I look and act young, but have the soul of a 60 year old.) I actually contacted the Office of Students with Disabilities  (AKA “OSD”) before the first day of classes to make sure the process of going back to school was an easy transition.  They were very accommodating! They were able to get me a note taker for lectures, private testing spaces for exams, and priority seating in the front of the classroom/lecture hall to eliminate distractions.  Luckily the campus is very wheelchair accessible.  Some of the older schools I’ve visited are not as handicap friendly.  In-class quizzes for my “psychology in healthcare” class are only 10 mins, but I’ve discovered that it’s very difficult to read/process all the multiple choice answers on the projector.  I’ve found that 45 seconds is not enough time for me to visually/cognitively/physically process the questions and select the correct answer.  Writing for essay quizzes in my other class will be done on a lap top, and immediately emailed to the professor.  I had to follow up with the Disability Office after my first set of classes to let them know how things went.  The cool thing is that this process is completely confidential between the professor, OSD, and the student!  I really don’t care because I can’t hide my disability… It’s something all survivors in college SHOULD look into!  For the first time since rehab I’ve confirmed how serious my physical impairments are!  I guess for the longest time I’ve been focusing on what I can do, not what I can’t do.  To actually see the reality of my physical impairments in writing by people that I don’t know is still a huge wake up call because this is how strangers see me.  When I first went out in my wheelchair, it used to bother me when people used to stare at me.  I could feel all the looks of curiosity and pity.  It almost made me feel ashamed to go out.  Good thing I have no shame… People that I hangout with say that this still happens when I’m in my scooter/wheelchair, but I’ve learned to simply ignore the stares.

Anyways, I’ve really noticed that academic/scientific journal writing is very different from public publishing.  While I was in college and grad school, I had been so used to reading academic articles.  My friends who helped edit my first book, had so many publishing suggestions on my first draft of Reversal:  When A Therapist Becomes A Patient.  For one of the classes I’m currently taking, I have to read a lot of psychology journals.  Typically, scientific journals are different to read with many run-on sentences.  Those run-on sentences are intended to elaborate on key concepts.  It is just another adjustment back into academics that I have to adapt.  Things will get interesting the next couple weeks with classes and exams/quizzes.  These last few weeks in San Diego are going to be BUSY before I move to Houston!  ComicCon is coming up in a couple weeks, so I’ll be sure to make time to get downtown then for the festivities!!!


Blog and public health and school29 Jun 2017 06:55 pm

It has been a while since I last blogged. There is some very exciting stuff in the works. Earlier this year I was accepted into a PhD program at University of Texas Health and Science Center in Houston School of Public Health – Health Promotion & Behavioral Science.  I’m very interested in the role of exercise/physical activity in tumor/cancer survivorship. It will be a very interesting transition back into school mode. “PT school Galvez” was a super nerd.  “Young Doctor Galvez” was always on the move.  “Post brain surgery Galvez” is a smart ass.  The next transformation will create a more focused and mature version of myself! hee hee… not sure about the second part of that statement…  The 10 years after treatment and surgery have redefined me and refocused my goals. I’m still interested in healthcare delivery, but now from a new perspective. I’m now very in tune with the issues of survivorship. I want to make a scientific contribution to “post-treatment thrivership” involving exercise/physical activity .

The return to school will bring many new challenges.  Transitioning back into the world of academia will be interesting.  I really enjoyed getting my DPT, but there were few distractions because I was very focused on school. I think Myspace and Friendster were just getting started when I was in PT school… I’m probably going to have to close a few of my social media accounts to avoid distractions! Last week I mapped out my route to UCSD for a couple classes I need to take. It takes an hour + 10 mins via bus just to get there! I have 8AM classes on Tuesday and Thursday. That means I have to LEAVE my place at 630AM! WHOA!I haven’t gotten up that early in a while!  I figure I can blog my thoughts this early cause I can do everything on my phone/ on the go.

Anyways, I had a meeting today with disability services at UCSD. This will be very interesting returning to school with a disability. This will be a good test run before moving to Houston.  I’m looking forward to the new challenges.  We will see how things go next week!  It would be cool to hear from you if you have any advice on how to deal with the issues with returning to school.  I will probably keep blogging, but close my social media accounts to avoid distractions…  Its gonna be a busy July cleaning out my place and packing my stuff up!