January 2014

PT shop talk and Random blog29 Jan 2014 11:50 pm

Thoughts from the train…

Well, the train broke down AGAIN!  I’m stuck between San Diego and Oceanside probably until 1AM.  Other than this hiccup, I’ve had a great start of the week!  On Monday, went up to Loma Linda in San Bernadino county.  I had never been up there before, so I was excited to explore a new area! San Bernadino is east of LA, located close to “the valley.”  I was going to give a talk at the Loma Linda Physical Therapy school and help out with 2 neurology lab sessions (basically, I was going to be a “Guinea Pig” for a bunch of 2nd year Doctor of Physical Therapy students to practice on.) My main duties in lab were to give them feedback on their technique and teach them some tips on dealing with patients.

* YIKES!  OK, THE LIGHTS JUST WENT OUT ON THE TRAIN…. I’M SITTING ALL BY MYSELF IN COMPLETE DARKNESS IN THE CABOOSE OF A STRANDED TRAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!  THIS IS THE PREMIS FOR A HORROR MOVIE! At least I have a window seat… actually a bunch of window seats!  I’m not claustrophobic cause I can see the sky!

Was kinda funny because I remember the whole student mindset.  In grad school, we had to learn how to do “critical thinking.”  Sometimes there is not clearcut right/wrong answer. We had to choose “the most correct” answer.  Determining the “more correct answer” drove me nuts!  Each question had something “correct” in it, but there was always one little detail that made it incorrect!  I had friends in school argue every little point of each question they answered incorrectly to squeeze every point on their quest for the perfect score.  That was definitely not me. I figured that ultimately, I’m not going to waste my energy arguing minute details if ultimately I understood the value of the question. Anyways, I got to tell my personal story as a young physical therapist who got the rug pulled out from underneath him and had to recreate himself. I usually talk about helping patients find their own path.  In the lab session, I got to meet the students and challenge them face-to-face. It was kinda cool seeing the “light click on” when I’d give them feedback on their techniques.  The fact that I actually taught someone something that they can use to help someone else was a pretty cool feeling!   It was similar to the feeling I first got when I taught a patient with a spinal cord injury how to successfully transfer from his wheel chair to the mat table independently!  I remember thinking “Someone will actually be applying what I taught them! COOL!” This is what drew me to the Physical Therapy profession in the first place!

*Lights Back on now!  The last trip I scheduled to LA got canceled because someone decided to literally lay down on the track!  Yikes!  Anyways, I’m doing a lot more speaking at PT programs.  I think I’ll be helping out at labs more often now.  I find them more fun because there is more interaction.  Seeing the light “click on” was such a cool feeling!  Plus I enjoy messing with students… hee hee hee!  There are no “nervous testing hands” because I’m not grading them.  I’m really looking forward to doing another lecture and lab at San Diego State University this semester!

Blog and Random blog and reviews23 Jan 2014 10:18 pm

Earlier this week,  I was supposed to go up to Los Angeles for a meeting, but my train got cancelled.  It left me with a bunch of time to kill.  Exploring new areas has become my mission the past few years, but from the perspective of someone with a physical disability.  I decided to check out the San Diego Central Liberty.  Such a cool building!  I had not gone to a public library by myself since I was in high school.  In college going to the library was social time at the UgLi (The Shapiro Undergraduate Library).  I’d spend more time hanging out with my friends then I would actually studying at the library.  I couldn’t sit still in there because I have always had a very short attention span and I was always distracted by all the pretty girls… HAHAHA!

I figured out in grad school that I  need to be alone to get things done because the temptation to do something  more fun was ALWAYS very high!  I’ve forgotten that the library has so many resources! I vaguely remember going to the library as a kid and reading Curious George, Where the Wild Things Are, and Pockets For Corduroy.  I also vaguely remember eating toasted jelly sandwiches and Oreo cookies.  I recall my parents telling me “if you are loud you’ll get in trouble!”  I was always a quiet kid after that!  Most people go to Barnes and Noble to find books or other resources.   I think it is largely due to the fact that it is open later which makes stores and coffee houses more conducive to people looking for a book after work or school.   Technology is making information more accessible, so  I’m very curious to see how digital books/media will affect libraries.

Anyways, at the library, you can borrow CDs, movies, books, ebooks, and even e-readers (with a deposit)!  Pretty cool!  You don’t really appreciate things until the trivial things become difficult to attain. This trip to the library was an unexpected surprise years in the making.  I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed that place until I was immersed in it.  I spent the whole morning exploring a exciting new place!  I even ran into a buddy of mine with his kid!  I found out from him that they also have free classes there!  There are so many interesting resources there!  A genealogy section, a rare books section, San Diego History section, a computer lab, a whole section dedicated to baseball, a roof top view of downtown San Diego… so much going on there!  I’ll definitely be going back there!  The last stop on the trolley goes to the library…very accessible!  Now, I just have to find my library card…

Blog and Random blog12 Jan 2014 11:20 pm

10 years ago in January 2004, I moved from the arctic Michigan winters to sunny San Diego to start an exciting new life.  I had just graduated with my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Michigan Flint.  I was excited to explore a new city as a single young professional fresh out of grad school.  I fell in love with the weather and food after my first night out in downtown San Diego!  When I first moved to San Diego, I lived in a friend’s house in Rancho Bernardo (RB) with a bunch of friends.  I was introduced to blogging, poker, and real flip flops here! The house was like a private hostel for people passing though and needed a place to stay.  I was still in the “broke-grad-student” mindset, so I had no problem living “frugally”.  I would commute an hour to and from RB to work at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.  I started my career in Physical Therapy on the acute care orthopedic rehab team and eventually settled in outpatient orthopedics. I was first assigned to the in-patient orthopedics floor.  I saw many total knee replacements, total hip replacements, post-op orthopedic surgeries, and occasionally a few oncology rehab patients.  I saw some very interesting cases there!  Ironically, I evaluated a few brain tumor patients post surgery.  Most of the Neuro-Oncology Rehab patients I evaluated were not in the hospital very long.  Little did I know that I would eventually become one of the more complex brain tumor patients in rehab.  Based on what I had seen, I thought that I would be out of the hospital in a few days.  I was WAY wrong! The location and size of the tumor complicated things and required a MUCH  longer hospital stay (8 days in ICU and 8 weeks total in hospital.)  I’ll admit it… When I first moved here, I was having fun discovering San Diego.  I was always out doing something! People would always want to come visit or I would go out of town to visit friends in Orange County or Los Angeles.  After a “humbling experience” associated with the lengthy recovery from my brain tumor surgery, my life was put on “hold.”  The people I used to see often were getting busy with their own lives.  It was frustrating not being able to go out and see friends or go anywhere on my own!

Recently, I’ve been able to rediscover San Diego, but from the perspective of someone with a physical disability.  I couldn’t go anywhere unless someone took me.  The only time I would see people is when they came to visit me.  For the first time in my life, I felt trapped in a prison constructed by my physical impairments.  Ultimately, I learned to evolve or more precisely… I  forced myself to evolve.  I do credit the brain tumor for igniting a new fire for advocacy, but I’m still bitter at everything I lost.  Almost everything that defined me was taken away: my job, participation in sports, my mobility… Very humbling… It took a lot of background research and experimentation, but I have found new hobbies/activities in San Diego. Reading, writing, video production, education, and a “new-found appreciation of life” have become my new interests.  I’m starting to have new adventures by exploring different parts of the city via handicap accessible public transportation.  It is essentially “rediscovering” the city that drew me away from my “comfort zone” in Michigan.  Redefining my NEW comfort zone post-treatment is introducing new possibilities for me.  Change is the only constant in life.  Adaptation is the best way to address it.  Many of my favorite restaurants/hangouts are now gone, but I’m having fun discovering new ones! 2014 will be filled with many more adventures.  More international travel is planned later in the year.  “Discovery” will be my theme for 2014.  Stay Tuned!

housekeeping and Random blog09 Jan 2014 06:12 pm