Friday, February 18, 2011

First Day of Finals

I am happy to report that I took my first final today in Phys Di.  It was at 9:00 am and it was a tough final.  I started reviewing for it last night, because I've been done with the actual reading for this test for sometime.  However, because I like Mosby's so much, I have been reading on and it is so interesting.  I like the chapters on putting all that you've learned together.  I think I like that because I can be really detail-focused, but I am truly more of big-picture kind of person.  I don't like studying minutae without knowing the how it fits with the rest of the whole.  I think that is part of why Gross and Spinal Anatomy classes were so difficult for me, because I have a tough time with rote memorization.  I need the information to be relevant.

So I've been studying PNS and Phys Di the past few days.  I went over the differential diagnoses last night and reviewed hair, skin, and nails this morning before going in for the final.  I didn't feel as confident as I could have.  However, I did well enough:  I got 62 out of 74 possible and earned my A by 6 points.  I'm very pleased with that, as Phys Di is a 10 credit course and I can use the good quality points, which will help my GPA.

Tonight, I'm going to spend even more time studying PNS.  Really need to do well on that final on Monday.  I'm really jonesing to go see "Unknown" but not sure that tonight will work out.  Might have to be tomorrow night.  Gotta get back to studying now...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cervicals Spinal Evaluation update

I felt pretty good about the Cervicals Spinal Evaluation on Friday.  Dr. Hagen was overseeing my findings and adjustment.  The adjustment didn't take, my patient said.  However, because the instrumentation changed, it was considered an actual adjustment.  That is one of the things that Jon and I discuss:  whether or not instrumentation findings are valid or not.  I'm not sure what I think at this point.  I'd have to use them more to feel I have developed an informed opinion on that. 

I did quite a bit of studying over the weekend, combining review for Boards with reading more of Mosby's text for Phys Di.  I read the chapter for Male Genitalia and am working through the Female Genitalia (which is twice as long due to pregnancy information) and I started reading the chapter on Anus and Rectum.  I know all of the info concerning the Anatomy and Physiology will be on Boards, and I know I'll need to know the diagnostic info for upcoming classes, so it is good reading.  I also reviewed some PNS.  The final for Phys Di is this coming Friday and the final for PNS is next Monday.  I want to be ready to do well on both.

We found out Dartagnan is failing 3 classes recently.  I'm not joking when I say we have tried just about every approach to try to motivate him to do his homework and take school a little more seriously.  We've tried standing over him, taking him back to school when he's "forgotten" his homework, had him stay after school (mandatory) to work with his teachers on his work, grounding him from fun things, rewarding him with money/activities if he gets good grades...pretty much nothing has worked.  He has been so resistant.  So, over the weekend, Jon and I began exploring boarding schools, specifically, military boarding schools.  We've found some that sound like a good fit for Dartagnan, especially one called Camden in South Carolina.  Their website states it perfectly:  they believe boys need physical activity (they have physical training every morning before classes), benefit from smaller classes (17:1 ratio), don't need the distraction of the opposite sex (they are a boys-only school) and they are dedicated to helping students that may struggle with ADD/ADHD or lack of motivation.  We are also looking at a school in Georgia, and three in Virginia. 

Since we began looking at the schools, we thought about visiting, because that is really necessary to determine if the place is a good fit for him.  The only time that will work for us to do this is our next break from Palmer.  Thinking about taking a whirlwind tour of schools over break is a little disheartening, because I was planning all the things I wanted to get done over the break at home.  However, Dartagnan's education is very important, so we are going to do what we can to make this happen.  We are still planning it and talked to him about the idea last night.  He was very excited and wanted to see all the schools' websites.  So Jon spent time showing D all the options.  I was glad that D was excited about the prospect and he said he would rather go to boarding school than to Bettendorf High School, where he currently is.  I think he sees it as an adventure and it will be.  I would have given just about anything to get away from Bettendorf High School when I was there myself.  Not because it is a "BAD" school; it is a very good school academically.  I just had a really hard time there because my family was blue-collar, middle-class and many of the kids there were white-collar, middle-class.  I also was not a person to be quiet and just go with the crowd.  Dartagnan is not either, so I think coming back from Minnesota, where he did well in school, has been tough for him.  Up there, he had a chance to make a new reputation for himself.  Here, everyone already thought of him as a slacker and a class clown (his teachers said they suspect he is very intelligent, but that he doesn't want anyone to know it and that he can lead the whole class on a tangent).  So he simply fell back into a familiar pattern when he came home.

I have to take all my Boards review materials with me on the trip, because Boards are about halfway through March and I really don't want to be stressed about them and feel I've not studied sufficiently. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stressful Week

Wow, this week has been a little rough.  Had a quiz and an exam on Monday.  Phys Di was the exam, and that went well.  Wednesday, I had two practicals:  the final practicals in both Cervicals and in Phys Di.  Was a rather stressful day. 

The Phys Di exam on Monday was over the Abdomen and the clinical relevance/findings, etc.  Was a harder exam than I expected, which I think was because I finished reading that chapter in my Mosby's text about a week ago and had already moved on to the next chapters covering the Integumentary System (Skin, Hair, and Nails).  The information wasn't as fresh, but I did review the note set before taking the test, and I'm sure that helped.

Delaney had run a low-grade fever over the weekend and woke up Tuesday morning at 3:30 am with fever that I could definitely feel with my hand on her head.  She stayed home Tuesday and Wednesday from daycare and Jon, my mom, and I all took turns taking care of her and working around each other's schedules.

The Cervicals practical was on Wednesday was scary.  I did very poorly on the last practical, having an anxiety attack during the practical.  I went blank and looking at the listings on the card didn't prompt my memory to remind me how to set up the listings.  I scored only 17 out of 36 on that one and was worried that I would not pass the class due to the low score, however, after class I met with the professor and we went over the points still available and it looks like I'm still going to be able to pass the class, as long as I do moderately well for the rest of the term (which is really only about two more weeks, one week of which is finals).  So I went into this practical on Wednesday very concerned because I needed to do well.  I did much better this time, using some of the techniques for calming myself down that I learned in Boards Review; to look up, to chew gum or basically move your tongue around in your mouth, and one other thing that is not acceptable in public (which I did not do).  These actions help activate the parasympathetic system and calm down the hypersensitive sympathetic system.  I think they helped me.  I also did more review of the relevant material, and I'm sure that helped as well.  There was only one listing that I just couldn't remember how to do, I thought, however, I actually did remember, I just didn't trust that I was right, so I kept second-guessing and didn't end up doing the correct set-up.  I should try to trust my instincts more, but since I've had anxiety issues, I have a harder time making decisions and don't think I'm right as much.  I was satisfied with the 25 out of 36.  Most of the mistakes I made were very small, 1 point off mistakes, like not having the correct angle of arm, affecting Line of Correction, but overall I definitely felt better about the set ups and only had one reconsider, which is when you are totally wrong and they let you try again (that was the one I missed completely).

I was much more stressed about the Cervicals practical than the Phys Di practical.  The Phys Di practical was so much better for me, probably because I feel a lot more confident in that class and because I really love the material.  I put most of my study time into Cervicals and not much in to Phys Di, as the practical was a combination of all the previous practicals we've had this term in that class.  Since I did well on those, I wasn't as nervous about this one, but it was still stressful knowing that as soon as I was done with the Cervicals practical, that I'd have the next practical in less than an hour.  One of my friends, Jen, didn't have a class that hour, so I ran through the practical with her really quick.  It was enough.  I scored 109.5 out of 120.  I was satisfied with that score, too. 

Today was spent running back and forth to and from class, Jon helping me both return the rental car I've had since January 31st because of the repairs to our Honda from the car accident I was in on December 29th, and to pick up the repaired car from the body shop.  I also had to pick Lani up from daycare and take her to the dentist this morning.  When I got to her school, she was playing at the water table (no surprise there, she loves water!), and her shirt and pants were wet.  I took her into the bathroom and changed her clothes and diaper and got her bundled up.  Hurried to her pediatric dentist, Dr. Joel Peterson, of Children's Dentistry.  He's great.  Very mild-mannered and patient.  He was Dartagnan's peds dentist, too.  His entire office is full of Disney everything, and there are tropical fish tanks between each exam chair.  He has kid arcade-style games, huge stuffed Disney characters and small ones.  It is a fun office for kids; they feel very comfortable there. 

After Lani's checkup (no cavities! YEA!), I took her to lunch at Greatest Grains.  Thought maybe Jon would be able to join us, but he wasn't feeling well and had gone home to rest.  Lani picked out the hot meal deal, with roasted turkey, braised beets and carrots, wedged red parsley potatoes, and cranberry applesauce.  She hardly touched her food.  I got the spinach pate, a veggie-stuffed baked potato, and a slice of cherry cheesecake for Jon.  Was pretty full after the spinach, so brought the rest of the food home.  Lani and I did a little grocery shopping there (we needed some rice milk, almond milk, and frozen organic raspberries and strawberries).  When we got in the van afterward, she said she didn't want to go back to school, so we came home.  She fell asleep in the car (another YEA!), and stayed asleep when I brought her in the house and Jon laid her down in her bed.  She slept quite awhile this afternoon, which is good, because they only lay down from 1:00 to 3:15 at school and sometimes she doesn't even fall asleep until 1:45 or so.  I slept too.  About 3 hours.

Tomorrow is the next Spinal Evaluation in Cervicals and we have to examine a patient as though the patient is coming in our office for a visit.  We have to do the tests, exams, etc., that we would perform in the office.  I'm not too nervous, because the one I had last Friday went well, so hopefully tomorrow will go well too.  I'm going to practice in the morning after PNS, because I have only PNS at 7:30, then my next class on Friday is Cervicals at noon.  I think I will be ready.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My First Adjustment!

I'm totally excited!  Just performed my first adjustment in Cervicals class and it went very well!  I was so nervous, and I didn't get done in the 25 minute timeframe that would have allowed me to get 2 extra credit points (but no one in the class today did).  We had to do the work-up with visualization (checking for indicators of right or left superiority/inferiority), ortho-neuro testing, leg check, instrumentation, palpation and x-ray findings.  Then we had to decide which adjustment is best for the patient based on all the findings.  My patient had a VSC (vertebral subluxation complex) at C4 and I performed a Dth (double thumb) adjustment, prone, at C4.  After, the leg check was no change, but pain on extension was decreased, and the nervoscope revealed the break that had been at C4 was no longer present.  Yea!  I was happy I didn't hurt my patient and that the adjustment "went." 

Now I'm just reviewing my notes for the Abdomen Practical in Phys Di, which is in 30 minutes.  After that, I hopefully will have time to run home and grab something to eat before Board Review begins at 4.  That goes until 9 tonight and starts up again at 8 am tomorrow morning.  Quite the weekend.  I just have to say I'm thankful we had a snow day this week so it seemed like I sort of had a weekend.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Irene Gold Board Review & Snow Day

I spent the entire past weekend in Board Review.  I was dreading sitting for so many hours and had no idea what to expect.  Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised because our instructor was hilarious and he really helped tie together all the material we've learned so far in our education.  Fortunately, the time flew by.  I took walks around campus during the breaks to help the sitting not be so unbearable.  It was hard not really having a weekend, though.

We had a snow day yesterday.  The count was 17 inches for Bettendorf.  Our neighbor, Doug, snowblew our walks and drive.  That was such a blessing, because, with Jon's herniated discs and my externa otitis (outer ear infection), it was hard on us to do it. 

Jon had gone out Tuesday night, while I was at the urgent care clinic getting my ear looked at, and had shoveled, which he really shouldn't be doing at all.  When I got home, it looked like it hadn't been touched because of the wind and the drifting. 

Before I came home from urgent care, I stopped by Hy-Vee and picked up some groceries and lots of bottled water, just in case.  I also got three movies from RedBox, which had hardly anything left.  We watched "Babies" with Lani in our bed that night.  She loved it.  It was charmingly done.  Last night Jon and I watched "Repo Men" which was really disturbing psychologically and violently.  That wasn't such a good rental.  Lani and Dartagnan watched an owl movie, "Legend of the Guardians" I think.  They liked it, too.

I also stopped at Walgreen's to get my prescription for my ear drops before coming home and picked up valentines for Lani to make for her class and some Smarties to put with them.  They also had in those yummy Reese's peanut butter cup hearts, so I got one for Jon, because that is his favorite.  Just driving home from Walgreen's at Duck Creek down Kimberly Road hill, which is a very short drive, was bad.  The snow was at least 6 inches deep and, if it had been plowed, it didn't look like it had.  I'm glad it was downhill to go home because I wouldn't have made it if it was the other direction.  By the time I did get home, the blizzard was in full swing.  I unloaded groceries, got the car and van parked behind the house, off the alley, in preparation for the plows to come by the front of our house where we usually park, and got inside as quick as possible.

To thank Doug for all his hard work, I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday.  Lani helped me measure out the brown sugar and vanilla, and helped me beat the eggs into the mix.  She loves to "help."  Dartagnan delivered the cookies for me.

I knew I should buy extra bottled water, but had no idea why I felt that way.  Well, when Dartagnan woke up yesterday, he came out of his room and was standing in water.  We had a leak in a pipe somewhere in the ceiling, under the new construction Jon just did!  So Jon spent the entire day re-routing the water from the hot water heater.  It was not fun being without hot water almost all day, and having no water at all for a few hours, but we managed.  I'm so glad that Doug helped us out, or Jon wouldn't have been able to drive to go get the parts and would have had to walk to the hardware store, which would have used up valuable time (plus, the three copper pipes were about 10 feet long each, which would have been a bear to carry home in the cold and snow). 

I heated water on the stove and used it to give Lani a bath in the kitchen sink because we'd all stayed up and watched movies the night before, so she went to bed without her usual nightly bath.  She loved it!  She's not had a bath in the sink since she was very little, and she's a rather large two-year-old.  She didn't want to get out. 

Dartagnan helped me dig out all around the cars and under them, too.  We got them cleared off and started them to make sure they would start with no problem today.  He helped me clear the drive even closer to the fence so we could squeeze both in a little closer to the fence and a little farther away from the alley, in case a plow came through.  Wanted to make sure that we wouldn't get hit or lose a side mirror on the van.

We only lost electricity once, for just a few moments.  We were very thankful for that, too, because it was so cold outside that our house would have cooled down to the point of being unbearable within a few hours.  We had anticipated that possibility and turned the heat up higher than usual when we went to bed Tuesday night, so we'd have a "cushion" of warmth if we did lose power.  We do have a wood-burning fireplace, but it does not put out much heat and wouldn't have done us much good in a power loss.

I did a load of laundry with cold water, cleaned more of the living room, did some studying for Phys Di.  It was a overall a pleasant day for me; not so much for Jon having to plumb all day.  He was exhausted afterward, from having his hands over his head all day.

Looked at heritage/vintage roses on-line last night.  I think I would like to try growing some climbers on our fence this summer...that would be so beautiful, roses all over the fence...

Time for class.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday at my old church

Well, I'm happy to say that my visit to my childhood church went very pleasantly and I was able to see and talk to many people I know.  Was nice to get caught up with them, see how their children have grown.  My friend Tracy's little girl, Megan, is just a little angel.  She's got the most beautiful little face, with big blue eyes, and tiny white-blonde curls all over her head.  She's so cute! 

Was fortunate to sit in the row in front of a friend I used to go to another church with, there with her son, who is the same age as Dartagnan.  She gave me some sad news about her marriage and I really feel for her.  She's facing a lot of challenges right now and we exchanged numbers again so we can get together and talk sometime this week.  She is just such a sweet, kind person, that I really hope that her future holds something very positive for her soon.

Visiting was a better experience than I thought it would be.  I do like the church music there better (no hymns; pretty much all current Christian worship music).  The message was also particularly good; it was all about transformation, as the senior pastor is retiring and passing the mantle to his son.  He referenced the children of Israel crossing the Jordan into the land of Canaan, Elijah leaving Elisha. 

Delaney wanted to run all over the church and it took me, my mom, and Dartagnan to corral her and keep her from running wild.  She wanted to explore the balcony, so I walked up one set of stairs with her and brought her down another.  She thought that was fabulous.  Kids are so easily entertained.  It's awesome!

Delaney ran a slight fever last night.  Saturday and Sunday she's had a bit of a runny nose and a cough.  She woke at 3:30 am and was warm and needed a drink.  Got her settled back down, but had a little trouble falling back to sleep myself because my neck was really stiff again.  Microwaved the heat pack and used that for a bit.  Helps relax the muscles.  Was able to get back to sleep pretty quick after that.

Jon arrived home last night from Orlando around 9:30.  Was good to have him home.  He was excited because he made some good contacts with doctors in the field, two who offered to mentor him.  This may lead to a short associateship or preceptorship while I finish Palmer after Jon graduates.  If that would happen, it would be a blessing.

I just have to say that with how cold it has been and the persistence of the ice to not melt away, I am just really ready to move to a warmer climate.  Florida would be very nice right now, indeed.

Got adjusted this morning in between classes and it was exactly what I needed.  I feel so much better now, although a little sleepy (this is normal for me, because I always feel a little sleepy after an adjustment - maybe because it relaxes me so much after I've been tense from being subluxated).  After the adjustment, I had to hurry up and finish my Cervicals homework, two worksheets. 

Going to move my car and switch out my books for my next class, my favorite, Phys Di.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stalking the Bogeyman

What a pleasant day!  I got to sleep in (Lani let me - yea!) until 7:30 and got up and did some chores/cleaning, made a smoothie and shared it with her, did a little studying.  Was low-key and nice.  Dartagnan stayed the night at Grandma's last night, so was very quiet because Jon is also out of town this weekend to Orlando for a seminar. 

This afternoon, I got to spend some time with my friend Trish and her two little girls.  Delaney absolutely loves the tunnel and tent that Trish brought her for her Christmas present.  I know, it is mid-January, but we've been so busy that we've not had time to get together until now.  Was so good to see her and catch up a little.

Had two of my friends over to practice Cervical set-ups because we have a very important practical (very important because it is worth many points and because there are so many ways to go wrong on it!).  We mostly chatted, because we don't get to really just sit and have good girl-talk much at school.  One friend brought her daughter over and our girls played together.  I'd be happier if Lani was a little more willing to share her toys and not be so aggressive with other kids.  She's only two; she will learn how to be a better friend and share more as she gets older.

I was thinking over the discussion I was having with my friends from school:  one was upset that the other hadn't shared a rather important piece of information about her life with her until very recently and did not understand why she would withhold it.  We talked about how much our experiences and our other relationships can influence how we interact with each other.  I was just reflecting that perhaps we could become more merciful and understanding with each other if we'd have just a glimpse of how the other person's life experiences have shaped them. 

When I came home this afternoon from stopping by to have lunch with my mom and dad, I was listening to a story on NPR, "Stalking the Bogeyman" by David Holthouse (originally appeared in WestWord, an alt-weekly newspaper in Denver, in 2004  What a powerful story of forgiveness.  I was so engrossed in the story that I had to stay in my car and listen to the end of it before I could get out and go in the house.  I think it really shows that oftentimes, there is so much we just don't know about where someone is coming from, that we make assumptions based on our own experiences.  From the data he refers to in his article, look around you:  1 in 4 girls has been molested/sexually assaulted/raped...that is so disturbing to me, a mother of a charming, beautiful little girl.  I do try to be most vigilant about protecting her, not leaving her with anyone I don't know extremely well.  I even question allowing Dartagnan's friends to stay over if I've not spent time around them, because, God forbid that someone would harm my baby girl in her very own home.  I just think it is so important to be careful, even if it means that some people think you are crazy for being so concerned.  Please don't interpret this to mean that I suspect my son's friends of being pedophiles; I don't.  I don't want to create situations where one might have even an inkling of temptation to do something untoward.  I can't help thinking of the possibilities because I never want either of my children to have any experiences like that to hurt them and change them.

(Content removed due to censorship.)
I'm needing to get to sleep.  I want to get more studying in before church in the morning.  Going to the church I grew up in tomorrow with my mom.  She loves it when I come back with her.  However, it just isn't "home" anymore.  I don't miss it, but there are a few people I do miss.  I think the way I grew up in the Assemblies of God as I did, and now comparing and contrasting it with the way I'm experiencing the Lutheran church, it feels like the emphasis is too much on the emotion and on the expectation of having an "encounter" with God every service; preferably every day.  I've come to really appreciate my husband's upbringing in the Lutheran church, where it appears that the emphasis is more on the business of living a life that shares the faith in a more conservative manner rather than the way it felt when I was growing up A/G: like you were constantly having it in your face and if you didn't "feel it" then "your heart isn't right."  Now I think that is hogwash, because no one "feels" spiritual, or close to God all the time.  We have earthly moments.  We have times when we question.  Questioning isn't wrong, but I was raised to believe that it was nearly sacrilegious.  Overall, I look back on my spiritual upbringing and feel that many of the people who passed through that church (and I do mean passed through, because the congregation has remained relatively the same size since hitting about 400 in attendance years ago), were hurt spiritually, and felt that they could not live up to the unrealistic expectations that were taught to them.  I know people who won't step foot inside a church because they were deeply wounded by something someone said to them that amounted to abuse of spiritual power.  It is a shame that sometimes people who mean well can botch it up so badly.  We are human, however, and we do make mistakes.  It is unfortunate to hold onto hurt for so many years and, perhaps, allow the hurt to keep you from having positive experiences in your life.  As I've gotten older and become friends with many people outside of my faith, it has really enriched my life and I hope I'm learning and taking the best of what I find in other faiths and applying to my own beliefs and attitudes.  I hope that I'm becoming more tolerant and understanding.  Life is definitely a journey. 

I am so glad that I'm a student again and that my mind is being expanded by what I learn at Palmer.  I am thankful, even though it can be a painful process at times.  I am so fortunate that I live in the United States and that we have student loans to help us achieve our educational dreams.  On that happy note, I now retire to bed.