Hola!

Hola mis amigos, from Alajuela, Costa Rica!

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I hope you all have been following my class journey in this beautiful country at the blog that I am continuing to update daily.

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Yep, that’s an active volcano.

 

I love this country. I love that I am here with 32 of my closest friends and colleagues. I love the patients that I am seeing and the difference that I can see that I am making. I love that the patients are changing my life, more than they will every know. I’ve cried a lot, I’ve laughed a lot, I’ve experience every emotion imaginable during the first week of this trip.

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My life is forever changed from being here treating these patients. It’s been an exhausting, chaotic first week, but it is so worth it.

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I’m actually sitting outside in shorts and a tank top right now enjoying the 80 degree weather while all of my classmates are at their clinics. I have a pretty obnoxious sore throat that has been keeping me up the past few nights, and because of the vulnerability of the patients we are seeing, we are not allowed to go in to the clinics with any symptoms of an illness. As upset that I was that I had to sit back and watch my classmates leave me (at the convent with all of the Sisters who do not know English and I know very minimal Spanish, mind you), I understand that it’s important for my health that I stay back and rest so that I can be back tomorrow good to go. And it’s also vital that the patients do not get exposed to any kind of illness. So here I am, checking in with you all, soaking up lots of vitamin D, doing some administrative work for my professors, and feeling pretty doped up on some meds that they bombarded me with so kick this thing to the curb before it worsens.

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Continue to follow along on my class blog as we finish out this week. It’s hard to put in to words what I am experiencing here, but it’s incredible and I don’t want it to end.

Pura Vida!

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Bye Arctic, Hello Sunshine!

Well, here we are! One day until I head down to Costa Rica for 2.5 weeks for a mission trip with my class (and a little extra 4 days of fun at the end).

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For two weeks, I will be in various locations around the Alajuela area of Costa Rica. I know a few fun things planned are a day in the volcanic hot springs, a zip lining tour, and a day at Manuel Antonio National Park (Pictured above). The time between the fun will be spent providing medical and physical therapy services to the residents of the facilities that we are affiliated with.

But first, today I have to finish up my clinical work strong – I’m sad to leave these amazing people that I’ve become so close with over the last 7 weeks. This has been, by far, my best clinical experience for me.  I honestly never thought that I would say I loved acute care (hospitals), but it happened. I truly enjoyed every day at my clinical, everything was different each day, I had to be on my toes, I had to make quick clinical decisions, I got to interact with the  “big dogs” (all the surgeons and MDs), and I had to constantly be thinking about things while working with the patients. I loved it.

I have to say… I’m not that mad that I’m getting out of here for a bit. These subzero temperatures are NOT my favorite, and to say that I’m excited about having a high of 88 degrees and low in the 60s would be a major understatement. I’M SO EXCITED!

I most likely will not be posting on this blog while I am down there, however I am in charge of our class blog, so please please please keep up with our activities on that blog!! You know I’ll be back with full updates when I return, but I’ll also be hitting the ground running  when we get back. I’ll only have about 24 days to study for the comprehensive exams I need to pass in order to graduate. Enter panic attacks.

That’s all I have for you all today. Time to get to clinic and enjoy my last day in the hospital! See y’all in March!

Here is the link for my class blog… follow it. You know you want to see what I’m up to while you all are cold up here in America… :-)

 

Galentine’s Weekend!

So I pulled a big blogger fail this weekend – I took minimal pictures of my fun things I did. But that won’t stop me from giving you all a little recap of my activities! Let’s get right to it…

Friday

I actually got out of work around 1 on Friday and headed straight to school. I got out early because my CI was sick and they gave me the time to work on my inservice. While I was down there, I helped out with packing up supplies that were donated for Costa Rica. That then, led to a little happy hour across the street at A-Town. We met up with a PT who graduated last year from our school, so it was fun to throw questions at him about interviewing, salaries, and anything else that came to mind. I actually don’t think we talked about anything not physical therapy related. Hey, if ya don’t wanna talk PT, don’t come to happy hour with all PT students!

I was pretty exhausted and feeling socially drained from the week after that, but still headed over to a  classmates to chat and hang out. When she left to go out, I opted to head home and sleep. It was a great decision because I passed out as soon as I got home, around 9:30 :-).

Saturday

Just another day. I woke up at the crack of dawn, but laid in bed for a few hours before making any moves. Considered going to the gym but I just was not feeling it. Considered starting to work on my inservice, then I remembered it was Saturday and Saturdays are for soccer!

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Both of my nephews do the Little Kickers program at our local indoor soccer facility and I realized this was the only time I would be able to go, so I jumped on the opportunity! Above is C, about to shoot his PK. And below is me and C, aka me doing tricks and dribbling circles around him to make him mad. (Hahaha, best Aunt ever.)

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And while the big brothers were out on the field doing their thing, little brother, B, was being the cutest thing ever and giving me the stank eye.

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It was a morning well spent with my nephews and my sister! After soccer, I ran a few errands with my Mom: get some blue scrub pants from the store, hit a few other stores looking for a bathing suit bottom to match my new VS top, come up short on the bathing suit bottoms and give up.

Then it was time for my date! With my best friend, Bianca.

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We decided to do a little Galentine’s date which included manicures and pedicures at a new nail salon nearby, a quick dinner, followed by a viewing of Fifty Shades of Grey. This is the part that I failed to take any pictures.  The new nail salon was gorgeous and we were very impressed. The owner actually used to work at a different salon but opened up this one on his own – we had recognized him instantly (do we get our nails done too much?) We didn’t have much time before the start of the movie – about an hour, so we just ventured next door to Cafe Rio. Always a good choice!

Our day ended with Fifty Shades of Grey. And oh.my.goodness. I know the whole Fifty Shades topic is controversial and everyone has their opinions of the books/movie, but I was a fan of the movie, big time. I liked the books – in a “this book is more for entertainment, not for literature” way. The books have their issues – repetition, poor grammar, weird storyline, etc. But I thought the movie drew me in a lot and seriously had me swooning over Christian Grey by the end. (Coming from someone who initially was bummed that the actor was not who I would picture as Christian Grey.) My verdict: I wouldn’t pay to go see it again (cause I’m cheap), but I will definitely be watching it again at some point, and I can’t wait for the sequels. Did you see Fifty Shades? What did you think?

Sunday

Sunday was a little out of control. I woke up to temperatures in the single digits and the wind chill reaching -20. Yes, negative twenty. I hadn’t been to the gym in two days and I really hate skipping the gym three days in a row, but there was just no way I was going outside in that cold. So I hunkered down with my oatmeal and coffee and got to working on my inservice.

I was actually super productive yesterday: I got a ton of packing and laundry done – leaving Saturday for 3 weeks in Costa Rica!; I eventually ran some errands to make copies of my passport, get a bathing suit bottom from Target, and pick up a few books from the library for my trip. While doing laundry I also began doing jumping lunges and squats for a little bit of physical activity; hey, whatever makes me feel better for taking 3 days off. It actually felt really good though, which makes me think my body needed it. Hooray for body recovery!

I made dinner for myself… (okay, my mom made the spaghetti squash before she left, but I did everything else!) Spaghetti squash with a ground turkey, spinach and pepper meat sauce! And a side of wine.

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Now I’m typing this post up as I drink the rest of my wine and procrastinate what I really need to be doing: finishing my inservice! This is my final week of my CP2… CRAZY! Wednesday I am giving an inservice to about 20 people about the types of equipment available to hospitals to adequately care for patients who are obese. Should be pretty interesting, once I get it done.

Happy Monday, people! Only 5 more days of work and then I’ll be headed to the SUN in Costa Rica. I CAN’T WAIT!

Auto-Pilot

It’s hump day. And I can’t believe that this time is flying by so, incredibly, quickly. A week from today I have my final inservice for my clinical, and a week from Friday is my last day of my second clinical placement. Then a week from Saturday I will be on a plane and headed to Costa Rica.

So, right now I feel like I’m on Auto-Pilot. I go to the gym. I go to work. I come home. I start to pack. I work on my inservice. I go to sleep. And I repeat. I’m just moving along in my days right now waiting for a break. And after my five hour meeting about Costa Rica, I am feeling overwhelmed.

I have a lot of packing to do. A lot of shopping to do. A lot of clinic work to still do. And I am exhausted. Constantly exhausted. I’ve been taking random rest days from the gym because I really just sometimes don’t have the energy to go.

Right now, my checked luggage bag is about a quarter full with just toiletries. I just ordered water shoes on Amazon, because we need water shoes. I need to get a pair of royal blue scrub pants. I want to go buy a straw fedora hat and some cheap sunglasses – cause no way my Ray Bans are coming with me to Costa Rica. I need to contact the owner of the house we are staying at and make sure everything is still good to go.

My clinic is going amazing. I had my first patient go non-responsive on me the other day. It was the scariest sh*t I’ve ever experienced in my life. But I’m glad that it happened now and I’ve gotten the initial shock of it out of the way. I know that next time I can react without hesitation – even though my CI and the occupational therapist I was with both said I did an amazing job and did everything I was supposed to. But holy adrenaline rush! Other than that, my CI has been giving me tons more space and I’ve been treating 90% of the patients on my own. The only patients that she helps with are the ones in the ICU, which I am grateful for the little help.

This post was pointless, besides to get things out of my brain and onto something. Sorry for my rambling. I’ll be slacking on posting until I get my life together a bit more. But in lieu of posts, I promise detailed recap posts of my 2.5 weeks in Costa Rica upon my return.

Don’t forget to keep updated with the trip through my class’s page (That I’m in charge of and will be updating every day or two while down there!) www.mudpt2015.wordpress.com

Friday Feels.

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It’s February 6th. In two weeks, I will be finishing my second clinical placement and preparing to head to Costa Rica. I’m so excited and so scared and so nervous about how close I am to the end.

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I know I shared with you all the emotions running through me as I approach this crazy time in my life.. But I feel like as I’m a few steps closer, I am feeling a few other things as well. So let’s chat about the feels…

I’m getting anxious about the lack of time that I have between the time I return from Costa Rica and the date of my comprehensive exams. (It’s less than a month) I’m nervous that I should have been studying for the past few months, while I have done everything but study. I know I will be okay in the end. Worrying for me is a motivator. I’ve ordered my board exam review book and I’ve pulled out old charts and notes to start reviewing. One step at a time.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by how quickly everything is creeping up on me. I’m constantly exhausted when I get home from clinic and have zero motivation to get anything done. Yesterday I had to open the car windows and blast some Timeflies to wake up, because I legitimately could have closed my eyes very easily while sitting in traffic. I need to start packing and gathering things for my trip – two and a half weeks spent in a foreign country is a lot and I just need to get everything prepped (Hello, Type A.)

I’m feeling frustrated at my inability to make future plans. I have friends talking about reunions, bachelorette parties, holiday weekends, and weekend trips. And I would love to say “Yes, I am 100% in!” But I can’t. I can’t make those kinds of commitments right now because while I know I have a generalized calendar of when things are happening/due/etc, it’s hard for me to plan things around my studying and research. My case report this semester is my final research project to earn my Doctorate and it’s my main focus. After that, passing the boards in July is my main focus. I know my friends understand this and are cheering for me, but I get frustrated when I can’t be a part of their fun. (Serious FOMO, guys.)

I think I am mentally exhausted. I’ve talked some on here about how I am a bit of an introvert. I mentally can’t handle a ton of social interaction. I get physically exhausted when I am interacting too much with people. I savor the time that I have after work to spend in my room alone and just decompress. I communicate with people every minute of my work day. If I’m not talking to the patients, I’m talking to my CI. If I’m not talking to my CI, I’m talking to the nurses, the case managers, the MDs, other physical or occupational therapists. I feel my weekends lately have been a good mix of social time and down time; but I’m really looking forward to this weekend of no plans. I have a meeting about Costa Rica and potentially a dinner with my sister on Saturday, but nothing else. I can’t wait to mentally decompress this weekend and just reset my social threshold.

On a more positive note, yesterday, two nurses on two different floors told my supervisor what a great job they felt I was doing; that I am one of the best students they have interacted with. I can’t tell you how amazing that made me feel. It completely boosted my mood and helped my confidence level when working with the patients. This has been the most amazing clinical experience for me and I am seriously so lucky to have had a great supervisor and peers to learn from.

I think that’s all the feels I have for you today. I think I just needed to get some of that off my chest and lay it out there. I know everything will work out and I will graduate and pass my boards and have more free time. But until then, I just need to remain headstrong, stay focused on the goal, lean on my friends and family who have been there since day one, and get it done! Because…

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A Day In The Life

It’s Thinking Out Loud day and it’s time for a day in the life post! I’ve done a few these in the past and since my schedule changes pretty much every few months while in school, why not just do another?! I know you all are just as nosy as I am when it comes to wondering about people’s day to day lives.. As if we don’t know enough about each other already just from reading blogs everyday? ;-)

So here we go! This is my typical day at clinical when I make it to the gym in the mornings (at least 3 times a week I make it in the AM.)

4:54 AM: Alarm goes off. Turn it off without opening my eyes. Debate turning on my second alarm and just going to the gym after work.

4:57 AM: Realize that if I don’t go to the gym now, I won’t go after work. Open my eyes.

5:00-5:08 AM: Get my eyes to open more by checking emails and all social media… because everything on social media is so different from 8 hours ago when I went to sleep…

5:09 AM: Running late, shocker. Get my butt out of bed, use bathroom, wash face, etc.

5:12 AM: Start coffee, eat a banana, go get dressed for the gym.

5:18 AM: Make coffee, gather lunch and breakfast (prepared last night).

5:25 AM: Grab shower bag and work bag, double check that I have my scrubs, hospital shoes, and name tag. Out the door! Running a tad late, oops.

5:35 AM: Arrive at the gym. Put everything in a locker. Take off all my layers.

5:40 AM: On the Arc Trainer to warm up the muscles! And wake up more.

5:55 AM: Crap, need to go lift! Body pump class is happening in the group exercise room so I head over to the machines and the mini stretching room. Todays workout included:

  • Lat pull down behind the head, rows, single leg abduction, skaters, Bosu ball stability shoulder work, skull crushers, I’s and T’s, goblet squat, and Bosu lateral agility drill. Followed by stretching and some core work!

I never really go in with a plan; I kind of just see what’s more sore after I warm up, and work around the soreness. I guess I should probably try to plan it out but that requires more time that I don’t have. It was still a great workout and got my heart pumping!

6:25 AM: Alarm goes off, time to get in the shower!

6:30-6:45 AM: Shower, throw some gel in my hair, throw on a little mascara, get bundled up and out the door!

6:47-7:30AM: Sit in traffic, listen to the Kane show, drink my coffee, dream about my oatmeal (Starving.)

7:40 AM: Heat up oatmeal that I prepared last night, bring it up to the Rehab office, get settled at the computer.

7:50-8:25 AM: Chart reviews. (Read notes and information on the patients we are seeing that day, plan who to see first, discuss plan with CI.) We are seeing a few ICU patients today, should be exciting! Also seeing a patient with a rotationplasty – medicine is amazing!

8:30-10:00 AM: See patients all over the place; one was on her way to get a scan, maybe we will be back later. See our ortho patient in 4 East. See a few patients on the 5th floor.

10:20-12:20PM: See more patients. Head to the ICU and back to the 5th floor. Stomach is growling. I’m ready for lunch.

12:30 PM: Lunch time! Grab my lunch and phone and head to the outpatient gym for a meeting while we eat lunch.

12:35 PM: Catch up on the 50+ text messages from my group chat with my friends from home. Try to pay attention to the meeting that has nothing to do with me.

1:00-1:30 PM: Go up and document some more.

1:35-3:30 PM: Back down to the ICU to see another patient who was sleeping earlier. Back up to the 4th floor to see two more patients.

3:35-4:15 PM: Document the rest of my notes. Laugh with fellow co-workers about events of the day. Discuss plan of care for patients.

4:17-4:35 PM: Go over my notes with my CI. Put in charges. Gather things and get outta there!

4:45 PM: Get in my car, check traffic, try to catch up on the 85 text messages from my friends from home :-). Hit the road.

4:50-5:40 PM: It’s a gorgeous day so I’m hoping that I beat the sun home and can go for a quick run. Call my mom. Listen to some music. Sit in traffic.

5:45 PM: Sun is going down and realize I’m pretty sore and shouldn’t run. So I hop in the shower to wash off the hospital stank.

6:00 PM: Mom is at yoga, dad is at work, on my own for dinner. My go to? Egg sandwich. With spinach and whole wheat toast. Yellow bell peppers and cherry tomatoes on the side.

6:20 PM: Grab my water bottle and head to my bed to start typing this post and eat my dinner. (Something about my bed when I get home from work that just calls to me.)

6:30 PM: Remember that I missed Chicago Fire last night, so I turn it on from OnDemand. (It’s on a 10, I am way asleep by then.)

7:15 PM: Start working on my PowerPoint for my inservice. My topic: Caring for the obese patient in the acute care setting. With a focus on the equipment needs/costs.

8:00-8:25  PM: Head downstairs, make my lunch for tomorrow, get the coffee pot ready to turn on, make my oatmeal for breakfast. Throw my lunch and breakfast in my lunch box and into the fridge.

8:30 PM: Tummy is a little hungry, so I grab a handful of Skinny Pop popcorn. Sit on the couch and chat with Mom for a bit.

9:00 PM: Make my gym bag for the morning, get my scrubs together, put everything by my bedroom door.

9:05 PM: Get in to bed and set my alarm: either AM gym time (4:54), or sleep-in time (5:38AM).

9:15 PM: Lights out. And within 20 minutes I am down for the count!

And there we have it! Sorry for the super long post. But that’s my typical day! Busy, exhausting and I can’t wait to get in to my bed the second I get home. (After showering and taking off my nasty hospital scrubs)

Only 2.5 more weeks until clinical is over and I am on my way to Costa Rica. I. Can’t. Wait.