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29 July 2009


The words in the title describe how my brain feels. The vocabulary for my two classes is immense, the skills are mildly complicated, and the stress is great. All of this comes together to make my mind... a mind that is filled with words... words that aren't even English...

For example.. fimbraie, fornix, fundus, cauda equina, spinal stenosis, psoas, hypertrophic, articular processes, iliocostalis lumborum, nuchal, spinalis, longissimus, multifidis, levator costae, sternocleidomastoid... Is that enough? No? How about some of the foot and arm muscles....subscapularis, supraspinatus, coracobrachialis...not to be confused with the brachialis... or the brachial artery.. not to be confused with brachial veins... or....

How about long names... like "posterior circumflex humeral artery" or "medial brachialantebrachial cutaneous nerves"? You know in the arm you have triceps and biceps. Did you know the proper name for the biceps is biceps brachii and that there are two heads? a short head and a long head. Did you know there is a little muscle in the arm called "anconeus?" It's a small muscle (relatively speaking) that connects at your elbow and travels down your arm about a third of the way to attach to your ulna (the little bone on the pinky side of your lower arm). It's an important muscle because it assists the triceps in extending the forearm, stabilizes the elbow joint, and helps with the ulna during rotation of the hand. This is all from one half a page of my notes..... That doesn't begin to cover it.

All of this to say. When it takes me a minute to comprehend what you say, or put words together to make a sentence... have a little patience. My brain is mush and I still have two weeks to go :)

Don't get me wrong. I love the field. I love what I'm learning. I LOVE working with the cadaver and my fellow lab partners... However... during my two week vacation it will be nice to not have my day revolve around coracoid processes, tuberosities, and supraglenoid tubercles. :)

I know the picture is a little disorienting but it seemed to describe the way my brain feels....

Much love and compassion.... from Boston.

19 July 2009

Refreshment in a Time of Drought...

Since I've been here (and right before I moved) things have been so hectic that it has been very easy to push my time in the Word aside. I know the benefits...I know how it makes me feel. It was just a decision to do other things and push it aside. There were times when I would think of it...crave it. But there just weren't enough hours in the day. Then the worry and anxiety began creeping in....and gained some ground. What a horrible feeling. Panic is not a stage in which I want to spend my day. So yesterday I pulled out my Bible and started digging. I looked up words like: worry, help, hope, and peace. I came across some very helpful and meaningful verses. Some that I've marked many times before and others that were a first in my digging studies ;) I'll post a longer entry about them later.... after my gross anatomy exam. But I wanted to share a quote I found this morning digging through Strong's Concordance (thank you Ele) and Matthew Henry's Commentary.

I was looking up Psalm 37:37
"There is a future for the man of peace."

In perusing Matthew Henry I found this from his section on Psalm 37:34-40. ( I changed the them and they to me....)
He is my strength in times of trouble...
He shall keep me AND deliver me...
He will help me to do my duties,
bear my burdens,
and to maintain my spiritual conflicts,
bear my troubles well and get good by them.
In due time (His time),He will deliver me out of my troubles.

He will save me,
not only keep me safe, but make me happy,
because I trust in Him,
not because I have merited it from him,
but because I have committed myself to Him
and reposed a confidence in him,
and have thereby honored Him.

Consider this in your comings and goings of this week. Who gave you the sunshine you are enjoying? Who gifts you every day of your life? Who is walking beside you to protect you and comfort you when you are lost? Who loves you more than we can humanly imagine? Who create each intricate part of your body to work in perfect harmony? Who prepares you for things in the future, good and bad? Who would lay down their life for you and gave his son for you? Abba.

18 July 2009


To the amazing woman who gave up your body so that I may learn... And to the family who supported her decision....

I know not what your name was in life but in death I have named you Shirley.
 How amazing it is that you gave your body so that I may learn. You have become my greatest teacher.

Because of you.....

I know:
what a heart feels like.
what a heart looks like.
the layers of muscles.
the incredible amount of organs in one tiny belly.
what a spinal cord looks like (WOW).
the fascia surrounding the kidneys.
the layers of the foot (or will by the end of today).
what the sciatic nerve looks like (huge).
and the damage done to your lungs by the disease.
 I can imagine:
what struggling to breathe must have felt like.
the emotional strain of the hysterectomy.
and your family.
 I am amazed by:
your generosity.
your kindness.
and your consideration for me.
 and so I name you Shirley....
Surely you were lovely.
Surely you were thoughtful.
Surely you were compassionate.
Surely you were cared for.
Surely you were loved.Surely I will learn with your help.
Surely I will pass this class.
Surely I will help people.
Surely I will appreciate your sacrifice.
Surely I will one day make the same sacrifice.
Surely (Shirley) you are loved!
*To anyone who reads this:
Please consider donating your body for medical students. It is truly one of the greatest gifts we will ever receive. I can't begin to describe to you how amazing it is to see what you are learning... not only through pictures and diagrams but in its truest form. To read about the spinal cord is one thing.... to see the human spinal cord is an entirely different thing. There is not a day I spend in the lab that I am not amazed by something. The thoughtfulness shown by these individuals and their families is something that we as medical students do not take lightly. Shirley's sacrifice will be with me for the rest of my life. She is my greatest teacher....and is in turn a great helper to my future patients. There is currently a shortage of donors and medical schools are having to place 15-30 students per body.... To do/dissect is to learn like no other opportunity offers. Please consider this when planning for how you want to be remembered. Being an organ donor is great and saves lives. But don't write off the idea of total donation to a medical school.... They are both great options. By teaching doctors you are saving the lives of the people they treat.

12 July 2009

At Night... when my mind catches up with me. All of the things I push aside during the day come in like a flood in the evening. How does that work?

It's the time when I want to call people but every one's asleep. I want to read a book but the textbooks seem to be calling my name. I wish there was someone to come home to. Someone to share my hopes and dreams with. Someone to share my disappointments with. Wow! That sounds so incredibly cheesy :) It's not that I am unhappy to be single or dream of being married all the time. It's not like that. It's just the random moments when the longing of my heart is stronger than the reality of life.

I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. In the program I'm supposed to be in. Spending my days with the group of people I'm supposed to have as colleagues. Living in the city of my dreams. Studying human bones and living in a cadaver lab..... I know that for once in my life I am in the place and position that God intended. I'm not sitting on the line. I'm here and I'm working hard to stay here.

I talked to a great friend for a long time today and was trying to explain how it feels to be here. Most days my day goes by and I wonder where it went and how it passed so fast. Some days I want so badly to be able to drive down the street and visit a friend for food and game night or drive and hour and be at my parent's house to cook a meal, chat, and laugh... Other days I don't miss it. It's not because I don't truly miss them. It's because there is some surreal phenomenon that occurs where my brain thinks they are still nearby. It doesn't comprehend that I can't meet Christy for coffee and errands after work. I can't text Traci to meet at Barnes and Noble. I don't have Thursday movie and game night with Laurie to look forward to each week. I can't pop in at Cheryl's house for a good meal, craft/sewing talk, and laughter. I can't crash on the couch at Mama and Daddy's house and cook food and watch all the good girlie flicks like.... Miss Congeniality, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Sweet Home Alabama... I can't go to the Watson's house and hang out with Bubbaloo. There's no shooting pool, crashing on the couch, getting lost in video games (literally lost :) ), watching Jackie Chan movies, and Big Bang Theory marathons. Today was a day when I craved my old life. I miss the love, the camaraderie, the comfort, and the laughter.... It's strange... a strange reality.

A storm has begun and the lightning outside my third floor window is amazing.... I'm heading to bed to enjoy the sound of the rain and thunder.... G'Night All!!!

11 July 2009

The Last Bunch of Days...

...have been a bit crazy. (I'm beginning to see a theme)

Amy came to visit last week/weekend. We had a lot of fun and she was instrumental in helping me study for my exams on Tuesday. The jokes and dinosaur names really helped me remember some of the little details needed. Monday I had to say goodbye to her at the airport... That was incredibly hard and tears were present. I think I often don't notice how alone I am here until my friends and family leave. It seems to highlight the hardest aspect of this process.

On Wednesday we had a white coat ceremony and I gained a white coat (with pin) for my wardrobe. It's a bit surreal. At the moment when I wear it it looks like I'm playing dress up in my Daddy's whitecoat. It will be heading to a tailor on Monday or Tuesday :)

On Thursday we received our exam grades and I was terrified!!!! I am pleased to announce that I passed both with more than just a few points :) Goals for myself now include being more confident and not second guessing myself. Multiple questions on the written test were wrong because I changed them from the right answers. Frustrating....

I don't feel very eloquent at the moment. The fact that it is almost three a.m. might have something to do with it. Today I did a clinical rotation at Spaulding Rehab Hospital in the cardiac/pulm floor. It was a good experience and it cemented some of my future job details. I really feel a calling to work in inpatient acute care. I enjoy the collaboration required between the therapists, nurses, doctors, etc... The pace is less laid back and more my style. Things are always changing and new patients are always being admitted. However today also solidified the fact that I do NOT want to work in cardiac/pulm every day. I can't do it. I want pediatrics. I want to work with children and their families. Children with CP, CF, Downs, brain tumors, cancer, etc.... I want to be a sense of calm in their storm and help them regain possible function. It's where my heart's my love... It's the niche where I fit....

A couple of interesting stories from today:
  • An elderly gentlemen had an old tatoo of a woman (sort of pinup style). As we were talking I asked about the tattoo and once I assured him that discussing it would NOT get him out of therapy.... he told me a story. He received the tattoo around 1945. Things were obviously different then. He tried to go to a pool to swim and was turned away because the woman on his arm was without clothing. Keep in mind that the only private area of the woman showing was a tiny amount of the upper region of her backside. He proceeded to get a bathingsuit tattoo'd on his tattoo so that he could go to the pool. My how things have changed. He then showed me a small one on his arm... a heart with Mom in the middle. With a humble smile he proceeded to tell me that he thought that getting "Mom" in the middle would butter her up to the fact that he had a tattoo. He then added the fact that he was 14 when he obtained it and apparently it was from a really bad part of time lined with strip shows. I asked if it worked (the buttering up)... With an adorable laugh and a lot of chagrain he said..."umm... no :)" This same man told me that I would be a great therapist because I wouldn't let him stop doing his work or distract me. I take it as a compliment.
  • A conversation from today with a female patient around 65yo:
Pt: "You want to be a student?"
Me: "I am a student."
Pt: "What for?"
Me: "to be a physical therapist."
Pt: "What? Why?"
Me: "It's a profession that has helped me and one that I love."
Pt: "Hmmph"
Pt: "Well, I'm sure you'll be a good one...anyone can do that job."
Pt: "It's so easy you'll catch on with no problem."
Pt: "They don't do anything. Anybody can do that job!"
  • Another one:
Pt: "You're a student?"
Me: "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Are you learning anything?"
Me: (smile) "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Where are you in school?"
Me: "MGH Institute"
Pt: "Charlestown? like the one affiliated with Mass General Hospital?"
Me: "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Doctorate program?"
Me: "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Hmm... you're smart?"
Me: "Mmmm... I work hard."
Pt: "Hun, that wasn't a question. It was a statement. "
Pt: "Own it... you'll do great."
Pt: "How you liking Boston? You're obviously not from here?"
Me: "Why would you say that?"
Pt: "Honey I know a carolina accent when I hear one!"
Pt: "It's the state of great golf and great food."
Pt: (to the PT) "You been there? You should go! Beautiful state!"
[He was my kind of man ;) ]

Life is good. It's just different. I'm up most mornings before 6:30am. I'm then off to class and then to more class. When I'm not in class I'm in the cadaver lab at Harvard Med School. I study and then all of a sudden I realize it's 11pm and I need to be climbing into bed but still have a couple of hours of work left to be done. For those I haven't talked to... I can tell you that I've been thinking of you. I'm trying to get my feet under me and used to the schedule. I can tell my body is still adjusting to the changes that took place with the surgery. I'm more easily exhausted and it seems to hit suddenly. Fine one minute and the next minute I can barely hold my eyes open.

I'm heading to bed now... It's 3:30am and the migraine is getting worse instead of better. Tomorrow is a day of studying with hopes of getting behind my camera for some flower pics. I miss holding it in my hands and viewing the details God made by hand. I hope this finds you beginning an amazing weekend!

08 July 2009


I'm not lost => Life is just hectic.

Amy, my sister, was here Thursday through yesterday and I had my first two gross anatomy exams today. So it's been lots of sight seeing, studying, and stressing ;) I have lots to share and had planned to do it tonight... But seeing as how it is now 4am...(I fell asleep on the couch) I'm heading to bed. A long day tomorrow... professional socialization lab (vital signs) and then the White Coat Ceremony.

But enjoy the pics.... Amy and I were watching the fireworks from the banks of the Charles River while you were watching on TV. It was AWESOME!!!! More pics are posted to flickr...and more will come....