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10 August 2009

Sweet Love

This picture is an older couple on the train the night I was so sick. The lady kept asking me if I was okay and the man kept telling me "it's gonna be okay..." They sat on the train holding hands the entire time and laughed and joked together. It was a great example of the type of marriage I dream of having one day.... It's the way I picture my parents being years from now. Okay, many years from now. This couple was celebrating their 55 year of marriage ;) How awesome is that in a world in which so many couples are divorced. What an amazing gift to give our children.

On another topic. I'm not kicked out of graduate school :) I will be studying, cleaning, studying, packing, and studying over the next couple of days. The plan is to take the two finals I missed this past Thursday this coming Thursday morning and afternoon. I will then be flying home that night :) I'm so excited to get a break. I will , however, have to take an exam when I return. No worries.... I have great friends and family who have already invested in airfare for the fall. They'll help me study :)

On that note... I'm heading to bed. I'm tired of beating my head against the wall...

I spent time this morning having a conversation with my Father about how much I want to be here for school in the fall. What I was willing to do, why it was important, and the ways that I thought it would all work out... the options I had in mind. (I know.. you're thinking... well that was stupid ;) ) I then turned my quote calendar over for the day and this was the quote:

"This day I will try to instruct God less
and listen to Him more."

Point made :) G'Night

07 August 2009

An Interesting Couple of Days...

I'm not really sure where to start. I just figured it would be easier to update here with details then to tell the same story a million times to people who care....

Let's begin with where I had planned to be right now and what I had planned to be doing. I should be cleaning, relaxing, baking, and enjoying myself at my apartment and wandering around my neighborhood. I should be finished with all of my semester classes except for my retake that's necessary. At around three today I should begin studying for the retake which is supposed to be on Thursday. Thursday afternoon I should be taking the retake (my last test) and then flying home on Thursday night for two weeks. That's what's supposed to be happening... Now.... let me tell you where I am.

Wednesday morning I was studying in the morning, running late to meet a friend at school, and in a hurry. In the process I got smacked in the head with a door (long story). I didn't think it was that big a deal. So I continued with my day. I went to school, met with my friend, took my Professional Socialization skill check, aced it, grabbed lunch, and began to study. As the day progressed I felt worse and worse. Pretty soon the nausea became vomiting and the minor headache from that morning progressed to migraine sort of headache and then became much much worse. I left the school (studying on the 4th floor) at around 9pm and headed home. The closer I got to home the sicker I was becoming. After a not so pleasant stop at the trashcan outside of the T station I called my mom... (part of my reason, I'm pathetic, was that if I passed out on the street she would know where to send an ambulance) As I got to my house I was unsure about making it up the stairs... felt like I was going to pass out. I told Mama I would call her when I got upstairs. At this point my head felt like it was going to explode (much different feeling than my typical migraines). I made it up the first flight and half of stairs (I live in a third floor walk up) and then woke up at the bottom of the half flight up against the wall. Apparently I passed out at the top and fell down to the bottom and landed against the wall. I laid there for a while, then thought "Ok.. I can do this... I can do this... I CAN do this...." So, I started going up the next full flight. I made it up about halfway and then awoke at the bottom of that flight. I sat there for a while and then crawled up the that flight and the next flight on my hands and knees. (I'm sure that was a cute site) I finally made it up to my apartment and called my mom. I proceed to tell her "something is wrong." With the help of my mom signed into my facebook account and a friend from school we discovered that there were no urgent care facilities near my house that were still open (1am) and that the best place to go was Boston Medical Center. An hour wait and a cab ride later.... I was at the hospital. After a vital check and questions asked I was rushed back to the acute care side of the ER. Shortly after was a gown, an IV, two residents, and a CT scan. The CT scan came back showing no bleeds but they still wouldn't let me go home.

During the process I saw many residents (trauma, surgical, neuro, emergency...) doctors, and a very nervous med student. Word got around that I had two gross anatomy finals the next day that I needed to be studying. At the very least I needed to be out in time to take them. After a few... "Hmmmmm"s and "...maybe's...." I had a resident (good looking...about my age... that made it worse) get in my face and this was what he said....

"Look Christa, get over it.... you're NOT going to make it to the exams... You're NOT going to be able to take them and do well... You are obviously CONCUSSED... there is something else going on... and your pupils are the size of a large pencil eraser... I will personally write you a note... Your professors will understand... well hopefully understand... (that was really reassuring!).... now lay back... close your eyes... and I will get pain meds to you REALLY soon." He was the only person I saw on a regular basis through my ER stay. He was the one kind enough to turn the light off over my head (every time someone else turned it on) and closed the curtain. After a while he was the one who taped a sign on my curtain with huge letters.... "CONCUSSION, MIGRAINE... NO LIGHTS... LESS NOISE!!!!!" Okay.. wow! At least he got me pain meds for the headache that wouldn't go away.

The CT results came back... no bleed. The bp started to go down... I was tired of being there. By the way... the doc (resident) apologized for getting frustrated with me and sat and chatted for a while before he left after his shift ended.

I then found out that I was being admitted. Woohoo! What that meant was I was transferred upstairs, asked a million questions, taught how to use a remote control, and ignored. I find it funny that they were keeping me for observation but no one really observed me ;)

I talked to my professor and let her know I wouldn't be there for the finals. That was something I was really worried about but it went well. Then in came another resident... woohoo!... He informed me I wouldn't be going home until Friday to which my response was "Seriously?" However I think my sad eyes did me good. After four hours he came back to let me know he had pulled strings and I was going home. YIPPEEEE! I, of course, looked at the clock to see if I could make it to my gross anatomy practical exam. No such luck.

My paperwork was completed, I walked the halls (to prove I wouldn't pass out), my IV was removed, I bled all over the floor (the needle they used was HUGE!), signed my forms, and called a cab... I was FREE!!!!!

I got home, called Mama, sent some texts, turned off my phone ringer, turned off alarms, and went to bed. Asleep within minutes and woke up nine hours later...

All of my classmates went out and partied lastnight. They are finished for the semester. Most of them are boarding flights today and tomorrow to head home. I meet with my prof on Monday to see where we go from here... Life is never boring but it's not always fun :) The best plans are made to be ruined?

I'm home. I'm fine. This afternoon will consist of cleaning and studying. My brain feels like it got juggled and I feel like I'm starting from scratch. Supposedly that will change in the next couple of days. Life goes on... The sky is a beautiful blue with puffy white clouds, the flowers are blooming, like very other day there is nothing on TV... Like I said... Life goes on :)

I hope this day finds you doing something you enjoy or looking forward to a weekend full of fun :)

04 August 2009

Today's Ride...

(posted Friday 7 Aug 2009)

No change here... things remain to same. In the middle of a week of finals. I feel good about the one I took today and okay about the one tomorrow. The key is I am studying really hard for the Gross Anatomy exams on Thursday. I'm trying to remain positive and doing all that I can possibly do.... So with that said... I'll share my conversation with a really energetic, life loving, positive, encouraging, tiny old man I met on the train today.... then it's back to the muscles I will know before I go to bed tonight :)

I was on the orange line heading home from school. I scored a bench seat in the T station, which is unusual for me, and so I was making flashcards as I waited on the train. A really cute old man came and sat on the opposite end of the bench and I was aware that I was being observed.

As the train pulled up I was inwardly hoping the man would go left when I went right. No luck. I found a seat and the man chose a seat one down from me (a seat in between us). I proceeded to use the seat in between as storage and continued my work.... not for long....
The conversation is as follows:
  • man: Hmmmm....
  • christa: [silence]
  • man: Hmmmmmmmmm..... mmmm....
  • christa: Hmm? (a little annoyed)
  • man: flexor forearm muscles..... interesting...
  • christa: (now very interested) Yes sir..
  • man: Must be a grad student.
  • christa: Yes sir?
  • man: A hard topic and an undergraduate wouldn't be writing notecards on the train.
  • christa: Oh.
  • man: Besides........ you look absolutely exhausted.
  • christa: (tired smile) Thanks.
  • man: A medical field of some sort..(I began to tell him).. No... don't tell me. It's pediatrics.
  • christa: My height? (a little annoyed again)
  • man: No. Why would you assume that? I watched you light up when you watched the kids in the station and their smiles were instantaneous. If you aren't doing peds you need to change your path.
  • christa: Oh I'm certainly peds. I can't imagine doing anything else.
  • man: I can't decide.... [me: Hmm?].... it's either a pediatrician or physiatrist or a physical therapist.
  • christa: [you could have picked my chin up off the floor. He named what I always said I would do and then named what I'm doing now.] Ummm... I was going to be a pediatric physiatrist.... now I'm in school for physical therapy.
  • man: [HUGE smile!] I knew it...
  • (after more words I found out that he, for many years, was a pediatric doc who specialized in medically complex children with neuro and ortho issues. Guess what I want to do!!!)
  • man: How's gross treating you?
  • christa: mmmmmm... not doing so well.
  • man: the topic or the memorization?
  • christa: the memorization. We're doing a semester gross class in eight weeks.
  • man: Well isn't that just rediculous! You are working with human cadavers, right? Where are you in school?
  • christa: MGH Institute (charlestown)...
  • man: DPT, right? So you're gross class is at Harvard Med?
  • christa: Yes sir.
  • man: Great program. Stick with it. Chin up... keep trucking and imagine the faces of all of the beautiful children you will help. It's one step in a long path to a dream God placed in your heart for a reason... Chin up... and because you can probably use it... listen to me. Look at me... Are you listening? "You can do this." I don't think you heard me Christa "You can do this" [keep in mind he was getting louder and louder each time he said it.]
  • (As we approached my stop....)
  • man: Christa? You CAN do this. Go study.... take a nap... study some more and remember there are people cheering you on.
  • christa: Thank you. (I was getting ready to step off the train)
  • man: Christa? (I turned to look at him) I'll be praying for you... from here on out... God Bless.
  • [ a huge smile of relief from me and I was out the door and on my way home]
Just a reminder that God always knows what you need. I am far from family and friends but a little man I had never met took a moment to share with me and through him I was blessed. My only regret of this train ride is... I didn't get his name. (or picture :) )

I hope God is blessing you this week in little unexpected ways. Smile at people as you walk down the street, pass them in the hall. Look them in the eyes, for some people it may be the only smile or gift of warmth they get all day.

A lot has happened since I wrote this post. I'm working on a new one with an explanation. It will be posted later today... for now... it is 5:19 am and I am heading to bed :)

02 August 2009


"For when anxiety was great within me... Your consolation brought JOY to my soul."
-Psalm 94:19

There is a restlessness deep inside me this week that I can't seem to shake. This verse keeps running through my mind. I know it is His doing; not my own.

This is one of my life verses... I love that it says it brings Joy from anxiety. It doesn't just say that He removes the anxiety... He doesn't just remove it... He replaces it with an amazing emotion... an overwhelmingly good emotion... JOY!!!

I hope this day finds you filled with JOY!

A Topsail View..

I need a break from staring at notes, clinical oriented anatomy, Netters, and my whiteboard... I spent hours in the cadaver lab this morning at Harvard and now it's back to the books...

I had hoped to be able to go to Topsail this year but it's not going to happen. My next real break will be in three years... Guess my photos will have to hold me over ;) Enjoy.......
(these pictures were taken last year or the year before......)

01 August 2009

A study break....

"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. "

-Anatole France
French novelist (1844 - 1924)

My week and weekend have been very little other than study and yet I feel as if I know nothing. I found this quote this afternoon as I was trying to stay awake to continue learning about the flexor/extensor muscles in the forearm and the pathways of the arteries, veins, and nerves. I wholeheartedly admit that it is overwhelming. And the idea of going home in two weeks without being able to join my fellow classmates in September is terrifying.

Because you see, for the first time I feel like I am where I am supposed to be. That is not to say that it is easy. I'm here to tell you it is NOT easy! I spend 90% of my time studying and still feel like I don't get it. I reach times when it is as if my brain is crying out to me... "STOPPPPP!! I can't take anymore!!!!!"

In conversation with a friend I was trying to explain that "No, you are not the only one I haven't talked to since I've been here." "Yes I care about you." "Yes your friendship is important to me." And then came the sentence of all sentences... "I don't understand why you act like you are so busy. You're only taking TWO classes. It's not like you are taking a full semester load." Ladies and Gentlemen.... I am here to tell you... Yes I am taking two classes.... Yes I am busy.... Yes I am stressed.... Yes my hair is falling out by the handfuls.... Yes I often forget to eat because I'm deep in the books.... Yes a week sometimes passes without me realizing it.... Yes I am engrossed in my studies.... Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes!

But here's what you may not realize. My gross anatomy class is actually two classes consisting of a lab and a lecture. It takes place at two different schools on the opposite sides of Boston. The two schools are MGH Institute of Health Professions (Charlestown) and Harvard Medical School (Longwood Medical Area). I am at school six or seven days a week! When I'm not in class it is NOT uncommon to find me in a small room at Harvard studying with a skeleton or in the cadaver lab learning what SHIRLEY can teach me. My gross anatomy class is the same class that our professors took as a sixteen week (entire semester) class. We are learning the same things in eight weeks. Brutal doesn't begin to describe it. The other class is Professional Socialization. Learning skills...getting everyone up to the same level. The class isn't hard but it can be tricky to plan time with a partner to practice techniques for the skills checks.

When I do go home it's usually well after seven and I walk from the T station, through the neighborhood, up three flights of stairs, remove my shoes, grab a diet coke or water (depending on what kind of day it's been) and pull out the books. Sometimes I take a quick power nap and then study. Either way I usually study until around 12:30 or 1:00 then it's off to bed.... and the next day it all repeats itself :)

All of this to say.... I am sorry.... I wish I was more organized... I wish I had previous knowledge that made learning gross anatomy easier... I wish I wasn't stretched to the max... I wish I could add hours to the day.... I wish I had time to call everyone... I wish I was within a walkable distance for coffee with each of you. But I'm not. I'm doing the best I can and praying that my journey in Boston doesn't end in two weeks.... Please pray with me. Not that I will call you....but that I survive... not just physically or educationally... but mentally and emotionally....

The upcoming two weeks are packed.

  • Tonight and tomorrow is study time.
  • Tomorrow morning I'll be in the lab at Harvard for hours... then the rest of the day will find me reading notes, writing notes, using the whiteboard, drawing pictures, studying my bone box, and lots of prayer.
  • Monday: is a review session w/ my professor (lots of assignments to do before then) and then a practice gross anatomy practical. Then you guessed it.... studying :)
  • Tuesday: Professional Socialization final (written)--Gotta study for that at some point :) and then skills practice with partner for skill check.
  • Wednesday: Professional Socialization ("P. Soc") Skill check... pass or fail! on ambulation, guarding, gait training, assistive device education, stair gait education, and possibly falls... FUN!
  • Thursday: Gross Anatomy Final (written exam)(noon) and then Gross Anatomy Practical (cadaver lab test) (right after written exam)
  • Friday: half a day to breathe.... and then it's back to the books until the following Wednesday.
  • Next Thursday morning: I have to retake an exam I didn't make and A or B on.. and then Thursday evening I climb on a plane (with Lucy---huge prayer request) headed home for 2 weeks!!!
  • Somewhere in this schedule comes packing, cleaning, eating, sleeping, bathing, bill paying, and excitement.... Somewhere ;)
So when you think of me say a prayer. Not just for me.... but for all of the students who are going through finals and all of the students who are beginning a new semester. We are all striving toward a goal.... the dream of a heart... the purpose of our soul... and the part of us that gets up every morning to take another step in the right direction.....

Now.... back to the books :)

(the picture was taken today on my walk home from the T station after being in the cadaver lab..... It was a nice thirty minutes of Vitamin D and sweat ;) )