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07 August 2010

It is Finished!!!

    I am officially finished with my summer semester at MGH Institute of Health Professions.  I am officially on vacation.  The ironic part is I can't seem to get my brain to stop... my body to relax... my mind to make decisions.  Exhaustion is not an accurate word and I'm actually struggling to write this post :)  So I'll tell you about the last couple of weeks.  We studied the lower extremity and back a couple of weeks ago.  It's always fun to uncover the sciatic nerve.  The size of it is always a surprise... it's like a twizzler. Seriously!  Then this last session was the upper extremity, neck, face, and brain.  Woohoo!  I have stories to tell but I don't want to gross anyone out.  So I'll just say that there were mallets, saws, and chisels. If you want to hear stories...just ask!  I even rubbed off on a couple of my classmates.  In the end they were joining in  the fun. I LOVE the cadaver lab.  It is an absolutely amazing experience/oppurtunity.  If you haven't read it.. you should read my former post about it... Shirley. The brachial plexus was also in this section. That's always interesting.  I hope to one day teach in a cadaver lab.  As my friends say.. I'm a nerd. 
   Afterwards we went out to celebrate.  We had reserved the patio of a resturant near downtown.  However.... God had other plans.  As we were taking our practical the bottom fell out.  It was dark, it was thundering... we all just chuckled.  After checking in our bone boxes (yes... human bones) we threw away our lab clothes (very refreshing... and a bit sad) and began our journey to the party. We made it out into the second hallway.  It was dark... Really dark.. and all we could see on the class ceiling was RAIN!  It was like multiple firetrucks were spraying the roof.  After the lightening really picked up and we realized we were on the top floor (4th) with only a glass ceiling between us and the lightening we decided to head downstairs to comfy chairs and wait it out..  After chatting for a while, stealing.. I mean... borrowing some trash bags from Harvard Medical School... we wrapped our books in trashbags.. We have grown to love our Netter's Atlas'!!!  Some very odd connection :)  Long story short.  The streets were flooded.  The water was up to the door on the bus.  We made it to the restaurant to find that we now had an entire bar area to ourself with several bartenders at our disposal.  It was great fun and our professor and some of our clinical instructors came to celebrate with us.  The pictures are from lastnight.  Lots of laughter, lots of dancing... a great group of people.  It's hard to believe we won't see each other for a month! 
    The next month....  Today I had dinner with a friend I have greatly missed. Tomorrow morning I leave for Martha's Vineyard for four days of relaxation with a classmate and her family.  (Ironically there is a massive amount of great white sharks swimming around MA now... so probably not a lot of swimming)  I return Tuesday and fly home on Wednesday... Woohoo!!!  If you can't tell... I LOVE North Carolina!!!  Not to mention I miss my friends, family, and my cat :)
    So I'll be around... I'll probably post... and I'll work on my tan...
   God Bless!

11 July 2010

Halfway there.....

      I've now been in Boston for over a month and in about a month I will be heading home for a few weeks.  That sounds easy doesn't it?  In reality I still have four major exams, many hours of class, days in the cadaver lab, and a search for an apartment to go in the next month.
     I went for my follow up appointment at the MGH clinic and was informed that it would be another six weeks before I start getting back to normal.  I admit I was hoping for a better timeline but with each day I can feel the exhaustion that's still there.  It's less obvious but still there.  I have taken two exams so far.  One was written and one was a lab practical.  I did okay on the written although I wasn't excited about the grade.  The lab practical was a different matter.  Let me explain how it works.  Our cadaver lab practicals are set up just like medical school lab practicals.  The bodies are all tagged with tape, string, or flags.  The structures tagged are to be identified.  The tape placed on bones sitting around the room are to identify the muscle that attaches there.  We have one minute to complete each station and then we move to the next station.  At some stations the minute is a LONG time and at others you wish it was two minutes instead of one.  I love the cadaver lab.  It's an amazing experience and an incredible opportunity for learning.  As I am a very visual and tactile is GREAT!

    My friend Merrit came up for the 4th of July.  If you ever have the chance to go to Boston for the fourth you should do it.  The entire weekend is full of opportunities including tours, "chowdah"fest, and fireworks with the Boston Symphony...  We went to the riverbank of "the Chuck" early in the morning and camped out for the day.  As the fireworks started we had an amazing view!!!  I took pictures but I haven't had time to look at them yet.  I'll try to post some next week. 

    As for right now I must get back to studying.  Two major exams coming up on Thursday.  Say a prayer...or two... or five :)  After Thursday I can breathe.  Until then... it's a stressful time....

    I'm hoping for a cool streak in the weather as I know my friends and family in NC are too.... When it's in the 90s in Boston... with no air condition... it is not a comfortable situation....  But it is much better than the massive flooding that occurred here yesterday.  Beneath overpasses were measuring at 18ft of water with people trapped on top of their cars. 

    Back to the muscles... off to draw... and learn.... and sing... and be silly... and do myotome dances... (they aren't cute but they help me remember...)

12 June 2010

An Uneasy Day....

  I can think of no other name for the day. I guess I should back up a few days....

    I woke Sunday morning nervous and excited to be boarding a plane to Boston.  The problem was that I awoke with an unwelcome guest.  A new flower must have begun blooming during the night for my allergies were annoying Sunday morning.  There was nothing to be done but finish packing, hop in the car, and head to the airport.  Accompanied by my mom, Merrit, and her tiny car I began my trip.  By the time I arrived at the airport my allergies were more of a problem....I guess the real problem was finding enough tissue.  I said my "See  you Later" " I love you"s and headed for security.  Apparently I looked suspicious and the box of chalk in my backpack caused a problem.  Everything was emptied out of my backpack and the scan was repeated.... FIVE times!!!  Seriously!  It's a BOX OF CHALK!!!!  Anyway,  I made it through and by the time I reached the gate I was in serious pain with my head and sinuses.  A kind passenger was ease dropping on my phone conversation and volunteered a Zyrtec as I tore my bag apart trying to find the Xyzal I know I packed.  I accepted.

      Fast forward.... By the time I arrived in Boston I was in serious pain.  By the time I arrived at my apartment my fever was 102.1 and I could barely speak my name.  10 minutes later the power went out for the next seven and a half hours.  I took medicine and went to bed.  With tylenol my fever was down the next day and I was at school for orientation with a smile on my face and an ear out of which I could not hear.  As days progressed it seemed that the obnoxious nose running was ending.  Then yesterday I felt incredibly run down and I knew it had moved to my chest.  Yesterday was a full day of lecture and cadaver lab.  When I left lab lastnight it was to late to go to the clinic.  So this morning I boarded the green line, changed to the red line, and walked to "The General" (Mass General Hospital).  After getting my blue MGH registration card I walked into the Walk In Clinic (appropriate, don't you think?) and waited to be seen by a doctor.  My bp was up and my temp was elevated.  I made flashcards about skin layers while I waited.  Finally I was greeted by a physician with kind eyes and a nose and mouth hiding behind a blue mask.  After a juggling of latex glove boxes I was seated comfortably in an exam room with a very concerned doctor.  In the room all I could hear was the sound of my labored breathing.  It was worse than the struggle that had woken me during the night.  After many questions and an exam in which no air could be heard traveling though my lungs (with a stethoscope) I was given a nebulizer treatment.  The only change was that I was more tired and with the fatigue it became even harder to breathe.  The next choice was a chest x-ray.  

    So off to radiology where I would be told to "take a deep breath" and hold it.... Sorry.  I can't.  That's why I am HERE!!! I did the best I could and then waited on the results.  The results showed what was already suspected.  I have pneumonia.  I've never had it before.  Never even been concerned that it was a possibility.  So I was given five prescriptions containing inhalers and pills and a list of over the counter meds to purchase.  Thankfully I have insurance but the total was still my grocery bill for the month.  So my orders from the doctor are to rest, take my meds, drink lots of fluids, and stay away from the school and cadaver lab.  I'm not happy with the ending.  I need to be in the lab.  We have lab check on Tues and I will not be ready.  You think you've read what made it an uneasy day, right?  Nope.

      The doctor quietly and sadly informed me that the hearing issues are due to damage from the pressure of flying with a sinus infection.  When asked if it would return I was told that hopefully most of it would return.  Hopefully.  I'm trying not to dwell on it and praying for a FULL recovery.  My hearing is not great anyway but to have more taken is not a possibility I want to have to deal with.

   And so.... I'm off to make more flashcards since apparently the meds are keeping me wide awake.... 

  Good Night Morning!

03 June 2010

Tired of the Car....

....and ready for PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!!!

      This past weekend Daddy and I drove up to Boston and back with a carLOAD of clothes, textbooks, toiletries, etc.... After many hours in construction we sought out a hotel and crashed for the night entering Boston the next morning refreshed (okay... not really...). It was a day of unloading the car, running errands, walking many MANY miles (my left hip was testifying to it), and crashing on the floor.  I'm subleasing a friend's apartment for the summer so I took no furniture... it's funny.  An empty living room except for a set of bookshelves already full of books. A classmate from last year offered her bedroom furniture for the summer.  It allows her to have storage for her furniture and allows me to not sleep on an airmattress and live out of a suitcase for the summer.  A win win!

      The highlight of the trip for Daddy was going to the Harvard Bookstore... "The Coop" (like "Coop"er).  It was a good thing because one of the men working there was more than willing to give us a better route to drive home.  His Grandfather graduated from Chapel Hill many many years ago.  The route home was much more peaceful and beautiful than the ride up.  I would love to vacation in the Northern part of NY state one day.... BEAUTIFUL!

       So now I'm back in the big NC.  Yesterday was fun.  I had to go to Greensboro to run some errands.  I was able to go to my favorite scrub shop for cheap scrubs for the cadaver lab.  I'm not willing to purchase my favorite (Iguana) scrubs to throw them away at the end of the summer.  Cheaper is certainly better ;)  Chalk for the study rooms in Harvard Med School.... a camelback water bottle.  Then it was off to lunch with Cheryl... YUM!! and perusing of fabric with my crafty little friend.  More errands.  Then dinner with some of my favorite people!  Delicious dinner, lots of (make your abs hurt) laughter, and big hugs.... Can't think of anything better.... The cherry on the sundae was arriving back home before my parents (they were at the James Taylor/ Carole King concert).  An empty house and a piano stacked high with my music....  Paradise!!
       I'm now off to pack yarn for shipping, sorting of stuff for the August move, and laundry.  Our family will be celebrating the wedding of my  baby cousin Shelby this weekend.... and then I'll be flying home to Boston on Sunday.  Classes begin Monday.... My heart races at the the thought...but I know how hard it was to leave Boston this past Sunday.  It fits... I fit... There's no place like it.  If you haven't been you should go.  

   Seeing as how my Joy of Cooking cookbook is currently in Boston and I'm in NC... That project will begin soon...

17 May 2010

A New Project....

...because I have too much spare time.   Just kidding!!

       I like to cook.  That's no secret.  I've found that when I don't cook I don't eat well.  When I don't eat well I don't feel well.  Duh!  While in grad school last summer I found it easiest to cook during the weekend and freeze part of the food in small portions to eat through the week.  It of course was supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies, sandwiches, and my love of peanut butter crackers.  

     In the last couple of months I have discovered a love (obsession) with fresh broccoli.  I have always liked it raw (with ranch, of course) but not cooked.  I think the raw love is from going to a farm as a child to pick broccoli and cauliflower.  I enjoy both raw.  That's the way school field trips should be.  But I digress.  In the last couple of months I decided to take a chance and cook some of the fresh broccoli in the fridge.  I LOVE it!!!  On Saturday my mom and I went to the Farmer's Market in Salisbury. (If you're in the area you should definitely check it out!  Great plants, fruits, veggies, local meat, eggs, cheeses, and baked goods)  The only thing I knew I wanted was ... You guessed it.... BROCCOLI!!  

     So this made me think (trouble).  I have an old 1967 copy of Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker.  I can't afford to cook through it...nor do I have the time.  But let's be honest...while I am aiming to be adventurous...there are definitely items in the book I will NOT be eating!!  My goal is to make at least ONE dish each week.  Some weeks will be more but my goal is a minimum of one.  I have already found many recipes that use items that are typically in my kitchen.  

    And so... I will be blogging about the experience.  I'll write about the dishes I fix, the tips that work, and my successes.  I will also write about the dishes I refuse to try, the tips that are unhelpful, and the ridiculousness that is described as "Easy Entertaining..."

    Please come back and visit... Join the journey... Join the fun....

Want an Update?!

Each day rushes by with amazing speed and my to do list seems to be at a standstill.  No matter how much I do the list seems to be getting longer rather than shorter.  Here's a LITTLE portion of my to do list...
  • order new gait belt
  • confirm loan details
  • get TB test / reading
  • send in TB test results
  • opening checking acct at new bank
  • unpack
  • clean out
  • organize yard sale stuff
  • yard sale ads
  • yard sale signs
  • YaRd SaLe!!! (Sat May 22)
  • pack
  • post flowers for sale
  • publicize current flowers for sale
  • study
  • find bathing suit for school
  • blah blah blah blah blah....
  • ...and on and on it goes...
This is what I do each day.  Tomorrow is a TB test, new bank account, and a ton of phone calls.  At some point in the next two weeks I'm hoping to see some friends before I go.... We'll see....

What does your week look like?

20 April 2010


My Dayzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......

....are interesting and full.  It's an odd sort of reality.  I'm busy but some days my brain feels like mush.  Is it an actual inability to comprehend things or is it that my brain doesn't know what to do without school and work.  For so long I've been in school and working... juggling projects, tests, and the daily grind.  Now I'm juggling a million items that don't include studying and it's as if my brain has ceased to function. I've filled out my loan applications and it looks like I'm heading to Boston in the summer and back to school.  I guess I need to work on waking up my mind.

      On a totally different note... One of the things I've been juggling is a new "business" online.  It's called Petal Therapy (PT for short).  I crochet flowers and make them into pins, hair clips, pillows, etc.  It's a slow moving process....getting the store running.  There's a link on the right side of my blog for the store.  Check it out!  The hope is that I can sell enough flower products to pay for the everyday mess of bills (food, transportation, medical, misc....) so that my loans will be purely for rent and tuition/fees.  This is the hope... we'll see how it goes.  

      It's an odd sort of reality.  In some ways it seems like I've been here forever and sometimes it seems like I've just moved home.  It's been SEVEN months!!!!!!  Seriously!!!! I have a great family.  One that takes you in when you need it, makes you laugh when you need it, and support you when you cry.  I am truly blessed. But the plan is to move at the end of May with classes beginning the first week of June.

      I'm now rambling and I'm meeting a long lost friend and her two girls for lunch tomorrow.  And with that.... I'm heading to bed!  Goodnight Y'all!!!

13 March 2010

Streaming Thoughts.......

....inside my head...

    Life changes from day to day like the temperatures in North Carolina this winter.  I've had a lot of time to think.  In some ways this is good but in many its bad.  How often do you run things over and over in your head?  Conversations, actions, mistakes, decisions, encounters..... over and over...  For me it's not really a good thing.  I tend to dwell on things.  Could I have changed this?  Should I have made a different decision?  What could I have done better?  All of these things rush through my head...  It's a bit like standing under a waterfall and trying not to drown.

   I know I was where I was supposed to be during the summer.  I guess deep down I know I was supposed to be home during this period.  I don't have to like it.  Nobody asked my permission or opinion.  I just have to survive it.  But to simply survive it isn't really the true key.... is it?  I don't simply want to survive... I want to live.  I want to make it through this period with "me" intact.  My frustration comes from the feeling of losing that.  Who am I?  Where am I supposed to be?  What is my purpose?  Who truly care?  Who really matter to me?  It's scary to think how fast it can all disappear.  

   I've been following a little girl named Layla Grace.  She was an adorable little girl with cancer and she died a couple of days ago after a long couple of weeks.  She was only here for a short time and touched so many lives.  Her mom's twitter today said "I have several things to do before Layla's Celebration of Life tomorrow, so why can't I get out of bed? It's like I can't even move."  It hit home.  This is the way I feel.  I struggle.  We all have days like this but I didn't just lose my daughter.  I'm watching a dream slip away.  It's nowhere near the same.  and yet.... I'm stuck... under the same waterfall.... spinning in circles but never getting from beneath the falls....  But you know what?  There is hope.  A tweet I received this afternoon "There is a proof of hope: if you're still here, you have a purpose to fulfill. best part of life is ahead for you."

    Why am I typing this?  Why am I telling you this?  To get it out?  To share my story? (or a small part) ... Because I know others struggle with days like today?  I don't know.  

    There is a hope.  An eternal hope.  His name is Jesus.  I know He's there and I know He's holding my hand.  The Bible says that you won't be given more than you can bear.  But do you ever think that maybe God has overestimated your capabilities?  Maybe I'm supposed to be able to bear this because that's the way He made me... but maybe I've botched that up somewhere along the way.  Maybe I'm just tired... maybe I'm too tired.  I'm tired.  Tired of not sleeping, of not eating, of having to be cheerful when I feel the opposite.  Tired of trying to fill other's expecations and failing miserably each and every day.  I understand why kids who are told degrating things all the time do poorly in school and have a low self esteem.  It beats on you. Life is hard enough without feeling like a failure.  I ache for those kids...and for the adults who feel that way each day.  I have a new appreciation for the people on the subway just struggling to survive....the men, women, and children in the shelters...

    We help others....but do we help them "to survive"... or "to live?"  I've been following a blogger trip to Kenya with Compassion International.  It's the kind of things I want to do.  It's what I ache to do.  My original "plan" or "goal" in life was to be a doctor with Doctors Without Borders.  Many people don't know that.  They know I want(ed) to be a doctor... pediatric physiatrist.  But they didn't know Doctors Without Borders.  You see... if you ask people about my dreams.. my goals.. they'll tell you I want to go back to MGHIHP to get my DPT.... some will tell you I will then go to school part-time for my advanced masters in pediatrics so that I can sit for the boards to be certified in pediatrics.  All who know me will tell you I want to have kids.  I want to be a mom.  Some will tell you I want to adopt.  Those same people will explain that I want to adopt children that no one else will adopt.  What people know about you is different.  It varies with the relationship.  I don't tell much unless asked.  I can talk to you all day and not tell you about me.  It's how I roll :)  In all honesty, it's protection.  A wall that keeps me safe.
    Most of my friends are married and having their second, third, or fourth baby.  I'm not married.  School was my priority and now that's in question.  Funny how changes make you question your priorities.  For today, I will choose to believe that I'm heading in the right direction...although a bit crooked...  I'll choose to believe I am loved... I'll choose to believe that I am protected.... I'll choose to believe there is hope.  It is a choice....but some days it is harder than others.  I hope today is a day of easy choices for you... but in case it is a struggle... Read these lyrics... Listen to the song...

"I Have to Believe" by Rita Springer
I have to believe that He sees my darkness
I have to believe that He knows my pain
I have to lift up my hands to worship
Worship His name

I have to declare that He is my refuge
I have to deny that I am alone
I have to lift up my eyes to the mountains
It’s where my help comes from

He said that He’s forever faithful
He said that He’s forever true
He said that He can move mountains
And if He can move mountains
He can move my mountain
He can move Your mountain too

I have to stand tall when the wind blows me over
I have to stand strong when I’m weak and afraid
I have to grab hold, hold of the garments
Garments of praise

I have to sing praise when the hour is midnight
He unlocks the chains that bind up my soul
My sin and my shame, He has forgiven, and made me whole

I have to believe...

12 March 2010

I'm Still...


Things are a bit crazy right now.  It's all of the normal every day routine "stuff" with the addition of an acceptance into an art/craft show in Greensboro next weekend.  I've been making flowers like crazy!  After many requests I am also in the process of starting an Etsy store.  It's an interesting process but will be GREAT in the long run!

I'm also trying my best to get back to school in June.... If you have any ideas feel free to share!

Alright... I have to run and create a DIY table top macro studio to photograph my flowers.... I'll update again soon... I pRoMiSe!!!

Petal Therapy (Etsy Store)

23 January 2010

A Lovely Lady....

As many of you know I was not excited about my LOA (Leave of Absence) from school.  Not in the slightest.  However, there is always a reason for the way things happen.  This is my Grandmother and she has the beginnings of Alzheimer's.  It's progressing at a much more rapid pace than any of us want it to.  When I'm in grad school I only see her at Christmas and possibly once during the summer.  It's not enough time.  I was blessed to be able to stay with her for a week after New Years and we had a ball!  We read (me books, her newspaper), we ate, we baked, we went to the beach, we went to the Aquarium, and we spent time together....

I took some pictures of her while I was there.  I don't want posed shots.  I want shots that are true to her and the way I know her.  Every morning from a very young age I remember her getting up, fixing a mug of coffee (her first of many), getting the newspaper, and sitting down to read.  In the summer she sits on her screened in back porch so she can watch all of the birds at her many bird feeders or sitting in the livingroom (as pictured above) looking out at the birds in the front yard (and feeders).  When I asked if I could take pictures of her she said, "Really?".... "um... ok... SURE!"  I took a ton in hopes that some of them would have her personality shining through.  I captured some that I love and I'm hoping for some more this weekend.

She's a special lady and I don't look forward to the day when she knows not who I am.   For now... we laugh, we eat, and I repeat things over and over again with a new spin on the answer each time...

G: "Did you bring the food in?"
Me: "Yes.  I put them in the refrigerator."
G: "Christa, did you bring in the food"
M: "Yes Ma'am I put them in the box beside the freezer."
G: "Oh the fridge."
G: "Did you bring in the food?"
M: "Yes Ma'am I put it in the cold thing  with shelves that helps to keep food fresh"
G: "Ahh... the refrigerator.... Good girl...."

And so it goes.... we've made a game out of it... and if it makes her keep using different parts of her brain... I say..... Bring it on!

14 January 2010

Long Time...

....No See...

  I'll be posting this weekend.  I was in Wilmington and then Myrtle Beach for Christmas.  Then last week I was in Wilmington caring for my Grandmother who has dementia.  I'll be getting back on schedule in the week to come... a rebirth with the new year...