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01 August 2011

Last Week....

It's my last week of clinic!!!!!!  I can't believe it.  I'm excited to be able to go home for a vacation but heartbroken that clinic is ending.  I wake up at 445 every morning excited to be heading to clinic.  That says a lot since I am and always have been a night owl who struggles to get up each morning.  

I have four days....containing initial evals, re-evals, therapeutic exercises, modalities, and sooooo much more.  Then it's on to the bus at 7:30 Friday night .... to arrive home at 9:30.... to stay up all night and pack, clean, and prep..... to get up at 4am .... to leave at 5am for the airport... to get on my flight at 7am.... to head home.... WooHoo!!!!!!

A chatty car ride with one of the most lovely people I know.... a day with my Daddy.... and then a road trip to see the small cuddly... lovable.... baby smelling... nephew :)

13 June 2011

Night Time.... the hardest time......
(atleast for me --- I don't know if it's that way for others)... but night is when the ache creeps in.
It's when I realize that I'm thirty one.  I'm not married. No children.  No prospects.  A third of a doctorate degree. A crazy crack baby of a cat. An apartment that looks crazy.  Have medical bills that make me cry.  Acquaintences here in Boston but no --- "call in the middle of the night" friends.
Each day I go to clinic -- and I enjoy it -- Don't get me wrong.  It's not easy... not by any means.  But there I have a purpose.  There my patients that trust me to know and do what's best for them.  It's terrifying but GREAT when I get things right and they get better.  
I get asked often two different questions.  1) How did you end up in Boston?  2) Will you go back to NC when you graduate?   I give my usual answers --- 1) I did NYLF (National Youth Leadership Forum on medicine)  in high school and came to Boston and loved it... love the city...  and MGH Institute of Health Professions is a highly ranked program.   2) Eventually I'll go back South.  Not because it's where I come from but because it's a part of me.  But then that brings you back to my dreams...
   I want a husband -- (my parents are celebrating their anniversary next week --- 40 years!!!! -- I want a marriage like theirs.  They've been through a lot.  Life has not been easy.  They never fought in front of us --- they "debated" behind closed doors. We were always loved and supported.  We had family dinner and talked about our days.  There were always extra place settings for the friends that Amy and I constantly brought home.  We always had a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen when we yelled at the world for being unfair.  We didn't have a lot of money but we had all that we had all that we ever needed and so much more.  I used to get frustrated that my friends always wanted to come to my house instead of us going to theirs.  But I understand.  This is what I want.  I want kids and to dream of grandchildren in the future.  I want a yard for them to play in and a garden in the back/side yard.  I want family nearby.  I want them to love Wilmington like I do and enjoy watching the leaves in the mountains from Aunt Amy and Uncle David's house.  
I don't regret being here --- I don't regret being in this program or learning all that I'm learning.  I just didn't fully comprehend what I would be giving up.  I'm thirty one --- not twenty-two.... and on nights like this one --- it all sinks in ---  what I've given up -- where I am --- and what may be....
At night.... I once again become the young girl dreaming of a house full of family.... packing lunches and sending her kids off to school.
I don't regret my decision -- How could I ever tell my kids they can be anything they want to be and to reach for their dreams --- If I didn't go for mine?  I couldn't.  And so --- Here I am in Boston --- my family is all down South --- My friends all have boyfriends, husbands, wives, houses, and children.... my sister is having a baby.....  and I'm here.
    So for now ---- I'm going to go dream of little kids with my blue eyes and tiny feet wobbling and running in the yard with the dog and a dad playing with them...

   May all your dreams come true......

12 June 2011

2 Down 8 to GOoooooOooooooOooooo....

  It's been an interesting two weeks.  Clinic is FuN, neRVe raCKing, eXCiting, chaLLenging, and teRRFYing... all at the same time.  My CI is really good.  He has a very hands on approach to learning which fits in with my being a tactile learner.  Some days I feel like I'm swimming and some days I feel like I'm doggy paddling to try and stay afloat....

   What do I do?

  • take patients through their exercises
  • look for compensations
  • progress exercises and treatment if I find patients are able
  • re-evaluations
  • soft tissue massage
  • deep friction massage
  • suboccipital releases
  • electrical stimulation (E-stim)
  • ultrasound
  • iontophoresis
  • change pillow cases
  • apply ice packs --- and ice packs--- and more icepacks
  • apply moist heat packs -- and more MHPs--- and more MHPs... get the picture? :)
  • inital evaluations
  • plan of care (POC)
  • write SOAP notes
  • write up Evals
  • write up Evals
  • fax to docs
  • fax to insurance companies
As challenging and terrifying as it is --- it is confirming my love for this field.  That being said -- I need to go finish POCs and progressions for some of my Tuesday patients.... 

Good Night...

30 May 2011

Tomorrow... Tomorrow....

I begin my full time clinical tomorrow ------ Aggghh!!!  Say a prayer--Please.

I passed my finals for the summer minimester --- and jumped on a plane home that same day.  The youngest of my two boys graduated from High School the next day and so I needed to be home.  I celebrated with him and the family on Thursday.  Friday morning I drove to Boone in the mountains of NC to help my sister with a day of prepping food for the freezer.  She will be giving birth to my nephew in a couple of months and now she has some meals that will take very little time to fix.  Saturday was the Farmer's Market, organizing baby clothes.... and then home to my parents' house to help repair a lawnmower, dig old textbooks out of storage, go grocery shopping, do laundry, prep dinner, and begin to pack.  Sunday (yesterday) I unfortunately had to board a plane to come back to Boston.  Flight left at 4pm -- I walked in my apt door around 11pm and promptly went to bed.

Tomorrow I begin clinical.....
I'll be at Baystate PT in Quincy, MA forty-four hours a week for the next ten weeks.  Hopefully improving on the skills I possess and learning new ones.  A bit terrified going in because last semester my placement was a clinic for patients with chronic back pain.  I practiced NONE of my skills and we were forced to put each patient through the exact same circuit.  Even if there were things we noticed were wrong and fixable.  I'm ready to get in a clinic that has a more hands on and personal approach.  This one is that way and my CI (clinical instructor) also sometimes does pedi (treats children).  WooHoo!!!!

Wish me Luck!
I would love to be on the Maine coast where this picture was taken ;)

21 May 2011

Exams, Showers, Teaching, Learning, Rain, and.....

     Woohoo!!!  I passed my exams --- well --- did better than just pass......  I took a 10 day trip to North Carolina and now am getting ready to finish up a May Minimester....

     SO I caught up on all of my classes - took my midterms and did well.  Continued with all of my classes and learned a lot!  In a couple of weeks I'll be heading out to a clinic in Quincy, MA to spend forty hour weeks treating patients, learning new techniques, and improving on my current skills.  Can you tell I'm excited?  (and very nervous)

     But first --- I spent about 10 days at home throwing a party for the boys (my soon to be born nephew's baby shower and my dad's 60th birthday party).  It was a lot of work -- and fun!  I'm glad that I have a great group of friends and family I can depend on for help because planning a shower during exams and flying into the state the day before the party didn't lend itself to easy planning.  The party was a success.  Everyone seemed to have a good time -- I got to see lots of smiles from my dad and hear his bubbling laughter.  My nephew now has a lot of pretty things for his nursery, a diaper bag, some slings to be nice and cozy at his Mama's chest or side, and LOTS of books.  But let's be honest --- you can never have too many books --- and so it will be my eternal gift to my nephew --- lots of books :)  I spent some time with friends and family.  I was able to make a big ol' bowl of potato salad with my Grandmother and made paper chains with Christy.  Spent some time on the side of the interstate capturing the gorgeous wildflowers.  Had a great dinner with some of my most favorite people.  and.....After Mother's day brunch at Cracker Barrel with Mama and Amy it was once again time to board a plane.  

    And then began the May Minimester ---- a three week intensive course on teaching, learning, and therapeutic exercise.  The end of it will be Wednesday when I take a one hour practical exam proving that I have learned something. :)

    Originally my schedule included a long trip home before I start my full time clinic.  But seeing as how I was originally told it would begin on June 20th and have since found out that it will begin on May 31st..... It's not going to happen.  So the hope is that I will be able to be home for a longer trip at the beginning of August that will allow me lots of time to love on my brand new nephew, family, and friends..... and receive lots of hugs in return.

    What do I miss while I'm in Boston?  Hugs --- Lance pb on cheese crackers --- Food Lion cheese danishes --- grilled chicken --- homemade icecream --- Hugs --- my family --- Cook Out Milkshakes -- Did I mention hugs?

      I spent a lot of time just sitting outside in the sun talking with a friend yesterday.  (It's been raining almost constantly for the last week or so)  It came up that I enjoy being here in the city -- but being home in the "country" fits too.  I get asked all the time "When you graduate will you go back to NC?"  Eventually?  Yes, most likely I will.  Straight out of school?  I don't know -- probably not.  But I would love to one day have kids.  I would love for them to have a yard --- a garden ---- a hammock between trees --- grilled food --- and homemade icecream in an old-fashioned icecream maker...  

      It was an odd sensation going home this last time ---- When the plane descended below the clouds over NC --- I was overwhelmed by all of the green.  It was a reminder of one of the many things I love about my part of the country.   Trying to explain to people that I lived in the middle between the beach and mountains and yes--- both are in the same state.  In 2 hours I could be on the Blue Ridge Parkway -- and in 3 hours I could be walking on the beach.  These are the things I miss.  These are the things that will have me back in NC one day.  

      But for now--- I live ---- I learn --- I dream ---- and pray that one day those dreams come true.....

04 March 2011


 It's been a really rough week- had the flu- was in the hospital for two days-  missed exams- had to cancel my spring break trip home today- got my confidence shaken in a major way- lonely- need a break-  This is the song that played on my iPod this morning- The beginning of this song is exactly the way I feel right now-  like my heart is tearing in such a loud way---the whole world can hear it-- free falling off a building--- no net waiting--- the falling never stops--

Sunday is my mom's 60th birthday- my coming home was supposed to be her birthday surprise- my sister is announcing the sex of her baby- I'm supposed to be making a baby quilt with my sister for my new niece/nephew- I'm supposed to be spending pre-baby time with my sister because the next time I'm home--- there will be a new addition to the family---I'm supposed to be getting lots of hugs, gaining weight on Cook Out, Krispy Kreme, and What a Burger--- And yet-- here I am-- bent over books, trying to schedule make up exams--- and wondering if it's worth it---  

I'm mentally tired-- I'm emotionally exhausted-- and I can't stop crying (and I don't cry!!)

(by Bebo Norman)

Sometimes when I'm all alone
I don't know if I can
Take another breath
Some say home is where the heart is
Tell me where my home is
'Cause I am scared to death

Falling from the rooftop
Crashing like a raindrop
Can you make my heart stop
Shaking like a leaf
Standing at the floodgate
Steady as an earthquake
Can you hear my heart break
Tearing at the seams

I am drifting in the deep end

Holding on to your hand
Is all that saves me now
Life can treat you like a beggar
You hold me together
But I don't know how

Falling from the rooftop
Crashing like a raindrop
Can you make my heart stop
Shaking like a leaf
Standing at the floodgate
Steady as an earthquake
Can you hear my heart break
Tearing at the streams

Some say home is where the heart is
And my heart is in your hands
You are all I need

Rising from the ashes
Lifting from the madness
Now you see my heart is
Deep enough to dream
Heal me from the deathblow
Lead and I will follow
Now you feel my heart glow
Mending at the seams

09 February 2011


Alma's Flowers
 "Each day is God's gift to you.  Make it blossom and grow into a thing of beauty."

     I'm a bit obsessed with quotes.  I have them written in my planner, on my computer screen, hanging on my walls, and on the bathroom mirrors.  It's nice to be reminded of things in someone else's words.  There are many things in life that we take for granted and many moments that we miss out on because we lose sight of what's truly important.  On a really stressful and long day of school when I come home and there is no end in sight.... I need a reminder that it'll all work out... that people have survived this... and I will too.  When my heart breaks at the lives and challenges of others I need a reminder that it's not all in vain.  When I hear of beautiful children in a fight for their lives because of diseases and a horrible thing called C.A.N.C.E.R.... I need a reminder.  When I hear on the news of people abused, horrible tragedies, fighting, and wars.... I need a reminder that it's not all bad.  I need a reminder that amazing people come out of the turmoil...                    
         The classes this semester are REALLY challenging and overwhelming.  I'm also balancing being a PT patient twice a week and tutoring twice a week.  There is homework from all of the above and the stress to meet the challenge is increasing.
         Most mornings I get up ready to face another day.  Other days it's a struggle to get out of bed... a struggle to get in the shower... a struggle to pack my three meals.... a struggle to bundle up for the cold... a struggle to get on the bus... and a struggle to walk in the front door of the school and then the classroom...  One of those days occurred recently and on that day.... I paused a moment before walking out the door to turn my quote calendar to the day... and the above quote was there.  It was exactly what I needed.  God knew that I needed it and there it was.    
       I thought of two things:  A little glass etching from my Dad many years ago that says "Bloom where God plants you." and the painting in the picture.  The flowers were painted by my Great Great Aunt.  Her name was Alma Anderson (affectionately known as "Anna" by her great/great great nieces/nephews.  This is one of my favorite paintings by her and my amazing mom sent it to Boston with me.  It hangs over my bed now.  Anna and her husband Bubba (given name "Norman") were two loving people.  She was a loving  Southern lady (with the cooking to reflect it) and Bubba was a gentle giant who would do anything to get a smile out of us kids.  This painting is one of my most prized possessions... it's a reflection of the love and support of a great family, the dreams yet to be gained, the possibilities of each day, and amazing hope for the future....
       What do you cherish?  What reminds you of your roots?  What do you do each day to remind yourself that you are loved, you are cherished, and you can do this?

06 February 2011

Recently Found Quotes...

"To be truly happy is a question of how we begin and not of how we end, of what we want and not what we have." -Robert Louis Stevenson
  • What do you want?  What are your goals? What are your aspirations?  Do you have dreams?  More importantly-- do you reach for them?
"Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind." -Prov 21:5
  • I'm working on this one.  I am now typically 30min early rather than taking the chance of being late.  However no matter how hard I work I always seem to be behind on my studies, my housekeeping (we won't even go there), my cooking, and my laundry...
"I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow isn't looking so good either."
  • I'm a bit ashamed to say that by the end of the week this is the way I feel and some days during the week.  It becomes a matter of survival when the expectations are HUGE and coming from all different directions.
"Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of the heart." -Mort Walker
  • Laughter is in fact good medicine and can be heard often at school.  We laugh at ourselves, we laugh at each other, we laugh at the things we are expected to do and the positions those expectations require.
Be sure to smile and laugh some today.... It will lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress, and improve your outlook on life ;)

05 February 2011

An Update on the Here and Now...

It's been a long time since I've posted.  I went on a trip to Martha's Vineyard with a classmate after the summer semester.  I spent a few weeks at home.  I rode from North Carolina --> Boston in a moving truck with my Dad.  I moved into a new apartment with a great landlord and maintenance staff.  

Niki on the beach
I began my Fall semester of classes.  My classes included Functional Anatomy, Fundamentals, Neuroscience I, Critical Inquiry I (research & statistics), Seminar, Practicum, and Pharmacology.  I spent a month sleeping on the floor or a camping cot while I waited on IKEA to get mattresses in on a day that I could actually get there.  My bed was delivered and I put it together myself (stupid mistake that has me in PT as a patient).  I survived the Fall semester and passed my classes.  I didn't do as well as I wanted to do but I survived and this semester is a new semester.  I spent the holidays at home.  I was in Wilmington with family, Myrtle Beach with family, Chapel Hill with Laurie, Burlington with Christy (to celebrate the New Years with lots of dancing), and a couple of days with my parents and then back to Boston.

And so now we reach this semester.  I'm now in my Spring semester.  My classes include: Musculoskeletal: Extremities I, CardioPulmonary, Critical Inquiry II, Neuroscience II, Musculoskeletal Pathophysiology, Health Policy, and Seminar & Practicum.  As you can tell... It's a full semester.  We've now been in classes for a month.  Due to snow days we have yet to meet for our Health Policy class and our days have gotten longer due to added hours for make up days.  In undergrad you look forward to snow days.  In grad school they are a bit terrifying because the amount of information in one day is astounding.  So... onward... and upward...  

Yesterday and today I met many of the students interviewing to begin in the program this summer.  I was asked two questions repeatedly:
  1. "Did you like the cadaver lab?"  YES! YES! Yes!!!!!  I loved it!  (the looks on their faces-- interesting)
  2. "Is this program hard?"  Umm--- YEAH!  (Just a hint-- but if you need to ask me this question repeatedly... you probably shouldn't be here....)
So now with mounds of snow everywhere and more snow in the forecast for Tuesday and Thursday...  I must hit the books once again.  

Enjoy the Pictures!

the first snow

the recent snow storm... my walk to CVS

my walk home from CVS- This used to be a sidewalk

the Naval Yard - where I go to school- This was the 1st snow

30 January 2011

Julia's Team... Please Support!

You know my love of kids & my dream of working w/children fighting cancer.
This is an amazing little girl I know in the fight for her life. She was diagnosed in March 2009 with
nephroblastoma (Wilms' tumor) with focal anaplasia.  She is one of only 40 cases found each year.  She underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  The treatments were the lesser of two evils but now she is suffering from bowel issues due to the treatments.  It's been a long two years and the time to come will also be a challenging path of courage, faith, strength, and prayer.
I am in graduate school in Boston and so I can't  be in North Carolina to participate in this walk but I would LOVE to raise money for her team. PLEASE donate. All donations are welcome.
Pediatric cancer is NOT well funded. It is barely funded. 40,000 children and their families are fighting cancer. It may be our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren one day. Let's give them the best shot possible......

I'm giving up my weekly bread from the local bakery and the diet cokes I buy at school.

What can you sacrifice to help beautiful little children like Julia and their families not have to suffer?  Can you give up your coffee for a week/a month/2 months?  Let's show our children how much they mean to us.
To read about an amazing young lady:
To donate to this wonderful cause and support this lovely family's dream:
Click here... PLEASE!!!