Thursday, September 17, 2009

'Good job, I appreciate you'

My classes this semester are very anatomically and physiologically intense. Every day I learn so many new and interesting things about the chemical, physical and mechanical nature of our bodies. I have a greater appreciation now for chemists, physicists, biochemists, geneticists, and all the other -ists that are constantly learning, researching and informing the public on the intricacies of the human body.

When I was completing the pre-reqs for this Occupational Therapy program I was interested in my biology, physics and chemistry courses but I couldn't quite put together how all the details of chemistry related to Occupational Therapy and human body maintenance. We were learning about carbons and hydrogens and polarity, molarity and osmolarity, molecular weights, high heat of capacity, high heat of vaporization, diffusion, tonicity and ions and on and on and on.

No one could tell me why I needed Physics for OT. What was the point of learning about the various forces of nature, acceleration and velocity, sine, cosine and tangents, Newton's laws, energy, center of mass, scalar and vector quantities, kinetic theories and the list goes on and on.

I got A's in each pre-requisite course but at the time I kind of felt like I was going through the motions of class, study, exam, repeat. There was some application but not much.

Well, now I get it!!! And I love it! Application is the most interesting part of learning! It's all coming together now for two reasons:
1. I have a fairly solid foundation so I understand what my instructors are talking about.
2. My courses are specifically tailored for people in my field (and those other folks called Physical Therapists). So everything that we learn now is RELEVANT and applicable to potential clinical situations I may face as an Occupational Therapist.

And each day, with each nugget of information, I understand how applicable, interchangeable and dependent one science is on another. I suspect at the end of this year I will be able to explain a physics phenomenon with a chemical one.

But what's more interesting is how enlightening and dangerous knowledge of all these mechanisms really is. The body is so fragile and yet so strong!

Our bodies are designed to be perfect communication systems, constantly taking in external info (temperature, irritations, danger, sights, sounds), quickly analyzing it and communicating to all parts of the body an appropriate adjustment or response. When I learn how diseases arise from inconsistencies in what should be a perfect internal communication system I'm in awe. It's interesting how often our bodies respond to heal disease and sickness without our even being aware (a DAILY occurrence!!) and at the same time these same healing systems succumb to disease, sometimes over seemingly insignificant and trivial communication inconsistencies. It's fascinating what we put our bodies through--the good and bad--and yet it continues to work for us, day in and day out, tirelessly and without fail.

My study break is coming to an end (FIVE exams, remember?) but I want to conclude by encouraging everyone to appreciate whatever knowledge you have about how your OWN body works and responds to environmental stimuli and respect it. If you're currently not drinking enough water, resolve to drink 2-3 extra cups tomorrow and every day afterward. If you're not exercising, make a true effort for some extensive movements 4 days a week. If you eat lots of meat and white sugar, add some vegetables and fruit in the mix. If you're only getting 5 hours of sleep a night and you know you operate best on 7-8 hours try to get in the bed one hour earlier for the next few months. If you don't floss and brush at night, start tonight. If you feel fatigued and run-down, make the effort to take 10-15 minutes of ME time a day, where you're focused on deep breathing and relaxing.

The point is your body works constantly and sometimes we don't say thank you...and by the time we want to say thank you it's too late--the body holds a grudge and says 'F' you--otherwise known as sickness and disease. I know that sometimes things happen even when we do all the right things but we have no control over that. But you do have control over right now and I encourage you to do something, even if it's SMALL to say 'Good job, I appreciate you.'

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