Monday, November 30, 2009

A human heart is beautiful!

I held and cut open the human heart! It's beautiful! Just like this picture!

I'll write about it later. It's late, I'm tired.

I'm going to Disney World! Ooops, I mean Costa Rica!

So, remember I said I had some exciting news?? Well, I'm going to COSTA RICA! Yeah!

I've been studying Spanish for about a year now. It's coming along well but it could be sooo much better. I came up with the great idea of being immersed in spanish or doing my clinicals in a spanish speaking program. That kind of evolved into doing a spanish immersion program.

So, immediately after finals I'll be in Costa Rica for three weeks, going to school for spanish everyday for about 4-5 hours, AND living with a wonderful Costa Rican family.

My expectation is that my level of spanish will be greatly increased. I know 3 weeks doesn't sound like a lot but I'm an intermediate level of spanish. So 3 weeks of non-stop listening, speaking and reading spanish will have a significant effect. I'm extremely excited. I've been intentionally shopping at a mexican grocery store just so I can ask questions in spanish! Ha ha! Because I make such an effort, if I stumble or make a mistake the clerks AND the patrons are all so helpful in correcting me or assisting me. The seafood clerk always comments 'Wow, you speak spanish?' It cracks me up every time.

Naturally, learning spanish will enable me to better serve multi-lingual clients or spanish speaking clients that don't speak English or don't speak it well. The field is in need of bilingual therapists. And not just in Spanish but in ANY language--Vietnamese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, etc.

I spend 2 weeks in a major city and 1 week on the beach. I'll be back in the New Year. This excursion will definitely open many possibilities in Occupational Therapy for me.

Naturally, I plan to update and upload pics from my pseudo-vacation as much as possible!

Hasta Pronto!



'Nuff said!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Climbing 90 flights of stairs...TWICE!!!

Every year I try to do something interesting and challenging. It's time for me to start coming up with crazy ideas for 2010.

In 2009, I really challenged myself with skydiving and this super exciting trip I'll be taking in December (more details next week when I get confirmation).

Earlier this year I participated in the American Lung Association Climb. In this 'race' (I didn't race, I just climbed) you pay a fee, gather donations and climb anywhere from 45 to 180 floors for charity. Three weeks before the climb I decided I wanted to do it so I signed up, raised $100 and successfully completed 45 floors in 8 minutes! That's awesome considering that it was a last minute decision and I didn't even train!

So, this year I'm doing TWO of these races and I'm climbing 90 FLOORS and I started a team. With a team, lots of people, my friends and family, can climb in my group and we can participate together.

Guess what my team name is???


It's written just like all caps and exclamation marks and everything! Ha ha! I just love OT!

I convinced a couple of OTs to be crazy with me and participate in the climb and I'm working on more friends and family.

So, here's John Hancock:

and here's the John Hancock building:

I'll be climbing all the way to the top!

This one I'll be doing alone because they sold out in one hour and I didn't tell people in time. This race is in February.

But this is the second race:

Four towers at 45 floors each. I'm doing two towers and I'll be climbing with my team.

Wish us luck!

School is almost over. I can't believe it!

Wow! There's less than 4 weeks of class left!


Time sure does fly when you're having fun!

Excuse me Ma'am? You tested positive for gonorrhea...I mean chlamydia.

So, I was at the clinic late on Wednesday, about an hour after closing. I was the only patient there. I was sitting in that room they always put you in to take your vitals (vitals are things like blood pressure, temperature, weight, height, medical history, etc.). I overheard the following conversation of a woman talking on the phone:

Person: Hi, Ms. Doe? This is Ms. Clinic Worker at ABC Clinic. I was calling to tell you that we received your test results back and you tested positive for gonorrhea.


Person: Oh, wait, I'm sorry. I meant chlamydia, not gonorrhea. Sorry about that.

(Me, rolling my eyes: OK, this is REALLY not happening while I'm sitting here at this clinic...)

Person: Ms. Doe? Are you okay? Well, you'll have to get a prescription for some pills. You take the pills over a period of time and it will clear it right up. And your partner will have to get tested and take the pills as well.

(Me: Ok, this IS happening.)

Person: What was that? Ok, well, I'll call the pharmacy and submit the prescription for you.

(silence. I hear the phone hang up, then numbers dialed)

Person: Hi. This is Ms. Clinic Worker at ABC Clinic. I'm calling on behalf of Ms. Jane Doe. She needs a prescription for chlamydia. Her full name is Jane R. Doe. Her address is 1234 S. I'm-really-hearing-ALL-this-girl's-business Street, in Wow, I'm-really-hearing-this-at-the-clinic City, of This-is-crazy State. And her phone number is 123-456-7890. Her date of birth is 01-01-01.

(Me: clinic is in my area, which means I could possibly know this girl by face. Thank God I don't know her by name...I don't think this nurse lady knows I'm still here...Please God don't let her be this stupid.'

Me: Excuse me, Ms? I was sitting in the other room and I overheard both of your phone conversations. I'm not sure what the confidentiality rules are here at the clinic but I think it's important that you know I'm here.

Naturally, she looked horrified and apologized profusely while explaining that she only makes those types of calls this late at night because all the patients are gone. She thanked me for telling her and I told her I'm a student and we talk about these kinds of things all the time in class so I understand it's confidential.

But still, I was horrified.

They need to hurry up and get this public insurance plan together--CHOP CHOP!!

Well, I went back to the clinic on Wednesday for the shots/tests/immunizations and I waited another THREE hours to be seen. I actually fell asleep. Like head-jerking-back-enough-to-wake-me-up typeof sleep.

I slept for about 45 minutes, woke up, and went to the front desk like 'Ya'll BETTER GET ME SHOTS RIGHT FRIGGIN' NOW!'

Ok, that was the way it happened in my head. In real life I asked them very sweetly to see me because I had been waiting only for FOREVER. The clinic closes at 7pm and I was there until 8pm and I only got one shot.

The nurse felt sorry for me. She told me to go to their other location on Friday. I didn't even know they had another location. Turns out this other location is right down the street from me. Well, the first location was too but just in the other direction.

So, I went this morning and they did everything in 30 MINUTES!!! I'm not even kidding you. They were much more efficient and very apologetic for the services at the first location.

So, I get my blood work results on Monday.


I still have to get health insurance for my OT program so I called my insurance agency and told them to hook me up with something affordable. I'll have some quotes later this afternoon.

Let us pray....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Well, not MY rib. The cadaver's rib. We had to literally cut into the ribcage to get at the lungs.

We used rib cutters that look something like pliers with scissors on the ends. Let me tell you, cutting through a rib is tough! I was practically sweating! Those ribs are no joke, they are strong. My classmate made it look like she was cutting a slice of cake. She's apparently a pro at this...I'll have to keep my eye on her.

Anyway, we cut through the ribs and the sternum (the breastbone, the bone between your breasts/nipple) and we pulled it off. The same way you pull a top off a pot on the stove. It was weird.

(again, NOT our lung, just a random pic. Plus, our cadaver has been embalmed so his lung was more of a dark brown/maroon color. Not as bright red as this one.)

It was absolutely amazing, simply incredible. On TV and in books when you see a lung it looks something like a sac, or a balloon. In real life, it's more like a sponge, a super soft sponge, but without all the holes. It's smooth and slippery and bends and dips easily from the pressure of our touch.

We believe our cadaver has been smoking as there are black spots all over his lungs. He was only 20!!!! Hey kids DON'T SMOKE. It really DOES blacken your lungs. I've seen it with my own eyes. Same for you adults.

The other cadaver, the 80-something woman, had TUMORS on her lungs. They were hard as rocks! We cut through the lungs and they kind of look like rocks! Rocks in the lungs! Can you imagine??? Sounds painful. Our instructor says we may find it has metastasized (spread) in various organs in the body, including the brain.

We cut the lung out of the thorax (chest) and held it. It's really a beautiful organ. Then we stuck a turkey baster in the holes on the side where we cut and blew air into the lung.


We all nearly passed out. This was a colorful, real-life illustration of the breath of life we all take every day. Who knew it was so...incredible??!! This is what happens inside ME as I take EVERY SINGLE BREATH!


I held the lung as I made it breathe and I watched it inflate and deflate. It was so soft and so smooth. You're almost afraid to touch it for fear of mishandling it. Yet, it's so delicate and so important and vital to life. I was in awe. I'm STILL in awe.

Yet another reason to be humbled by the awesome-ness of our bodies.

Simply beautiful.

I noticed I'm dominating with space

While in my OT Process class I noticed that I practically need an entire table to myself.

Apparently, with all my stuff I take up a lot of space: notebooks, books, pencil bag, lunchbox, 1 gallon water jug and smaller water bottle, plus my coat and bookbag and you can see I also have some papers in the seat next to me...

This is ridiculous.
But I don't plan on changing my ways anytime soon.

Other disciplines with whom OTs work

OTs work with many other disciplines in order to restore a person's functionality. In class today we reviewed several disciplines that I thought were quite interesting. We may work with these people as a team or receive information from them on our clients. There were lots, like over 20 presented, but some of the more interesting disciplines that I can remember off the top of my head:

(these definitions are not comprehensive. They're abbreviated just to give you an idea of what they do)

Music Therapist-helps people with injuries, illnesses and various disabilities through music. This can be singing, creating a song, listening to or moving to music. How interesting! It's just like OT, but with music!
Art Therapist-helps people with injuries, illnesses and various disabilities through art! Again, just like OT, but with art!
Recreational Therapist-helps people with injuries, illnesses and various disabilities through play and 'fun' activities. Again, just like OT, but with play!

Prosthetist-creates artificial limbs OR body parts. This would be an interesting progression if I want add another skill to OT.

Life Coach-helps people find direction in life, create and reach their goals, fulfill their dreams and find their passions. The most interesting thing about this is you ONLY need to be 18 and pass a little certification course and some Life Coaches can make $90,000 in ONE weekend! I won't give a personal comment on this. Moving on...

Art, Recreation and Music Therapist have similar goals as OTs. OT is just more comprehensive I think. I hope I have the privilege of working with an individual in each of these fields. It would be interesting to observe this type of therapy.

OT is overtime and off topic

My skills at explaining OT are fading! I have to get back in the game:

After dinner Gus & Amber started to clean-up the table. While cleaning we were all talking and laughing.

There were some rolls leftover in a dinner plate on the table. Gus tried to place saran wrap over the plate to store the rolls. At the same time, Amber gently grabbed the rolls, took them off the plate and wrapped them alone in saran wrap.

Me (excited that I'm seeing an almost OT thing in living color): Wow! that was a very OT thing you just did!

Amber: Me? Really? What did I do?

Gus: What's OT?

Me: You took the plate from Gus, removed the rolls off the plate and wrapped them alone in saran wrap. Very OT-like. Way to go!

Amber: Thanks!

Gus: What's OT?

Me: I noticed because in class we talk about how we should be people-watching often. So, I'm starting to do that and I just noticed you did an almost-OT thing!

Gus: WHAT'S OT??!!!

Me: Oh, ha! Sorry! In this context, Amber sub-consciously saw a different way to wrap the rolls by wrapping them directly instead of wrapping the saran wrap over the plate. OT helps people do normal, everyday activities in a different way. OT is my grad school study, remember?!

Gus: I didn't know what code language you were saying. I'm like 'What's OT?' Over-time? Off topic?

Me: Ha ha!

I'm NOT a Guitar Hero. Maybe I'm a Guitar Villain.

So, remember I said I was going to spend time with some former co-workers?? Well, on Sunday they cooked an awesome dinner for me of baked Mac 'n' Cheese, buttery rolls, and a roasted chicken. Did you know Purdue sells prepared seasoned chicken in a bag that you just pop in the oven?? Me, either. It was pretty good, too. That's good to know for future OT use.

Anyway, we talked and caught up on business and laughed and joked. Then we played...drum roll please...


I've been trying to play this game with these two people for MONTHS. I just never had the time. Well, I found the time. Needless to say--I'M TERRIBLE AT IT. Just plain awful. I admit this humbly.
But, I look so cool in my Guitar Hero picture. I could be a real rock-star chick!

It was my first time and I'm probably being a little hard on myself, but I'm sure my friend Gus will agree--I suck! I kept making us lose. I just couldn't get the red, yellow and green buttons together, I just couldn't press them fast enough.

I'm turning into those old people that can't play video games!!!! Yikes!!!!

But on the positive side, I have lots of great qualities! I'm an awesome person! :-)

Still, maybe I need Guitar Hero OT.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Here's all my business out on the street!

They're finally making some progress on the Public Health Care bill!!!

I'm 100% for reduced health care coverage. I'm not sure if the government is the right medium for this effort because they have a tendency to screw everything up and I know it's gonna cost waaaay more than they think but right now it's the better option. Giving this responsibility to any other entity would lead to that entity wanting to produce a profit and then we're back to where we started.

So, anyway, I'm gonna put all my business out on the street and tell you people everything because I think it's important for people to know.

I don't have health insurance.

I don't have health insurance because I CAN'T AFFORD IT. Good coverage is expensive.

It sucks to be 'poor' and 'low-income' and not have health insurance.

It's a terrible feeling and I hate it.

As a future health care worker I have to be immunized for mumps, measles, Hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox), etc. Because I'm not insured I had to go a clinic. I went to the clinic at 9am, waited, paid the fees, ate my snack and waited, went to a variety of desks, waited, talked to a bunch of people, ate lunch and waited some more, left to run a quick errand, came back and filled out a ton of paperwork, waited some more, talked to a lady, waited again and left at 2 pm.

BUT I STILL DIDN'T GET IMMUNIZED. It was five hours of nothing! Five hours of waiting and waiting and waiting! They were so backed up they told me I would be there at least another 2 hours. So, I asked to go home and return another day.

This should NOT happen to anyone. Not here in America where EVERYTHING is so plentiful.

This whole thing is a mess. The current system and the proposed system. It's all a wreck.

I hope they figure out something because I remember the days when I had good was a really good feeling.

Right now it sucks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Classmates pics

Some pics of some of my wonderful classmates...

This pic is just a few of us right before Anatomy class. This was our first day, before our first dissection!

Me & Erin in Movement Analysis class, getting used to 'Bob's' anatomy...

Bones are beautiful

Wednesday's Anatomy class presented the most AMAZING sight EVER!

(the picture above is NOT our cadaver. It's just an online pic I found. Even still, the one from our cadaver looks totally awesome, much better than this pic)

We fully dissected the arm of our cadaver in order to view the organization of the joints. We looked at the sternoclavicular joint, acromioclavicular joint, shoulder joint, elbow joint and wrist joints.


Wow! The ligaments that hold the bones together are so STRONG. Waaaaay stronger than any brand of duct tape you can ever buy. We were able to see the articulation (where the bones meet) of the joint bones and his bones are so white and pearly they look like expensive super smooth pearls. We moved his arm up and down so we could see how the elbow joint moves and it was just simply breathtaking. It was beautiful. We were all in awe just watching and touching and ooh-ing and ahh-ing. I wish I could find a way to better describe the sight to you but it's nearly impossible. It was just that interesting.

Naturally, I couldn't help but think, 'Wow, this is MY internal make-up...incredible...'

Nobody likes me...(I'm exaggerating of course!)

Before I left my job in August everyone told me to keep in touch. Because I actually like my co-workers I took this fairly seriously and I had every intention of keeping in touch. One co-worker told me that it would never happen. She said once you leave, that's it, people forget about you and you forget about them and it never happens.

Well, I was determined not to let that happen to me. Mostly because I've had some awesome relationships with all types of people since college and many of them I have not maintained. This is something I really regret that.

I'm older and wiser now so I'm really making the effort to keep in contact with all sorts of people, mostly by email and text. I communicate with my former co-workers this way as well, but with some we actually hang out. I'm having dinner with some co-workers on Sunday. They're cooking! Whoo hoo!

Anyway, recently, I've sent out some emails detailing my experiences and asking people how they are doing. Some folks didn't respond and yes, my feelings were hurt. Sniff, sniff.

So, I told my friend Brandon, who also used to work at super duper top secret company. Yet again, he comes up with something creative that I just totally walked into:

Me: Well, it's finally happened, just like people predicted. I'm emailing folks at super duper top secret company & no one is emailing me back. I'm officially out the group. They're ignoring me...

Brandon: Well, if everyone else is ignoring you, I guess I should, too.

Me: *Sigh*

CPR & the Heimlich maneuver

Because I will be a health care professional, as a requirement for my program I have to be certified in CPR. I was so excited about this because it sounds so interesting; we learned both CPR & the Heimlich maneuver (using abdominal thrusts to relieve choking).

So, about a month or so ago, some classmates and I took the course. And it was every bit as interesting as I thought!

In case you don't know, CPR--cardiopulmonary resuscitation--uses breathing and chest compression techniques to victims who may be in 'cardiac arrest.' Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping. Your body, ESPECIALLY your brain, can't survive without oxygen, which is located in the blood. If the heart stops pumping the oxygen in your blood can't get to your brain and other organs. As a result, with severe oxygen loss, if you don't die, you will surely suffer brain and organ damage.

I'm sure you see how dangerous this can be! Without the pumping heart, there's no life!

So, now that the logistics are out the way, some interesting highlights:

  • CPR IS VERY VIOLENT!!! Not that I'm trying to scare you but whoa! I never realized that saving someone's life was so invasive. I learned that it's not uncommon for the victim's ribs to be cracked in the process. (Please don't be scared, CPR can be useful when done correctly)

  • CPR victim's have been known to sue the people who saved their lives using CPR! They generally sue for cracked ribs! I don't intend to judge everyone because I really need all the facts but gosh! Which would you prefer: a cracked rib, er, uh, DEATH???!!!!! (Those licensed, like myself, are exempt from such suits)

  • These days health care professionals may not breath into the victim without a mouth barrier due to the risk of so many diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV.

  • CPR can be used on babies!!! Instead of using two hands and your palm, you only use 2 fingers and you don't press down as hard.

But the most interesting thing about CPR is the AED. The AED--automated external defibrillator--is, in a nutshell, a machine that uses electricity to restore the heart's pumping. Basically, it's the machine you see on TV that people hold in both hands and yell, 'CLEAR!' It's an amazing machine. We were able to practice with a test machine.

Learning CPR made me see how TV glamorizes both CPR & the Heimlich maneuver. There's so much you have to remember for an infant, child and adult. It's simple to do in a low-stress learning environment but when death is in your face you have to remember all the steps, along with the details and perform them in the proper order.

It's a very serious event that I hope I NEVER encounter.

I performed Occupational Therapy on my car!!!

So, you know how I so vividly described all the shortcomings of my mode of transportation to school. Well, as winter draws near that 'opening' in the window that never closes is becoming more of a nuisance. The heat works fine so I just crank that up but it would be better if that hole were sealed. I'm not really interested in spending the money to fix it because I'd rather deal with the cold and spend my money on more entertaining things. So, I've decided to perform some moderate occupational therapy services on the car.

I haven't given you a definition of occupational therapy in awhile so here's one: Occupational therapy (OT) teaches people new ways of performing activities.

In this case, my car needs a way of keeping the cold air out. So, I used the universal fixer-upper!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tom Cruise, a Pirate and a Pink-Haired Woman go salsa dancing

Halloween 2009 with my occupational therapy and physical therapy classmates was quite possibly the most fun I've had on Halloween in a looooong time. I very rarely celebrate Halloween because it's just not my thing. But this year my classmates came up with the brilliant idea of....SALSA DANCING!

Isn't that an awesomely creative idea????

I had a GREAT, WONDERFUL, FUN time. I learned Cumbia from some stranger on the dance floor who asked me to dance (it's surprisingly simple) and my PT classmate helped me perfect my Bachata and Salsa rhythms. I had a ball!

One classmate went as the Woman with the Pink Hair from the infamous painting Woman with the Pink Hair by George Bajinski. She totally made it up but she said it with such passion I nearly believed her! Ha ha!

My other classmate went as a pirate. Somewhere through the night they decided to switch headgear...hence the beautiful brown-skinned man in the bright pink wig...

Another guy went with us, a friend of the Woman with the Pink Hair. His costume was 'Regular Guy Going Salsa Dancing With Friends & Strangers on Halloween Night.' It was very believable! (ha ha!) I'm sure you can pick him out...

I went as Tom Cruise from the movie Risky Business. You know the scene where he's in a shirt and briefs dancing in his living room (although I don't think many people got it...but hey, I'm a grad student on a budget).

Unfortunately, I left out the briefs part because my legs are so sexy I didn't think people would be able to handle all of me. So I wore shorts instead. My legs were still sexy...even with the tube socks and my 2-inch salsa shoes...

My glass is STILL half-full....

My sister and I visited my mother and my other sister (she lives with my mother) Friday evening. My sisters and I stayed up pretty late and my Mom went to bed. I went home about 3am. The next day I went back to Mom's about noon. As I walked in the house, this is the conversation I had with my mother:

Mom: Girl, I didn't even know you left last night. I thought you spent the night like Marcia. I just knew I was going to hear your car put-putting away in the wee hours of the night with that loooooooud engine...

(my sisters are cracking up...)

Me: No, Mom. Daddy paid for me to take it to the shop to get the muffler fixed so it's quieter now.

Mom: Oh, well I guess I won't hear you coming or going anymore. You're gonna have to start ringing the bell again.

Me: Oh my goodness! It just NEVER gets old, does it????

(Mom and my two sisters are doubling over with laughter)