Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Thanks for the encouragement Uncle Sam because I did it!

I promised myself that I wouldn't post my grades on my blog but I can't help it this one time.
98% = A


1 down, 4 to go...

Monday, September 21, 2009


OK exams, whatcha got?! I'm ready.

This baby below looks like how I feel. Ready!

First exam is tomorrow.

Rocky music goes on in the morning...


Guess what?

My brain hurts!


Despite this, I'm very grateful for the opportunity to go to school full-time (with no job) because working while going to school sucks.

Cayce's abusing her dog...well, sort of

So, here's another entry on our FIVE exams this week (I know I keep saying that, it's funny).

My Occupational Therapy student peer, Cayce, sent me this message and pictures via email. I think it illustrates how much we're all studying.

Cayce: So I know I've been studying too much when my dog gets jealous of my anatomy book...

and then when I make her move she just looks depressed!

Me: Poor doggie...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

THE BEST INVENTION SINCE SLICED BREAD...& I don't eat sliced bread...

Since I'm studying so much about muscles, I'm going to go the gym today to train my muscles. I haven't been as consistent with the gym since school started, partly because I needed to get a rhythm going. Now I have a rhythm so it's time to stop being lazy.

Normally, I'm at the gym 4-5 days a week. Over the last 3 weeks I've been to the gym 1-2 days a week. It's terrible! Especially when you don't adjust your eating habits for the lack of exercise. I used to eat 5-6 small meals per day. Now I'm eating 3-4 large meals, along with sugar and junk food. It's awful!

I've been a real bum, ha ha. My adipose cells are subtly growing! (that's code for I'M GAINING WEIGHT!!) If I keep this up, all my clothes will magically shrink (again, code for I'M GAINING WEIGHT!!). The only reason I haven't gained much weight is because my metabolism is so high from working out and lifting weights...well, when I was doing it consistently (more code for I'M GAINING WEIGHT S-L-O-W-L-Y). I'm used to having visible muscle so I have to continue to weight lift and eat well to keep all my sexy muscles. If not, they'll atrophy! Thus, I have to get back on my game!

The gym won't be a complete break because I will be listening to my digital recording of Physiology while I'm working out. Whomever invented the digital recorder is a genius!! A real Einstein! If anyone out there is going back to school or even in undergrad, I encourage you to record every lecture. You'll be amazed at the things the instructor said that you totally missed, didn't understand or need reinforced. It really helps to solidify the material.

Additionally, the recorder can mimic the iPod. As I will prove this evening at the gym, you can listen to it while working out, washing the dishes, cleaning, driving, cooking, flat-ironing your hair, brushing your teeth, washing your face, or sitting on your couch relaxing. If you're tired of listening through headphones, you can connect it to your speakers and it's instantly surround sound! :-) ha ha. As you can probably guess, I know all this first-hand because I've listened to my lectures while doing all of these things.

The only thing that is challenging is finding the time to listen to the full lecture. Each of my lectures are 1.5-2 hours long, which means, of course, that to listen to the whole lecture I need 1.5-2 hours of time. You're only brushing your teeth and washing the dishes for so long. So, the lectures get broken up and sometimes that can be distracting.

Despite that, the digital recorder is immensely helpful and serves as an excellent tool for studying. I wouldn't be me if I didn't exaggerate. So, it's the best invention since sliced bread! And I don't eat sliced bread...

I'm a hypocrit! I admit it.

I'm winding down now...three days of intensive study is a lot on the brain. I have to force myself to take adequate breaks and even still, I'm thinking about the subject I was just studying. In addition to that, I see the names of anatomy bones and muscles in everything I do!

I have to force myself to stop and eat. I don't eat because sub-consciously I feel like preparing and eating the food is time away from learning the material. Over the last 3 days I've only eaten stove-top popcorn and cream of mushroom soup.

Please don't laugh because I'm not kidding. It's really sad.

I prepare these foods because they're quick, readily available and I can eat them mindlessly while I read my schoolbooks.

Why do I do this? Because my instructors keep talking about how difficult their tests are. I won't even tell you the average first exam score of the class before us in one particular course. Let's just say it wasn't an A or a B..or a C... That's scary! And motivating! Which is why I haven't eaten...

These are my first grad school exams. Five in one week. It's crazy. All I know are undergrad exams, which were always so easy: memorize the material and spit it back out. Simple. But now I have to apply the material to concepts. FIVE sets of concepts. This is a totally different method of studying and testing all together.

But, don't fret. Starting tomorrow I'm going to eat regularly again. I do all this talk on my blog about treating your body well and I then I starve my own!

Sounds hypocritical to me...

The third basemen is not trying to pitch

About 2 or 3 years ago I played with a local softball league. I played pitcher and first base and I was pretty darn good. My first season was so much fun; I met lots of people and had a ball.

Before second season a friend and I decided to host our own teams in the league as co-captains. So, we got a team of folks together, outlined positions, strategy, practice times, and practice locations and got ready to win.

I gotta tell you, I never worked so hard at something that was so unenjoyable.

We had about 10-12 folks, I can't remember exactly how many. Organizing a sports team is so much work and I don't think I can ever do it again. There's so much involved in directing the team. You have to decide everyone's strengths and weaknesses and put them in the position that will best utilize their strengths. You need to decide a time and a place to meet for practice that will result in the highest player attendance.

Then, what shall we practice? Batting? grounding? pitching? outfield throws? outfield catches? infield throws? infield catches? throws to first base? throws to catcher? throws to third base? strategy plays? fly's or fouls? Proper sliding techniques? So many options!

(this has a point, I promise...just stay with me)

How long shall we practice and how many days per week? And where is a good location that's convenient for those who live near our playing field and for those that live far away?

How often do we communicate with our team during the week and through what medium--text, email, phone call?

How seriously do we take the game if we lose? If we win?

And on game day, what if someone is hurt? Or can't make it to the game because of personal reasons? Who takes their place and can they play that position well? What happens when our team members fight one another? Or don't like the position we've put them in?

(almost to the point of this story...wait for it..wait for it...)

And the WORST part of all was dealing with all the complaints. Everyone on the team thought they were a superstar and wanted to take over as captains. Everyone wanted to tell us where to place them and how long they should be in the game. Listening to the constant complaining every week was so stressful that by the end of the season I hated playing softball, which was a shame because I was d*mn good pitcher.

So, why do I bring up softball leadership and organization on my OT site? This story has a very relevant point. As I study for my FIVE exams this week one theme is clear in every class:

Every structure, every organ, all the systems, have a place and a role in the body.


And even more amazing than that is the organization and direction of it all. The brain and the spinal cord are directing pretty much everything (although there are other leaders that do things without the brain's help I'm not going to go into that now). When I was leading that softball team it was so much friggin' work! All the decisions and the time we put into leading the team for just one 1.5 hour game a week. The return was minimal. Our team complained all the time and most didn't show up for practice so we lost...a lot.

But our central nervous system controls all our functions and structures with such ease. Directing the body is a lot of work. Directing our breathing, our heart rate, our food digestion, our temperature, our sleep patterns. Creating the appropriate response for harmless stressors, like an appropriate response to exercise, and for harmful stressors, like diseases and injury. And sometimes, our structures act without immediate direction from the brain, like when we touch a hot stove and move our hand reflexively.

Every cell and every unit knows what it's supposed to do and does it! Without complaint! Muscle cells don't try to conduct nerve impulses. The digestive system doesn't try to breathe. And the skin doesn't try to pump blood through the body.

Every unit has a role. Everyone does what they're built to do. Strengths are maximized.

And no one complains. No one tries to be the superstar. The body realizes that by working as a unit the team will win, the body stays healthy.

The third basemen is not trying to pitch...

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.'

Chicago Bears' Brian Urlacher loves OT!!!

So, if you've been keeping up with football you know that the Chicago Bears defensive linebacker, Brian Urlacher, has dislocated his right wrist. I didn't watch all of the game on Sunday nor have I looked into this much (I AM a grad student with FIVE exams next week, after all) but I do know that this is the perfect opportunity to discuss OT!!

Sports players injure themselves all the time and many people know about the physical therapy they go through but they don't know that sports players also go through intensive, but extremely ENJOYABLE AND FUN, Occupational Therapy. Because OT is waaaaaaay more fun and enjoyable than Physical Therapy!!! :-)

So, first, I did some research and discovered that a dislocated wrist injury is pretty common for defensive players. Who knew? I've included a picture of the wrist bones so you can see how it's all connected with the hand and how it's possible to injure your wrist. The purpose of the wrist is to allow movement of your hand and fingers; without it you wouldn't be able to turn or move your hand or fingers. The wrist is what gives your hand and fingers great motion and range.
You see all the tiny bones in the wrist photo?? They are all joined by various types of connective tissues (I'll be dissecting this in Anatomy soon..). Because of these bones and their connections the wrist is very flexible. As a result, you can dislocate the bones and knock them out of position.

Depending on the extent of the injury, which seems pretty serious if you're going to miss an entire football season, Urlacher may need Occupational Therapy to resume full functionality of the wrist and hand. Obviously, Urlacher uses his hand for many things outside of football. An Occupational Therapist would evaluate the severity of his situation and work with Brian to develop a plan that meets his functional, and occupational, needs.

Perhaps, just work with me here, Brian LOVES to cook when he's not training for football. Well, cooking requires quite a bit of manual dexterity and wrist motion. You have to measure, pour, hold pots and pans, chop herbs, spices, vegetables and meats, hold various utensils, turn the heat on and off and so on. Physical therapy is not enough in this situation because Brian would need someone to work with him to mimic his normal, frequently used cooking motions. Phsyical Therapy would help him resume motion but who's going to help him continue to cook those flavorful, down-home meals? An Occupational Therapist!!!! that's who! OT is awesome!

I'm sure Brian plays with his kids. His kids probably ask him to pick them up or play games with them, like cards, video games (Wii anyone?) or coloring/drawing. An OT would work with Brian in this actual setting or one similar to it, so that he can regain the fine motor movements in his wrist and hand that are required to perform these activities with his children.
So, I'm sorry Brian had such an unfortunate injury that's going to put him out for the season but at least now you know how Brian will feed his children after they've played as a family. :-)This is the wonderful world of OT!!
I hope you understand how OT is applicable!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The OT/PT instructors' Master Plan...

Well, it turns out that I have five exams next week. Yes, you read that right and it is not a typo. FIVE. They are all over the course of three days. I suspect the instructors for each class got together and planned this. How else could this be? All of the students are Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy students so the instructors know all of our exams will be near each other. I suspect they secretly met and the conversation went something like this:

Physiology: I'm going to hold my exam on Thursday of the fourth week of class.

Anatomy: Ok, well, it's only fair to give them more exams to study for so I'll have my exam the day before yours, on Wednesday.

Movement: Hmm....how can they suffer if they don't have more than one exam on the same day??? So, to encourage suffering, I'll hold my exam on Thursday as well.

Anatomy: Wow, you're right. Let's see...how can make this so challenging it hurts? Oh, I know! I'll have two exams, one for lecture and one for lab! This way they can suffer twice in one day....for the same class! Pure torture!

Ethics: Well, you guys are not going to leave me behind. I'm going to have my exam on Wednesday right before Anatomy. Hey Anatomy, three exams on one day beats two, right?! They'll be exhausted after all these exams! Sounds like a plan...

Ethics, Anatomy, Physiology, Movement: It's all part of our Master Plan. MUH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!!!!!
(evil laugh in unison)

Ok, so, as usual I exaggerate (but only a little). But this is what it feels like happened. Ha ha! I'm crazy. If any of the above mentioned instructors are reading this blog IT'S JUST JOKES, I'M JUST KIDDING (to the students, I'm only kidding a little). :-)

So, given all of this I probably won't write much next week which will work out because this week I have LOTS to say since I was unable to connect online last week!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Pajamas out...Scrubs in...

I'm baaaack. Well, almost. Sorry for the loooong delay in a new post. I had to take care of some very personal business and it took me most of last week to do it. Then I had a family event to attend and the place where we stayed DID NOT HAVE INTERNET!!! So, I've been offline for days! That's crazy! Who doesn't have internet? That's like a business saying they don't take credit cards. Insanity I tell you.

Well, truthfully, they DID have internet but it wasn't free (a ripoff!). I was willing to pay for it, because I'm addicted to blogging now, but when I tried to connect my MAC (the best computer ever) warned me that it was very dangerous to connect and I could be putting my computer in danger. It gave me this warning twice. So, I followed my gut and said forget it, as much as I love blogging, it's just not worth it. So, now I'm in a place where internet is free and I can post. I'll be home soon and then I can tell you all about last week's adventures.

In the meantime, I don't have much time to write much more now but here's another text from my buddy Brandon. Brandon works from home...:

Me: Man, books r a ripoff!

Brandon: Yeah, book prices are crazy. I wish I had amazon when I was in college. You know, you inspired me to buy some scrubs. Working at home in my pajamas is getting old. :-)


Monday, September 7, 2009

The folks at Super-Duper Top Secret Company

Two of my bff's...We had lots of fun together. They advised and encouraged me. They're lke my Super-Duper Top Secret Company sisters. Can't you see the resemblance?

Also, my sister here :-) was the first person to have a real conversation with me when I came to Super-Duper Top Secret Company. True to form, she did the same thing when my replacement took over.

One of my new bff's...She's an incredibly big supporter of my efforts, which is totally awesome for someone I've only known 2 weeks!

Another bff...This girl really reached out and befriended me quite a bit toward the end of my stay at Super-Duper Top Secret Company. I hope she realizes all her dreams. (P.S. You're so young! You have PLENTY of time to follow your dreams...don't waste your youth!)

I learned a lot from these two---Spanish from the guy on the left and random facts from the lady on the right. The lady on the right knows a little bit about a lot. You can ask her anything and I'll bet she knows the answer. :-) If she sees this she'll probably get a kick out of it. I teased her about that all the time.

These guys taught me that EVERYTHING is funny at some point in time. They ALWAYS made me laugh.

This is a great group of guys with an awesome sense of humor!

Another great group of folks! Three of the people in this group and I would climb all the stairs in our building every Wednesday (about 100 flights!). It was tough at first but after about 3 weeks I could do it with no problem--it was an awesome workout. Then the light-skinned guy in the back would make us do push-ups! He's crazy! ha ha. Once he made me do 60 push-ups. As in grown-man, military-style push-ups. No, I'm so not kidding you. As much as I complained I was shocked to find that I could do 60 push-ups! Before this, the most I had ever done was 25.

This is Wilson from the TV show Home Improvement...haha! (long story. Maybe I'll write a post about this sometime in the future)

These guys are my two Super-Duper Top Secret Company Dad's. I also call them Ebony & Ivory, Bert & Ernie and The Odd Couple. All names apply equally.

These are pics of some the wonderful people I used to work with at the super-duper top secret company. I would post a pic of the Boss-Man but I don't think that's a good idea. I think his face is more recognizable (That last sentence makes him sound like a criminal, doesn't it? Ha ha!).

I kept saying I was going to post these pics and I never did. I decided to post them now before so much time passes that it becomes irrelevant (and weird) to post these pics.

In case you can't tell, I love these people. I learned a lot from them the short time I worked at Super-Duper Top Secret Company. I never believed it was possible to enjoy your work AND your co-workers simultaneously but they showed me that it's possible. For that, I'm ever grateful.

Yes, the cadavers are real people that are really dead...

Here's another conversation that always cracks me up...Everyone is always so surprised that my program requires that I dissect cadavers. I don't think they understand the magnitude and scope of what an Occupational Therapist does and how important it is to health and human services across the globe. Hence, the reason for this blog and my quest to change these perceptions.

Anyway, I always get the 'you're nuts!' look. As a result, I have variations of the following conversation with lots of folks. I always want to laugh after their final comment.

Random person: I hear you're taking Anatomy and you have to dissect dead people?

Me: Yep, I'm soooo excited!

Random person: You mean real dead people?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dad is donating his body to science

A conversation between my dad, cousin and me yesterday:

Dad (to me): So, you started school, huh? That's great.

Me: Yup, I'm so excited. We got our cadavers on Wednesday. I'm really looking forward to dissecting them.

Michelle (my cousin): What? Cadavers? Dissecting? You're cutting into people? That's part of your program?

Me: Oh yeah, definitely. People donate their bodies to science after death so that we can learn the internal make-up of the body. As an Occupational Therapy student you have to learn where all the muscles are and how they are connected, how they work together and how they function with all the internal systems, like the digestive, integumentary or nervous system. It's interesting to me that people are willing to donate their bodies to science for this purpose.

Dad: Yeah, I might donate my body to science (snickering) because I'm so smart. It would be useful for the students.

Me: No, Dad, the point is to learn about the body. Don't disappoint the students by donating your body...

Michelle: Yeah the students would get your brain and say 'Oh no! What a ripoff! This brain is empty!'

Dad: Well, Michelle, at least it's safe for you to donate your brain to science...

Michelle: Why is that?

Dad: The students can use it because no one else is using it...

(Michelle gives the evil eye)


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Death is incredible...

Not incredible as in 'Wow, that's an awesome, wonderful experience' but incredible as in overwhelming. It's a reminder that life is to be respected...

Before this experience, the closest I ever got to a dead body was in high school, when my boyfriend took me to the county morgue. I was mortified. There were bodies everywhere-limbs and body parts in bags, legs sticking out of these tall steel tiers, hands and arms piled on top of each other, dead bodies on metal operating tables and the smell and temperature were overwhelming. That was about 12-15 years ago.

Today I went to Anatomy lecture and lab. Nothing exciting about lecture, just normal fare. Lab, on the other hand, presented an experience I wasn't expecting. As you know, I've been looking forward to Anatomy lab for weeks now. I couldn't wait to dissect the cadavers and see what the human body's internal organization is really like.

Well, this experience gave me another perspective. First, the Anatomy lab is much smaller than I expected, slightly larger than a regular classroom. There is no formaldehyde smell or freezing temperature because this is one expensive lab. The embalming fluid used to preserve the bodies is pretty advanced. The bodies can be preserved for a year with no issues. The air in the lab is nearly pure. The HVAC system circulates the air over 15 times per hour! In case you don't recognize the significance of this a home system would only circulate the air 4 or 5 times per hour. After reviewing all the safety procedures the instructor gave a small talk on the history and importance of the cadavers.

It was very moving. I nearly cried. I'm not joking.

His talk was so moving because one of the cadavers is very...unique. Cadavers are donated by consent of the deceased. Most cadavers are seniors-people in their 70s and 80s who have died of natural causes. Because of their age many of them have had physical ailments and surgeries, pacemakers, bypass surgery, darkened lungs due to cigarettes, etc. These surgeries and ailments often provide imperfections in the body because the body has been altered. Additionally, senior cadavers show normal signs of age--wrinkled skin, thin muscles, smaller stature, thin body hair, excess body fat, decreased bone size and density, sagging breasts and so on.

While I obviously can't give you all the details of our cadavers I can tell you this: one of our cadavers is a very young male who overdosed on an illegal drug. This nearly brought my instructor to tears because the deceased man was so young, younger than my instructor's oldest daughter...young enough to not legally drink.

As the instructor told us the story of this man we were all moved. The room was eerily quiet. I suppose we were all reflecting on the cause of his death.

Because of his age, his body was in perfect health. His heart was young and strong, his muscles big and fully formed, his skin tight and firm with just the right amount of resiliency, his organs full of size and elasticity. It was amazing to see the difference between this young cadaver and the elder cadaver.

It also made me angry.

This young man was strong and in good health (he looked strong and healthy and his body wasn't marked by the drug so it's possible he wasn't a heavy or frequent user). Normally the faces of the deceased are covered but for reasons I won't go into here his face was not covered. What a difference this makes! I examined every feature of his face. He was fairly handsome. His eyes were closed of course but I could see every detail of his face--the length of his eyelashes, the coarseness of eyebrows, the thickness of his hair, the width of nose and the fullness of his mouth. You could even tell how long it had been since he last shaved and had his hair cut. He was frozen in time, frozen in his last moments on Earth.

All I could think about was that this young man once had a soul, he was ALIVE. He walked and talked and laughed at one time. He was someone's son or brother or friend. He was so young! Much younger than I and yet he made a decision that took his life. I wondered what else he may have contributed to those who loved him had he lived longer. His muscles were large and strong, he looked like he may have been active. He could have experienced so many other things... I wondered what his family felt. I wondered even more so because his family donated his body so that I could learn! How moving! How selfless!

To see death and life together so close...and to know that this person was alive once...and that someone he loved and that loved him back felt the need for study was important enough to forgo a burial. How incredible is this?! I thought about my own family and wondered if I could ever do it. I don't know...

The body of the deceased is to be respected. This person was once ALIVE and LIVED and BREATHED as I do now. He was loved and loved back. He laughed, he cried, he felt happiness and sadness and anger and apparently sorrow or emptiness or peer pressure? I don't know--I can't imagine why a person would take such a dangerous and lethal drug. He contributed to life, in some way, however large or small.

It is a HUGE honor and privilege to be able to experience God's creation so close. I've said this once before and I'll repeat it: The human body is truly God's greatest creation. It's movement, it's dependency on everything within it and around it, it's constant adjustment to its environment. But even more amazing is how the soul inhabits the body and gives it...LIFE. How did God manage to do this???

If there were ever an argument for a higher power, this would be it. Man could NEVER do this. How do you give a body a soul? How do you give the soul a personality? How does the soul cause the body to move, or give it color and elasticity, or form and function? Even though the body is full of electrical impulses no matter how much electricity you give it it will NEVER move or function as when a soul occupies it. How can you not be amazed by this???

Anatomy Lab is a full year...a full year with this one young man.

It's interesting that we're going to violate his body...

I'm so moved by this, even now, many hours later. I feel like I owe him something...and his family for such a selfless contribution.

So, I promise to make the most of this learning experience and not take for granted this incredible opportunity. This is a blessing... and a privilege... and I feel honored.

GOOD LUCK today! You'll be awesome!

via text from my friend Brandon--
Brandon: My guess is, your blog articles will get progressively shorter as your workload increases.

* Sigh * I hate to admit it but it's probably true. At the very least, as the weeks progress, I intend to contribute (interesting) content of some sort every 2 or 3 days or so. Right now, I enter (multiple) content almost every day! I'm really committed to entering something regularly about my experiences as an Occupational Therapy student because I remember how frustrated I was that very little online journaling and personal records were available to me. I found it odd that there are blogs dedicated to things like cats (yes, cats!) and yet there was nothing for something as influential and interesting as OT???

My Occupational Therapy student blogger idol Karen Dobyns (http://otstudents.blogspot.com) really gave me insight into life as an OT student, along with tips and advice, interesting books to read related to OT and overall expectations. She's awesome and I give much thanks to her. Naturally, I hope to be as influential, encouraging and informative as her to potential OT students and the global community. It's important for people to understand the impact of OT and its purpose and usefulness in health and human services.

So, if at some point in the future my submissions are disappointingly short I'll just blame Brandon now. It's all your fault Brandon. D*mn you!
(snicker, snicker, hee hee)

I think I'll just focus on what Liz, my former co-worker/replacement from the super duper top secret company (the job I quit last week), said to me via email on Monday, the day before my first day of class:

Liz: GOOD LUCK today! You'll be awesome!

This will be my daily mantra. Thanks Liz!

Dad always replies to text messages except when I'm starving

In reference to the last post about my Mom and sister offering me food--I sent the same text to my Dad. Normally, dad is very good about responding to text messages.

Can you believe he didn't even reply??!! I guess he doesn't care if I eat or not.

KIDDING! KIDDING! just jokes!

Maybe I CAN eat this month...

Ah yes, I forgot to mention that I took back about $700 in books. I found everything I needed online yesterday evening. For a $25 shipping fee it will be here on Thursday. This saved me about $150. Not a huge number but enough to make me feel like I was being proactive.

So, maybe I CAN eat this month...

Speaking of which, on Monday I sent a text to a few friends and my Mom and sister telling them the cost of my books and that I wouldn't be able to eat as a result. I thought it was obvious that I was joking but my Mom and sister sent some messages that proved otherwise.

via text...
Me: I spent $900 in books! I guess I won't be able to eat this month.
Sister: I will help you. How much do you need to eat?

via text...
Me: I spent $900 in books! I guess I won't be able to eat this month.
Mom: Yes, you WILL eat this month. Just come to Momma and I will make sure you eat.

I'm still trying to contain my laughter. It's soooo funny! You gotta love family!

The campus is beautiful!

So here are some pics of the campus lake or pond. This campus has a lake and a pond and I've only seen this. I'm not sure where the other is. This pond/lake is much larger than it looks and it's really pretty, absolutely gorgeous. Just ignore the guy with the truck. I tried to wait for him to move so that I could take a decent picture but he was clearly made of molasses because he was moving slower than my 86-year old Grandma. She could have loaded that truck faster than him. So, maybe I'll take another one tomorrow, minus the molasses addition.

So the campus is gi-normous and gi-big and set in the middle of trees and other greenery. It looks almost like the crew carved it from the forest. This pic below kind of illustrates that. I guess this was the construction crew's idea of sarcasm as this Paul Bunyan fellow looks like he's been chopping down trees and now he's tired! All he needs is his blue ox Babe! I think this is soooo funny! It cracks me up.

Finally, I've forgotten how convenient college is! Everything is provided for you on campus: food, a gym, a pool, medical stations, reduced daycare, you can even renew your drivers license and get your city stickers on campus or talk with a counselor (for FREE) if your cat dies or something! It's amazing. No wonder some people never want to leave college. And the staff here is so nice! It's weird. I don't remember the staff being so friendly when I was in college 10 years ago. Yonkers! I was in college 10 years ago! That's amazing. Wow, my parents have a 30-year old daughter. Gosh, they're getting old.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How not to carry 1/2 gallon of water around campus

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL is over!! It was fun! Only two classes and a LOOOOOOONG 5.5-hour break which I used wisely. I went to the gym and settled some unfinished I'm-a-new-student business and tied up loose other ends.

My first class was Movement Analysis which is basically about joints--how they work and why they work the way they do. You must know anatomy and physics to even begin to understand this course as we talk a lot about muscles pulling bones and the forces that cause the movements and mechanics and mechanic theories. Naturally, I think it's interesting.

After class I had a long break so I worked out by running around the campus. The campus is HUGE and green and beautiful. Then I went to Wal-mart to get some scrubs for tomorrow's anatomy class. The instructor was clear that you need to wear scrubs or old clothes. Apparently, many people on campus are freaked out by the fact that there are cadavers in the anatomy lab so the instructors encourage us to bring a separate set of clothes, you know, in case you get human guts on it or something. I guess it makes people nauseous.

Right before my Physiology of Disease class I went to the library to print out the lecture notes from the previous class which weren't available online last night. So, I'm carrying my book bag and my half-gallon of water jug. I purchased this plastic jug from Jewel. It holds 1/2 gallon of water and it even has a carrying case so you can carry it like a purse or a bag. I had just filled the jug with water and tightly screwed the lid. As I approached a computer I grabbed the jug by the handle to place it on the table next to the computer. Somehow it slipped, fell on the floor, the lid popped off AND ALL MY WATER SPILLED ON THE FLOOR. And it all happened in super slow motion...The jug fell from my hand in outer-space speed, I saw every bead of water hit the floor and I saw the left side of the jug hit the floor then the right side. I gasped very loudly and said 'Noooooo!' It was all very dramatic. I should have fallen to my knees with head and fists raised in the air. That would have been very climactic.

I told a librarian who came to see the spill and exclaimed, 'Wow, that's a LOT of water.' Yep, it was a 1/2 gallon water spill so I concur, it was a huge water spill. Needless to say I screwed the cap on the jug again to see how this could happen and something about it was off! It doesn't screw all the way. So, I threw it out. I went to the car to get the actual gallon so that I could bring that to class. Next time, I'm going to Wal-mart to look for something to hold my water. Wal-mart is the shopping behemoth. They have everything.

Anyway, after the water spill that frustrated me, I went to Physiology of Disease class. The instructor told us immediately that this is a difficult class. We have THREE books for this class, one of which is that $221 book that doesn't prepare my lunch or do my homework. Anyone who knows me knows that I work out a lot and I drink a TON of water, like a gallon a day. So, I did what any healthy person would do-- I brought my gallon to class (hey, there's no other way to get in my gallon a day. The jugs at Target just aren't big enough). I sit in the front row of all my classes (NERD!). So, as I'm sitting in the front I was thirsty so I took a drink. The teacher interrupted her lecture and said 'Wow, you're such a good girl. You don't just drink water you bring an entire GALLON with you. You need to teach me how to do that, I don't drink enough.' This got a few chuckles from my classmates. I thought it was funny that she was so...intrigued by that. I guess a girl taking a drink from a gallon container is maybe... a little different. But hey, I gotta do it. I don't want to be a chunky (aka FAT) grad student. I heard somewhere that water is supposed to be good for you. Something about the body being mostly water... :-)

For this class you need quite a bit of Bio and Organic chem. Amazingly, there are people in the class without an organic chem background. I feel sorry for them! We immediately got into macromolecules and bio basics. It's going to be a slight struggle for them to understand what they should have spent some other semester learning. Thank God for prerequisites! Long live prerequisites.

Both classes were lecture style with about 60-70 students. Most of the students are Occupational Therapy (yeah!) and Physical Therapy (blank stare) students. These are the people that I will basically spend the next year to 1.5 years with. I actually saw a girl from my Physics class from last semester! We spoke briefly and she gave me the details about the Anatomy class (that I take tomorrow) because she took it over the summer. She said the cadavers made her queasy! I thought that was funny because a large part of our learning is due to the cadavers.

Anyway, it was an interesting day and I learned a lot. Tomorrow I'll crack open these $900 books and get some real studying done.

I'll have plenty of time to study since I can't eat this month...