Then October Happened

Imagine running a hard 200 meter dash that you finished pretty strong, but instead of a gradual decrease in speed after crossing the finish line, you just come to a crashing halt. You don’t realize how much you just strained your body because the cortisol and adrenaline levels remain escalated, so it isn’t until about 2-3 days later that your body and mind really feel the effects… That’s basically what the month of October was, and for me personally, the effects were the equivalent of DOMS. This is one of those times where the blunt truth about PT school lived up to its claim: it’s hard.

I won’t even list everything that went down because frankly, both my brain and my spirit are still putting themselves back together. After an unproductive week post-exams I decided to come home for a couple of days before a short week, followed by a weekend in DFW for a conference (and an excuse to see some of my best friends). I don’t even think I realized how much I isolated myself this month until the storm of exams and practicals was done. The biggest reason for this post in particular is to (hopefully) straighten out my way of thinking and reflect on the bigger picture: we’re only half way into our second semester, but we’ve come a pretty long way.

This semester we’ve already learned techniques of soft tissue mobilization, how to apply a multitude of physical agents for assistance in tissue and muscle healing, gotten an introduction to traction, and have just recently been introduced to joint mobilization. We know how to perform basic tests of muscle strength, as well as measure joint range of motion and muscle length relative to what is normal, and we can perform screens of sensation and posture (everyone has something “wrong” with them, trust me). We are learning about the anatomy and blood supply to the brain and the inner workings of its connections to the rest of the body (with another 3 semesters of neuro following this one), and I have to say…the brain is awesome.

After learning about just a handful of the tracts that connect the body to the central nervous system, every time I hold a brain now I think, “This brain knew stuff, it did things, saw things; it went places, felt emotion; it had memories…it had a life.” There are a thousand and one ways the central nervous can sustain an injury, and just as many short and long-term effects. I can’t take the squishy mass of grey and white matter that is suspended in my cranium for granted anymore.

After looking at the schedule, it’s clear that this month was the hardest part of the whole semester (our finals are even more generously spread out). I’m happy to see everyone still walking. I know our coffee consumption was probably off the charts, but in these conditions, you do what you can to stay to stay alive, even if that means possibly risking the integrity of your suprarenal glands.

I hope everyone is having a restful weekend! We’re on the other side now, and can see the horizon!

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