Archive for May, 2007

Petrified of People!

I figured it out!  I am totally petrified of people!  That’s why I spend so much time alone.  That’s why I hate parties.  That’s why I hate alcohol.  That’s why I talk so little.  This isn’t really a revelation because I’ve known about this fear for a long time, but I had an experience tonight that is helping me to realize who I am a bit better.

As part of our transition to clinical years we have small groups for 3 weeks called “Capstone” where we learn to write admission SOAP notes and hospital orders, how to do differential diagnoses, and other clinical stuff. We had a group of 9-10 and a really cool facilitator who’s a 2nd or 3rd year resident, full of energy, knowledge and stories and believes in OMM enough to give it a try even though she’s not into all the “woowoo”.  Tonight, our last meeting, she had us over for a barbeque, which was fantastic.  I enjoyed the people in my small group for the most part and one guy (F) in particular has impressed over the last 5 months.

My initial impressions of F were not good: he loved sports, drinking, partying, etc.  Enough to write anyone off my list.  In January I found out he was more interested in Osteopathy than I ever would have guessed, which will immediately put anyone on my “okay” list.  At the party tonight he was courteous and even complimentary to a classmate who really bothers me (negative energy, thinks she’s funny when she’s not).  He may have felt the same way I did, but he told her how he never realized she was so funny and he sounded sincere.  That really impressed me.

F seems genuinely nice to everyone and he is very comfortable with people.  Me, I feel like I can tolerate people and sometimes there are people I really enjoy being around, but for the most part people scare me.  If the fear was any worse, I probably never would have been able to function in society.  When I was driving to the BBQ I wanted to get there so I wasn’t late (we had SOME class work to get done), but I was also hoping I could just drive forever, so I would never have to get to the party and interact with people.  Believe it or not, I also had the thought of looking forward to studying because I’m more comfortable with books and facts than I am with people.


Honesty is the best policy?

Side note: I was tickled the first time I saw the bottled iced tea called “Honest T”.

I may have already discussed this, but it was on my mind again this evening.  I’ve been blessed and cursed with honesty.  I often say precisely what’s on my mind without a thought of the repercussions (more homework?).  My reasoning is that if I say what is true, how can anything I say be wrong?  I’ve come to learn that the truth can be wrong in some situations.  Since I do not have the capacity to tell a lie (unless in complete jest and sometimes hardly even then!), I just don’t say anything.   So, whenever I do say something it is liable to be boring or profound, but not fun and witty.  There is security in boring.  Those who are tired dealing with the BS of the world have found my company to be refreshing.  This never fails to astound me because I am not trying to be refreshing.  It is just how those specific people perceive me.  Not everyone feels like that.  Although, I cherish those who do!!

You can’t chart God

Charting.  It is the medical world.  Charts are a record of everything regarding a patient’s condition, their history, their physical findings, their laboratory data and imaging.  Charts are used in court as official documents as a supplementary piece of evidence or as the primary evidence in a malpractice lawsuit.  Defensive medicine is the name of the game.  If you don’t want to get sued, ask everything, do everything, and record everything.  Charts are also used to pass patient care on from one physician to another while they’re in the hospital.

Tell me, how do you chart the subtle feelings you get when interacting with a person?  How do you pass on the information gathered in your subconscious that you might not even be aware of?  How do you chart the inherent healing processes of a patient that are keeping the patient alive despite concomitant dis-ease? How do you chart intricate emotional nuances occurring during the patient’s thought processes?  How do you chart God?

The Miracle of what it means to be human

The miracle of life is going to be my new approach to studying.  Forget the boards (sort of), forget my classmates studying 24/7, forget me feeling like I’m letting someone down, forget trying to change the medical school curriculum to incorporate more Osteopathy (for now).  Forget EVERYTHING except the miracle of what it means to be human.  This should be the motivating force for everyone in everything they do, but I won’t judge you if this is not your motivation.  All I know is it is the motivation I need to get through the next 1.5 months!

Thank god for the sun, the trees, the ocean and the mist rolling over the stones.  Life is a miracle, I just wish humans didn’t have to screw it up and take the beauty away.

Eduational Soul?

Is it possible to provide an education that lives up to society’s standards and maintains its soul?  I had my final Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA III) yesterday and I just about lost my soul.  Good thing my soul is hearty.

Why did I almost lose my soul?  Here’s the rundown: we (students) have to “play doctor” by seeing 8 patients (with a focused history and physical exam) and writing up their complete SOAP notes in 4 hours: that’s 14 minutes per patient, 13 minutes for the SOAP note, with 3 minutes for transition times.  Even though the patients had fairly easily identifiable conditions, they were actors and I couldn’t use any of the subtle energetic interaction information I’ve been learning to develop, nor could I use Osteopathic diagnoses to supplement my findings.  AND I’m not nearly disciplined enough to learn the lists of each system’s H&P cold without assimilation to specific disease processes or the people who have them.  And the overseeing nurse was wondering why I didn’t smile the whole time!

During the other CSA’s I just put my soul aside and went through the motions, but this one was different.  This was our final test before being thrown into real clinical experiences, which made me feel like I should know everything.  We were also being graded and I didn’t want to let down my “teachers”, but then again, who has taught me how to do a focused history and physical?  Um, no one!  You would think that for each system we would have had a couple of hours dedicated to how to do a focused PE.  We had a few sporadic classes dedicated to maybe ausculation, differential diagnosis of chest pain, but for the most part, they just assumed we’d figure it out!  Lovely.  They keep saying that we just need practice and experience, yet they grade us at the end of our second year BEFORE we have experience.  Of course, we’re all in the same boat and they test us again at the end of our 3rd year.

Finding motivation to study for the boards is hard enough, but with the traumatic experience of yesterday, I’m about ready to drop out of medical school, again.

More Laughter!

This video totally sent me into stitches! Cats are great!

What am I doing?

I went to a “Fiddlefest” today to help out a friend who was selling her new cookbook and giving away free samples of her salads.  It was a great gathering of enlightened people who care about the Earth, eating local, organic foods.  Why didn’t I just stick to farming?  It is HARD work, but it is so good for the soul to work with the soil and plants and be in the sun.

I keep dreaming about my future garden: what kinds of trees I’ll plant to create a dynamic landscape.  Then, what kinds of perennial plants.  Someone once said that perennial plants are the gardener’s blessing (or something to that accord) because they come back year after year and don’t require too much work.  I’d like to have a varied of plant heights, color, fragants.  It would be awesome to recruit kids from the local school to help me each year I expand the garden, so they feel invested, and come to visit and help tend the garden.  Wouldn’t it be SO cool if some kids helped me extensively and loved the garden so much that they come back to get married there?  I would be honored.

So, what am I doing in medical school?  Pursuing a career that is forcing me to work in a hospital for at least the next 5 years?  All I can think of is that I’m crazy and selfish.  I wanted for myself all the information doctors have, so I would know what they know and what they don’t know.  Once again, if it wasn’t for the Osteopathy, I would never be able to put up with all of this.  There is something so organic and natural about connecting to people and helping them.  Why does the medical world have to turn it into a nightmare of drugs, paperwork and headaches?

Insults and Treatments

I know I go to the cranial workshops with the wrong attitude.  I get frustrated with vague answers to my inquiries that are limited by their own knowledge/language and inability to understand my point of view.  So, in a way, during these workshops I harbor a disdain for these people who are trying to share what they think is important, learning to perceive.  I think perceiving important, but they are so narrow minded in their openness it drives me crazy.  They talk about fulcrums and midlines, tides and primary respiration, but we’re not supposed to watch it during the treatment.  Then, they make us try to go through the different layers/tissues of the body with our intention, which is not perceiving at all.  I feel like such a damn cynic compared to those around me that I wonder if my cynicism is valid.

When I got frustrated today with this exercise, one of the table trainers insulted me by saying it was “Too right-brained for me.”  WELL!  That just about sent me through the roof.  Yes, I am very analytical, but I am perfectly capable of letting go, allowing myself to perceive and being creative.  Plus, it shows me just how limited he is in his perception of the brain’s function.  Sure, science says the right half of the brain does this while the left side does that.  However, if our whole body is truly integrated like these guys keep talking about, then the left and right sides of the brain certainly share most of the brain’s functioning (can you say “Corpus callosum?”).  And no person is either right or left-brained.  Wh=e all have both halves and we all use both halves.  Those who can use both halves equally are probably the most rational, creative, productive, perceptive people in the world.  He did recognize the insult and later apologized, which I appreciated.

I asked him if he ever feels that the language they use is limiting.  Because they are always using the phrases listed above, I feel like these concepts are real.  However, after working with Dr. Fields, I’m coming to the conclusion that they are real concepts to those who first started to describe them.  When they tried to teach these concepts, they taught them to the best of their ability, creating a new language to describe what they were feeling.  The students, who are now my teachers, seem to have gotten caught up in the language, fitting their perceptions into the structure the language provided.

This reminds me of Siddartha and his friend Govinda.  They set off together to find some one to teach them about enlightement.  They found a good teacher and learned from him.  Govinda was so moved by the wisdom of the enlightened teacher that he stayed and became a member of the community, but Siddartha was dissatisfied and moved on to find his own enlightenment.

I think all the great Osteopaths have discovered something immensely powerful and try to relate this experience to others through language.  Because the Osteopath is so powerful, the pupils try to imitate what the master says and does, so they too can be powerful.  However, imitation is doomed to failure, especially when trying to teach the next generation.  As a student it is okay to experiment and imitate, but ultimately the power of knowing has to come from within and from experience, then taught in whatever style suits the teacher while encouraging the student to perceive whatever comes, not trying to fit it into a model.

“I quote no authors but God and experience.”  AT Still


I LOVE NeuroAnatomy.  I save studying for it like a treat after I do some crappy grunt work.  The CNS is such a complicated 3 dimensional structure.  It is nearly impossible to see 2 dimensional cut sections and then piece them back together in my own mind, using my own gyri. I love trying to figure out the names of all the bumps, where the cranial nerves exit, what the different gyri of the cortex do. How are the bumps related to the nuclei inside?  What information is passing through the different tracts?  Do you think we can really compress or expand the fourth ventricle using cranial techniques (CV4, EV4).  I keep thinking about how some people say we only use 25% (?) of our brains.  What does the rest of it do?  What is it we’re capable of doing and yet don’t do?  It seems rather bizarre if we sustain so much of our gray matter and yet don’t use it.

Sensual experiences

I stepped out of my house this morning and inhaled the fragrant scents of spring.  The heavy clouds and mist facilitated the aromatic experience of apple blossoms, fresh cut grass and many more.  The early green Maple leaves essentially glowed with their new growth.  Forthysias burst with yellow tassels, lilacs blushed purple and the apple blossom swayed innocently white.  It was pleasantly overwhelming.

When I have my own garden, I will make sure to have plenty of aromas to great you, vivid colors to dance in your eyes and fruits and vegetables to provide you with nourishment.

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