Archive for October, 2007

Halloween Humor

I went jogging this morning at 5:15am!!  I was so proud of myself.  The air was chilly and frost covered the ground.  I hardly noticed it in the soft moonlight.  My run was going great until I started to think someone was behind me.  I kept looking over my shoulder when I heard a noise.  I knew it was probably just my jacket flapping, but I was getting spooked and THEN I realized it was Halloween!  SPOOKY!  🙂



Count my Blessings

I had the opportunity to work with a DO on a pregnant patient today!  All we did was counterstrain, allowing the patient to walk out of the hospital where she had come wheelchair-bound because of the pain.  This really shouldn’t be a “blessing”.  This should be an everyday affair for Osteopathic Medical students, but alas!  It is a blessing and I am thankful.

Achey Breaky Heart

Tonight I jealously observed my swing dancing guy-friend close to another woman, helping her renovate a house and going “out” with her.  It could be completely innocent.  Their relationship could be like ours, but I felt the pangs of jealously anyways.  We would never hook up simply because of the age thing (his issue, not mine).   I would also like to have a child (or 2) someday, which he would never do again.  In his previous marriage his ex-wife removed her birth control without telling him.  His daughter is now 19yo.

Still, we are great friends.  He makes me laugh, we dance well together (although he’s not as dreamy as Ri) and we go on “pseudo-dates”, which are the closest to real dates I get.  I love walking around as if we’re a couple and wondering what other people think of us.  Yet we pay our own tab most of the time (unless he’s feeling generous: I’m a poor student and he’s working) and there is none of the awkwardness of dating: do we have to kiss, is he expecting anything from me, etc.

I hate romance.  I started listening to love songs when I was 11yo and day dream of my future love life.  18 years later I still have no love life and I can’t figure out what I did wrong.  Granted, I hate drinking and partying, thus limiting my chances of finding a loser guy who just wanted to slobber all over me and get me into bed.  I also didn’t go to church, thereby limiting my chances of finding a guy who wanted a house wife and mother for his children.  I do have my swing dancing, but I’m not a hot chick and all the guys I love to dance with are married.  😦
How much am I supposed to compromise my morals to find a guy?  I simply CAN’T dress slutty.  It is not in my genetic make-up.  I’m a down-home good girl who loves to dance and can hold my own in the academic/medical world.  My faults: moodiness/depression and a less than exquisite figure, which has significantly contributed to a sense of unworthiness in the world of romance.   I suppose you could also consider my extreme fear of intimacy as a fault of mine.  I often resign myself to a life alone, taking care of my parents as they get older, setting up public health initiatives (Tai Chi, Swing dancing, cooking classes, etc), teaching family medicine and Osteopathy to students and residents and maybe adopting children.  The only problem is I feel so empty.  Then the question is: would romance even fill that emptiness?  Maybe I need to fill that emptiness myself and share my full self with someone…

I spoke with a friend of mine who is going to send me literature about the “Spiritual Path” her parents adopted and used as a moral foundation to raise her and her sister.  It has similarities to Hinduism and Buddhism, but is different.  Stay tuned for spiritually enlightening statements!

Amphibian/bipolar/multi-personality Disorder

I would place the above label on anyone who tries to be a true Osteopathic Physician.

Amphibian- can function in two completely different environments

Bipolar- Extremes of behavior: episodes of euphoria separated by stretches of deep depression

Multi-personality disorder-  Arguing with yourself and sometimes it feels like someone else is operating your body, often driving one’s self completely crazy

Osteopathic Challenge

Teacher: “Okay students, I want you to write down a disease.  It can be any disease.  One you’ve learned about and read about in books.  It can be a disease someone you know has.  Anything.  Write it down.”

Wait 1-2mins while students think and write.

Teacher: “Now, what I want you to do with that disease is to think about it from an Osteopathic point of view.  I know the medical community has its own theories regarding the etiology of disease and some of them may be right, but I don’t want you to think like a medical doctor.  I want you to think like a Doctor of Osteopathy.  This requires you to think about the disease primarily from a neurovascular and structural standpoint: What’s the innervation of the diseased portion of the body?  What’s the blood supply?  Could there be an imbalance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems playing a role in this disease process?”

Example: asthma is claimed to be an inflammatory disease of the bronchi, manifested as an obstructive pattern with pulmonary function tests.  It is treated with beta2 agonist drugs to dilate the bronchi and corticosteroids to decrease the inflammation.  Now, if asthma was considered from the Osteopathic standpoint there could be decreased motion in the ribs causing the obstructive pattern because the patient cannot breathe all their air out (ribs stuck in inhalation), which would also decrease the lymphatic drainage causing an increase in inflammatory cells.  Secondly, there could be a diminished sympathetic drive due to a restriction in the thoracic spine between T2-6.  Hmmmm.  Why not check for and treat the somatic dysfunction rather than giving the patient drugs if you can help it?

Key to Success?

That phrase “Key to Success” makes me want to throw up, especially when someone else asks for advice.  I just sent the following email to one of the gunner first year students.  I think it was appropriate and conveyed my feelings.

Hi C,

   I'm a third year UNECOM student up in Augusta.  You mention a desire for

3rd and 4th year students to provide input on how to succeed in medical

school.  Although this topic strikes me as less than inspirational, I may

consider coming to your event depending when and for how long.  I realize I

sound a bit cynical, but this is because success in medical school simply

requires common sense and bit of discipline.  The more stimulating question is

how to become a successful Osteopathic Physician who can talk the medical talk

as well as walk the Osteopathic walk.  It is an amazing struggle for those who

are willing to go above and beyond the information that's given to you in

class, to inquire about our past and try to understand what this AT Still was

doing because it was a LOT more than what OPP will teach you.  Now THAT would

be well worth my time.Please let me know more details if you still want me to come to your event.


Red Dragon

I went to a “Traditional Osteopathy” workshop this morning. The goal of the workshop is for us to surrender. We ask “God” (or whatever you believe in) to give us an experience of _____. First we ask to experience being grounded, second is expanded, lastly grounded and expanded at the same time. The challenge is to ask and then simply experience and not impose your will on what you think you are expected to experience. I, like most people in our society, struggle with the concept of surrender and trust. I know I’m holding on to baggage and it is hard to let go, but I know this is what I have to do if I want to be happy. The act of truly letting go and surrendering is a profoundly powerful experience.

What I found interesting was this morning when I was asked for an experience of being grounded and expanded I had the image of a red dragon come to me. My reaction was semi-analytical: dragons are heavy (grounded) and they have wings (expanded), but I also was aware of some fear I held towards the dragon, although my fear was not as strong as I thought it should be (I felt a little numb). I know dragons are great legendary symbols, so I looked them up on the internet and I was impressed by its relevance.

“The colour red on the body of the Dragon is a powerful energy. On a positive polarity red represents Divine Will and Power to Love and Work Together. On a negative polarity, red represents Domination; Destruction; Separation and other fearful qualities. So the Dragon is a powerful figure.

The wings of the dragon represent the Souls capacity to fly above the opposites of the material world, including the limited rational mind. If you look closely you will see that the Dragon, who often represents the fear that blocks our path to the Self, isn’t as ferocious as he first seems. Fear is like that, for fear is the bearer of treasure, which you will discover if you have the courage to face your fears. The Chinese Dragon is a jolly Dragon because the focus is on what the Soul gains more than what the Ego loses. The Dragon represents ourself. he is the fear that bars the dark and murky cave of our subconscious, that ominous labyrinth where we dare not venture into for fear of being lost forever by becoming submerged in the storms of our emotional garbage.”

For the full story:

Radiologist = More than imaging

A radiologist taught me about “Cannonball” car racing, ultramarathons, a book entitled “Chi of Running”, tips on running technique and theories on happiness.  I miss judged the radiologists by their title.  I assumed they were cold, anti-social types of doctors who sat in dark rooms reading films all day long.  Although the dark room is fairly accurate, radiologist are actually quite pleasant as long as you don’t push them around and order unnecessary films.  They have lives and hearts just like anyone else.  I think one of my best lessons of medical school has been to see that most doctors are caring humans even if they work within the cruel and heartless medical machine where anything not evidence-based is considered a travesty of medical practice.

The Imagination of Imaging

Radiology is fascinating.  I’ve always enjoyed the puzzle of figuring out a 3D structure given 2D pictures.  The brain/skull is by far the most complicated and is makes me smile on the inside to see neuroanatomy/skull images.

I’m hanging out with the radiologists for the rest of this week.  They are a funny crowd.  Speedy (they can read a chest x-ray in about 30 seconds!), dry-humored and get easily annoyed by “shot gun” doctors ordering unnecessary tests.  they also do procedures.  I saw 2 breast biopsies: one was ultrasound-guided with a small needle, the other was x-ray guided with a big machine and a honkingly huge needle.  I missed the gastric peg tube placement, but there is another one happening tomorrow morning.  Other than the procedures, we sat in a dark room and stared at images all day.

I gotta bring it back to osteopathy.  Radiologists look for BIG lesions.  Doctors often will get images of the back, neck or knee if the patient is in pain, but their images look perfectly normal or have only minor degenerative changes.  When it comes to pain, imaging seems to play the role of ruling out major issues like compression fracture or spinal nerve impingement, however, every day run-of-the-mill pain is far to esoteric for radiologist to care about.  They hardly touch patients for crying out loud!  They see a normal film and they think either the patient or the doctor are crazy when in fact it is the radiologists who are crazy.

It is unfortunate we cannot document somatic dysfunction (SD) by imaging: have pain, imaging shows SD.  Fix SD, pain goes away and imaging looks normal.  Of course that’s not how it works, which is why Osteopathy will most likely never be proven in medical terms and it will always be an art.

I love my kidneys

Last week I worked with a Nephrologist (kidney doctor).  I saw patients in the dialysis unit where patients with failing kidneys go 3 times a week for 3-4 hour treatment.  Can you imagine not being able to urinate at all and have to depend on a machine to clean you blood?  How ridiculous!  How archaic!  You’d think, with all our damned technology and genome projects going on we could figure out how to fix someone’s kidney, but no!  Patients either get a transplant or put on dialysis if their “little kidneys that sit and make piss” poop out.

I wonder if there is a way to access the kidneys through manipulation…

Dr. Kuchera(1) quotes Goldthwaite(2), so I’ll do the same:

“A loose kidney is found almost always with a faulty posture.  The drooped thorax obliterates the forward thrust of the ribs and relaxes the diaphragm, thus pushing the liver downward on the kidney to the right.  Because of the this pressure, the protecting fat is rapidly lost and ptosis of the kidney follows.”  Paraphrasing the rest of the quote: ptosis of the kidney can disturb proper blood flow, innervation and drainage leading to numerous problems with the kidney, all of which could have potentially been avoided if the kidney was restored to normal position through poper body mechanics. (p.123)

On p.135 Kuchera(1) specifically address renal disease and that treatment of the T11, T12, L1 area may reduce renal disease and improve recovery even in patients with renal failure. hmmmm.

1. Kucher ML, Kuchera WA, “Osteopathic Considerations in Systemic Dysfunction” 2nd ed. Greyden Press. Columbus, OH. 1994

2. Goldthwaite, Brown, Swain, Kulans, “Essentials of Body Mechanics in Health and Disease”. 5th ed, 1952.

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