New WCB caseworker: “So, I was only informed of your job with Horse Connection and your job at the U of W.. what else do you do? Are you a student?”
You know you’re special when your doctor thanks you for having rare and interesting injuries.
I got my MRI results today, from the MRI I had done a couple weeks ago for the accident I had a month and a half ago. Turns out I do indeed have a fracture, on the lateral plateau of my tibia. Thankfully undisplaced.. I was told by the doc that I was a hair off of a very, very severe injury that would have resulted in surgeries and pins and screws. Ya no thanks! I can’t lie though, I am pretty excited about having my first official broken bone.. #nerdalert
So, what we know now (7wks post trauma): fracture at the lateral tibial plateau, microtrauma to the trabeculae in the superior tib/fib bone (trabeculae = spongy part of the bone), marrow effusion (bone bruise), edema (fluid) surrounding the deep peroneal nerves, sprained superior tib/fib joint, strained long adductors (groin muscles crossing the knee), and rotator cuff strain/impingement to top it all off! What better way to study for my rehab practical then to spend the entire semester going through every stage of recovery!!
For the most part, recovery has been going very well with consistent progress. Today was the first day I’ve had nerve pain in a couple weeks, and I know I’m not really done with those random symptoms for a while as nerve bruising/edema can take around a year to fully heal. The last couple weeks in the clinic I’ve spent doing more conditioning and strength training work, which sucks- but is also pretty awesome. Considering only 3 weeks ago I was just happy to be walking without severe pain. I’m still a ways off of running, but am getting closer to getting strength back. I’ve been challenging my cardio with bikes, swimming, ellipticals, and dry-land rowing- and challenging my strength more and more each week. It’s very nice to be able to do something in the gym again! Step by step (literally)!
To put a positive spin on this whole series of events- it’s given me a great opportunity to rebuild my body. Because I have some super talented ATs behind me, and have basically started from the bottom up when it comes to conditioning- we’ve been working out all the little kinks in my posture and functional movements- which in turn will help me rebuild my riding position too. This would be something difficult to do if I was still in good condition. The fact that my body was broken down by a trauma, and then had to be rested for a few weeks was at first frustrating- but I’ve really come to appreciate the chance to build it back up again on more stable foundations. All this also has given me some great new ideas to put into my own training class- which I’m sure my clients will love/hate! Holla at me silver lining!
What else is new?
Uhh both Will and Felix move into M&C’s in a couple weeks- just in time for exam season. The doctor has given me the okay to ride- actually he couldn’t really say no, because he doesn’t know enough about the sport to really know what it would entail for all my injuries. So I’m flying on my own opinion. And that’s just going to be trying it out and seeing how it goes, once I get my brain wrapped around the idea that it’s something I shouldn’t be terrified of. Yes I’ve still be finding excuses to avoid going out to the barn (that and I am honestly just swamped by everything else in my life<– prime example of an excuse). I did go out to a horse show to watch Megg do some rounds this past weekend, and it was actually a good thing for me to do. After getting my very patient boyfriend and I lost (I have excellent navigational skills….), and finally getting there- it was good for me to sit in that atmosphere and watch horses and riders go around courses all morning. It kind of revived some motivation in me, and reminded me that that is something I do want to do still.
This week is of course packed full of fun times. As classes are coming to an end, the pressure to stop procrastinating has begun. Today I interviewed for a potential summer job, and tomorrow I'll be working at the Rotary Career Fair reppin' the Faculty of Kin AT program. I did this event last year as well and had a blast! Friday will bring the annual AT Games, an event I haven't attended before but am quite excited to attend this year. Trivia and Kin related games with the profs, followed by hanging out after? Nerd fun! I am honestly hoping to get out to the barn this week at least once, and sit on Shakka for a bit to see how it goes. I will not make excuses…most likely…!
I think the title explains the last 3 weeks of my life. However, I will state that it is roll up the rim season.
This is going to be a monster of a post…..A few things to talk about, so I’m going to start off with a contents list so you can skim if that is your preferred method:
2. The view of the Manitoba Winter Games as a student therapist (spoiler: it was awesome!!)
3. Leg update
4. General life update
5. The general thought/whining section
6. Summer planning
Okay. So it’s been a while since I’ve written an update. I’ve had my hands full, often literally, and been running (not literally) from place to place the past few weeks!
First up, Midterms:
These went shockingly well. Of the marks I have back, anyway. The first one I got back (Therapeutic Modalities) I completely expected to be around the class average (which was..very low.. talking maybe 50-60 ish), but was pleasantly surprised with a 71, which happened to be in the top five or so of the class. Bonus! Then came Ergonomics, the class I really like but am sometimes lost in. Somehow swung an A here. Awha? Sure. I’ll take it! If you’ll recall from my last post, I had gotten my Ex Phys exam moved to this week due to a mystery virus, and had a super fun crazy day on Thursday where I drove back to the city from the Games (see next section) for a day at school where I wrote 2 exams and 2 tests, with classes/labs and a clinical shift thrown in as well. I am still waiting for Ex Phys back, but am not optimistic it was anything amazing. Meh. I also wrote Rehab on Thursday, which I feel pretty decent about. I don’t really remember most of the day though, so who knows. Lets talk about something more exciting..
How about The MB Games experience from the eyes of a student AT?
First off, thank you past self for volunteering up for this event in the fall. Holy guacamole did I learn!!! I worked full days (and then some) in Morden/Winkler covering different events on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I seriously never wanted it to end (only a little bit because I’m sick of school (see section 5)).
The week started with getting my volunteer badge and medical team shirt (which made me feel super legit, anyone else?).
The sports I covered for the first couple days were ringette and gymnastics (both male and female, ages 9-14). Monday was just practice for gymnastics, and I hung out there for most of the night after being shown around and bombarded with an ankle support and shoulder assessment within my first half an hour there. It was pretty crazy watching some of the things these kids did on the uneven bars (terrifying). Surprisingly (to me) there was only one injury that day for me to deal with: a gymnast came down during her floor practice off some sorta intense double round-off thing and landed in full plantar-flexion, inverted, and hit the ground crying. Cue my brain shutting off for 3 milliseconds then realising that everyone was looking at me because I was the one wearing the super cool medical shirt..
First lesson I learned: asking the patient questions doesn’t only make you look like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t), it prompts your brain to start working again. I managed to go through a half decent assessment after getting her off the middle of the mat, and decided that she most definitely needed to go for x-rays; so after breaking that idea to her, and making her cry more, I headed to find the doctor, ice, and crutches. The doctor promptly confirmed the x-ray, and I had to mcgyver a set of crutches (the supply we had was sketchy- the only pair I could manage for her height was one metal and one wood, the wood taped together as there were screws missing…). Then we sent her off to Boundary for imaging, and the rest of the night was relatively uneventful. I did get to tape another gymnasts ankle, after the coach realised that I could actually do that. I got a little confidence boost as this 11yr old watched me tape with wide eyes, and expressed adorable gratitude.
The next day started out similarly uneventful. I taped a few ankles (including the young gymnast from the previous evening, who swore it was making her better!), wrapped a few groins, ate some great canteen food, and chatted. Then headed over to watch the first of the gymnastics competitions. This age group went smoothly, although I cringed a few times with some close calls on the vault. After this I had another couple hours to chat with the other health care professionals about the place, then me and the other student AT headed back to watch the second gymnastics event. With no other events running, the sport med doctor was hanging around with us too. Thank goodness, as not long after the event started a floor routine went horribly wrong. I was unfortunately watching this girl’s feet as she landed, which resulted in me seeing her ankle dislocate and her go down. I 110% froze, and probably said something not school appropriate out loud- and had that great moment where again we realised everyone (and there was A LOT of people there) was looking at us, and then hearing the doctor tell us to “go!”. Matt and the doc headed out while I stayed by the med kit ready to bring it out if needed, pretty much right away got the signal to call 911. I went out onto the mat to help, only to have the coaches lift the girl and start moving her (seriously…. who does that!?). Thankfully the doctor had a good grip on the ankle and we all headed to the other room to carry on. The ankle was most definitely fractured, with what looked like the fibula pretty close to breaking the skin. Needless to say all we could do was splint and wait for transport. So that’s what we did. The poor kid was understandably freaking out. While the other two stayed with her and her parents, I headed back out to the competition, only to find another athlete had thrown up and was looking pretty faint. Her mom quickly explained that she had had a very similar injury last year, and was reliving some of the experience.
Definitely the worst injury I’ve dealt with so far, and once the adrenaline worse off I had a seriously hard time watching floor routines for the rest of the day. I couldn’t watch the feet anyway. Who woulda thought floor over bar and beam would cause the most anxiety! After that gymnastics ran smoothly, and I spent most of the rest of my time handing out ice bags (snow bags). The next day was much slower, as it was a transition day for the games- so after watching the boys gymnastics, and still cringing during floor routines, I used the rest of my time there to study for rehab and ex phys. My last day at the games I got to cover hockey (female) for the first time, and thankfully nothing major happened. I did get an insight as to how intense the sport of table tennis is- especially when we had one athlete come to us with stomach flu symptoms (which 50/50 could have been caused by the stress being placed on him by his mother and coaches… oh, and the large plate of meatballs, fish, and rice he had eaten.. oh and the dehydration…)- and saw his coach sprint out to get ginger tablets so he could play in the next 15minutes. Between the coach freaking out about her athlete (who was like 10) maybe being down for the count, and his mom wanting to take him to the hospital (for mild stomach flu symptoms..?..)- it was understandable that the kid was a little uneasy about his life.
What did I notice this week? I really noticed myself gaining confidence in acute assessment, and even just standing rink side or event side. As terrifying as the gymnastics ankle was- it solidified that I do have a solid education behind me and I am trained to handle things- even if my brain shuts off. It was sorta neat seeing how people looked to you as you had the most training. Another very cool side to this event was getting the chance to network with athletes, coaches, parents, doctors, nurses, other ATs and fellow students. I was asked so many questions about what athletic therapists do this week, and was able to provide semi-educated answers. People were able to see how competent we are in a variety of areas, and doctors were often looking to us to deal with assessments, taping, and return to play protocols. After injuries, I was able to hang out with the sport med doc on sight and discuss possibilities for what the images would show, recovery, and mechanisms as well as got to watch her do some kick ass assessments. Just watching her interact with patients was a learning experience! So yeah, it’s been a pretty athletic therapy filled week! I got to practice many skills at the Games, that I didn’t even know I needed to practice. Talking to young athletes, for example. Or talking to parents with heavy accents. Or talking to a sobbing kid with a near broken ankle. Not things you get to do or see everyday, that’s for sure. It was such a great week, and I really look forward to continuing to grow as a AT working in the field. Multi-sport events are a fantastic place to learn skills and gain confidence, even if it takes being absolutely terrified half the time. Faking it til you make it is definitely the way to go! People eat up confidence, and acting confident inspires real confidence. It was such a good feeling realising that I know what I’m doing, once my brain caught up with the moment I was in. The week at the Games ended off with a nice compliment from the head therapist, after finding out I was only in P1 she was very surprised and said “You have an amazing skill set for your level! Seriously, keep it up!”. Overall everyone was very impressed with the UW students, so I guess our education is actually getting us somewhere!
Now that we’ve discussed all the injuries I’ve dealt with, how’s my own Injury Progress?
It’s definitely improving. Not a whiff of pain with every day stuff now, I’ve been able to kick in the pool and other then feeling like I’ve never worked out a day in my life- I have no pain. Yay! I’ve been able to up my strength work again too (to.. more bodyweight.. haaa high five for atrophy), and today did a full hour of cardio training (on a bike and elliptical). I’m anxious to get running again, but doing my best to not push it. Because that would likely hurt. I did have an MRI this weekend, so pretty pumped to see what that shows!
I faced a fear this week! I must confess I’ve been absolutely terrified about getting back on a horse. The idea of getting right back on after you fall all riders are taught from day one has legit meaning- the more time that has been passing while I recover, the bigger the fear gets. Stupid, for someone who’s been riding for more then half her life. With my horse being moved back to M&C’s in a few weeks (eeeee!), and me getting the okay from my AT to try riding in a few weeks- the nervousness around the idea only doubled.. So, yesterday, since the weather was finally spring like- I decided to go out to the barn to just reintroduce myself to the environment. I didn’t plan on riding, as frankly it was hard enough to get myself out to the barn. But I did it. I got myself there, and spent some time with Lauren and Megg while they rode. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in a familiar environment. Whyyy! I decided then to follow my personal rule of “If it terrifies you, it’s probably a good thing to try.”. And Megg let me sit on her horse for a few minutes. More then enough for my body, and my head. Funnily enough, as nervous as I was before getting on AND after getting off- while I was in the saddle on Justinian, I felt nothing but calm. Thank goodness that learned instinct of focus in the tack is still there. Shoulda just stayed on I think because as soon as I got back off I was apprehensive again. And sore. Very sore. Oh the joys of coming back from an injury.
The general life update/general thoughts/summer planning sections: School and Work have been good. School is getting old. It’s that time of year where pretty much every student is done with it. My class has continued to keep my spirits up, every week I’ve seen my students greatly improve and am always getting good feedback. Next week is the beginning of another 8-week block, and I’m excited to continue with it! I’ve begun my search for another summer job (keeping MORfit, teaching, Horse Connection), as I recently found out that I was not accepted for the internship at Mayo Clinic this summer. I was somewhat disappointed by that news, but then realized it only meant I can hopefully save some money and ride my horse this summer- which is a plus. As great as Mayo Clinic would look on my resume, I can always apply again and I’m sure I’ll find some other sweet experiences.. it seems to be a thing I do anyway. What does my summer look like so far? About 3 spring courses, work work work, teach teach teach, and, oh yeah! Almost forgot! I got asked to work (volunteer) with another football team! Until a few days ago I was planning on going back to the team I worked with last fall. But on of my supervising AT’s senior students approached me and stated that she thought I would be really good with their team, a team that happens to be a heck of a lot closer to my location then Transcona is (as much as I love them), and a team with a schedule a little more conducive to mine. It was quite flattering to be approached by a senior student (again) and asked to come to their program. Doesn’t always happen that way! That combined with the blush worthy feedback I got from the head therapist at the games, I am quite happy with where I’m at as a AT student! This May brings the CATA conference to Winnipeg, and I’m looking forward to attending that. Of course I’m planning on training and competing as much as I can afford to.
Finishing up this semester is exhausting, between job searching, studying as much as humanly possible, working, and planning end of the year events for Kin and AT student groups- oh and running for student group exec positions for next year (my last year? What?)- my schedule has been nuts as usual. The last two weeks I’ve felt like I’m running on fumes (coffee fumes), but have been surrounded by an amazing group of people, new and old, who keep me going. Whether it’s students in any of my classes, fellow classmates and ATs, friends, family- there always seems to be someone there to study with, rant to, or cook for me after a long day at work/school. I’m very blessed!
I think that’s all I’ll burden you with for now, dear readers. I promise I’ll get back to a regular post schedule now that I’ve gotten back to a semi-normal schedule! End of term and finals are fast approaching, which means so is riding and training- recovery permitting! I can’t wait to see what the 2014 season has in store for me!