Category Archives: Photography

The moments in between

A week ago I turned 22. Another year older, another year wiser.. that’s how it goes, right?

If I had to take one thing from the past year to represent who I’m becoming, it couldn’t be one accomplishment or experience. It would have to be the moments in between. One of the things I’ve come to realise in the past while is how true happiness isn’t in big achievements or stand out moments we all look forward to. Happiness is a culmination of thousands of moments that we don’t even note half the time. To add to that, you can’t rely on joy to occur where you think it should. It sneaks up on you in ways you least expect it to. Impossible to trace, and sometimes disguised as something else.

Amongst the ups and downs of this year, I’ve faced fears, been thrown (sometimes literally) into things I never saw coming, experienced emotions I’ve never been privy to, accomplished more then I would’ve ever thought I could, made decisions I never thought I could, and evolved into the next version of myself.

More then ever I’ve seen the effectiveness of trusting that everything will work out as it should, and things happen for usually a specific reason. Every negative comes with a positive if you’re staying true to you, and sometimes you have to adjust your expectations to allow the right thing to happen.

With all those moments in between, I’ve been led to some stand out experiences. Through a series of unfortunate events I was led to a variety of first hand learning experiences towards my profession, as well as being introduced to a person who has more then changed my world. I’ve noticed a gradual shift in my self-confidence and leadership abilities, which helped me in taken on new challenges with school, internships, and setting new goals for the next stage of my life. While I still function as an introverted personality, I’ve learned how to use that to my advantage and continue to step out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. I know my own limits can step back and breathe before I burn out from pushing those limits. I learned that sometimes staying involved in something when it’s becoming more stressful then enjoyable, just because you’re afraid of losing the passion for that thing all together can only lead to more frustration and pain.. compassion for yourself and the ability to give yourself a deserved break should never be neglected. Life gives you lemonade if you stop sucking on the lemons.

I’ve reached a new understanding of myself, and feel more then ready to begin a new age. I was blessed to bring in 22 surrounded by loved ones.. lets see what this year brings!

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Immersion

If last weeks theme was feeling overwhelmed, this weeks theme is “I think I got this?”

Note the slight lack of certainty.

There is something about being surrounded by the student AT family who are all equally stressed about pretty much all the same things constantly that has brought back my cool, calmness.

So much about what we do as athletic therapy students (and graduates) is about jumping right in and just taking it as it comes. Really. You can’t fight against the current here. When you find yourself on field with no certified to answer your questions in person, and you have one athlete with a dislocated shoulder calmly (surprisingly) laying on the ground saying he can’t move his arm, two others waiting less patiently to be taped, 25 other players grouped around the first kid gawking, a currently injured athlete standing on the field yelling “you’re a wimp, you’re not actually hurt!” at players who come off the field injured (usually significantly) in between flirting with the water girls, coaches yelling things like “you are not brothers today.. you’re enemies! Let’s see what you can do!”, and kids getting absolutely smoked, getting up, coming off the field, and matter-of-factly stating “what happened? I can’t remember..?”…. all within an hour… you have to acknowledge this as a normal wednesday, go with the flow, and deal with it. Don’t worry about the numb hands, you can tape just fine with them. Palpating an acute injury doubles as icing when it’s 10deg and windy on a Manitoba fall evening. Jump in there… awkward injured teenagers are waiting.

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So far this week has been all about immersing myself back into a routine. I’ve found myself in many positions (partly volunteered) of leadership already, between being head therapist with football, c0-president of KSA, and just generally being a final year student. People ask more of you, people expect more of you, and you expect more of you. The first week of this new realisation terrified me, but so far the second week has reminded me that I’m ready to tackle all this (and hopefully fare better then my football players).

As classes got rolling this week, I thanked summer me for pushing myself to almost crazy squeezing all the extra reading, clinic time, and field work that I did manage to. It’s already made 4 super intimidating courses seem a little less mental. The switch back to super-human scheduler has begun. I’ve noticed that (so far) I don’t find myself feeling like prep reading for class is as dreaded. I actually just do it without thinking. And I usually actually find it quite interesting. Which in turn also helps to make these courses seem more manageable. Studying is so much easier when it doesn’t feel like work! Now I just have to figure out a way to get my brain to shut off for bed time. It wants to just keep on rolling 24hrs a day! Luckily, I never really find myself low on energy (again, so far). I still manage to find time to have car naps, a habit a started this summer too. And, as my boss at the gym pointed out one day after coming in stressed as I could be (during week 1)… “you still have time to work out, so things must not be too bad). I’m making a conscious effort this year to take time each day for me, even if that’s just a car nap. This is in an attempt to keep myself from the colossal melt down that usually happens around January.

This past weekend we welcomed home the newest addition to the hobby farm… Lucy (already sometimes “Lucifer”)! She will the the new project, now the Felix is almost all grown up. Of course he isn’t going anywhere fast, and Lucy has a few years yet before we’re riding her as she’s only just 4mos old now. What we’ve learned so far is that she loves people, but not in the mornings.

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The rest of this week brings another football game (on my birthday of course), plans to spend time with friends and family over the weekend bringing in the 22nd year, and hopefully a continued progression of immersing myself into a comfortable stress/study/function level for this semester.

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Triaging my own schedule.. Am I doing it right?

The past few weeks in a nutshell:

Answer student questions in first responder class, work with kids at horse connection, work the desk at MORfit, go to evening classes, ride, triage football kids, answer football parent’s questions on why their kid is concussed or how they broke their wrist (among other things), answer football coach’s questions as to which kids I actually told not to practice (2/6 actually sitting out…), ride, answer anatomy student’s questions, apply ice to football kids, ride, work the desk at MORfit, read religious papers for my online humanity, design workouts while in business class, teach those workouts to my class, schedule meetings for KSA, chat with enthusiastic faculty members on their ideas for KSA, try to track down a key for my KSA office (with no luck…), write panicked reading reports on readings I half did, try to remember to write things down in my schedule, more football, more desk work, chart, chart, chart, research injuries I’ve never seen before but am dealing with, apply ice, prescribe rest, attempt to get tensor bandages back from athletes, refer, explain to parents why I’m referring..again. Ride. Jump. Run. Get myself back into a lifting routine. Sleep? Eat?

I ran into a fellow AT student the other day, when I was ignoring the pressing need to finish a paper- and instead shopping. As I asked how her spring was going, I found myself looking into a mirror.. “I’m.. it’s.. overwhelming..”. Between football, work, spring courses, and our own personal athletics… Things get interesting for most AT students in the summer. I’m forever fighting back the guilt over not being able to fit in extra clinical shifts to bump my hours so far this summer- but honestly the thought of adding one more thing to my already overdone schedule is impossible.

As the main Trainer with Murdock this year, I’m on my own at practices (the ones that don’t interfere with evening classes..). What this means is that I’m learning how much I know, how much I don’t, and how much I am limited in practice. My team is amazing for making me feel absolutely loved and an integral part of the team. The coaches have told me more than once that they would fold without me and Nikki there. Any request I have is met, the best example was when I asked the coaches to ask one of the kids to carry my table out to practices for me.. the response was the coach walking into the dressing room and yelling “Hey guys- if this table isn’t brought out to the field today by one of you, the entire team is running quadruple what we usually run.. Got it? Good.” and then calmly walking back to me and stating “Someone will get it done for you!” before heading to the field. That’s a moment to warm any AT’s heart.

I’ve really noticed the difference in my abilities now compared to last fall. It was pretty common for me to spend every drive home after practices or games in full sob mode as a result of being horribly overwhelmed. And that was during a season of next to no injuries… This year, I have yet to be phased.. and on average I have a line up of players waiting to see me. The most eventful things I’ve dealt with so far has been a growth plate fracture to the radius, a couple solid concussions, a broken pinky, and numerous bumps and bruises.

As much as I’m loving every second of this- I’m also seeing how the clinical side of AT suites me much better. On field my job is to treat to the best of my ability, and make the decision on whether the kid is going back into play or not. If not, referring onto further medical attention or telling them to rest and apply ice. In clinic I get to figure out what’s causing the problem, and what’s the best way to fix it.. and then actually help fix it. Much more satisfying. Field is exciting, and challenging- but it doesn’t vary much. This is why I’m doing my best to read up on the injuries I see on the field, so when I get those kids in a clinic someday- I have a good idea of how to best help them rehab.

So that’s football. What about my athletics?

Well those have been going pretty awesome. I’m still running 5ks with no problems, and getting closer to my regular speed. The last couple weeks I’ve started back into lifting- as my back has begun acting up again, and the best remedy for that has proven to be barbell dead-lifts and squats.Also, I like to practice what I preach.

IMG_6362Riding has been spectacular. The last couple lessons I’ve had have been flawless, and so much progression has been obvious to me and M&C. After our last lesson I received a “you did not too bad today…. and by not too back I mean really good!” from M. If you know M, you know that means something. Our first competition is coming up in 3 weeks, where I will be competing in the jumper ring. Height divisions have yet to be decided. Will has been jumping phenomenal, and I’m excited to see what this season holds for us. 

As overwhelmed as I am a lot of the time.. its very neat to see the little pieces of my life clicking into place gradually. The business I’ve began working on has showed continuous progression in a short amount of time, and all my years of patience and hard work in my sport is showing some exciting results. Both these things combined are bringing exciting opportunities to me, and catching the attention of some local supporters (more on this soon).

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This week brings much of the same, with football most evenings, work, midterms (to write, and to mark…), papers to write, social events to attend, and training to do on myself and on my horse. This weekend brings the National CATA (Athletic Therapists Assoc.) conference, which I am very excited to be attending- even though it disrupts my usual Saturday routine of replenishing my sleep bank.  Spring courses are almost half done- and I am perpetually behind (curse you online courses!). With the weather improving I will be starting my other summer job soon, hopefully after my teaching assistant work is nearing end- and show season will soon be in full swing for me.

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Surreal

Lately I’ve found myself too busy to stop to think (and write blog posts). But when I do find time to take a minute, and I look at what the past few months of my life has unfolded into- and what the next few months hold potential for.. it all seems very surreal. I’ve had many opportunities lately that only remind me how lucky I am.

Let me explain.

We know I’m a very goal orientated person, whether I set them consciously or not, I am constantly being driven to achieve both my small and larger scale goals. I have also had the experience a few times of having to adapt or modify goals because of life slamming my original plans down. Which means I approach many of my bigger life goals with the attitude that they are allowed to evolve and change with time. Change, after all, is a necessity to life. So, when I reach the point where those big goals I set years ago are starting to actually happen, and ones I didn’t know I had appear– it equals a somewhat “I have to be dreaming” feeling.

All the areas of my life having been moving consistently in the direction I’d like them to. The past school year brought me a vast skill set at a solid network of students and faculty. My leg is pretty much back to normal after the accident, and I’ve been able to get back into a more regular training routine (on and off the horse). I am able to run, and 5k seems to be my limit at the moment, but I’ll take it. I’ve started more agility and plyometric training to coincide with my return to jump schools with the horse.

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My riding is the best it’s ever been, and my horse is consistently proving to me that all the years of hard work I put into him were worth it. In my last session with C I got the massive compliment of “huh, your eye is really good today! I’m impressed!”. If you know C, you know sometimes her compliments are far and few- so hearing that sentence from her was a big boost! Every time I get on I feel like I’m ready for the next step, which is why this year we have plans to spend a lot more time in the jumper ring and are hoping to make it out to Alberta later in the season.

This past week I did my first biomechanics consult for a rider (a regular to my weekly strength and conditioning class)- on which I will write a more detailed post later. It was a blast! Very cool to be able to put my knowledge into practical use in a new way. The class that used to be only a pipe dream for me is moving out of MORfit and outdoors for the summer as I take it on as a private instructor. Speaking of surreal, you couldn’t have told me 6-8 months ago that I’d be starting my own business and have me believe you. There is definitely ups and downs with this whole business thing. Quite often I have to remind myself that  its going to take a lot of time to get these ideas off the ground- and the fact that I have the interest I do already is huge. It’s easy to get caught up in the woes of trying something new in a very “set in their ways” environment. However, as much as I get frustrated and impatient- the results I’ve seen in my regular clients after the last few sessions of the class are more then enough to keep me going, and I hope they are seeing the results as well.

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I made the last minute decision last week to switch back to my old football team- Murdock McKay. That was definitely a good life choice. Besides the fact that their schedule will allow me to keep up with my own training, and I already have a good working relationship with Nikki.. My decision was justified when upon arrival at the first practice back I was welcomed by a bear hug from the head coach with a “I’m SO SO SO happy you’re back!!!”, numerous exuberant “Hi trainer Kat!!!!”s from old players, and Nikki handing me over the keys as the new charge person and trainer for the team. I’ll be busy with spring training until June, but I’m quite looking forward to it. This team has always been good to me, and I don’t see this season being any different. Hopefully now that I have some more experience I won’t be as shell shocked when I’m required to deal with an injury, as now I’m the one who has to deal with it. With a team of mostly brand new grade 9’s, it’s definitely going to bring a interesting season.

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Stocked up- I’m sure I forgot something..

With football, and my 4 other jobs (Horse Connection, teaching assistant at the University x2, MORfit, and my rider mechanics work) I am kept quite busy.  My scheduling has to run like a well-oiled machine, but I’m finding value and feeling valued at each position. As busy as those things keep me, I’m still blessed enough to have time to ride my horse, do my own training, spend time with my friends and the great guy who appeared in my life (again.. surreal). I can afford to eat, get around, and ride. I’m so close to finishing a long degree and continuing to pursue more goals within the field. I’ve found a path and made my way down it. From where I’m standing now, I think I picked a good road to travel- even if it has it’s bumpy patches.

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20 written exams, 8 practicals, and 6 papers later…

Another academic year has come to a close (FINALLY), and I am a proud survivor (sometimes thriver) of third year athletic therapy- a year renowned for being among the toughest. 27 exams total, in 10 courses- with countless hours spent practicing- on top of balancing field work in the clinic and the football fields, and somehow finding time to read stuff. It’s safe to see why year 3 is a little (in)famous.

Within this year I got my first taste of the practical side of things, real patient interaction and real emergency response.  Less then 6 months ago if you had put me in a room and told me to effectively assess an injury, deal with it appropriately, and create a rehab program to properly return the patient to appropriate function- there is no way I would have known where to start. If you had thrown me into an emergency scenario and told me to manage it? Disaster might have ensued!

The amount that I’ve learned in what is relatively a very short period of time continues to stun me.  At the same time the amount that I still need to learn, mainly just through experience, is equally as stunning. I set some goals for myself at the beginning of both semesters, and managed to achieve them for the most part. I definitely did much better in the first part of the year, with second semester burnout (and a broken leg) catching me off guard.

Where first semester brought me the self-discipline to get the tough work done efficiently and the ability to be examined practically- second semester taught me to take a step back and do what my body needed to get things done. By the time I got to finals this term, there wasn’t much discipline left- but thankfully there was enough practical and stored knowledge left over to get me through. Practical exams by the end of this year turned into more fun then nerve wracking.

Third year also provided me with a ever growing network of fellow students and colleagues.  With so many opportunities to jump in and get involved, and so many practicals to practice for- it would have been difficult not to become close with classmates. Taking a chance and submitting one of my posts to the national athletic therapy association (CATA) ended up getting it published, which was pretty sweet! Click here for that post. The opportunity also came about for me to do some teaching, both in a fitness respect as well in formal courses with the University. This is definitely something I hope to do more of in the future!

It’s safe to say this year came with some ups and downs. Both time and stress management skills came into action, and one of the most important lessons I learned is probably managing myself under pressure. As an AT student, we deal with a lot of pressure- from our peers, our patients, our profs, the requirements of the degree, and most of all ourselves. Knowing how to micromanage our overwhelmed brains and still extract knowledge to perform is what we do best. It’s a skill we need to do well in our chosen profession, and we need to do it maintaining professionalism and reactivity to our client’s needs.

A concern for me in the past, and especially at the beginning of this year was how I was going to effectively manage to pursue a career in AT as well as continuing my pursuit of my athletic riding goals. Over the last few months I’ve discovered ways in which to optimize my knowledge and practical skills while building a business in the sport I have experience in.

What started as just a training class for riders is ever evolving into new ideas. Since implementing the class I’ve been able to brainstorm with profs over where I might go with this, and recently have begun work on setting up a position assessment program for equestrians- using my knowledge of orthopaedic assessment, biomechanics, and training. I feel very lucky to have endless resources to keep my ideas running, and look forward to developing a directed study on the topic of rider biomechanics and training. As this is an area of the sport not as commonly looked at- I have a chance to create something new to give back to my sport and build a business while maintaining involvement and continuing my own training.

This year I’ve also gotten the chance to step into student politics- and next year will be taking over leadership of the Kinesiology Students Association. I’m excited about the challenge of rebuilding our student involvement schemes in the inaugural year of the brand new athletic and health centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Some key lessons from this year:

  • Day planners are a glorious thing. Thank you moleskin.
  • Athletic tape can be used for many purposes, and should be on hand at all times
  • When people look at you like you’re the one in charge… you should probably do something.
  • It’s okay to not feel guilty about taking a day off.
  • Forgetting your wallet is the only way to ensure you won’t spend money on Starbucks.
  • Smile at the bus driver- because one day you will forget your bus pass and have no change… and it will be -40.
  • Being someone that gets along with everyone is handy.
  • Asking questions is never wrong.
  • Asking for help is never wrong.
  • Saying no is okay.
  • Using crutches to ensure a good spot on the bus is okay.
  • Every prof has a different idea of what APA format is, even if they all recommend the same source for formatting.  You can’t win that battle.
  • Practicals become less scary once you realize that everyone marking you was in the exact same spot as you not too long ago.
  • There is a limit to what you can do.

And so, after writing my last exam on Tuesday- I’ve been enjoying some quiet time. My schedule is dedicated to work, riding, training myself, mental breaks, and doing what I want. I have a week before spring term starts and I’m making the most of the slack schedule (filling it up quicker then I should). Tomorrow I have my first lesson with M&C of the year, and am both excited and nervous. I’ve been back in the saddle for a few weeks now and am feeling pretty good- but not all the way normal yet. However, each time I ride things get better. I’ve been given the okay to begin impact training again by my doctor and ATs- so will hopefully ease my way back into running and conditioning work (now that I’m not hella burnt out and a little motivated again).

 

Among other things I’ve begun writing for MORfit’s blog, and may be publishing pieces on another blog related to rider fitness in the near future. Stay tuned for more on that! Click here for my first post for MORfit, on time management. Hopefully I’ll be a little more motivated to write more for you readers as well, now that my head is out of it’s end of the semester grog.

I also will be working on ideas for the new stream of my functional training for the equestrian business over the next week or so, looking to set up clinics later in May. Funny- biomechanics has become a staple in my goals.. Upon faced with my first ever biomech course and respective project, I was in tears at what seemed to be such an impossible subject for me to grasp. Now it’s something regularly found in my daily vocabulary.

Until next time!

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I lasted 3 years as a Uni student before becoming addicted to coffee…..

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:

1. Midterms
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?).

Yes I realize how old that picture is...

Yes I realize how old that picture is…

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.

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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!

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Oh my fibula!

Are you getting sick of my leg-injury related titles yet? That makes two of us. Well, I’m sick of my leg- not the titles. I think those are witty.
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So I’m walking. The debate is out on whether I should be or not. What I should be doing is studying.. while sitting, and not moving. Instead I’ve taken up a new sport, put minimal effort into studying, and eaten more pizza in the last 4 days then I have in the last 2 years. Close enough?

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Before you all panic about the whole “taking up a new sport” thing, I’ll clarify that I am not using my legs or weight bearing while participating (yet). Right now the extent of this new sport is swimming laps in the mornings, not kicking- getting a solid arm and core workout. Why have I started this?
A) I’m going a bit stir-crazy not being able to do much training, and
B) I am actually taking up a new sport: pentathlon. Yes, the one that has swimming, fencing, show jumping, running, and shooting. That one. Doesn’t it sound fun?! Long story short, Lauren, Megg, and I decided that Manitoba needs a pentathlon team, and are seriously in the process of organizing ourselves to begin training. As Lauren put it today, “it’s not if, but when..”. We will need all the help and connections we can get, so if you or someone you know knows people in any of the above mentioned sports or the pentathlon community- hook us up!
I’ve been able to go back to work this past week at MORfit, and kept up with teaching at the University. Obviously HC is still out for a while. My older adults class is very concerned about me, one knitted me get well socks last week, and this week I was cornered by a couple of them and interrogated as to why I wasn’t on my crutches, and as to whether or not I was okay. The past two weeks I’ve also been able to run my Functional Equestrian Training class, last week being a class where I demoed absolutely nothing, and this week I demoed a bit more (and immediately regretted it). It’s very cool to see those coming regularly to the class progressing as I had envisioned. I’ve noticed big improvements already in postural positioning, and absolutely love the enthusiasm I receive every time I come out with some new things to try.  It’s actually getting very difficult for me to not get distracted during lectures by all the ideas I have for this class! Perfect timing for midterm season!
The past week and a bit has been fairly busy, as mentioned above I’ve started back a work and kept up with my classes. I wasn’t able to do any clinic work, although I am in the clinic every day as a patient pretty much. Either icing myself, or at one of my actual appointments. I started out the week with crutches, and then was able to progress to no crutches later in the week. By Friday I was walking pretty good, and able to start doing some balance work (and it is needed) on the bad side (after my spending 3+hrs in the clinic being worked on… all 4 injury sites got some attention). Friday night I managed to accidentally put too much pressure on the leg, and got a nice pop/mobilization at my prox. tib/fib joint, which ticked off a few things… which lead to weight bearing being  problem again for the early parts of this week. Then there was yesterday when I walked into a low table in my apartment, stubbing my toe and hitting my leg on the corner…..
Sigh.
It has been getting slightly better though, each day has it’s ups and downs and new feelings, but the inflammation has stopped- all the pain now is stemming from the actual damage.. and I’m learning what bone bruising feels like… It’s not a good feel, just fyi. However, less parts of me hurt now… which I suppose is an improvement. There has been many moments where I’ve almost thought someone should stick me in a cast, or semi-permanently attached crutches to me so I don’t keep trying things above my current ability, or accidentally hurting myself.. It could very possibly make my recovery process go a lot smoother.
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I’ve discovered that when I’m injured, and it’s exceptionally cold outside… All my body wants to eat is junk. I definitely ate pretty much a whole pizza last friday, the next morning survived off coffee (and I am not a coffee drinker usually..) until later afternoon where I ate BP’s pizza burger (bacon burger wrapped in pepperoni pizza…), Sunday I ate up to my usual standard, but then Monday I ate a individual sized pizza (with a large kale salad..) from the University. Seriously.. more pizza then I’ve eaten in the last year probably. No regrets though. Since Monday I’ve been eating quite well again, trying to get myself back onto the program (midterms are here…). I also finally had time and the ability to do a serious grocery shop, up until this week I was living off the bare minimum as I didn’t have the energy, time, or pain tolerance to do a good shopping trip.
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Sooo what’s up for this week? Shuffling between the pool, classes, work, therapy appointments, and repeat. Oh and trying to concentrate long enough to study for my one pre-reading week midterm. Reading week…So close, but so far. Once that is over (Thursday), it’s a full week of time to do nothing! LOL JUST KIDDING, I already have my reading week full. I even have something to do and someone to see on Valentine’s day, that doesn’t involve the traditional eating Ben & Jerry’s and brownies while watching chick-flicks with Emily. Exciting! For now I’m just about to get on the bike for my 4:30min allowance… and then I have a 6AM date with the pool, my arms, and my core muscles. Yay physical activity! One slow day at a time!

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Learning to walk again.. slowly but surely.

Today is the first day I’ve been able to walk almost… mostly… normal. Me being me I’ve been pushing it a bit. And regretting that. However, I have next to no limp today and that has lasted longer then it has previously (Friday was max 5 minutes before I couldn’t move again, today is close to 2hrs of limp free ambulation!).

I’ve been able to start doing some isometric work with the injured side, to try and maintain the muscles I haven’t used at all in the past week or so. Awesome how fast strength disappears, isn’t it!  My strength in my ankle went from a 2/5 earlier in week to a 3-4/5 by Friday. The rest of my leg is a slightly different story. I can’t really maintain any position against gravity from my knee up right now. I tried this morning to hold my leg up (while laying in bed) and resist gravity’s pull, that idea lasted for about 5s until I watched my leg slowly but surely lose the battle and sink back to the bed. Meh, gives me something to strive for I guess.
It’s slightly weird to have gone from leading such an active life, and getting excited about things like running hill intervals, or getting a pb on my Oly lifts in between work and classes to getting excited about being able to straighten my leg while standing on it, or move my ankle pain free. This has definitely been a lesson in patience, and seeing how much most people take for granted those basic human abilities (like being able to walk, run, drive, move…). I had a similar experience when recovering from my concussion, although that was more just plain frustrating to go through as it wasn’t an obvious injury to anybody else. This, at least, people can see the disability. And I’m very thankful it is a temporary disability and that I’m surrounded by many people who are more then willing to help me with things in the meantime.
Other then leading an extraordinary gimp life, school has been going well the past few weeks. I’m starting to fall back into the routine of studying and immersing myself in my course load. While the first few weeks were full of anxiety about falling behind, I’ve found my tempo again and my classes are all covering very inter-relatable material which makes studying much more time-efficient in many ways. Right now, I think my favourite course is rehab- mainly because it involves many ideas that I’ve always been keen about in this profession. Specifically, a key focus of the course is being creative and designing rehab programs suited to a specific client’s goals and sport. It’s a course where there are many right answers to one question, and is very much about being creative with programming.
A close second favourite is Ergonomics/Applied Biomechanics. The course content is pretty heavy, but the ideas the course has inspired is what I love. The prof has also taken an interest in some of my ideas relating to my Equestrian Training programs, and suggested we pursue some research ideas I’ve had. These ideas all focus around the forces a rider’s body experiences while in the saddle (most of the current research is focused on the force a horse’s body goes through). I love that I have people within the Faculty that I can bounce ideas for my class off of and get great feedback.
Speaking of my class, it is also going really well. Tonight we did a HIIT style work out, one that I didn’t have to demo anything for. 20 minute sets of 15 squats, 10 TRX body rows, 5 TRX push-ups, and 5 burpees. It’s great to see the participants improving already even after just 3 weeks, and get good feedback on the home program I designed. They are always full of great questions to ask me, and thankfully my education has backed me up with some good answers to give.
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 I’m very excited for when I am back in action so I can start teaching some of the more specific exercises I have come up with. One specifically targeting stability for the rider when taking off/landing from jumps. I know I’ve had issues in the past (and still do) of getting ahead of the horse, or falling forward upon landing. The stability needed in the rider’s body to resist the pull of gravity is something often talked about, but not often addressed in training. I’ve come up with a couple exercises (integrating plyometrics and stability) to combat this habit many riders face, and am really excited to see how they work out when put to action!

During my clinic shift a couple weeks ago with Claude, I got the opportunity to do a assessment on a client coming in with knee pain. This is the second full assessment I’ve done this year, and I already had a pre-existing phobia of knees.. plus this is the first assessment I’ve done where Claude chose to pull up a chair and ask me all the questions (examples: “what muscle is that you’re palpating? Why did you do that test? Etc.).
Fantastically nerve wracking.
Anyway. I stumbled my way through my history, and ROM testing. Client was having pain around the patella, and described it as sometimes feeling stuck or blocked if she sat for too long. This all started a few weeks after she had been in a car accident. There was noticeable bruising around the knee, and minimal swelling. During the postural assessment I ran a full squat test (after standing there for a few moments being confused as to what to do next) and noticed that her entire upper body fell forward going into the squat and her heels wanted to lift off. Cue Claude asking “Ooooo so what could be causing this?” and me feeling stupid for the next few minutes. Right, tight hip flexors and calves. Here is where I really started to lose my mind. For special tests I decided to run a Clark’s and a Apley’s, after ligament testing of course. Claude had stepped out for a minute at this point, and I completed the tests once only to realise that I had done them on the wrong side (I had flipped the client over for Apley’s and gone brain dead apparently), #awkward. However, when Claude came back he didn’t realise either- or possibly he was just playing dumb to give me a chance to save myself….Clark’s was okay, as was Apley’s. Sweet.
From here I went into palpation, with a complementary anatomy quiz from the peanut gallery (thankful I aced this). Tender through the calves (achilles on the injured side was a little puffy- something I probably should have noticed during postural observation, quad and IT also were tight. A case of tight muscles pulling the patella out of whack, me thinks. Claude agreed (yayayay) and I got to do the rest of the treatment (quick massage for IT/quads and teaching stretches for the lower body) before she had to run to a vball practice. This was the same client who had come to us for a concussion initially- an assessment I also did- happy to report that she has been symptom free from that over the following weeks and has been able to progress back into her sport. Kinda cool to be able to follow a clients progress over the weeks consistently!
Anywho. Another week starts tomorrow, I am hoping to be back at MORfit working the desk for sure as the resident gimp this week, as well as the Older Adults class and lab demo-ing for P&C. And of course spending many a hour with my favourite AT working out the kinks and bruises in my leg. Ciao!

 

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Acceleration

Heeey there.

Been a while. I know. My bad. Forgive me? Okay.

The past two weeks have kind of been scheduling insanity. I know this, because I found myself using the phrase “I have scheduled relaxation time” today. Does that even make sense? If I’m not in class, I’m working. If I’m not working, I’m studying. If I’m not studying, I’m researching/working on training ideas for my class, eating, or sleeping. My “scheduled” chill time is the new tradition of “wine and dine” nights with Emily, and Wednesday evenings (except for this week, where I was studying and in work meetings most of the night), and I try to take most of Fridays off (try being the key phrase…).

Okay. So what’s my scheduled filled with lately? Well, MORfit has a number of new clients, and so does Claude. Which makes my shifts pretty hectic right now, trying to balance desk/admin work and clinic work. I’m gaining a tonne of experience! My class has been a great success so far, and I’ve had some great feedback after the first few weeks. Even some interest in bringing my program out to different areas of the province, turning it more into monthly clinics rather then weekly classes in that case- doing focused presentations on topics like rider biomechanics, injury prevention, and fitness for the rider alongside a training session.

My course load this year is pretty heavy, and definitely not getting lighter. So far, though, I’ve been able to manage my time pretty efficiently- finding time to study everything I feel I need to. Somehow.

Horse Connection is still in transition mode, and as they’ve began to advertise some of their horses- my workload for them has increased again as I deal with potential buyers and show horses. The past two weeks I’ve somehow fit in 30hr work weeks (b/t all four jobs), a full course load.. and squeaked in time to be in the gym myself, eat, and sleep. How? A lot of making phone calls, sending emails, and doing admin work on bus rides, and in between classes- studying before/after meetings and eating somewhere in between all that.

It’s safe to say that I’ve been somewhat run off my feet the last little while.. however, I am kind of loving all of it. Even if I have to schedule down time. I’m really seeing all that I’ve learned this year being applied in real life. Updating my resume recently, I’ve almost doubled my experiences in the past 4 months just through the opportunities I’ve had through school and work. The feedback and growth I’ve seen in the training program I designed after just two weeks has been way more then I expected, and very encouraging. Through all the absolute insanity, and the hiccups here and there, I’m getting the opportunities to challenge myself in new ways all the time.

This weekend will be some of my busiest few days yet, with work (various jobs) anywhere from 8-12hrs each day, teaching, showing horses, a friend’s birthday, visiting someone close to me in the hospital, hopefully studying, and hopefully working on some writing projects and applications. It’s for sure going to be another couple of hectic days.

Time is sure flying, so that must mean I’m having fun!

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Hibernation. Sort of.

Hard not to do in the -50 wind chills we’ve had lately….

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I haven’t written a “what has katmah been up to lately” post since mid-december.. and figured I’d write a quick update and what I’m looking forward to with the beginning of a new semester.

So, what have I been up to since finishing off exams?

Hibernating.

Well.. trying to.. then getting bored and doing something else.

Since we talked last I’ve gotten 3/5 of my final grades back. I’m pretty happy with my results, so far:

Pathology in Sport Medicine: B (B+ on post-concussion review paper)

Assessment of the Upper and Lower Extremities: B+, with a 92% on the practical (#nailedit).

Taping and Splinting: A, ended up at the top of the class!

I received my First Responder results Friday, which are definitely a low point for me right now. I will be retaking the practical component of the exam soon, to finish my certification, as the first time around I didn’t “make the cut”, so to speak.

My three weeks of holidays ended being relatively productive. I started to get the usual end of exam cold the first week in, but fought it off by keeping just the right amount of busy. And sleeping. A lot. While at first I had planned to have two weeks off of work, that plan changed before it even begun as the program director at HC un-expectently resigned and I took on the position of Manager while the board figures out where they are going next.

Luckily this position doesn’t require too many hours (I work maybe 3hrs/day pretty much everyday), and they have given me the option to delegate out any hours I don’t want or can’t do. It’s been actually a fun experience, putting to use many skills and helping make some decisions throughout their transition.

Possibly half my time at HC is spent chasing the kittens….

Possibly half my time at HC is spent chasing the kittens….

Between HC, the horses at home, and riding at M&C’s where I could (and when it wasn’t -5billion)- I spent quite a lot of time in barns this holiday season.

I also spent quite a bit of time brainstorming on the class I am running at MORfit starting January 12. Finally, everything is falling into place and most of the fine details have been sorted out. Now it’s just actually doing it! I’m both excited and nervous for this opportunity. Nervous only because this will be a first for me, and a new thing for the MB equestrian community- so I have no reference material (other then, you know, my education). Also, exciting- because I’m starting something new. I really hope others get excited about it as I am!

Something cool that happened with the blog over the break, too! An article I submitted to the CATA (Canadian Athletic Therapists Association) newsletter got published, and AT’s throughout Canada read this post. It was very cool to see my writing on another venue, and to hear feedback from some of the therapists I know who read it (Claude at MORfit included, who’s biggest comment was “You could’ve used my name!!!”).

New Years was brought in with a few of my closest friends, the same group I’ve been celebrating New Years with since our high-school days (about 7-8 years now!). In my opinion, the best way to welcome a New Year!

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And, so, here we are- the second semester of my second last year looming ahead. Looming is such a dark work. I am actually looking forward to it. On the course load this term is:

Ergonomics (applied biomechanics)- a course I’m really looking forward to. I really don’t think it’s going to be easy, the prof has already told me about the trigonometry component. But I know how interesting I found Biomechanics last year, so I’m hoping this class challenges me in the right ways.

Rehabilitation of Musculoskeletal Injuries- Now that I know how to assess and injury, I guess I should know how to rehab it!

Therapeutic Modalities

Exercise Physiology- some people love it, some people just get through it. I’m not sure which will be it for me, yet.

Practicum 1- which I’ve already completed half of- now to finish my 50 clinical hours.

I’m also a lab demo for Prevention and Care of Injuries this semester, which I’m very much looking forward to, and of course continuing with the Older Adults Fitness class from last term!

Over the holidays I’ve been able to do some reading, that isn’t a textbook- which has been really nice. I also acquired a juicer and a massage table, both of which I’m excited to put to action. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Nutritional sciences, which is mostly confirming that habits I’ve gotten into the past year are the right ones. Currently I’m reading Whole by T. C. Campbell, which is based on his lifetime of research on nutrition and how it affects every aspect of our lives- taking on a very wholistic (or holistic) approach. Great read after spending 3 weeks living off chocolate, dainties, and other varieties of Christmas.

I’ve actually had a decently productive past week, between redecorating my apartment (some binge Ikea shopping occurred), finalizing the details of my Functional Training class, and designing my program (and testing it out on myself and a friend- I figured it would be unethical to put clients through a workout I couldn’t handle..). I even got about 30hrs of work in too! If the temperatures weren’t bordering antarctic levels, I would have been in the saddle as much as possible. Here’s hoping these temps break some time soon!

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Here’s hoping it stays this tidy!

I’m sure this coming week is sure to be full of interesting things, I’m planning to attend an open house put on by the Kin graduate studies program at UofM early in the week, because why not! As well as being back at MORfit for my regular 21 hrs a week (plus ~10hrs at HC), and a full class schedule again. Its definitely going to be an adjustment after having close to 3 weeks running on next to no set schedule! Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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