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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Taking in Summer

You would think that selling my horse and taking a hiatus from competition would free up hours of free time in my life.. and if you did think that, I’d have to ask you.. do you know me at all?

After making the decision of selling Will, and finding the suitable buyer…I spent about a week hibernating. Or at least that’s what it felt like. I kept up my regular work routine, but spent the rest of the time napping, eating comfort food or being grumpy. I refer to this week as my ’emotional hangover’. I can’t lie, it was and still is quite an adjustment not going out to the barn every afternoon in between shifts, and not spending my weekends planned around training or show schedules.  It has, however, been quite a happy adjustment as the financial and time commitments that came with riding full-time have diminished significantly.

After the week of feeling hungover, I spent the weekend with my guy going from one social gathering to the next. Supper at my parents to the west on Friday, a birthday party at J’s friends to the east Saturday, a retirement party in the city on Sunday. Getting out and about, being surrounded by good people for three days straight really helped snap me out of whatever I was doing the week prior.

Following that was another busy week full of work and beginning to prepare for the school year to begin once again. I’ve been able to fill the time once spent at the barn with getting my focus back onto getting myself into the gym to work out, eating right for me, and getting more involved in a couple of clinics. Claude at MORFit has been utilizing me whenever he has clients and I’m on shift.. which is great. It still amazes me that one year ago I was terrified of working with a client, and now he’s given me a client to work with from day one onwards.. which just seems like everyday stuff now to me. I assessed this client on his first appointment, and have worked with him twice weekly for the last month or so. It’s been pretty neat to see him progress in his rehab and be elated with his results; results that he’s achieved with me working on him mostly independently!

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Last week I began work in another clinic, one which I’m very excited to be working in. I’ll be there twice a week as well until classes begin, as well as continuing the work at MORFit with Claude, and then I’ll have to put clinic time on hold to accommodate football season. I was also kept busy with KSA business as well, as we prepare for our big member push during the first couple weeks of school. It will be interesting to see if the four of us can rebuild this student association, and get it back on track to being the huge network of students it once was.

I’ve been really trying to take as many chances as I get over the last while, and in the next couple weeks, to just do whatever I think might be fun with what remains of summer. It’s been close to 10 years that I’ve always had something horse related to do on weekends, so as much as I’m already missing it- it has been very nice to just do other things on weekends off. This weekend I did end up doing something horsey by setting up J with a polo lesson and going as a spectator. My good friend and teammate Megg joined to watch, and we had a great day. J seems to be a natural to the riding world. Only having ridden a few times in his life, this lesson was his first official ride. He made it look easy and had a tonne of fun. I may be getting him addicted to counter my withdrawal..

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As much as I can hobbling around on my persistently bruised foot, I’ve been getting myself back into a work-out routine and cleaning up my diet. With classes fast approaching, and my schedule turning into a crazy monster.. I’m going to need a clear head and lots of energy. Right now is the perfect time to start taking advantage of all my friends and family with fresh food growing in their yards and get myself back into my healthy routine. With a little extra time (relative) I’ve taken the chance to start cooking more. A couple meals with J this week consisted of garden potatoes, onions, paired with bacon and eggs (both local), french toast (gluten free and locally baked) with fresh raspberries and blueberries. I made some fantastic fresh corn with sauteed zucchini, onions, carrots, and beet greens the other night. And tonight at work I made myself a arugula salad with tomato, sweet red pepper, fresh basil, nuts, and carrots topped with chicken and poppyseed dressing.

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Football practices began today.. which will combine with work (2 jobs still), running my own class, and CMU basketball teams. I’m the head therapist with Murdock Football this year, as well as the only AT working with CMU basketball (both men’s and women’s). It’s gonna be a bit of a crazy year. I’m registered in 4 classes and one lab, and just heard that I got chosen to be the lab demo for Taping and Splinting this fall as well. Those plus running KSA, and potentially also working with the Older Adults class again.. I’ll be flying. I am really looking forward to it all though. I’ve found my niche within AT, and every experience I get drives me further towards the career I want to have. This being my last year of my bachelor, I want to make the most of it. And how do I make the most of things? I do every possible thing I can. Duh.

My week days are quickly filling up, but the next two weekends I’ve saved to spend time with family and friends, relaxing and enjoying summer… and raiding people’s gardens!

Stealing from my Uni blog again…

Don’t worry, another post is coming yet too. But I already had this one written so I figured I’d post it to give you something to read in the meantime. Some of it maybe a repeat, some of it may not be.

 

It seems like longer than a week ago that football wrapped up for the season. But, I guess it is that time of year when time seems to double its pace.

 

 

Our final game went by with no new injuries. Seriously. Nada. The game itself was pretty anticlimactic, after the Clansmen battled their way through play offs to make this final game, they seemed to run out of gas and basically handed the opposing team the championship. It was too bad they didn’t play up to their ability, but it was still pretty awesome to be on the sidelines in the IG Stadium. I remembered my hand warmers, but they were hardly necessary as there were heaters field side which thawed numb fingers in 10 seconds flat. It was a challenge to get the prime spot directly in front of the heat between the players milling around the area as well, but it was a luxury to have hot air anywhere close to where I was standing!

 

 

 

 

Besides the heaters, the most exciting thing for me about the final game was having a player that I taped pre-game be in awe of my heel-locks (lame– and yes, I am still incorporating heel-locks into my posts. Deal with it.), exclaiming “Wow! That was so fluid and cool looking! Is that hard to do??”.  Maybe one of you paid him to say that so I’d shut up about the darn heel locks already, maybe I’ve actually improved this season. Either way, it was nice to hear! The second cool thing about this game was how the players were afterwards. Yes, they were disappointed and a little down after their loss and the season ending- but more then a few of them made a point of coming up to Nikki and I after the game and thanking us for the season.

 

 

 

So, what did I learn through my first football season?

 

  • Heel-locks aren’t impossible (sorry, last time)
  • Players respect firm decision making and honesty
  • Fanny packs can look cool (still up for debate)
  • Bring your own water, unless you’re immune to whatever is growing on/in/around the team water bottles
  • Breathing is good. Breathing gets things done.
  • Legs are heavy
  • Even if you have no idea how to fix equipment, players are going to run to you for help anyway. Figure it out.
  • Pre-make heel and lace pads, and make a lot of them
  • Teenagers say the most priceless things (seriously, did we used to say stuff like that?)
  • You’re best prepared to deal with whatever happens if you take care of yourself (sleep, eat, dress appropriately).
  • Jumping into the deep end is the best way to learn, even if its terrifying

And many, many more gems of knowledge. I’ve been asked many times by friends and family if I’ll work in football again, and the answer is always yes. It used to be a sport I was kind of terrified of, and knew nothing about (still on that list is hockey, wrestling, rugby, water polo, and judo)- but now I can add it to the list of things I sort of understand and like.

 

In other AT news, I somehow found myself giving my 85-year-old grandfather a deep tissue calf massage after he charlie horsed it curling on Friday (**crosses that off bucket list**) I have to say, he complains a lot less then the clients I work with at work with Claude.. Where most people would be expressing many different phrases out of discomfort, he was giggling and saying “yep, you found it.. that’s the spot!”. After working on it for him, he found that he could walk with much less of a limp. I gave him a few stretches and strapped ice on it for him before leaving (and giving him, and grandma, instructions for ice and the next few days etc). He showed up at my door the next morning, telling me how much better it felt and that he went for a walk that morning and could walk “almost like brand new”. Grandma, of course, wasn’t happy, because he hadn’t done his stretches yet that day- and clearly wasn’t following my instructions by the book. You win some you lose some. It was nice to be able to help a family member, even with something as minor as a charlie horse, and see them happy with the results.

 

I do have some goals for the coming weeks, and I’m sure many of you other students have similar ones: Practice/study the heck out of assessment, first responder, and taping. I’ve started keeping a tally of the reactions I get when I tell people (those not in a science degree) that I have 9 finals. So far it’s been equal between exclaiming “is that legal?!”, speechless jaw dropping, and pity. One of my best friends, who is working on a arts degree, likes to pipe up with:

 “I only have one exam this entire year… and I’ve only ever had one midterm in my entire University career…”.

She isn’t allowed to speak to me on that topic in the first couple weeks of December.

 

Enjoy the last weeks of the semester, everyone!

 

A super productive weekend.. studying.. (…sleeping)

If one dreams about reading notes and making study guides.. does that count?

This week seemed both really long, and like it disappeared way too quickly. I’m going to keep this one brief, as I can’t really remember many events from the week right now anyway. Here are some of the memorable moments:

  • Coconut pumpkin cashew chicken curry, on sticky coconut rice noodles, courtesy of Wednesday night wine and dine with Emily. Probably the best recipe we’ve made yet!
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  • Walking onto the IG field for our final game on Friday! If you want to feel like a real badass, that is how to do it. Plus, they had sideline heaters. Seriously. I had to compete with players half the game for a spot in front of it.. I lost majority of the time.. because, well, they are twice my size.. BUT STILL. It was super cool to play on the “big kid field” under the lights. Makes one feel important!
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    And so my football season is over. I have Friday’s back, but I haven’t figured out what to fill the time with quite yet. While I don’t have the energy to reflect on it now, trust me- there will be a full katmah style reflective post on football coming soon.
  • Grandpa’s birthday dinner with the famjam. Always a good time when the Rance’s go out. 85 and looking young!
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  • My hair is long! Almost!
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  • Sonny at HC actually listened to me this week. Huh? It’s like we’re making progress or something. We’ve been working so hard on getting the left lead and balancing his canter out. This week we actually picked up the lead with little to no issue. While we did do more bucking then smooth cantering.. the bucking was at least on the correct lead. I’m taking that as a win.
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  • I accomplished nothing this weekend. Besides sleeping. And hanging out with a dog I’m dog sitting. I did open my Assessment textbook for almost 2 hrs today. Whether or not any of the information got off the page into my brain is another story. I also started to study my First Responder text, but then I fell asleep… Soo.. there’s always tomorrow.. right?
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    This coming week I’m looking forward to more studying, and practicing. I live such an exciting life! The countdown is on til the series of 9 final exams hit and my life becomes even more exciting. Can’t you wait to hear me whine about it?!
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Quarters (cold)-Semis (colder)-Finals (likely frozen)!

Copy and pasted from my student blog, I will be writing another post on the rest of my life the past week- but this will have to satisfy you until I finish this damn 12-pager paper I’m procrastinating on. Enjoy! 

Frozen toes and superman spats all the way to finals

The Clansmen have surprised many a doubter the past couple weeks and are on their way to finals! I love working with the underdog team. Frozen massage tables (and fingers/toes) aside- I’m really excited to see this team make it all this way (also to play in the IG stadium!!).

We assessed Frost the snowman just before this picture was taken…….
Me being a dork during our quarter-final game

So yeah, we won quarter finals. That game was a great game to watch, and we even had some injuries to deal with during! The first being a quad contusion, which I ended up doing return to play for as Nikki was called out to the field to another injured player. It basically went from me observing her assessing the quad injury to her hucking a roll of elastic tape at me and yelling “compression!” as she ran onto the field. That was how I ended up doing my first quad compression wrap and return to play functional testing. By the time I ran said contused (is that even a word?) player through testing and sent him back onto the field, Nikki had returned with a possible ankle fracture (x-rays resulted in only a severe bone bruise and sprain the the medial side). Here I got to help with my first on-field splinting. The rest of the game seemingly passed with no more notable injuries, until after the game when a player came up to us exclaiming he had a broken finger. As Nikki assessed him, it was pretty clear there was some sort of fracture present (he pretty much dropped with pain as she palpated the mid-phalange). He was referred for imaging (player was of age, so parents were not called). The next morning after finding out the player had gone in for surgery that night, we found out he had numerous fractures to the finger. Can anyone say burst fracture?

                                                                      So that was fun.
Taping before that game I got to practice some tape-jobs I hadn’t seen or done since P&C. Again, mostly because Nikki was being swarmed by anxious players pre-game- I got tape tossed at me and vague directions/reminders on how to do an elbow hyperextension and all-around wrist tape. I know, I know, not hard- but still somewhat new for me at that point!
This week brought semi-finals, which somehow we also won. Is it bad that I was pretty sure this was going to be my last game this season? Again, loving the underdogs! I noticed during pre-game taping this time that some players who I hadn’t taped too often were definitely more willing to come to me for taping instead of going to Nikki first, and then coming to me as a last resort. It was a nice confidence boost to be able to tape their ankles, thumbs, and wrists and have them be satisfied. Especially before an important game. Continuing with what worked for them in quarter finals, Nikki spatted one player with superman tape- which resulted in a pretty cool look (little did the player know, they sort of looked like polka dotted underwear pattern from field side lol)
Nikki and the (In)Famous Superman Spats
The boys showed their underdog spirit in this game, that was for certain. The two significant injuries we had in this game was a 2nd degree ish MCL sprain (maybe, jury is still out on that). Player came off complaining that his knee gave out and originally had pain on the posterior aspect of the knee. Strength was good, and no laxity. The pain then moved more to the medial aspect of the patella and was somewhat difficult to provoke with special tests. The on site doctor had a look at it and decided it was the inner portion of the MCL that was irritated. The other significant injury was a concussion- which I got to run an assessment/SCAT on (weooo look at me go) and after the game I even got to call the parents!
The athlete was definitely not quite feeling right, but still maintained his smiley and happy-go-lucky attitude through the whole thing. Luckily this was a player I had interacted with before, so it made assessing him a little easier. We decided to refer him to see a doctor that night, because while on the sidelines with me he started to develop more symptoms (dizziness/headache) which hadn’t been there when we first talked to him.
Headed to the field for the Semi Final game
I’m going to have to say the concussion assessment was probably my most significant moment over the past couple weeks. Assessing has been a source of panic for me in the past, but it’s getting easier for me to chill out and do my job. Related to this, this weekend I ran a shoulder assessment on my step-dad (classic RC tendinitis/pathy) and that combined with the concussion assessment I did on Friday were the first two assessments I’ve done where I haven’t A) blanked and had my thought process turned to profanities or B) ran the assessment and then realized afterwards I forgot something rather significant like PROM or palpation. Yeah, that seriously has happened. Please tell me I’m not the only one?
Another significant moment was remembering hot packs to have in my mitts this week. Oh my god can I hug whoever invented those?
Goals? Besides remembering hot packs for my toes next week, and getting a picture in the big kid stadium… I’d like to continue honing my assessment skills on whatever opportunities come up over the next week. It’s been really cool reflecting back on how much I’ve grown over the season. I’m really glad it’s not quite over yet, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do with Friday nights when football is over. It’s provided me with so many great learning experiences (most of them by literally being thrown into something and having to tape, assess, refer, or call Nikki, out of). Anyway, I’ll save all that fluffy stuff for next time.
If you see me before our game next Friday, remind me to pack my hand and toe warmers so I don’t forget!

Water into wine, and vice versa

I had to put vice versa up there, because some people will argue to the grave that a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away. Right, mom?

I’ve found myself the past few days in a very motivated state- which I am taking full advantage of. Midterms are over, and although I am very satisfied with some of the results- others I was a little disappointed in. However, after a few days (a week) of being kind of down about it, I’ve found myself now using it as a little extra push to focus some time (haha, whatta concept) on prepping for finals. Already? They’re a month away! No, but seriously… they’re ONLY a month away.. Yeah, I know. When you have approximately 8 final exams, practical and writtens combined to total approx 50% of your courses- I’m feeling like getting a jump start on that is a good idea.

This week my schedule has been running pretty tight, as usual, but also much more focused- as per the above paragraph. The past three days have been running quite smoothly- but I know the latter part of the week is going to get a little bit more hectic (as it usually does). I’m actually quite glad, as much as I love my evening shifts at the gym, that I booked both nights off this week. This morning I got to campus bright and early (7:45AM, haven’t been there that early since first year…) to practice with my football supervisor, Nikki, as she preps for her national certification. Again, so glad I have the opportunity to study with a grad of the program! I ended up just staying on campus all day and doing more studying, because, hey- gotta take it as it comes right?Tonight, instead of working, I attended an awesome presentation by Dr. Peter Jensen, a sport psychologist, which was super interesting on both the athlete, coach, AT, and student point of view. On Thursday, which I had already booked off in advance on the chance that I had football, I so far have no plans as our semi-final game is now on Friday night. I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do yet with that extra time. Perhaps start the next 10 page paper I have due. Perhaps see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. Who knows!

What I do know, is that Friday is the day I have ended up being triple booked all over the map. Before I found out our game was on Friday, I was planning on attending another guest lecturer at school, this time the topic being “too much sitting”, then heading to the a AT student association function, and then seeing some friends. While I still think I”ll be able to attend the lecture, everything else got kiboshed by football- another late game (8:30 PM), which means by the time I get out of the cold around 11:30 PM, I’ll be way to wiped to do much else except warm up and try to sleep. While I was really looking forward to the other things I had originally planned for Friday, I’m equally as happy to spend the time at football with the team. The experience I’ve gained there so far has been so worth it, I wouldn’t want to cut my season short! Even if it means freezing for a few hours.

Right now I’m very glad that my schedule is full of so many wonderful things. If you remember my post a couple weeks ago, the one where I was a little bit over the whole school thing (written during midterms), and really just wanted to be riding. And as much as I do really miss riding, the things that have filled my schedule lately (running KSA, research, classes, so much studying, work, football) are have begun to seem like less of a chore (ask me again during finals), and more like something that’s getting me to a higher place.

One thing that has been helping me motivate myself a little more (besides midterms roughing me up a little) is exactly what I was missing a few weeks ago. Riding. I haven’t forgotten about the goals I have there, and while before I was getting frustrated about having to put them on hold each time I head back into a school year- I’ve started getting a bit more proactive about it. I’m really working at finding a balance between all my different goals and pursuits in both aspects of my life, and I’ve started working on some very rough drafts of a functional training class for riders. I hope to keep putting some work into that in between reading my massive text books. Coaching on the weekends has really been a great excursion too for me. This past week my student and her horse started showing some awesome progression in many of the things we’ve been working on, and I love getting the feedback from her as she rediscovers herself as a rider and bonds with her horse. I’m glad I have little opportunities between extra projects at school, coaching, and Horse Connection to give me a break from everything else.

Those goals I wrote about at the beginning of the school year are being achieved, day by day. I’m 100% sure this attitude will flip on me again soon, and I’ll being dragging my ass around campus not wanting to do anything. Which is why I’m taking full advantage of it now. Turning that water into wine.. or the “whine” into water? Because water is the healthier option there.

Speaking of healthy, that’s another goal I’ve been working hard on. After gaining 6lbs in one meal (I was serious when I said I loved Thanksgiving the most), I’ve been putting some serious effort into eating right. Gluten and most grains are out, dairy is occasional, and consistent eating throughout the day is for sure in. I know the reason I’ve been able to keep up with myself on not a tonne of sleep is because I’ve been eating right.

Speaking of sleep, I should really get at that for tonight. Tomorrow is another early morning and a long day. Until next time!

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Holla at me, I could totes make the team…

My week in pictures (and some words)

Because it’s the middle of midterm season and I am still working on a legit post for you I’ll give you a quick run down of my week in mostly pictures, and some brief words!

Monday: IMG_4658 IMG_4656 Leaves and pizza. Not a bad day, eh? I was late for the older adults class I help run because I was changing batteries in the pedometres for the class (if you ever want a frustrating and tedious job, that is a good choice). Whatevs. Then during my 5 hr break before Massage class, I made almond crust pizza (yes it’s as amazing as it sounds), and had a follow up with my ND- who took away all my grains again. We had been experimenting with adding other grains like Oats, spelt, barley, etc back into my diet. With no luck. I can have dairy though! Which isn’t really that exciting as I’ve gotten pretty used to living without it anyway.

Tuesday:

Spent the morning practicing my taping with my football supervisor (she was great enough to run me through scenario after scenario, putting some pressure on me in prep for my practical exam). Then was in a horrible “dart” accident in first responder class, where my lab partner did an excellent job securing my wound..

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After class I headed to work where I had a quiet evening spent with a text book, and got to do my first forearm deep tissue massage on a client with the AT. Holla.

Wednesday:

During my second 5 hr spare of the week, I did a whole lot more taping practice with my lab partner. Running through some of the same scenarios I did with Nikki the day before.

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Spent some time in the gym with my bff (like omg) Emily and after class headed home for some downtime where I made some cake before heading to yoga class.

Mm, paleo chocolate zucchini cake.

Mm, paleo chocolate zucchini cake.

Thursday:

I don’t have any pictures for Thursday.. it’s always my craziest (but also favourite) day of the week.

Headed for my shift at Horse Connection, where only 2/4 of the kids for the day showed up- so I was re-delegated to doing some saddle time with Sonny boy. I realized that morning that I was living my 13yr old self’s dream job.. as a horse trainer and teaching riding.. and getting paid to do it. #awesome

After work, since I was done a bit early, I went home and ate some left overs before heading to school for class and my first midterm(s) (gulp). Taping and splinting written and practical. Written was a breeze, and although I got a little bit nervous sitting outside the room waiting to walk into my scenarios for the practical (who wouldn’t get nervous in that situation), as soon as I walked into the room and got my first scenario I flipped into “Trainer Kat” mode and there was no looking back. Thank you football for giving me the ability to at least fake confidence and get things done. I feel pretty good about how I finished the practical exam, and I haven’t remembered too many things that I forgot to do- so that has to be a good sign.

After my exam I headed to my second workplace of the day, MORfit. The AT was much busier this evening and he had me do quite a bit for him. After sitting in on an new assessment while stepping out every once in a while to teach exercises to another client, I got to do deep-tissue on plantar fascia and calves as well as another full fore arm massage. Plus stretch out a few clients. My hands were pretty useless after the past few days- taping, more taping, lots of massaging, and writing. Hopefully they build up endurance!

Friday:

One word. UNBURGER. Man I love that place. A classmate and I headed there for lunch after she finished class and I finished getting a deep tissue massage of my own.

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From there I headed home to get ready for football, and when I went to leave for football my car decided it had plans to not start for me. Seriously. After accepting the fact that I wasn’t going to get to Transcona in time to be of much use to the team, sorting out a tow truck and seeing my car get taken away, realizing our game was actually quite close to my apartment, and convincing my roomie to drive me to it- I was back on track for my Friday night. Nikki told me she had a minor freak out when I texted her telling her I wasn’t going to be there for pre-game stuff- realizing she had to tape the entire team alone. It was kind of nice to hear in that context how much I do help! I was glad I was still able to make the game, even though it was uneventful injury wise- it was my first game “under the lights”!

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After football, since I really just wanted ice cream, but had no transportation, I decided to go for a run (at 9:30pm in a storm) to get a pumpkin pie blizzard. Why not, right? The walk back with my ice cream was so worth it, even if I was walking into the wind pummelling me with rain. You gotta do what you gotta do.

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Saturday/Sunday: Let the eating begin! I love thanksgiving.. so so much! And I get two weekends of it!

Sunday also brought a quite productive lesson with my private client. It’s so nice to see her and her horse progress week to week, and hear about the small changes she is seeing in herself and in her horse as the weeks go by!

Dates with Confidence and Humbleness

Below is an excerpt from the blog I keep for UW’s AT program, as part of my final grade in the practical aspect of the courses. I thought I’d share that with you as majority of my time this past week has been spent on school related things- most of which I encompass in that post. I am working on another post to put up here in the next few days (maaaybe even today) that will cover some of the other things going on in my life! Patience!

“Ah, the life of a student- especially an AT student. There is one word we can all identify with, I’m sure, by this point in the year. Exhaustion.

Between classes, football, work (where I’m getting to do some clinical things as well), and a few other extra curriculars- I’m learning a new definitely of tired; physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, even while being completely exhausted majority of the time- I’ve had a great couple weeks experience wise!

Football has been pretty quiet the past couple weeks. Unfortunately I am only able to be there game days right now, but I hear all about the week’s practices on Fridays while doing the pre-game taping. Our game last week came with a tough loss for the team, but a thrilling 5th digit PIP joint dislocation and an interesting contusion to lateral aspect of the knee with some irritation of the sub-patellar bursa. This week’s game was even quieter, with the only coming off the field was a decent ankle inversion sprain.

I know you’re all dying to know how my heel-locks are doing. Last weekend, since I’d been making slow progress, I decided to spend a good chunk of time dedicated to perfecting my heel-lock. So I stole a friend’s ankle and went to work. I’m happy to report that this week at football not only did I absolutely nail my heel-locks- but also incorporated some very nice figure-8 heel-locks into my ankle inversion taping. Maybe some of Ron O’Neil’s magic rubbed off on me, or maybe my muscle memory is starting to finally wake up- but I’m not having near as much trouble with angles as I was even a week ago. Yay!

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The most significant AT related moment for me the past two weeks came not from the football field, but rather from working with a few clients at work with the AT there. When I’m on shift at the same time as Claude he usually has me help out with a few clients, one of which I’ve been stretching for the past 4-5wks as well as helping with some exercises. This client is a rugby player and quite a bit bigger than I am, and Claude had me start doing stretches with him so I could gain some experience with how to get my biomechanics right when pnf-ing clients who have the size advantage. It’s definitely a more challenging experience- especially with a table that’s not adjustable. It took me a few weeks to figure out what positions worked best for me and still got the job done. The past two weeks the client himself has pointed out how much more effective I’ve gotten. My favourite quote thus far has been “either she’s getting stronger or I’m getting weaker every week”. Claude’s response to that was “she’s just gaining confidence in her abilities”. Fist pump moment. This experience has also helped me in stretching some of my footballers pre-game.

A more embarrassing moment from the past couple weeks, comes again from the clinic at work, where I was observing a new assessment on a shoulder with Claude. We had just covered this in assessment and I was following along quite easily. Until Claude started quizzing me. Simple questions like “what muscle does this?” or “what am I pointing to right now?” or “what’s your IOS based on what we’ve got so far?”. While part of my brain was saying “supraspinatus”, “teres minor”, and “ RC impingement or bursa issues”, the other part which was connected to my mouth was going “uhhhhhh…crap.. I know.. just give me a minute…”. #awkward

So that was good.. There’s always something to keep us humble, right?

My goals for the next couple weeks are to obviously have less “@#$% I don’t know” moments both at work and on the field. I feel like the only way to have less of those is to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone by saying yes to every opportunity I get to do an assessment, or at least be involved. Eventually my brain will hop on board the thinking train.”

 

 

Some exciting things I did this week (nerd alert)

Two posts in one day?? I’m impressed with myself. This never happens!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, because most of it is super nerdy, and it’s my second post within 24 hrs. Also if I waited til next week either I’d forget half the stuff I wanted to write about, or you’d end up with a monster of a post.

I had an interesting week in many respects, and I’m not going to list all the interesting things because that would just be too much. In an attempt to keep it brief, I will now list some of the better aspects of the past 7 days:

  • Accepting a new job
    Okay, so maybe not that new. The volunteer position I took with Horse Connection turned into a paid assistant instructor position early this week. Which really only changes a few things- instead of one morning a week leading a horse around a ring and doing some assisting with students, I now am there two mornings a week and will assist in the lesson plans and eventually take over some of the theory classes with the kids. Kinda cool, pretty excited about it- a little unsure on how the extra time commitment will effect my sanity. This will be my third paying job. However, it is something I really want to be involved in- and upon discussing the basis of Horse Connection with a prof- I realized that this could also provide me with some potentially very interesting topics and experience to put towards my degree and eventual career.
  • Getting frustrated and working through it (on horseback)
    We’ve all had those rides. Where it feels like nothing you do is making a difference. This week I had two of them. Really boosting for the spirit… The horse I’ve been working with for the above listed job has been somewhat of a challenge this week. Last week when I recalled my experiences with him, you’ll remember I was quite happy with his progress. Horses keep us humble, of course, so clearly this meant we had to have a week of stubborness and frustration to follow up that excellent ride last week- right? That’s how it works in the riding business. One step forward, three steps back. The first ride of the week was just brutal. The horse I remembered from the previous week was long gone- I was now riding a straw bale with attitude. Probably didn’t help that I went into the arena with a negative attitude and a headache. Lets just say I didn’t do an awesome job of separating my own frustrations from my job as a rider that day. The horse wasn’t all to blame. The next time I got on this week I was prepared to deal with myself a little better. Sonny was still a stubborn brat. But instead of getting angry and taking it out on both of us, I made myself take a step back before we reached that point and only resumed work with Sonny when I was a little calmer. This helped, quite a bit. I won’t say we made a tonne of progress, but we made more then we had previously. As I was told by the owner at LC Farms once when I was working with a young horse in front of him.. “You must look at yourself before you can ask ze horse to listen” (imagine a heavy french accent, the quote is much more profound that way).
  • Bought a watch, felt like a grown up
    This one doesn’t need too much elaboration. It was a little bit of retail therapy mixed with actually needing to acquire a time piece for my wrist. To go along with the feeling like a grown up- I actually cooked some real meals this week! Squash and veggie medley with chickpeas and bacon, spinach pasta with meat sauce, and bison with rosemary and basil veggies. Look at me, acting all adult and stuff. 

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  • Got a little bit more hands on
    I was going to title this section “getting handsy” but then I figured that was a little creepy. Anyway. Classes have been getting much more practical lately, as mid-terms approach way to quickly. However, outside of the classroom I’ve been able to gain some exciting new experience in the clinic at work- as well as of course on the field at football. Thursday with the AT at MORfit I got a chance to practice my massage skills on real life patient for the first time! I had zero idea what I was doing, but it was great! Another patient who I’ve been stretching for the past 3 weeks or so also commented: “Either she’s getting stronger, or I’m getting weaker” to the AT- who responded with “that’s because she’s getting more experienced and doing a great job”. Yessss! The next day at football I was relaying some of those experiences to my supervisor there- regarding the massage and not knowing what I was doing, she had this to say: “that’s okay, you’ll soon get to the point where it’s like reading a book through your hands”. Speaking of football, we had an interesting game this Friday- the most exciting injury was a very dislocated distal interphalangeal joint on the 5th digit (aka the first joint of the pinky finger). I got to play shock control (aka distract the heck out of the poor guy) while we splinted it and got the player ready to head to a hospital. I also got to explain to the coaches many times why legally we cannot just “pop it back in”. The finisher to my argument was showing them a picture of the player’s hand (since we had already stabalized and covered it)- which generally resulted them in quickly agreeing with me and walking quickly in the other direction. Nothing like a little bit of gore to settle things. My supervisor said many times that she was so happy to have me around, and that her job is so much easier with another set of hands and another opinion on some of the more challenging issues we have come up more often now that the season is in full swing. Which was great to hear after a long week. Thursdays and Fridays always seem to be good days, even if the rest of the week is insanity.

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  • Practicing to make perfect
    I also made a point of thinking my way through the heel-lock portion of my ankle taping. For whatever reason this section of the tape job always gets me, and I swear I’m the only one- everyone else thinks they are simple. It’s all in the angles. And you cannot pick a fight with tape- you will never win. Friday I did my best on the ankles at football, but again just couldn’t get that perfection I want. My ankle taping is always very functional, it’s just the presentation side of it I’m wanting to perfect. Saturday I actually just sat down and thought my way through the physics of it a few times. Sunday I stole a friends ankle and practiced the crap out of the maneuver. I’m happy to report that I figured it out, I found the angle I need to make it simple. The picture below is literally an entire roll of tape put into heel-locks one on top of the other, trying to cement the technique I figured out into my hands. Now, I’m hoping muscle memory will start kicking in. It’s only taken me a year to wrap my head around the angles, it has to be only forward motion from here.

 

 

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So, there you go. A bunch of things crammed into a short post to sum up another week katmah style!

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My new nickname and somehow achieving goals

I’ve had such an up and down couple weeks! One day I can come home completely exhausted and de-motivated, and then the next I will have absolutely everything completely inspire me and tell me I’m exactly where I want to be. Between it all I turned 21, and am managing to stay on track and achieve little goals everyday. Somehow.

I just finished writing a blog post for my practicum requirements- it had “surviving” in the the title. Which should give you a good idea of how I feel about everything right now. I’m making it happen, sometimes barely. Don’t get me wrong, my perspective on surviving is a good one. I’m somehow keeping up to my plans. Which is huge- because my plans are big and daunting and scare me most of the time.

So, what have I been up to the past two weeks?

Everything. Legitimately go from one end of the spectrum to the next in a day. Absolute insanity.

Its not uncommon for me to start my day at the barn where Horse Connection is based working with some of their new horses. The horse I’ve been focusing on is Sonny, a 7 yr old paint who is relatively new to the program. He is also relatively new to all things balance, forward motion, collection, and anything faster then a jog. The program directer asked me to put some miles on him before we start with the kids in a few weeks, and the first time I rode him it was easy to tell he wasn’t lacking in brains- just in motivation. Our first ride was a lot of walking, figuring out what he knew and didn’t know. I realized quickly that nobody had really ever helped in out with balance. So, I spent time giving him guidance in that area. Circles, bending, transitions, serpentines, and more transitions.That first ride I was only able to keep him at a canter for one circle in each direction- and trotting was also pretty messy. He just wasn’t convinced about where to put his feet and how to hold his head. I came out of it with lots of ideas with what to do next with him. The next time I got on Sonny, it was clear I had made an impression on him. Right away he was walking with more confidence and putting himself in a gorgeous frame. His trot had more impulsion, he didn’t fall into our circles as much, and I didn’t have to encourage him as much to keep moving forward through the trot and walk. When I asked him to canter, he wasn’t overly motivated- but I kept him at a consistent pace for well over 6 circles in each direction, which he hasn’t done for anybody yet. I was pretty surprised with how quickly he made progress- and it was one of those beautiful horse-rider moments where you can feel progress happening. The director was around to see this ride, and was equally impressed with his progress. Which is always nice to hear!

So that’s the first major commitment I have. Next I head to school- where I listen and practice practical skills. This past week I started researching ideas for a pathology research paper. There are two options that interest me, one of which is hippotherapy as a intervention for cerebal palsy (might as well seeing as I’m going to be getting hands on experience with this once Horse Connection starts up), and the other on the pathology of post concussion syndrome. Also pretty relevant to my career as an AT. This past week I also helped with fitness testing in the older adults fitness class I’m working with. The testing we do now, and again at the end of the program, is going to be used in some research one of the profs is doing- and I’m hoping to get involved with- on the effects of exercise on an ageing population.  Among some of the other fun things I learned this week in classes were pre-event massage, which is exhausting to perform, and hilarious to receive. You find out very quickly where you are ticklish, and learn that you can make some pretty interesting noises when trying to stifle laughter and not kick your lab partner in the face. Later in the week I also learned how to make a orthotic cast and assess gait/foot postures. It was pretty fun to play with plaster, and I now have a lovely cast of my foot courtesy of my lab partner. Below is a picture of my looking way to happy while working on my partner’s foot.

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After classes finish for the day I can be headed one of many directions. Sometimes its to a yoga class, other times it’s cooking with my bestie. This week we made Chicken and bacon alfredo(made with coconut milk) spaghetti squash with sautéed spinach and asparagus with a side of gluten free garlic toast. Mostly paleo, all delicious.

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If it’s work I’m off to, I get to spend time watching and learning from the AT at the gym. This week he had me teach and supervise exercises with a couple clients as well as stretch them out. He gave me the complement of telling me my “flow” has greatly improved in the past few weeks, and I’m becoming much more confident and efficient. Eee!

On Friday’s I head to football, where I tape, stretch, watch, assess, and dress cuts and abrasions. And banter with the players. I’m no longer known as “trainer #2”, “other trainer”, “that girl”, or “not Nikki” anymore. I am now acknowledged as “Trainer Kat”. They can’t figure out my full name, which majority of the population can’t apparently. I’ll take it though, it has a good ring to it.

I had a big moment at this week’s game. Even though it was pretty chilly, I got 3 half-decent heel-locks in a row (if you don’t know what this is, just know that it’s a huge challenge for me) in my ankle taping (3/6 for that event- definite improvement!), and performed an assessment/referral on a wrist fracture and concussion testing on two players–by myself! I also didn’t forget any steps like I usually do! I also managed to tape an ankle at half with hands that were completely numb from cold. That was a challenge. And it’s not even that cold out yet. During the game, my supervisor and the head trainer for the team, nudged me on the shoulder and pointed to one of the players  I had taped and another player who I had dressed a cut on (and later assessed his wrist) and said “look, that’s your hard work out on the field- you can be proud of that”. After reading my reflections from the past couple weeks, she also let me know that she is really happy with me and has some more challenges for me in the next few weeks. I’m so lucky to be surrounded with teachers and peers who are willing to push me and challenge me exactly the way I need. It’s not uncommon for me to feel completely overwhelmed a lot of the time. But at the same time I have had so many feelings of accomplishment alongside the overwhelmed feeling.

When I’m not in school, working, taping footballers, cooking, reading, researching, riding, or sleeping- I’m working out, coaching, and practicing taping. This weekend I got back into the gym, and started lifting actual weights again for the first time since May. Oh my gosh did that feel good. Overhead BB press and hex bar Deadlifts 10×5 followed by pushing the sled for 3x3min intervals. That’s a welcome back.

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Afterwards I took some time and used my friends foot to perfect some taping. An AT’s tape job is their best advertisement- or so my supervisor likes to say- so I’m really working not only on functionality but also presentation. My ankle taping is getting better and better, it’s by far the one I do the most. I can now do it in under 3 minutes. I also worked on some taping for turf toe (hyperextension) and arch support. Here’s some pictures!

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The last thing I’ve filled my schedule with is coaching a new client- which is such a nice way to finish up my crazy weeks. Working with a horse and rider that are willing to learn on a crisp fall morning- how much better could it get?

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This year has already been so crazy, in so many ways. I’ve been able to integrate my life as an equestrian into my school schedule. I’m getting to ride and coach, alongside work towards goals in the other part of my life. I used to worry about how these two parts of my life would fit together, but currently I’m getting a glimpse at how they can work really well together. Did this recap of the past while leave your head spinning? Don’t worry, mine too. I’m starting to see my future in a much clearer perspective now as I get more involved in the last half of my degree and gain real life experience in the field. I’m having to work so hard and the most minute things, but I’m being rewarded for it in sometimes the most abstract ways. I feel very blessed to have found things in this life that I am head over heels in love with. I’m thriving on surviving (feel free to throw this back at me when I’m complaining about midterms).

Each day brings a new challenge and a new goal to achieve. I hope I can keep keeping up!