Tuesday, January 31, 2006
.....the Achilles tendon, located between the calf muscle and the heel, is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body. It's named for the classical tale of Achilles who was dipped in the River Stix by his mother so as to become invulnerable. She held him by this tendon, which was not immersed, and later a mortal wound was inflicted on Achilles' heel.
......hypochondriac is made up of the prefix hypo-, meaning under, and chondr, meaning cartilage, and is used to refer to the region just below the rib cartilages on the abdomin. Hypochondriac came to be used to describe persons with imaginary ailments because of the discomforting sensations to hypochrondriac region often complained of but without any corresponding finding of disease.
Now you know. :-)
and also a lateral forearm, which looks like this:
EASY!! However, we also have to remember to complete some of the technical details of the procedure (e.g. including the anatomical markers, collimating properly, including proximal and distal sections to the part in question, using the gonad shield) as well as some of the patient care details like verify the "patient's" name and date of birth, greeting them, introducing yourself, explaining the procedure, asking if they are or could be pregnant, etc. However, most of that is kinda common sense stuff and will become second nature after enough repetition.
I got 100% on it, so apparently I remembered all the little details. Admittedly, the two positions I had to do were much easier than the ones my partner had to demonstrate on me. I felt bad for him. I know he knew the stuff but he just got nervous and had a little trouble. Luckily the instructor we had was really nice and didnt mark him down too much.
I definately think these competency tests will become easier as we get more practice. In two weeks we have another test in there and it looks like it will be for the upper arm, shoulder girdle and neck. Lots to learn in two weeks.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Her aunt and uncle, originally from North Dakota, live down here during the winter to get away from the cold weather in the midwest. Lots of retired midwesterners and Canadians move down here for a few months during the winter to escape the cold of the north. People call them "snowbirds".
Becky's aunt and uncle live in a suburb of Phoenix called Sun City. It is a master planned community by a company called Del Webb. It was built in the 60s and 70s explicitly for the snow birds and in fact you can't even buy a house there unless you are at least 55 years old. Since then 4 other Sun Cities have popped up (Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Sun City Anthem, and Sun City Festival) and there are no signs of it stopping any time soon.
Sun City is like no place else I have ever visited. The streets are almost twice as wide as a normal city street, yet there are never any cars out, except for the odd golf cart here and there. Yes, they actually drive their golf carts on the city streets there! Also it is very quiet. There is no one outside, no traffic, no noise, no kids, no nothing. Just row upon row of little bunglow style houses with cactus in the front yard. BIZARRE! It IS a nice place to visit though. Very clean and tranquil but I think almost anyone under the age of 70 would go stir crazy there. I love visiting Becky's aunt and uncle though. They are very fun and interesting peopel and are always asking if they can get us anything and making sure we are comfortable when in their home. Her uncle always has some crazy story about the old days when he ran a farm out in the middle of no where in North Dakota. There was the time he had to kill a rattle snake with his bare hands and was only bitten 2 or 3 times (I dont know if i believe that one! :-D), or the time it didnt rain for 4 months straight so every day he and his wife had to pump water from the well and hand water 300 acres of corn. I am always up for one of his stories. They dont make 'em like this guy any more.
The weather was really nice this weekend, like I said, so Becky and I took advantage of it and did some hiking; we got a little sun burned too, oops! It was a really fun and it sucked to have to watch her drive away again this morning.
As for school, things are going pretty well. This week is going to be a killer though. We have 6 tests in 5 days. plus lecture and readings for the lectures. I already got one done this morning in my Positioning class and I think I did pretty well. I got the results from 2 of my tests from last week too. On my intro to radiography test I got a 93% (my lowest so far, d'oh!) and on my A&P I got a 102%. I am still trying to figure out how I got over 100%. The instructor mentioned something about throwing out a question because it wasnt clear, but I still dont know how that would get me 102%.
Tomorrow I have a lab competency test on all the positions for the upper extremities (i.e. digits, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, and upper arm). Its the first test I am actually somewhat nervous for so I hope I do OK. I practiced on Becky for an hour or so this weekend, so I think I have most of it down. I just get nervous because the instructor will give me three different parts (at random) to position and I have to do it with her watching me like a hawk and making sure I remember to do all the various and sundry tasks that go into making an x-ray image. It will be nice to get this one out of the way. Wish me luck.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
And to those who may be offended by any of these.....SACK UP! I didnt force you to look at them. Enter at your own risk! Now, have a nice day! ;-)
Sunday, January 22, 2006
This Monday will be the start of my 4th week in the Radiography Program. So far I really enjoy class and studying, as weird as that sounds. Of course not all of it is fun and games......stupid algebra, but a lot of the information is very interesting to me. My favorite class right now is my Positioning class. I have talked about it in previous posts. We have progressed from just talking about general body positions (e.g. supine, prone, recumbent, etc) and getting to know the various planes of the body (e.g. sagittal, transverse, coronal, etc) to learning the proper positioning of the upper extremities for several different projections.
You would not believe the number of positions the hand and wrist can get into. We will have to memorize all the positions for the upper extremities (including phalanges, metacarpals, carpals, radius, ulna and humerus) and then demonstrate them to our instructor during the "lab proficiency" exam. The carpals are the hardest so far. There are several different views for the carpal bones depending on which bone the doctor thinks in broken.
Anyway, it has been challenging but fun at the same time. In A&P we are learning about cell structure and function, which is a little harder for me to get my mind around. I usually think and remember things in pictures, so recalling how to position the wrist for an PA projection of the scaphoid bone is easier to remember than how ribosomes synthesize proteins during translation. But with enough studying I know I will eventually be able to pound it all into my teeny tiny brain somehow. :-)
I have seen several doctors about it and although they can tell me what it is, I have yet to be told what caused or is causing it. I have treated the pain in a variety of ways including over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs as well as stretching, PT and steroid injections.
On Thursday I underwent my latest round of injections to help the pain. Everything went pretty well and the pain has subsided quite a lot. The doctor recommends no more than 3 rounds of injections evey 12 months, and would actually prefer to limit it to 1 or 2 per 12 months.
Basically, what the doctor does is guides a long needle into the SI joint (see picture) on either side of my pelvis, and injects a steroid into the joint to eliminate or at least decrease the inflammation there. On my left site, the doc had a hard time getting the needle down far enough into the joint to inject the steroid. He spent a good 15 minutes moving the needle around and adjusting its depth and angle to get to the right place. In the end, he had to actually insert another needle at a different angle to get to the right spot. Needless, to say they were a very uncomfortable 15 minutes for me. The injection on the other side went very fast,however, maybe 5 minutes total.
After the procedure I asked the doc why the first side took so long to do, and he said that that side was much more arthritic and the joint was extremely tight and closed up and, therefore, it was difficult to get into with the needle. So, at the ripe old age of 26, I am already showing arthritic wear in at least one of my SI joints. GREAT!!
My back pain has been a constant problem for me for the last 6 years. For those of you who do not suffer from chronic pain, it is hard to understand what a big part pain can play in your life. If you let it, it can dictate how you live your life and what kind of person you are. It affects your mood, your personality, your level of fitness and your overall health. After a certain amount of time, the pain becames a part of you. It is difficult to live with and impossible to ignore. So those of you who are healthy and do not suffer from daily pain, count yourselves lucky.
Sorry the post is kind of depressing today. I just wanted to talk a little bit about my experiences with pain and what was happening with me regarding its treatment.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
However, we had two tests this morning, so I waited until after I was done with them to do it. I mean, I need all the blood I can get on a test day! So after my last test, I went over there and volunteered.
I was a little apprehensive at first when I met the girl who was going to do me. She had purple hair done up in pig tails, and looked to be about 16 years old. But I figured I would give her the benefit of the doubt since I also look much younger than I am and am sometimes not taken seriously because of it. Plus, they had been doing it all morning, so I knew I wasnt going to be her absolute first "patient".
I have had blood taken many times before, so I knew what to expect. Everything went pretty well overall, I would say. She took a little longer than normal, but I guess that is to be expected. They are learning after all. It also hurt more than it has in the past, but again there is a learning curve. I joked with her that since I was letting her poke me, she would have to reciprocate when our class has to practice venipuncture. She didnt seem too thrilled about that little payback idea. But oh well.
I am a little ashamed to say that I got a little woozy after it. I was fine until I got up from the chair and walked out into the hallway. They had set out some free food for the volunteers and as I stood their eating my muffin, I started to get really thirsty, I had a cold sweat and then my hearing started to become muffled. Have you ever experienced this? So I decided I better sit down for a minute, just in case. A class mate of mine came by and asked if I had volunteered, and before I could answer, he said "Yeah, you did. I can tell, you are all white. Are you OK?" I said yeah, I just need to sit for a second.
The site is a little sore now though. I think she may have done some digging to find the vein. However, I dont know for sure, since the last thing I wanted to do was watch her poke me! :-)
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I had a chance to get a lot of my homework done, and catch up on watching some stupid science fictiony movies. Out of kindness for my wife, I try to only watch them when she is at work or out of town. She cant stand them. :-) She was gone this weekend in Minnesota visiting some friends and family, so I was free to have a nerd-movie marathon all weekend.
Speaking of marathons.........I got back to Phx yesterday, quickly changed clothes and went to visit two friends (from MN coincidentally) who were in town for the big Rock and Roll Marathon last weekend. The guy works for Nike so he was here running a booth at the marathon site, and his girlfriend, also a friend, came with him. I hadnt seen them since Oct last year and it was nice to see some familiar faces down here in Phx. However, we ended up going out to dinner (sushi, yum!) with two other guys who they had met at the marathon and also worked for Nike in other cities. One of the guys was pretty nice but the other one was a complete and utter JACKASS!! He defined the word to a T. No joke.
He started off by telling us that he was a raging alcoholic and that he would be drinking a lot tonight. What a way to make a first impression, huh? "But, Hey!" he says "At least I admit it!" *Oh yeah, that makes it all better*, thinks Dustin. Anyway, then he starts bitching about the people next to us who have a whiny kid. Granted, it annoyed me too, but I wasnt a big ass about it. Then he starts belittling the waitress because his drinks werent quite right, as if she made them herself. He had pretty much every characteristic that I hate. He was arrogant, abrasive, overbearing, unsimpathetic, a braggart and snooty. I mean, he drives a Hummer. What more do I need to say? Needless, to say I couldnt wait to get out of there.
Once we left dinner and my friends and I were walking back to the hotel, they started apologizing to me for having to go thru dinner with that guy. I told them it wasnt their fault and that they couldnt control this guy's behavior.
It was really nice to see my friends again, but I could have done without the jackass.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
It was driving me crazy trying to figure out what was wrong. Just like Happy Cat, I had run out of happy! :-(
As some of you can atest to, it is pretty easy to get obsessed with your blog. There are so many things you can do with and fun, little options you can add, that you can spend hours workng on it. And when something isnt working right it can drive you a little bit crazy. So I am glad I got it all figured out. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
I have a pretty low key weekend planned. I have some studying to do and a little "To Do" list of things that need to be accomplished, but other than that just relaxing and catching up on sleep. I am still not used to getting up at 530a and am finding myself getting tired at about 1030p. Yeah, yeah, i know poor baby, right?.....it's just that I love to sleep and when I get tired I can't function very well.
Becky has flown back to Minnesota to see her family and to go to a friends baby shower, so I am here, up in Flagstaff, all alone this weekend. Well, not totally alone. Our cat, Imara, is here too and she is just loving having me to herself. I can't keep her off my lap for one second. But dont get me wrong, I love it. She is a great cat. Check out the link in my side bar for some pics of the little monkey!
Have a great weekend everyone.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
I know there are some nurses and maybe some other healthcare workers who read this blog, so leave me a comment and let me know what you think. How often do the docs order images for a patient, in your experience? Do you think that the imaging dept is an important and necessary dept in the hospital? Have you ever had any problems with an X-ray tech? Or have any techs out there had any problems with nurses? Just curious.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Instructor: "Since we skipped from Chapter 1 to Chapter 12 in today's readings did anyone read Chapter 2 by mistake?" chuckle, chuckle.
Student: blurting out from the back in an inappropriately loud voice "Well, see, I am one of those people who gets up early, I mean really early and I usually will have a couple of cups of coffee. I read Chapter 12 yesterday and highlighted all the important facts in the text, and then when I went to reread the chapter this morning I opened the book and all the highlighting was gone. Then I realized I had opened to Chapter 2 instead of 12 assuming that that was the next chapter to read. hahahahahahahahahahahaha (loud laughing for way too long)." Class in stunned and annoyed silence.
Dustin's Inner-monolog: Wow, thanks jackass, thats 5 minutes of my life I will never get back because you felt the need to overexplain something that no one really needed or wanted to know about anyway. A simple yes or no would have sufficed.
And why do some classmates feel the need to share very personal, sometimes embarrassing, information about their personal lives when asked a seemingly unrelated question. Case in point:
Instructor: "Can anyone think of a time when you had to use conflict resolution to resolve a tense situation?"
Student: "Well, my birth mom had to give me up for adoption because she was a drug addict, so I didn't meet her until just 2 years ago. We got along really great at first, then she started having drug problems again and so sometimes we would get into these awful fights and yell and scream at each other. But after a few months I realized she had a real problem and it was the drugs talking and not her, so now I always try to resolve conflicts with her right away."
Dustin's Inner-monolog: Oh my God. Is she really saying this to a class full of complete strangers? Why does she feel the need to give her disconjointed, emotionally trouble life story to answer a simple question about conflict resolution. Shut up, shut up, please shut up!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
and it feels good!! It was in my positioning class and we had a written exam and also a lab proficiency to test off on. I did pretty well on both.
I passed the proficiency just fine. It consisted of being given 3 different positions (ex. Right Anterior Oblique, Supine, Erect Posteroanterior, etc) and then instructing a partner from the class how to get into that position. It helped that your partner was studying for the same positions so they could anticipate what the position would look like.
The written exam was 60 questions on the first 3 chapters of our positioning book. It was on scantron so he corrected everyones while we were doing our lab proficiency and I got a 90%. Not bad, but not as good as I thought I would do. I made some stupid mistakes, like misreading the question or not reading all the answers before making my choice. I hope my test taking skills will come back to me as we take more exams.
The worst part of the day was actually the drive to class this morning. There was a major accident on the road between my house and the highway and it tied up traffic pretty bad. Plus I had already been running late getting going in the first place. I ended up getting on the highway going the wrong way, going down to the next exit, turning around and getting back on the highway going the right way. Although this we totally out of my way, I am convinced I would still be sitting there waiting to get onto the highway had I not done it.
Then, once on the highway, the traffic proceded to be the worst I had ever seen it. Through in a couple of accidents here and there and just plain idiot drivers (see my last post) and I ended up being about 5 minutes late for class. I know this probably doesnt seem like much but I am usually there about 15-20 minutes early, plus this was a test day, so my anxiety level was already pretty high by the time I walked into class. I can already see that traffic is one thing I hate about Phoenix.
Anyway congradulate me on finishing my first exam. I ONLY have 2 more this week...YAY!! (note the sarcasm). The studying never stops!
Monday, January 09, 2006
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
I can't reiterate that enought!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
Slower Traffic Keep Right!
It is one of the first things you learn in drivers education class and it is just common sense. I can't believe the number of people who don't know this rule or just choose to ignore it. You impede the flow of traffic and just generally enrage everyone else on the road. So please, as a gift to me, keep to the right if you are slower than the rest of the traffic. mmKay, folks? Thanks!
OK, I had to get that off my chest. On the drive back down to Phx from Flagstaff on Sunday, there were numerous times I saw people almost get into accidents just because they were going slow in the left lane. It drives me crazy.
So I had my first positioning class today. There was a lot of material to cover, so the instructor was blasting thru his lecture pretty fast. Luckily for us, he had produced a printout of his powerpoint lecture so we could follow along. Thank God, because there was no way I could have taken notes on all the stuff he was covering. It was like being at one of those cattle auctions, where the guy at the front is just rattling things off so fast you can't even understand him, even though you are reasonable sure he is speaking English. The material for the positioning class is actually pretty interesting. From the name you have probably surmised by now that we talk about how to position the patient for taking various types of projections (aka x-ray images), with a little anatomy thrown in for good measure.
You would not imagine the number of positions you can get the human body into....well, maybe some of you can, but lets leave that for the bedroom. ;-) Anyway, you have to learn a whole new kind of orientation because you talk about things in reference to how the patient is positioned in relation to the imagine receptor (IR) (aka the film that catches the x-rays). Almost always the patient's left is on your right, and their right is on your left. Sometimes, it helps to close your eyes and put yourself in the patients position, which, as good healthcare professionals, we should be doing periodically anyway, emotionally if not physically.
So the moral of the story is, there is a lot to cover for this class and it is only the second week of class. We already have a written test on it tomorrow as well as a lab competency exam, where you pair up with a partner and demostrate some of the more common positions for the instructors. It is all very interesting to me though, so that helps in my motivation to study and get this stuff straight. We will see how that "motivation" is in about 3 months, though.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Gonad Shield! (read on for the explanation)
I am still alive. I know some of you were beginning to wonder. It's just that I got socked with homework the first week of class, so I have been working hard to catch up. Also, my brother and his girlfriend came thru Flagstaff for a day on their way to moving to California, so I was busy with that too. So, now that I have finished MOST of my homework for the weekend, I figured I better catch you up.
So far I am really liking school. The instructors seem very willing to help in any way they can. There are some bad points, of course......getting up at 530am everyday of the week, reading, reading and reading some more, having to divide fractions again (I thought I was done with those buggers) and being away from Becky most of the time. But overall I am already enjoying the program. We dove right in straight way with our homework and reading. A&P, Intro to Radiography, Radiographic Positioning, College Algebra and a few other classes and I am plum tuckered out at the end of the day. It really is great to be stimulated again and have to do some critical thinking as well. I have missed that. I have always liked to learn. Even as a kid I would work for hours in the basement with my chemistry set, and I still love to watch the Discovery/Discovery Health Channel.
Now to the word of the day. I will share with you one of the fun new words I have already learned in my positioning class. That being "gonad shield". It is a metalic shield used to cover the gonads (i.e. reproductive organs) while a patient is being imaged, so that little or no radiation is absorbed by the testes or overies. I never knew such a thing existed, but I guess it makes sense. You don't want those nasty rays getting into your sensitive "gonadal" area. Gonadal? Is that a word!? Anyway, I had a chuckle over that. Although I can see that it is one of those things that is funny when you first hear it and then as you use one and hear the word all the time, it doesnt seem so funny any more. Well, I am going to enjoy my little, juvenile mind and get a larf from it while I still can. :-)
The people in my class seem quite varied in terms of ages, genders and backgrounds. I guess I would say there is probably an equal number of men and women, from outward appearances the average age seems to be mid to late 20s to early 30s, but thats just an estimate. Most of the people in there probably think I am about 20 years old when I am actually 26. Becky and I both look younger than we are. There are some on the higher end of the age spectrum (I hope that is a nice way to put it). Some look to be in their 50s. I give them a lot of credit for going back to school after so long. I am sure they will bring a lot of outside experience to the field. As for background, I think it runs the gambit. There seem to be some with little or no higher education (e.g. college) and some with multiple degrees (myself included) and still others with years of experience in the medical field or other fields. It will be really interesting to get to know them all and see all the different personalities interact.
You can see from the pile of books I posted a picture of last time, that I have my work cut out for me. So far the most reading seems to be in my A&P class (go figure) and the Positioning class (which also incorporates some anatomy). One nice thing I have already learned is that in the A&P class we will be covering mostly the A, which is nice. The P was what was making me nervous about that class. I think I will be very good at the anatomy part....memorization, memorization, memorization!
Like I said, I will be very busy this semester and probably every other semester for the next 2 years, so feel free to write me encouraging comments. They would be much appreciated. I read them all and if you leave an email or your blog address I will certainly try to respond to them. From time to time I may not be able to post as much as I have in the past, but I will do my darndest to keep this blog up to date. There is nothing more frustrating than checking a blog everyday and seeing they haven't posted in 2 months. Happens a lot to me, so I will try not to participate in that particular pet peev of mine.
Enjoy the weekend.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
It was pretty nice, though. The school brought in 3 students who were at various points in the program. The first guy was one year ahead of us and had just finished the class portion of the program and had recently started his clinicals or externship. The next girl was almost at the end of the program and had had a year of externships under her belt. And the third guy had gone all the way thru the program, graduated, taken the board exam and had recently found a job and was adjusting to the "real world". They were very informative and answered all of our questions. They even enlightened us on the finer points of giving a barium enema, which excited us all to no end (note the sarcasm). I think if a BE is the worst I have to do, I will count myself lucky after hearing what you poor nurses have to deal with.
So, if you will excuse me, for the first time in a year and a half, I have homework to do. :-)
Monday, January 02, 2006
The guy I am living with has so far been very nice and accommodating. He showed us around the house and gave us directions to Target and the grocery store. He is a resident med student and has a pretty busy schedule, so I am guessing I will have the house to myself most of the time. The place sure needs a good cleaning though. The last guy who lived here left the bathroom a disaster and the kitchen also needs a good once over. So i will get to that soon. I am not a neat freak, but I also like to live in a clean house, ya know.
I will post again after school has started.