Seeing Signs

Our first break from the books finally arrived. Many of us were itching to head home, to the beach, to a vacation retreat or simply to escape to a silent mind.  I arrived at the Chicago O’Hare International airport to await my connecting flight to Michigan. While scanning the gate numbers to locate mine, I finally arrived at gate C7.

C7…this is but a letter and a number right?  Not at all. For a physical therapy student this combination has so many meanings it can make your head spin.  C7: sensation for your middle finger. C7: muscle action for elbow extension and wrist flexion. C7: third starting point for the nerves known as your brachial plexus.  Multiple meanings for what seems to be simple combinations continue to be an ongoing occurrence throughout the past months.  It’s homonyms gone wild.   Our eyes are being open to a new world of vocabulary and greater appreciation for the interconnections of the human body.

To my family and friends I give my apologies. When I look at you I no longer see you…I see your muscles, your bones, your veins moving your blood…AND… your bad posture, awkward gait, high sodium based diet, and arteries clogging up from eating your favorite breakfast burrito. Of course I pass no judgment as I sip on a famous milkshake from Cookout (best place in town, folks).

This is the beautiful result after four months of PT school. The material we learn isn’t just taught to pack in our brains and regurgitate at a test. It is to use in the real world. And as a professor proclaimed, a patient is a cumulative exam. The material learned months ago will continuously be tested. This keeps us sharp and motivates us not to fall into the trap of what many of us did in undergrad…just learn it for the test and move forward without really learning.

As we regrouped from around the nation over the past days our minds were awoken. We began a new module with a few new courses as well as continuation of others. Our research projects are being tweaked, new material is going to come as quick as our time here is flying, and clinical sites for next January, July, and September are being planned.  I have a feeling it is going to be a busy summer but with amazing North Carolina blue skies and sun, I know I must take advantage of getting outdoors.  It sure is a beautiful place to be!

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