Saturday, August 29, 2009

saintly last days with the latter day saints

Feeling battered from the 6 days straight school, I catch my breath before catching my flight out of Utah. Dr. Allison (Biostatistics1) described it best, being a part of the "tag-team wrestlers" that flew into Provo, beat us up intellectually for 8-10 hours a day, then flew out, leaving just enough recovery time (6 hours sleep) before the next heavy hitter arrived. The week read like this:
Dr. Jennifer Caputo: Writing: management of electronic search, retrieval and storage. I had stumbled my own way through Endnote X2 prior to coming out west, so I was able to fine tune some aspects of storage and output modification. It is really interesting that a component of the course had to handle basic grammar errors in scientific writing. At this level of education I would have assumed that most writing hiccups had been beaten out of people, but apparently not. Hmmm.
Dr. Todd Ellenbecker PT: Scapula, shoulder and elbow: serious brain bomb, one of the two days was an 11 hour day 8a to 7p..All we were able for after this was a Polygamy Porter and an early-ish night. This was an incredible synthesis of clinical, research and conceptual work by an energizer bunny, who couldhave kept going well past the setting sun. Thank God he didn't. We had the rest of the week to get through..
Dr. Stephen Allison PhD., PT:, fundamentals of data analysis, introduction to SPSS software, use of Excel for analysis and graph construction. Brain bomb. At the end, I was a blubbering mess with total confusion about variables, factors, x and y axes, needing a stiff glass of Cabernet to get me to sleep. Somehow, Dr. A has managed to retain me through the class, and actually makes statistical analysis both interesting and relevant. Verry funny, very smart.
Dr. Joseph Wilkes MD: Hand hand hand: two solid days of wrist and hand: Having been interested in this topic as an undergrad PT (1987-91), and again while doing my masters (1993-4)I am totally intrigued all over again with the crazy wonderful hand. Dr Wilkes managed to inspire us with his surgical skills, his big brain approach to problem solving, and pure love of patient care. I gave him my copy of Neil Shubin's book: "Your Inner Fish" details the transitional phase of mammals from a marine environment to a land-based environment. The evolution of wrist joints in fish was a beautiful surprise to me, and prompts me to re-read some text books on embryology again, to better explore aspects of pathology that originate from a place deeper than the immediate presentation. I hope he enjoys it as much as I did. I hope my brain becomes even a fraction the size of his.
My classmates, all 8 of our cohort (OS4), get on incredibly well adn I look forward to developing with this smart, entertaining, diverse group.
In some of the intervening evenings, I managed to get out for some easy rides, spinning the air-conditioning out of my tissues, allowing my brain to focus on simple repetitive pedal strokes, not an easy feat after sitting for 8-10 hours.. and definitely not easy at 4000 feet above my home base of 5-50 feet above sea-level. I had a couple of spins into the canyon towards Sundance, diverting towards Bridal Veil Falls and up into the South Fork road where I got to ride with an older cyclist, 60-something year old blly goat, who told me it was his 176th time doing this climb (up to 5900 feet). I hung back on the descent, trying to prevent him catching me takeing photos as we dropped back into the vally floor...Supreme bike paths along the Provo River Valley: a solid 25+ miles of paved, off-road bike paths, away from the traffic, winding from Utah lake up into the mountains. Incredible. I will draw on this path as we try to build an equivalent on our very own South Fork, resurrecting Mike Bottini's original dream and nudging it forward. Utah lake, though grand and perfectly situated, looked funky in colour, and even the primordial fish in me couldn't get drawn in. I cycled around it instead, past the latinos fishing and beyoned the horse ranches, under roads and rail passes along the winding river back to the centre of town.
Sitting in the departure lounge, the building essentially sits in the Salt Lake Valley with a 360 degree view of the Uinta mountain range, I think it must be the most beautiful airport view in the country. The sun is coming up draping the mountains in light purples, blue-greys and glden streaks, and spreading across the valley by the minute. My only regret is that I didn't get to swim at "my" pool this morning before leaving, no worries, I will without a doubt be back.

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