Saturday, November 13, 2010

semester 5.. over the halfway hump en route to PhD..

Back in Provo, UT: Early morning dreadmill run, spin or weights got my brain revved up for the 8am start at Rocky Mountain University Semester 5, module 2. Glad to have been moving for the better part of 2 hours, I now sat for 10 hours, brain exploding while my butt was compressing.

Days 1-3: Cory DeRosa and Jim Porterfield: Anatomy, Biomechanics and Pathophysiology of the spine: veritable giants in the PT world, they were a fun tag-team in reality. They used cadaver disections, videos and tons of hard-core science to expand our understanding of ABP spine. My 30 minute presentation on clinical reasoning and model for PT management of low back pain, luckily drew heavily on their prior publications. I swore to them that I wasn't brown-nosing, they rolled around laughing, and then simply admitted they were glad that at least SOMEONE had read their work.

Day 4: Research Methods 3: Mitch Rauh browbeat us for clarification of our methods section for the proposed dissertation. The presentation had to include a detailed account of the variables to be tested along with the appropriate statistical analysis. Phew. While this is a weakness of mine, I can honestly say that I am getting a better handle on this "slippery knowledge" as Dr Allison defines the EBP / Bio-Stats portion. This is the third time around at getting through stats, my B.Sc program was a perfunctory breeze through a little red book (not recalling anything of the contents, I am happy to remember the cover colour). My M.Sc was better, but I ended up farming out the data analysis portion to my classmates husband, a professional statistician, so for this PhD program, I am actually happy to be forced to finally get a grip on this stuff. The night before the presentation, I had a RM3 panic and slashed a whole section on epidemiology from my proposal, but Mitch, the epidemiology specialist with his sunny San Diego ways, talked me down from the statistical ledge. And the dissertation will be a ll the better for it.

Day 5: Pathophysiology and clinical management of pain: Russell Foley: our brains are dead, and perhaps this course should have preceded the ABP spine section. Russell is a great guy with tons of information, but an old, non-interactive style of teaching. We needed interaction by now, since the coffee in Utah is appalling, and  10 hours of class followed by 2-3 hours of prep for the next class is wearing on me. I wallowed through it, mentally promising to get a better handle on the literature later, while planning my escape to Moab that night. My analytical brain is full and my adventure brain needs to get going..

As I get swamped in cytokines,TNF-alpha, spinoreticular tracts and the hypothalmus-pituitary-adrenal axis, Becca and I swapped notes at the back of the class, coming up with nicknames for our classmates that I want to get emblazoned on t-shirts for Christmas gifts.
Jeff: LDS (Mormon) "family guy"
Kunal: (Muslim Indian, math + stats whizz) "smart guy"
Navpreet (Kunals wife, Sikh Indian,chef extraordinaire) "curry chick"
Bob (Californian obsessed with Gluteal function) "glute guy"
Joe (Bostonian pumped weight-lifter, fightin' Irish) "superset guy"
Becca (Portlander, eco-friendly) "PDX chick"
Jason (new to our cohort this semester) "new guy"

Time to get going and rescue my brain..I hug my team mates / classmates goodbye, we will meet again in May, but will be in constant touch over the coming 6 months of submissions. Car loaded, tank full of gas, coffee to go, and I head down route 15 into the night for the next adventure.

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