My first adjustment in clinic!

Yesterday was a pretty exciting day. We had an exam at 7:30 a.m. and then standard classes the rest of the day. I was not looking forward to it because we also have board review this week, which means I am in class from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. for the rest of the week.

Now I know you’re, like, “Uh, she said this was an exciting day. This does not sound exciting yet.” Well, the exciting stuff happened at the end of the day!

We have been working on reciprocal work in our clinical methods class, which is a class we take to prepare ourselves for clinic. Reciprocal work is doing everything we would do in clinic with a patient, except you’re doing it on a classmate.

Well, yesterday and today were the adjusting days. So we got into the AHC (Academic Health Center), which is where my partner and I were assigned, and it was the first time I had ever been down there. We were working under my AHC staff doctor, which was cool because I got to meet her and actually work under her for the day. It was the first clinical type adjusting situation I’ve been in.

So I took the history on my patient, did the evaluation, found her subluxation, called the staff doctor in and told her I was ready. She said, “Okay great, go ahead.” It was C3 body right. I did supine diversifed, and I got it in the first try! It was so cool!

I was nervous because it was the first time I was being watched by a staff doctor in the actual clinic. She seemed to have full confidence in what I was doing when I wasn’t 100% sure I had full confidence in myself. And I did it. My patient even told me she couldn’t tell that I was nervous. She said it was a great adjustment and was jealous that I got it on the first try.

I thought I was going to be a lot more stressed out than I actually was … just because when you’re adjusting in class on adjusting days, you’re in front of your teachers who you’ve spent a whole trimester with and kind of know and you’re still nervous to have them watch you. And, here in this situation, I’m working under someone I’ve never met who has more confidence in me than I do, and I don’t come off as nervous at all. It just shows that we’re getting more confortable in our abilities and our capabilities.

After class was over, I rushed over to the CHC (Campus Health Center, the student clinic) to observe an appointment for a patient I’ll be taking over once we clear. So that was even more exciting, getting to be in the clinic setting with your patients, seeing their care and knowing that pretty soon you’ll be adjusting them, too.

The appointment ran a little long, so I was about a half hour late to board review and starving. Luckily my wonderful best friend brought me Jimmy Johns so I could make it through the rest of the night. Tonight I have another patient to observe during my clinic shift and more board review. It’s a busy and long week here at Palmer!

-Allisha

My first side posture adjustment

Side posture adjustment

Side posture adjustment (this is Palmer grad Dr. Christine Gonos-Boyd from her site BoydChiroClinic.com)

Yesterday was another find-and-fix-it day in my thoraco-lumbar class. We were able to adjust using any technique we were taught, but I wanted to get some practice with side posture since I hadn’t had any yet and it’s one of the more difficult techniques.

Luckily enough my patient had a lumbar listing at L4, so I was ready to give a shot. Turns out I need a lot of practice with side posture. It doesn’t look easy, and it’s really not that easy. I tried both a push and a pull move and wasn’t very good at either. I was struggling to figure out the mechanics of the thrust with the pull move, and by the time I went to try the push, I was a little frustrated and felt a little defeated. I didn’t feel like I had much luck with the push either, but I had some good thrusts so we did some post checks on my patient and she had better range of motion. Plus, the nervoscope showed there had been some change, and her body was adapting. So all the of checks said I had made some change. Sadly it doesn’t feel as satisfying if you don’t get the cavitation and if you know you have crappy form.

I know I’ll get better, and I really shouldn’t have expected to have it figured out on the first try, but you also have to accept that things don’t always go the way you planned. I’m excited to get more practice. I’m happy I now know what I should focus on. and I appreciate the help and advice I was given to be more successful. Not that I wasn’t successful. My patient did show adaptation, and for that I am happy.

Keep on trying and don’t give up! You can’t get better if you don’t keep trying.

-Allisha

First side posture adjustment!

Yesterday was another exciting day! I got to adjust in pelvic again! We had just learned side posture, so I figured I would give that a go after my initial work up and determining that my patient was in fact subluxated.

Side posture is challenging, but I had the assisting doctor in our class walking me through it. On the first attempt, I had a good thrust but poor control over my patients thigh. On the second attempt, I had fixed my control but had a lousy thrust. On the third attempt, I was able to equal both out and my patient said she felt it move! I am hoping that’s the case and she isn’t just trying to be nice!

Nonetheless, it was really exciting and I’m happy I was able to have the opportunity to try out side posture in the classroom in a controlled situation with feed back before I got into clinic and had to try it on one of my patients–and literally have no idea what I’m suppose to be doing or what the adjustment even feels like when I am doing it.

As this week comes to and end and with next week being a short week before finals (and I know I’ve said it a million times), things are really coming into perspective for me. I have finished more trimesters than I have left. That’s crazy to think about. My time here has gone so fast and has been so incredible. I’ve learned so much and have done so much and there’s still so much to learn and so much to do.

This trimester seriously has been the quickest one yet, and it’s a terrifying thought if the next four are going to go that fast because I can’t help but think, “What do I do when I am done?” But I have confidence that I will be prepared when I walk out of those doors as a doctor for whatever comes my way.

-Allisha

An extremely busy week

Last week was an extremely busy one, but it came to an end and I survived it. I got my picture for my clinic badge taken this week. I’m one step closer to taking care of patients!

We had five exams last week, which was slightly stressful but now that they are all over, it doesn’t seem like it was that bad. I went to zumba again on Tuesday but didn’t make it to step aerobics because I needed to study.

Wednesday was adjusting day in our pelvic class. I was the patient this first time, and it was my adjusting partner’s birthday, so I let her adjust me as a birthday present. 🙂 I will hopefully get my oppportunity on Monday.

Friday we got to do a physical exam on some kids in my OB/peds lab. Which posed to be a lot more difficult than I had originally expected. Kids like to talk and move around a lot, and it’s hard to say (chiropractic) things in a way they can understand. The little girl we were working with was a trooper. It was good practice for realizing how you’re going to deal with these real life situations where people aren’t necessarily going to understand what you’re saying to them. We get so accustomed to talking to our peers that understand our chiropratic language that when we go out and talk to people outside of the Palmer community, we forget we have to change our word choices. Same goes for interactions with children, and I thought it was be easier than it ended up being.

Friday night I went to Board Game Club to wind down from the busy week. And we actually enjoyed some nice (though windy) weather this weekend!

-Allisha

My second adjustment!

I got one more adjustment under my belt! This time in thoraco-lumbar class.

Today was “find it and fix it” day where we did a work up on our classmates thoracic and lumbar regions to see if there was any fixation. We worked in a group of three and all of us got to adjust. It is always nice having adjusting days because it’s a good reminder of why we are here and what we’ve worked so hard for.

You always get little extra pieces of advice from the professors on how to improve your adjustment when you are actually giving an adjustment. It’s hard for them to really critique you or give you pointers when you’re just doing a set-up.

What’s good about the Technique classes I have this tri is that we have adjusting days sporatically throughout the trimester, so we don’t have to wait until the end of the trimester to finally get to adjust. I didn’t get the adjustment on my first try. I thrusted too soon, but I was able to get it on the second thrust.

The more and more confident and comfortable we get with each other and in our abilites to adjust it seems the easier it is to be successful in our attempts. Although having someone watch what I’m doing and critquing me still makes me slightly nervous. I have come along way since day one of palpation when we were even too nervous to touch anyone. I remember my hands shaking uncontrollably while trying to find structures and motion out segments. Now I don’t give it any extra thought; just have to jump right in, and the nerves are all gone. I thought I would never get to this point, and here I am. And within four months, I’ll be taking care of real patients in the student clinic. Oh, how first trimester seems like yesterday …

-Allisha

My new adjusting table is here!

My new adjusting table!

My new adjusting table!

Yesterday I picked up the adjusting table I ordered from the Bookstore! It is the prettiest shade of purple.

I had to recruit some people to help me walk it over to my apartment because the box was heavier and bigger than I could handle. I took it to my apartment on my 9:20 a.m. break and didn’t get home until 5 p.m. because of zumba, so I didn’t get to open it until I got home.

I walked through the door and started tearing through the box just to look at it. I was able to get it set up in my bedroom because it wouldn’t fit any where else in my small apartment. It barely fits in my bedroom, but obviously I’m willing to squeeze around it so I can look at it every day.

I took a picture and sent it to everyone so they could share my excitement, and I had a couple people say, “That’s really pretty, but what is it?”

Once you’re here for a while you forget the outside world doesn’t understand some of the things we forget is pretty specific to our profession. Then, of course, once you get here everyone likes to ask us to adjust them … and showing everyone my new table only increased that request, even though I have numerous times explained that we are not allowed to adjust outside of the clinic. I assured them they can come see me in the clinic soon enough. As exciting as that is, it is also frightening!

I got to adjust today!

Success!

Success!

Yay! I got to adjust today! Everything I have worked for these past five trimesters has  proved more than worth it for moments like this.

I am having a hard time coming up with the right words or explanation on how to tell you how I feel. They don’t lie when they say these moments make you feel like a doctor.

It took me a couple tries before I felt the bone move, but I got really good advice on how to fix my set up and my adjustment. After the fourth try I was able to feel the atlas move under my finger! After that first thrust I began to get nervous and started to shake a little bit. This tends to be the normal response when going to adjust for the first time.

Actually, for a while, the first time you even palpate or do set-ups you’re nerves will get the best of you and you will shake. That goes away the more you do it and the more comfortable you get. After I felt the movement I did post checks, and immediately my patient began to adapt. I got different readings on the nervoscope, my motion findings had improved and her leg check came up even. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing immediate results from your patient.

It was really cool to be able to do this right before finals because I feel ready. I am pumped, and I am fired up and ready to go into finals now. Nothing gets you fired up quite like doing exactly what you came here to do. After classes today I am going to go to the clinic and get myself adjusted so I can go into finals clear-headed and functioning optimally!

The quote my tea gave me today was: “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday’s junk.”  – Louise Smith

I love this quote. It can be applied to most situations, but I feel like it really applies here because some students I know tend to get stuck in a negative attitude. I feel like if you let that happen and you choose to let yourself go through this program mad and negative, then you aren’t going to be able to move forward and do better for  yourself or this profession.

What we do here is difficult; it is very challenging. To get the rewards of feeling awesome after giving an adjustment, you have to let go of the bad that may have happened the day before or even the negative attitudes that surround you each day. Go at this with a positive attitude so you can get the most of it and you will enjoy the process and appreicate your hard work even more. When you finally get to adjust you will feel unstoppable because you worked hard for it and you deserve it.

– Allisha

What it feels like to give an adjustment

Yesterday my Cervicals partner got to do a full work-up on me and adjust me for the first time. She was not able to adjust in Toggle because her partner was not in pattern, which is essential for upper cervical care. Being “in pattern” means that whenever you run a scan on a titron, the results come out the same on more than one day. So this was her very first adjustment, and I was more than happy to be her patient.

Since I wasn’t able to explain my first cervical adjustment to you on Monday, I asked her if she would share with me how she felt while she performed her very first adjustment. She was more than happy to share that experience with you today. Here is what she told me:

So how I felt about giving you an adjustment … all the work leading up to it made me excited and a little nervous. I was really hoping that I did everything right, and that I could accurately motion out a truly subluxated segment.

Then when it came down to which technique to use, I was like, “Oh, crap, I hate cervical chair, especially with the #6 contact point.” Then when I set up on you and you told me I had good contact, it really boosted my confidence! So then I was like, yeah, I can do this! And then when I brought you to tension and was about to thrust, I was like, “Oh, crap (again), I hope I still have good contact.” I was really scared that I was gonna sting you and just make things worse with the subluxation (so I hope you weren’t lying when you said it was fine!). But it was nice to be able to thrust twice, even though I didn’t really get the segment to move.

Afterwards, it was great to have feedback from you and Dr. Hynes. I couldn’t tell during the whole thing how well she thought I was doing, but it was very reassuring at the end when she said I was thorough and did a good job. Now I feel more like a soon-to-be doctor, and it’s fantastic! You were an awesome patient!

She couldn’t have said it any better. I felt just about the same way with my first adjustment. At first you’re really nervous because you’re not sure you’re doing it right. Then you pump yourself up and you’re like, “Yeah, I can totally do this!” Then you get ready to thrust, and you’re right back to thinking, “Oh no! I’m not sure I can this.” In the end you are always able to do it. It’s what we are trained to do and we are trained very well.

You work all trimester to lead up to this point, and it makes the whole trimester and first year leading up to these opportunities worth it. You get fired up and remember why your here. Hopefully I will have another story of adjusting on Wednesday when I will hopefully be able to give it another shot, because after all, that’s what I came here to do and what I enjoy talking about!

-Allisha

Day off? No thanks!

Cervical X-rayWe had yesterday off due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but that doesn’t mean it was spent sitting on the couch watching TV and playing on the Internet–at least not for the most part.

My friends and I got together to practice some cervical set-ups and prepare for our practicals this week. We have offically learned all of the set-ups we will learn for cervical adjusting, and we are being tested over them this week to get ready for our clinical basic testing, in which we will do full work-ups on our classmates and hopefully get to adjust their cervical subluxations.

Sometimes there is no better help than your peers. There were six of us that got together. Two people doing the set-ups, two patients and two people asking possible questions we could get during the practical. This is my favorite way to study. You get advice from students that have been learning the same things you are and that have had the same complications with the set-ups, and they’re able to tell you what works better for them or critque you on what you can do to make your set-up better for your patients.

And, of course, getting together with a group of friends is always a good time.

-Allisha

New kid in town

(originally posts on Palmer’s Student Blog 12/28/12)

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is William Fleetwood, and I will be new to the (Davenport) area as of February and will be attending Palmer College of Chiropractic in March. I’ve been asked to document my journey while attending Palmer and even into the future as a practicing physician. By doing, this I plan to give a different prospective through my point of view and sharing it with others (such as you all).

I’ve spent the last year shadowing a Davenport Campus alumnus here in Florida, and gaining much insight and knowledge into what it takes to run a practice. I’m 44 days from my move to Iowa now, and I’m equally as excited as much as I am nervous about coming North. I’ve never seen snow, so this whole winter thing will be a first for me in its true meaning. I have much to share with you all, so stay tuned for my postings.

Thank you for your time today – PEACE OFF!

– William Fleetwood, future Palmer student