March Recap – – Semester 1
Well, we made it through midterms. It was a long two-ish weeks but we powered through. Now we are getting our hands dirty again, diving right back into lecture. And let me tell you, we are going head first into the brachial plexus and upper extremities. Which, if you do not know, is pretty heavy stuff. But with only a month left of this semester, it seems only right. So don’t knock me and my classmates out of your thoughts just yet!
Even though this past month was a lot of studying and testing, we got a nice breather with a little observation treat. We observed a patient who had an incomplete spinal cord injury that he had been living with for the majority of his life. He had quite an interesting gait pattern that he had adapted to over time, with the addition of lace up ankle braces and two canes. Practitioners had tried a few different treatment options for him in the past, but he personally never loved the outcomes…Not until he was convinced to try again. He is now walking cane-less with 2 AFO’s that he says has changed his life. And the craziest part is that he hadn’t even had his AFO’s a month. Because of this, his wheels starting turning and he wanted to know more of what was out there. Lucky for us, that next best thing for him was a FES, and we got to observe.
Long story short, the FES unfortunately did not work for the patient. It had been too long since the injury and too much deterioration in the limbs. But even though it did not work, my classmates and I all took away a bigger meaning of the day that Mr.Russo brought to light – – No matter how long in the field, no matter what age you are, you will always face disappointment. You learn that everything is not always going to work out the way you want it to, but you learn to look at the positives at the end of the day. The patient loves what does works for him and he is grateful for that. So, you shoot your shot at a new technology that may improve and benefit the patient’s life, but move on when it doesn’t go your way and find the bright side of what is working.
Shifting back to school now, last week in gait lab, my classmates and I all had the opportunity to walk across the gait mat wearing different orthoses. We then took this data and compared it with our normal gaits, and hypothesized reasons for the differences between the two. It definitely took some time to adjust to wearing, but we all really enjoyed playing around with them. What was so nice about this lab, too, was that it was able to offer us a glimpse into what it is like for patients. It makes me even more excited for next semester when we really get into the hands-on building and crafting of orthotics for one another. But until then, we can only dream of making our first orthoses.
Chat again soon!