Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I had my final meeting with my supervisor today, and it looks like I'm passing and am going to be able to be done within a day and a half. I am *thrilled*. There are still a couple of things left to do, but no more evaluations, no more huge reports, no more craziness (I don't think). I seriously cannot describe the ebullience I felt tonight when I came home and realized that I didn't have to do work straight through the night.

It's been an extremely tough road for me at this placement (and it's renowned as one of the hardest placements out there), but I am proud to have gotten through it, and am grateful for how much I've learned, which has been a lot. I can work with extremely involved infants and I can work with emotionally labile and agitated traumatic brain injury patients and all sorts of people in between.

But now it's time for bed. I'm going to sleep on time and waking up so I can get into work when I'm scheduled to, rather than an hour and a half earlier. People, life is good.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Charles sent me this tonight. He scanned it from a postcard I had given him many years back, which is actually one that I got from an art showing in Beijing. I still like it very much, so was inspired to post it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Also, Happy Belated 30th, Bill!
Anne was the good one to remind me because I've had my head up my ass so thoroughly. Hope that you celebrated like a crazy man, Bill!
I'm still here!
I spent all weekend plowing away on my student project for the hospital. I have lost perspective on how good it is, but I've put in the work now. Saturday morning I settled in at the Bucktown branch of the Chicago Public Library. It's brand new and VERY nice. Plus, free wireless. Go Chicago Public Library! I then headed back to Todd's and worked till like 11pm. Which made it about 12 hours of work. Awesome. Today, more work. Nothing new there.

But, five more days. I can hardly believe it. I know it'll stretch, but I console myself with the fact that a week from now I'll be hanging out at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Eight more days! (that's not including the weekend, but still...)
Dudes, it's still non-stop. I think it will be this way till the very end. I'm starting to get to the point where I'm divorcing myself from my life and making peace with the idea of one hour of downtime an evening. I've realized that the deal with this placement is like a crash course in all of the grad school courses, since with every new patient (and there are lots), I need to learn exactly what's going on, how to evaluate them, and then how to treat them. And then write new goals every week. The paperwork alone is tough, but I think that the hard part about that is that everything that I write needs to go through my supervisor, so when I'm certified and working on my own, that will no longer be the case.

I can't wait to have my life back! I was walking home from the bus and passed people out in the cool evening, enjoying margaritas and I felt very cranky towards their good luck.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The weather is turning gorgeous again! It's cool outside and feels like September nights in Chicago, which makes sense since September is about 10 days away. Woowoo!

I worked on Saturday. That was pretty brutal since I woke up at 5a.m. that morning to get in at 6. Friday night I turned in early, but had dinner with Todd at T's in Andersonville. The home and asleep before 10:30. It was very surreal walking to the building downtown and passing people who were still up from being out. Yes indeedy.

Saturday afternoon we went to Katja and Tom's wedding which was held at Chief O'Neill's Pub. They have this vast beer garden that is verdant and has this enormous pear tree in the center. Katja wore this amazing mandarin colored silk gown with green trim. A first that I've ever seen at a wedding, and she pulled it off beautifully. The ceremony was lovely, the food was spectacular, and the wine flowed freely. We left at 6pm and then conked out on Todd's couch. I think that I slept about 12 hours last night.

Today we went to Wilmington to a bbq at Todd's parents place since they were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. Steaks: yum. Now I'm home and getting ready to tackle yet another week. Two weeks left now. Ten days. I may just need to do a daily countdown on the blog. But, two weeks from today I will be at the Lake of the Ozarks with Todd and his family. Three weeks from today I'll be back in DC.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I have to study for tomorrow at the hospital. See, I have to prove that I learned all of this information to help me pass. I've been studying all night, and it's a very surreal experience. I can't explain why. I have to work on Saturday too, although only till 12 since my friend, Katja is getting married that afternoon and my supervisor took pity on me and gave me the afternoon off. But it means that it extends my hospital countdown by a day still (11.5 days and counting now!)

But this week I managed to find some time for fun, which was nice. Tuesday night, I went and saw All Limbs Intact (one of Todd's bands) play at the Double Door. They were very awesome. I even got to use one of their VIP stickers (ooh la la) and go and see what their dressing rooms were like. Dank and closed in, but cool nonetheless. Plus, it was cool to see them play at such a renowned place. Actually, Todd's other band, Wind or Ghost, is playing tonight at Subterranean, which is another cool Wicker Park club. But because of the aforementioned studying, yours truly needs to miss out.

Last night, I joined Jenny, Amie, Pam, and Joe for a picnic at Millennium Park. They had the symphony playing for free. What an awesome thing. Besides the great company and the amazing spread, I am wowed by this other thing that Chicago offers for free. You sit under the Gehry dome, listen to music on the vast lawn, and the Chicago skyline is your background. There were even fireworks that went off later that evening. It was a lovely, cool evening and it was just what the doctor ordered for me to decompress.

Okay, back to the grind.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Happy Sunday Night
Another nice weekend, with amazing weather. I'm gearing up for another week at the hospital. THREE MORE WEEKS! 15 more days. I can do it, but it's a lot of work. It's funny, because every week that passes, the end still seems very far away. It is a one-day-at-a-time type thing. I talked tonight to my parents who gave me a big pep talk (eat bitter before tasting the sweet!). Bear with me here.

It was a nice weekend. Friday night Todd and I made dinner and watched "Shopgirl" (I liked it). Saturday evening we went to Cathy's house where she had a "Salad-Off." Todd and I joined forces and made this chicken and pasta salad and we won second place (wooo!). Kiley was the winner with this amazing strawberry pretzel jello salad: sweet and salty is where it's at.

Today was about getting lunch at Calvin's and then coming home and doing work.

Okay, I need to hit the hay soon. I'm going to read up a little on spinal cord injury and swallowing disorders associated with it first, but then bedtime, because girlfriend needs her sleep.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The goings-on
Ah, the bittersweet Sunday night experience. This weekend was nice. Friday night I went with Todd and Rich to their friend Jen's post-wedding celebration with her new husband Frank. They have a lovely garden condo in Logan Square, two large dogs, two tabbies, and it was quite cozy and nice. They also whipped up some burgers, gazpacho, and some mean guacamole. They even had a pinata (a lion-mule hybrid) which yours truly cast the final blow to (it was on its last legs). An excellent activity for a Friday night.

Saturday I declared No Work day, and Todd and I headed to Skokie to go looking for some jeans for him. Beforehand we had lunch at Wholly Frijoles, which is definitely some of the best Mexican food out there. Last time we tried to go it was Saturday at 5pm and we were told that the wait was 2 hours. On Saturday at 11 a.m. for lunch, we had the tables of our own choosing. That night we took it easy, made a nice dinner, and went to bed early. I think I slept for like 10 hours or something.

Today I headed back here and did some work and studying in preparation for next week. I hate doing it because it always feels like it's never enough, but some is better than nothing I suppose. It's Market Days in my neighborhood this weekend, which means that Halsted is closed off for a very packed street festival. I went last year and it was quite an experience trying to maneuver from block to block. I decided to avoid it this year, but I can still hear the bands playing through the windows and I pass the merry-makers as they walk the streets.

So....four more weeks left at the hospital! This means that I have 20 days left. I think I will begin the number count down in the meantime. A month from today I'll be coming back from the Lake of the Ozarks with Todd, getting ready to fly back to DC the next day. Hooray!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

People! How the Hell Are You?
I figured that I would drop a hello line to the blog tonight since I didn't have a whole lot of work to do (for once!). Tomorrow will be rough, but that's tomorrow, so I'm going to hit the hay early tonight and buck up in preparation. The hospital continues to kick the ass. I had an up-and-down beginning of the week, but the last couple of days have sort of shifted into some kind of routine, which I like. My favorite patient has been extended (her discharge date was originally Friday) due to being sick and she would have to go on a long airplane flight home. I feel for her father, who looks more defeated every day. I'll tell you this much: even though I complain and feel sorry for my trials and tribulations sometimes, nothing adds perspective like seeing these families at the hospital every day. You begin to develop relationships with them as well, which is what I appreciate about the job.

So, there's the dad who lost his wife and mother in law, whose daughter is now on a ventilator and has quadriplegia. There's the mom whose son received a gun shot wound to the head, and listens to her son wailing day in and day out. There's the family whose 16 year old was in a car crash and now have to understand and deal with his traumatic brain injury, help the change his diapers, and to make sure that he doesn't claw at his tracheotomy stoma. There's the mom whose son was in the hospital after suffering an acute motor disorder who has two other sons at home: one with severe autism and one with a brain tumor.

But despite it all, people maintain their senses of humors. I see them joking happily with their family members and participating with enthusiasm in therapy. I totally admire and respect that level of groundedness and strength, and hope that if I were in a similar situation that I could react the same way. Although, I'm sure that there's relief in that their family members are *alive* and in rehab. I'm beginning to adore many of the patients and really look forward to being with them during therapy, which I see as a good sign.

My difficulties in this placement come with the high-stress pace of the hospital. I get there around 7 and don't stop till after 5 most days. I work through lunch and barely find time to go to the bathroom. This is not such an awesome thing.

But four more weeks and one day!