Sunday, December 16, 2012

Which kind of doctor is the hardest to earn?

In the academic world there is often the question of which is harder-becoming a doctor of healthcare, or a Ph.D. Now, I don't have a Ph.D., but I did do a year of graduate work in ecology for a Master's degree-which was exactly the same kind of year my equals in the ecology Ph.D. program had. They had more years than I did, and their projects needed to be more unique and impactful. But I had a taste of that life, I spent my days with those people.

This weekend I graduated with my D.C., an education comparable in every way to that of an M.D. So being a (yet unlicensed) doctor myself, I definitely understand what that is like.

Here is the verdict as I see it. The Ph.D. wins. Both programs involved a lot of learning and some late night and weekend sacrifice, they are equal in that regard. However, a Ph.D. involves that element of originality and the need for your research to be of some impact to your field. If you can't bring that to the table--too bad.

As a doctor of healthcare, it's pretty much a step up from undergrad in the beginning, you have more classes, and none are cute gen eds like pottery and literature. They are all science of some sort. Later on you need to treat patients under supervision. There are certain requirements; but treat 265 patients, get observed treating so many of them, write so many reports on them, and manage so many "complex" cases, pass a few more tests...and you're guaranteed to graduate. You can do it just the same as everyone else, and you don't need to teach your superiors in the field anything.

Introverts may be better suited for Ph.D.-ship because you spend a lot of time alone with that research...with any healthcare field you spend a lot of time with humans. So that fact alone may be swaying my opinion as an outgoing person.

Even though the Ph.D.'s may have the more difficult degree, I don't want to trade ANY of you out there. I love treating patients, getting my hands on people's pain and fixing it is pretty great. That's something I didn't get from the diatoms, no matter how pretty or important they may be.

We all have a great place in this world, so go to work to day and make this world a better place whether you're a doctor or not.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Cleaning tips

I am taking advantage of the rainy days off this spring break to do a much needed spring clean of my house. Today I ran out of glass cleaner. Since it is easier and quicker to google than run to the store I tried a homemade glass cleaner recipe that I found on a few sites.

Glass Cleaner
Mix the following in a spray bottle, mine was 32 oz.

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups warm water

You need to shake the bottle before using to re-suspend the cornstarch.

The glass cleaner did a great job. After I made it I looked at the ingredients of my non-toxic glass cleaner find that it is pretty much the same stuff!

Try it.

Another spring-cleaning thing I'm doing is committing to practice every morning and getting more veggies in my diet. I have found that having some homemade juice at breakfast is a great way to do this. Most days I am juicing with a piece of peanut butter toast. My favorite juice blend is below.

1 beet
2 handfuls kale
2 carrots
1 pear

Some days I have a parsnip instead of a beet and once in a while I am adding an apple or a peeled orange. When I have it I throw in a chunk of ginger. Any juice suggestions?

Yoga for health

Many people think you need to be flexible, have good balance, be 'zen' or some other thing to do yoga. As you know if you have a practice, this is not true. I started practicing yoga because my doctor suggested it might be a good idea. I had had two summers that I spent in a hospital in my early twenties. At a follow-up appointment she brought in two very thick charts. She said, "one of these charts is for an 80 year old patient, one is yours. Guess which is yours." Surprizingly the two were indistinguishable. She told me that I needed to do something to do something to improve my immune system. My average diet and daily aerobics were just not cutting it. She said to try yoga, she had heard that it pushes your lymph around.

In order to push my lymph around I bought two yoga DVDs and started practicing them daily. I haven't been admitted to the hospital since, and although my practice is certainly not as frequent as I would like through chiropractic school, I still practice. I plan to continue to practice throughout life.

At school we have a free clinic on West Burnside street. Many homeless patients are treated there. A friend of mine had a shift there and told me a patient's story that I will relate to you here:

An elderly man came in and mentioned that his foot was bothering him. The intern helped him with his shoes and socks to examine the foot. What she found was toenails that had grown far too long. They had curled around his toes and were coming up between the toes. The toes all being cut by the edges of the toenails. When the intern asked how this had happened, the man answered that he just couldn't bend that way to cut his toenails anymore. Living on the street, he had no one that would do it for him.

For me, yoga started as a way to spend my summers in the sun instead of the hospital.
For this man, yoga could have saved him much pain and suffering, and allowed him the ability to cut his own nails.

Yoga is not about putting your leg behind your head or standing on your head for that matter. It is a method to stay present in the world, and that includes staying healthy and able.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Break

Finally after much hard work, spring break is in full swing!

I think after many years of chiropractic school I may have forgotten how to relax. I have dropped my yin practice, not by choice, but rather out of a lack of time. When I do practice, it is Mysore...and I'm not nearly practicing as much as I should. I am optimistic that as the class schedule relaxes a bit, my practice will be able to slowly return to the six practice a week schedule I had going pre-chiro school.

Today I went to the Yoga Space for their Sunday afternoon restorative class. Trying to be still is hard. I could feel the different places my body stores all the tension from school and life in general. Perhaps I will pick my yin practice back up as a balance to the rest of my life. I encourage everyone to find some practice to balance your life.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A space of my own

Since moving to Portland, OR my main practice space has been my livingroom. It is less than ideal with carpet, curious dog, and sometimes present boyfriend. Too many distractions presented themselves, which then turned into excuses. I would plan to practice, then Dan would come home early, so then I wouldn't. Mayson would keep crawling on my mat preventing vinyasa progression, so I would do a twist and savasana so he could safely snuggle against me. I finally realized that two years of distraction, diversion, and excuses was making me into someone who only occasionally will practiced instead of the girl who would trek to the studio or practice in my petless, single-girl livingroom six or seven times a week.

I was left but no choice but to clear out the piles of laundry, tuck away Dan's various outdoor equipment, and eliminate piles of crap from the office. After all of this, I now have a luxurious space on the office floor, and a closing door for practice. No more excuses of dogs and boyfriends. Now I just have to shut the door and switch my focus to practice.

It is by far the best thing I have done for practice purposes in a long time. Now in an hour and a half I can chant, practice, and read a sutra or two. On days that I genuinely don't have time, I can cut everything and sit for 10 minutes of meditation. That is a real motivator to make practice time in itself, because quite frankly meditation is frustrating and hard. I'd much rather find an hour for asana than have 10 minutes of meditation.