So this last week I (Kara) set out on an adventure with some of my grad school friends without my beloved Matthew. I went to San Diego for the National APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) Conference called CSM (Combined Sections Meeting). It is called CSM because under the APTA there are many sections represented such as Pediatrics, Neuro, Geriatrics, Orthopedic and so on and so forth and at this meeting they all come together and do one big conference for about half a week and do several different classes. Last year I also went to CSM in Las Vegas. My school is fortunate at this time to have the resident of APTA on faculty, his name is Scott Ward. For the past two years, this year and last year, CSM has fortunately taken place on the west coast. We, as students, have been told that this is not usually the case. Because of this lovely fact, and also the fact that our professors also wanted the chance to go, our classes for the week were cancelled and Scott offered that if we were members of the APTA, the school would pay for our registration fees and we could go to CSM! So, off I went.
Unfortunately, when I went to CSM last year it wasn't the best experience for me, I actually got sick while being there and was in a lot of pain and on top of it I got really homesick, needless to say I didn't have much fun and I wasn't the most fun to be around, but with the help of my classmates, this year was a different story!
The school let us know that there was an opportunity to rent some vans so a group of us could carpool down to San Diego if we wished. There were enough of us willing to do so that we took two mini vans down. We decided that because of the long drive and the fact that we wanted to have plenty of time for fun that we would leave at 5 am in the morning on Wednesday to start on our adventure, and oh what an adventure it was.
Although it was 5 am most of us, at least in the van I traveled in were pretty excited and falling back asleep didn't happen right away, but as sleep was beginning to fall upon the majority of the van, a sudden slowing of the van followed by a loud THUD startled everyone. Jill was driving and announced, "We hit a small animal, it wasn't worth the swerve." Although true we gave Jill a little bit of a hard time about it. We decided to give the rabbit she hit a name and stated, "Peter Cottontail wasn't worth the swerve." Cyndi, who was one that was in a pretty deep sleep even shouted out that she could feel it's head being cracked. I think Cyndi was sleepy! It was pretty funny. We even asked Jill what type of animal might be worth a swerve and she said that a deer would have been worth it. I agree.
On the way down we also made the occasional pit stop, for gas and toileting purposes. On the stop in Baker I got it in my head that I wanted a Gyro at the Mad Greek Restaurant that had several advertisements on the freeway leading up to it. We first stopped at an Arby's and saw that Mad Greek was just two buildings down and the weather was already so nice that Cyndi, Crystal, Katy and I decided that it would be nice to just walk and stretch our legs. This is what we found upon getting closer to the building:
Somewhere in a small section of the trip Crystal pulled out her Musculoskeletal notes and started to quiz us on the material. At one point in the study session Katy said, "I am pretty confident it is this, but I can't say it with my confident voice", when she said, "Confident voice " her voice got really low and deep. We all started to laugh. It was even funnier to us when it was related to a prior happening in class. About a week before we were doing case studies in class and Lloyd, one of the adjunct professors, told the class to answer confidently and then Mark lowered his voice and said, "Bone Bruise" in regards to a differential diagnosis question.
When we finally got to San Diego we decided to go and pick up our registration information and then go get some grub from one of the restaurants in what is called the GasLamp District. We had our eyes on a Mexican restaurant, but when we got there the wait was and hour, so we went to a place called Sloppy Joey's. It was a hip little pizza and pasta place. One of the cool things about it was that the restaurant right next to it was owned by the same person, so you could order food from either place. As you may have already guessed I chose to have pizza! I couldn't resist that, it's my favorite. I had the works, but after taking off some of the toppings it was more like a supreme pizza. Jill, had a Spicy Vegetarian pizza that smelled great and she let me try one of her jalapenos. I have never had such a spicy jalapeno! By the end of the meal even Jill had to start taking the off. Cyndi's dish, had Mongo Meatballs on top of her spaghetti.
The next day, Thursday, I went to three different classes. First I went to a class with Cyndi about PT interventions in children with neurologic diagnoses. Unfortunately I didn't feel like I learned anything new, but on the upside that says a lot for the program I am in. If nothing else coming to CSM has given me a new respect for the work my professors do to ensure that I am learning the latest and greatest stuff out there. The second class I went to was called "Balance Assessment in Different Settings" and the question the presenters were trying to answer for us was whether or not we can use the same outcome measurements in all of the different clinical settings we are in. The answer is yes, but no. Yes, because based on appropriateness, reliability, validity, interpretability, and acceptability and feasibility the setting the test is performed in does not matter because truly it is the patient, evidence and outcome that we are measuring that matters more. The answer is also no because of the responsiveness a outcome may have or in other words how sensitive an out come is to change. This can be a problem because depending on how low or how high a patient is functioning there can be a ceiling or floor effect which will determine whether or not an outcome measure is feasible to use in a specific setting. Needless to say it was a very good class. On my way to the last class of the day I ran into one of my 3rd years friends, Silvanna. She has been very encouraging and helpful to me over the past year and a half. I have missed her this last semester because she is out on her last two internships so I don't see her at the school anymore. It was nice to catch up with her and discuss what I feel to be the most important things in life. She invited me to join her and a couple of others to go to the San Diego Temple after our last class, but alas, I left my Temple recommend at home. The last class I went to was about using video games such as the Wii as an adjunct in rehabilitation in patients with stroke. This class taught me so many creative tools and strategies that are possible in this field.
That evening a group of us went out to a sushi restaurant called Ra for dinner in celebration of our classmate Mark's birthday. It was really good food and what made it even more spectacular was that we made it just in time for Happy Hour which meant 1/2 off Sushi!! There were several first timers so we kept the menu simple with edamame and cheese wontons as appetizers and with salmon, tuna, yellowtail, Las Vegas and California rolls as our main course. It was really yummy food and because of the 1/2 off deal we each only spent ~$10 including tip! After sushi we went back to our hotel and hung out for a little bit, then went out to a club to do a little dancing. It was a fun and interesting evening. I had the opportunity to see some of my classmates in a different light. It was an interesting time of reflection for me. Earlier that morning I woke up and went out into the hall to spend some time reading my scriptures and feeling the spirit. I would not say that what I felt that evening was in the same arena, but I did gain an understanding of what the Lord truly wants for us and what happiness really entails. I have gained a greater love for my classmates, I think it;s the kind of love that the Lord has for us. I can understand why the Lord is saddened, here are his precious children whom he loves so much, and they are lost. I want to reach out to them and share with them the joy I have found, but it is hard. I don't want to step on toes or offend. I want to be sincere. So I guess that is something I will have to better learn.
On Friday I went to a morning class and then Cyndi, Crystal and I decided to meet up with Caitlyn and Sarah at Coronado Island to spend some time at the beach! To get to the Island we had to take a ferry and then when we got to the Island we had to walk across it to get to the beach. On the walk over to the beach my sister called me and insisted that I call her back as soon as possible. She said she had some news for me. Immediately I knew what the news was, but I called my sister anyway. I wasn't sure if she was pulling a trick on me because she has a tendency to do so. When she answered the phone she was giggling and them told me that she was engaged to Alex. Because of the laughter I was sure that she was pulling a trick on me...although she tries to pull them often she can't help but laugh, but this time there was no trickery, indeed my little sister is engaged! I am excited for her and Alex. I think he will take good care of her and will fit in rather well with the fam. For the trip to the beach I had decided to wear flip flops, unfortunately for me I did not realize how much walking this trip would require and because of the poor condition of my footwear my feet began to ache. It wasn't too bad until we got off the ferry and started to walk back to our hotel, and by the time we got back it hurt to put weight through my right foot, but I persisted and still went to a gathering that Scott Ward was having for us and then even went out and enjoyed wonderful seafood and Extraordinary Desserts with my former boss from Performance Rehab, Dan Mills, his wife Kathy, a former co-worker Brian Cragun and his wife Jaime and one of my professors, Misha Bradford. Dan took us to a fancy restaurant called Blue Point Coastal Cuisine and the food was wonderful and at 30 to 60 dollars per plate it better be right?! Luckily for me I didn't have to pay for that meal. Over the years Dan has truly been a blessing to me. He was great to work for, has had confidence in me, wrote me a letter of recommendation to get into grad school, has given me many opportunities to learn and grow, and has helped me financially by treating me (and other co-workers) to wonderful dinners and fun such as go carts. He has also helped me and Matthew by giving us grocery gift cards. I do not know if he fully knows how much he has blessed my life, all of the staff from Performance Rehab have. I am grateful to know each of them. After the wonderful seafood, Misha said there was a dessert place that we had to try, it is called Extraordinary Desserts and extraordinary they were! All in all it was a great evening and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends and get to know Misha a little better.
Saturday was the day we returned back to freezing Salt Lake City. The van I traveled in left around noon. I had the opportunity of sitting next to Mark Stephens. He is a classmate that upon first meeting, frankly, intimidated me, but in sitting next to him and getting to know him a little better during this trip I have learned what a good, genuinely decent guy he is. He is confident and I think that is what intimidates me about him, not that it is a bad trait at all, but I think it is more because confidence it sometimes my weakness. In the latter part of the trip Mark drove and I was his co-pilot. We talked about family and where we grew up, school, and we jammed to some good music. It was great getting to know him a little better. One thing that he taught me was that in oder to become better in our weaknesses we should spend time with people who have our weaknesses as their strengths, in doing so we can become stronger. Well, that is a little bit of my fun adventure. I will try and get Matthew to write about what he did while I was gone. Until next time!