Friday, May 21, 2010


Apparently, I have been performing physical therapy on Dan in my sleep. Not just from my spot next to him in bed. Apparently, I walk around the bed to his side of the the bed, stand next to him, and demand in a very stern voice, "Now I want you to sit up. First reach for the bedrail and then I will help you to sit up safely." This has happened multiple nights this week. I barely remember performing therapy on a very difficult patient in my dreams, one that would not respond to my directions, and then realizing it was Dan. I also remember on two occasions thanking Dan for "letting me practice on him." However, I do not remember walking around to the other side of the bed and I am definitely never aware of the full extent of what I am doing.

In my defense, I have had physical therapy on my mind lately! I am sure it just a short phase, like some children who wet the bed (haha), but Dan hopes the humor and entertainment continues for a long time.

I just finished my second full-time clinical affiliation with Spaulding Hospital Cambridge, a local long-term acute care hospital that facilitates further medical management and provides a setting for all rehabilitation for patients that are very, very sick. I primarily worked with patients who have neurological or oncological diagnoses, and got a crash course in progressive brain cancers, multiple myeloma, graft verses host disease, and other rare neurological disorders. I had two patients pass away while I was their primary therapist and dealt with multiple complex family situations surrounding providing end-of-life of care.

I also saw people make incredible gains and be able to resume a good quality of life after being diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening disease and undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and other very advanced medical treatments. Most of the patients did not leave without their disease, but made good gains with therapy to be able to leave the hospital (to a skilled nursing facility or to home, on rare occasion).

My experience made me think a lot about what is most valuable in the end to most human beings. In the end of one's life, family relationships seem to be the strongest, enough to provide a person who is very ill with motivation to improve, emotional support, and a sense of purpose. It isn't a boss, it isn't a teacher, it isn't even friends (usually). There were a few patients that I had that did not have good family support and never had anyone visit them in the hospital. They were more apathetic about making progress, felt less of a need to return to any particular level of social responsibility or social role, and did not do as well with physical therapy as other patients who had the family support. I am very grateful for the family support that I have: a husband who would do anything to make me happy or comfortable, and a family that is always there, no matter what happens. I plan to try to make my family relationships as strong as I can, as it is what matters in the end.

I am also in the process of applying and interviewing for multiple final internship positions throughout Boston. The locations where I will be interviewing are:

Spaulding Hospital Cambridge
Spaulding Rehabilitation Outpatient - Medford
Shaughnessy-Kaplan Rehabilitation Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Community Rehab Care
Hallmark Health - Melrose-Wakefield Hospital

After 3 more months of classes (I start again on Monday), I will be starting my final one-year internship, and in February of 2011, I will be taking my boards! I will graduate in May 2011, one year from now!


Shauna Malia said...

Hahahaha, "sleep-therapizing"?! That's AWESOME! You are literally SO good, you can do all of that stuff IN YOUR SLEEP!!

I'm so excited for you to graduate!! One year really doesn't seem that far away at all!

Sending you lots of love from the west coast!!

(wow, I never realized how fond I am of exclamation marks... haha)

LeslieK said...

Claire you rock!!! And I have successfully blog stalked you! bahahaha!!!

EWery said...

Ha ha! That is hilarious.

Tammy said...

I love this - good post! Haha, keep the newlywed weirdness coming - it is hilarious :)