Rx for a Bad Day: Accept Help and a Small Dose of Chocolate

Today was one of those really off-putting days when nothing seemed to be going right. At the advice of my clinical educator (CE) I have been reflecting on everything that has happened. I know she simply meant to reflect on my day at the hospital, but I’ve decided to reflect on my day as a whole and the last week and a half as well.

Last Monday, I started a new clinical placement and a new workout regime. A hint for future physiotherapy students: don’t do this. Especially after returning from holidays, you should stagger the commencement of your projects, because changing your life that dramatically leads to all out exhaustion. I went from living on my own schedule and reading the Outlander series and using my daily walks into town as exercise to having a set schedule that begins early in the morning, having to read educational material regularly and exercising at least an hour per day. When my hand began to hurt this morning (injury of unknown origin) and the pain continued to escalate during the day, I knew that, for the sake of my sanity, I needed to substitute a nap for a workout and a pain pill for a small dose of chocolate. Although, I may still go for a bit of that chocolate before bedtime.

Today, I attempted to complete a full assessment of a patient’s hip and I just completely froze in the middle of the objective part of it. And the part that bothers me the most about it is that I know hip assessments better than probably any other joint assessment. I could probably do those assessments in my sleep. In fact, I seem to remember dreaming about hip assessments in weeks past. Granted, I haven’t had much practice since July, but I was still so frustrated that I got so stuck. Thank goodness the patient was understanding and my CE stuck with constructive criticism. I’m truly lucky to have CEs (I have two) who are excellent teachers. If they hadn’t been as helpful as they were today, I would have been in tears at lunch time due to a combination of exhaustion, sore muscles, and a bruised ego.

In addition to my blundered assessment, I got my grade back for my final paper from the summer module at school. I knew it wasn’t a great paper when I turned it in, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to get as terrible of a grade on it as I did. I think this was the least of my worries today, but it was still hard to take along with the rest of the day. Even with my decreased motivation to complete certain school-related tasks, it’s hard to not come out of finals with the grades I’m accustomed to. I passed the module though, so at this stage in the game, it’s a positive.

It’s hard to keep perspective when I’m exhausted, focused on proving a certain person wrong and just hoping and praying to make it through the rest of this course without lighting off firecrackers inside the school next to all the icky-smelling alcohol gel. However, the idea that, in a little over a year, I can permanently go home to my dog, get a real big-girl job, and really, truly begin a life of my own, has been keeping me going through all of this. And, one thing I learned through my struggles with PTSD after Hurricane Katrina, is that things could be worse. I could have much more serious things to be worrying about, but I’m lucky enough to be able to focus my worries on school and trust that my family is taking care of my American life while I’m over here.

I try not to be a sap-story when I write my blog, but I think it’s important to share that I’m not always some happy-go-lucky traveling, perpetual student. Everyone has bad days. No one is alone. All you have to do is be open to the world around you and accept the help it offers you. Today, my help came from my CEs, my family, and a nice glass of wine… and maybe a small piece of chocolate.


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