Monday, September 29, 2008


My 2 y/o had her well-check this morning. I really do like her pediatrician. No matter how misguided he is, he definitely means well. Every visit he just wants to confirm that we are still refusing vaccinations, which we are. And he's very concerned, but that's ok. What wasn't ok was that he was 40 minutes behind by 9:20 am. Ridiculous. I guess I should have gone to medical school--it would be nice to have two waiting rooms full of people and be 40 minutes behind.

The stats don't lie though. She was 37" long, her head was 20" around, and 30.6 lbs. Head circumference and height are off the chart again, and weight is 95th percentile for her age. Conventional wisdom says to double a girls height at her 2 year birthday, (2 1/2 year height for boys,) and you'll have a fair approximation of their adult height. Do the math, that puts her at 6'2", haha! I'm not sure she'll end up that tall, but we'll see.


Our small group at church has grown just a quickly it seems. We've been a member of this particular small group for 3 years now and we've already split once before. This time it seems that overnight we suddenly had 14 couples with kids. Since we meet off campus in a home rotation things get crowded quickly and the research shows the ideal number of couples is 7. So next week we divide again, and already both groups have new couples coming in, so honestly we'll need to divide again almost immediately.

Our small group has been an integral part of our church experience. The church we attend is very large, and one could easily get lost and fall through the cracks. The small group really enhances the sense of community a great deal. Some of our best friends are in our small group, and will likely remain that way.


Got the results back from my first anatomy exam--100%. Whew. I was nervous because there were two questions that I felt either didn't have a correct answer or had two correct answers. Maybe they were thrown out. We'll see tommorrow morning as that's when we get our tests back.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

First Ride

Took my first ride of what I hope will be many tonight. I only rode 3.4 miles to a friends house and back, but it was a good start. Legs were definitely burning, and my lungs were telling me all about it. But I think the most painful part of the experience was the seat. I'd forgotten how spartan the seat on my bike is. Given the extra padding I've accumulated on my rear end, one would think I'd be more comfortable. But that was simply not the case. I think I'll take tomorrow off, and then ride again on Tuesday. Unless I wake up sore, in which case I'll go for a short ride tomorrow to help mobilize any residual lactic acid in the legs. It's important I think, to guard against soreness. I just don't see myself keeping up with the regimen if my legs hurt.

I looked at google maps tonight, and school is 8.1 miles from my house. This semester I have plenty of time before and after class without responsibility. I'm toying with the idea of biking to school and back a couple times a week. It's a goal to work towards I think, and a money saving one at that.

I'll weigh myself in the morning to start keeping record. I think I'll only keep track once a week to avoid fussing over each and every little pound. I know that cyberspace will be holding its breath each week to find out what I've lost...

Today is my younger daughter's birthday. She was born just a few minutes ago, two years ago. She is such a beautiful child, she takes my breath away. And a good thing too, because she has a feisty temperament. In short she's lucky she's cute.

Tomorrow we take her for her 2 y/o check-up with the pediatrician. There really is no point to the visit. She'll not be receiving any immunizations, and she's in fantastic health. But I suppose it's a good thing to have regular visits on the files in case the State of Texas were to try and come after us like Delaware does it's parents who object to and decline vaccinations. Showing regular check-ups in her file will help demonstrate responsible concern for her health on our part. It's also a lot of fun to rub the pediatrician's nose in her good health. She's still never been to the doctor for a sick visit. His dire predictions of her being at risk for major diseases just haven't come to fruition. In fact, she hasn't even had any minor diseases. I do also like to give him a hard time since she is a vegetarian, which of course concerned him as well. We'll see if she's on the growth charts this visit. Last time she wasn't on the chart for 18 m/o kids, and was above the 75th percentile in height on the 2 y/o chart, haha!

Short post tonight, going to get some sleep.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Successful Failure

My time since graduating chiro school has been very confusing. I've seen desperately few patients. The patients I have seen however have had immediate and profound improvement of their issues.

For example, a woman pregnant with twins could barely walk because of pregnancy induced back pain. One adjustment and she experienced immediate relief. Her symptoms returned about 5 days later, but another adjustment has kept her pain free for several weeks now.

Her husband is training for a half marathon and started into his training regime a little to vigorously. He could not run without pain in his shin. One adjustment to balance his hips, and physical therapy modalities on his shin allowed him to run 7 pain free miles this morning.

Another woman hadn't slept more than a couple hours a night for more than two weeks because of pain in her upper back. One adjustment--immediate relief. Symptoms returned 3 days later, and another adjustment has her pain free for more than a month.

And that's just a few of my patient's stories. Yet people resist coming to see a chiropractor. I'm not sure what the fear is. Is it fear of the unknown? Do they really buy into the lies that chiropractic is dangerous and causes strokes? Are they that tied up in using their insurance that they will avoid getting better, just because they can't use their insurance?

So while I've been a miserable failure because I can't put patients on my table, at the same time I've offered a few people immediate relief, and without the dangers of putting a potential poison in their bodies, or an invasive procedure. It's very frustrating. What other healthcare provider has to beg people to come and be treated?

On a side note, my younger daughter's 2nd birthday party was this evening, and it was a good time.

Friday, September 26, 2008


So through the stress and torture of chiropractic school I've slowly put on weight, bit by bit, month by month, year by year. I looked down and suddenly I weighed 275lbs. Yikes!!!!

I am the quintessential big-boned guy, and for some reason I'm denser than most. (Haha, enter your own joke here...) Even at a healthy weight for me I'm considered obese by the BMI scale. I think a good weight for me is between 215 and 220, but the BMI says I should weigh 175-180. When I worked for the USFS humping a 40lb pack around 10,000-14,000 ft elevation all summer long, I dropped to 195. That was lighter than healthy I think. I couldn't eat enough calories to gain during that time. I don't think I could get much lower than that, it wouldn't be healthy at all.

I've had several false starts in losing weight now that I'm done with chiro school. I've got to get it done though because I really hate my body right now. It's embarrassing and it's gross. It doesn't help being back around young 20-somethings at school again. I'm sure they all look at me and think I'm a gross fat middle aged guy. Oh yeah, real sexy.

This current attempt over the past couple weeks, I've managed to lose 10lbs, down to 265, just by watching what I eat and making sure I'm drinking enough water. Walking in from the parking lots at school is helping me get a little more exercise too. Holy crap the new remote parking lots are way out there. Already though I can feel a spring in my step when I'm out walking, and I actually enjoy the walk--if it's not too damn hot or humid. That first week of school I thought I was going to die. I'd get to class and be sweating like a pig, which just totally added to my awesome self image. Then I'd get home and just veg on the couch because I was exhausted. Not good when I'm responsible for so many of the chores around the house.

Going to get a fork-shock pump for my bike, and then going to try getting out to ride a couple times a week. Here's a pic of my bike, except mine is red. It's a Cannondale F4, which I love. But I haven't ridden very much because the air-shock in the front keeps leaking down. The bike-shop where I bought it told me it was normal, (which it is,) but that I had to bring it in every time it leaked down. Well I popped into a new bike shop very close to my house the other day and they pointed out the shock pump that would do just fine. Go figure. Teach a man to fish and all that stuff.

Once I get a little bit of a baseline fitness down, hopefully back into the gym for some weight training. I know I have the potential for some decent muscle tone, it's shown itself in the past. Maybe my wife will show a little more interest if get some of that back. Regardless I've got to do this because I'm pissing away my life being out of shape and unhealthy.

And that's just really dumb.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


My interview went well today. I only managed to tongue tie myself once. My interviewer's office phone went off 3 or 4 times, her personal cell phone went off once, and someone knocked at the door and intruded. Interesting.

The questions were pretty basic:

Why do you want to be a nurse?
What are some qualities of a good nurse?
What are your strengths that you would bring to nursing school?
What are your weaknesses that you would bring to nursing school?
How do you study?
How do you plan to deal with the rigors of the program?
Do you plan to work?
Think of a time when you had a great deal of stress. How did you deal with that stress?

The one that made me think was:

Think of a time that a problem couldn't be solved with your current way of thinking. What did you do to solve the problem?

All in all it was a relatively painless experience. She seemed genuinely attentive, and took notes on my answers. When we were through she all but told me I'd gotten in. Acceptance letters go out towards the end of October, so I'll be glad when it's in my grimy little hand. Orientation is Jan 7 and 8, but classes don't start until after the 20th. Nice little break there to get myself properly immunized.

Oh boy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Busy Day Tomorrow

I have a busy day tomorrow... Start things off with an Anatomy & Physiology exam at 9:30, but I'll be up at school long before then, studying. I think having a Bachelor's in Human Anatomy is actually spurring me to study harder. I'm deathly afraid that I'm going to slack off, thinking I can coast on my prior knowledge, and I'm going to get smacked. How embarrassing would that be? Failing an undergraduate anatomy exam would just top off my whole chiropractic school experience. I should be fine, there isn't much material covered, and I am comfortable with the material. Still though, when one gets complacent...

Then I have class until 1400. At that point I head home in time for my girls to get home from school.

Then out the door again at 1630, all spiffed up--suit and tie. My nursing school interview is at 1730. It's an exciting step in my journey, and I hope I'll sleep tonight. I am scheduled to interview with the Assistant Dean, the one in charge of admissions--no pressure, haha! The interview is scheduled for 30 minutes, and my classmates that have already interviewed said to expect to be there for every minute of it. As long as I don't fark up my interview, my advisor has all but said I'm a shoo in. I hope that holds true, and I really hope I don't fark up my interview! We'll find out officially by the end of October. Hopefully the mail moves a little more quickly than it did with my interview letter--it took a full week to travel less than 10 miles, within the same city.

I've been thinking about what I'd like to do once I'm through with nursing school. I'm almost certain that I could be just fine working as an RN in a critical care unit somewhere, hopefully a pediatric critical care unit. I've considered the thought of working on a transport team. How fun would that be? Travel, and nursing. Not to mention all the autonomy being in transit affords.

I have also thought about continuing on a bit. I could see myself as a Nurse Practitioner working on a critical care unit. The salary increase isn't very substantial over working as an RN though. Another thought is becoming a CRNA. Big time salary potential there and that's not something to blow off...

I'm sure the path I'm supposed to take will be revealed at some point. Let's hope sooner than later!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So things have changed on the undergraduate scene since I've been there. I graduated with my first Bachelor's degree in 2001. I did take a few extra classes after that to pick up various prerequisite courses for a couple different programs, so say the last time I was in an undergrad institution was 2003. That's 5 years. Doesn't seem so long. But it was a big shock going back to campus.

I think the thing that shocked me the most was the number of people that smoke. I mean, really? People still do that?

But you'll find multiple groups clustered outside the doors of every building on campus, puffing away.

Today I was sitting on a bench beneath some stairs eating my breakfast. I must have put off that smoker vibe. Or maybe it because now I'm older, (33!!) and a non-trad student. But an older gentleman approached me and sat down next to me, commenting on the nice weather. I responded, and we exchanged pleasantries. Then he promptly pulled out a pack and a lighter.

And he was surprised that I got up and left because I didn't want to inhale his poisonous cloud.

It blows me away how many smokers continue to smoke knowing the consequences. It just seems to me that there are plenty of things that we can't avoid that will kill us. Why not eliminate at least one we can avoid, and toss the cancer sticks.

Just when I thought humanity was evolving to a more intelligent place.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rest In Peace Granny Smith

Lost my grandmother last night. She was 92.

Monday, September 15, 2008


As exciting as that word sounds, full of possibility and potential, it makes me cringe. I fought through 3 long years of professional school to reach graduation. 3 trimesters a year, 9 total, carrying between 29 and 35 credit hours EACH trimester. A 4 year medical school education (almost to the T,) but squashed into 3 years. My whole family came from New Mexico to see me graduate. My wife's family drove in from out of town as well. It was a glorious ceremony, full of pomp and circumstance, and the keynote speaker was truly noteworthy. And now, you can call me doctor, an accomplishment anyone would be proud of.

Of course they waited until we had completed 6 trimesters to clue us in on the school's market research that shows 4 out of 5 graduates are no longer practicing at 5 years after graduation. Had I heard THAT little detail during recruitment weekend, you can bet I wouldn't have started. But at Tri 6, (and $120,000 in debt,) one doesn't quit. One finishes what they've started.

And had they mentioned the modest $60,000 per year starting salary for a new graduate DC was actually more like $30,000 per year (or less) for the DFW area, I might have questioned the student loan debt to potential income ratio. I'm no genius by any stretch, but a $225,000 degree to make $30,000 per year is NOT what you call a good return on your investment. The job I quit to come to school paid more than that, and only required a GED. For those of you keeping score at home, no, $30,000 a year is not enough money to make the monthly payment on $225,000 of student loans.

Why are things this way? A combination of factors would be my guess.

The low salary is a result of the proximity of the school. The market is flooded with desperate graduates who will do anything to say they have a job. Even take a salary they can not possibly live on.

The high failure rate probably is due to the residual of the AMA's directed, intentional, and systematic attempt to stamp chiropractic out. (Yes, it was documented, and chiropractic won a large lawsuit against the AMA because of it.) Yet the misinformation around chiropractic still exists today, perpetuated by those that haven't taken the time to look into chiropractic at all.

The fact is science supports chiropractic principles. Human physiology supports the benefits of the chiropractic adjustment. Meaning simply the mechanics of how our bodies work proves chiropractic true. The research shows that chiropractic works. Now that science is moving toward evidence based research, and letting go of the almighty double blind trial (which is nearly impossible to conform chiropractic to, how do you give a placebo adjustment??).

Regardless, there are still those uninformed who blindly trust what others have told them, and haven't checked things out. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear someone ignorantly trash on chiropractic, using the same tired arguments that have been refuted time and time again.

It's unfortunate.

And it's why I'm back in school to become an RN.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chest Pains

This is the start of a new blog, and I'll update with back story as we get further along. But for now, I'd just like to get a post on the books.

Wednesday in my nursing concepts course, the Dean of the nursing school dropped by. She was there to relay information that the nursing school has changed their application process, and instead of submitting a writing sample, the HESI A2 exam would be used to assess verbal and written communication skills. This wasn't news to me as I'd already taken the HESI as a part of my application process for Spring 2009. The exam did not prove strenuous and thankfully I scored very well. Apparently however, there were 4 applicants for the Spring 2009 class that did not take the exam during the appointed times, and thus their application was incomplete. Since ours is the first applying class to use the HESI, the nursing school has made arrangements to allow those 4 students to take the exam anyway, though the deadlines are past. I'm not sure I agree with that--the nursing school did send two letters and numerous emails about the HESI, but I suppose compassion is the best policy. Especially if I were one of the 4.

Anyway, during her 5 minute spiel, the Dean mentioned that interview letters for the Spring 2009 applying class had been mailed two days earlier, on Monday. Sitting in my seat, I got goosebumps. I knew that this could very well mean that if I were selected for an interview, my letter was probably sitting in our mailbox at that very moment. I had to strongly resist the urge to gather my things and slip out.

Alas, when I arrived home, there was no letter in my mailbox.

Now, for perspective, I live about 10 miles from school, in the same town. Mail usually travels within the city in one day. Mailed on Monday would have a strong possibility of being delivered on Tuesday, and almost positively by Wednesday. Stretching to Thursday was unusual, but not beyond the scope of imagination.

Thursday afternoon the mail arrived. No letter.

At this point I was getting concerned. My conversations with my advisor, and even the Dean, had led me to believe that I had a very strong chance of being accepted to the program, but I was beginning to have doubts.

On Friday, I made a special stop at the house to check the mail between a business lunch and my anatomy lab.

No letter.

Now I was relatively certain that a letter was not mailed to me on Monday, and the panic began to set in. My hands were shaking, my mind was reeling, and I honestly had chest pains. I'm not sure if that's how anxiety attacks feel, but I do know that I was not in a happy place as visions of our carefully laid plans came crashing down around me.

I knew that if I let things ride, I would be a wreck all weekend long. I needed action. I needed answers. As I drove my way to campus, I dialed 411 for the number to the nursing school and called to make an appointment with my advisor. Luckily she had an availability, even late on a Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, I numbly sat through anatomy lab, making small talk to my lab partners, and making all the incisions in our fetal pig for our group. (It's amazing what two trimesters spent dissecting a human cadaver for gross anatomy will give you tolerance for...or callousness to?)

As my advisor walked me back to her office, she asked how she could help. I tried very hard to remain completely calm and affable, and I think I did a pretty good job. I told her I was curious about my application, as I knew that the interview letters had been sent out, and I hadn't yet received one. In fact I was wondering how I might strengthen my application so that next semester I might be selected to move on in the application process.

She frowned at me and said, "But we mailed your letter just yesterday."

It turns out that since I have a professional degree already, I'm in a different applicant group than normal undergraduate applicants. My group's letters hadn't gone out until Thursday.

I'm certain my spontaneous relief was transparently obvious to her, because she apologized for having stressed me out so badly. She then made a copy of the letter from the duplicate in my file so I could bring it home with me.

All's well that ends well, right?

Well, one would hope, but now the system won't accept my login name to schedule my interview...