Med School Struggles. . .

Well, at least it feels like the whole world has kind of crashed around me the last 10 days. I gave my research presentation after 3 nights of no sleep due to pain in my hip. Went straight from the presentation to an anatomy written and practical exam. Barely passed, and only that by the grace of a much Higher Authority.
So, I was beginning to wonder what was going wrong. Why was I having all this pain in my hip and back, and why did no pain medication (not even hydrocodone + valium) seem to touch it? So, after classes Friday, I went to see one of the family docs here that is also an instructor. He’s really good about seeing students on little notice. Anyway, after his resident got through examining me, it was decided that I have acute trochanteric bursitis, probably brought on by: 1) my weight; 2) too much time on my feet in lab; and 3) too much exercise the last couple of weeks (bicycling and the treadmill or elliptical trainer). So, a quick steroid injection should help. And, I should stay off my feet over the weekend (last weekend).
Friday night was great. I actually slept for the first night all week. Saturday was going okay, until my brother got out of bed about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I thought he was having another relapse with his MS, but after just a few minutes of watching, I knew it was more than that. He was having a stroke.
So, I called the ambulance and his doctor. Got him to the hospital, and of course spent the rest of the weekend in the ER and then ICU, with the exception of a couple of hours I spent showing Chris around WVSOM.
Anyway, short rendition. He’s doing okay. In a rehab hospital in Charleston, WV. Good rehab facility. Hopefully will recover enough to come home.
As for my bursitis, it was even worse Monday. So the doctor reinjected, and put me on complete bedrest for 3 days. Saw him Thursday. Said I could go back to school if I used crutches. . . that it was far from healed and was going to take some time. So, I tried that Friday morning, and had to go home at noon.
But, the good news is, that today it actually does feel a lot better. I have been staying off of it, using the crutches, and the general pain level has really decreased.
So, hopefully Monday, when I return again, I’ll be able to make the whole day. Keep your fingers crossed!

I’m pulling for you and your brother to make a full recovery. If anybody can make the best out of a difficult situation, it’s you! Chin up, stay focused, don’t beat yourself up, and most of all…take care of YOU!! You can only give so much. Take care.

Oh, Linda, I am so sorry. All of these things are difficult under any circumstances; when you add them to the demanding and stressful life of a medical student, it just seems too much to bear. Hang in there. Do what you can and try to let go of what you can’t.
… and PLEASE let your Dean’s office know, if you haven’t already, what is going on. You may or may not need their help and support - but giving them a heads-up is a good idea. (I bet you’ve already done this but i am saying it anyway, for everyone else’s sake; this is an important lesson.) Medical schools really, really, really want their students to succeed and graduate, and they WILL go out of their way to help people who run into trouble for whatever reason along the way. Don’t be shy about letting them know that you’ve got some challenges, even if you don’t know what kind of help you might need. Don’t assume “oh, there’s nothing they could do anyway,” because you never know - there just might be something.
I hope your bursitis gets better soon! Pain is a debilitating experience that is certainly affecting your ability to cope with everything else. May you heal quickly and completely - and learn to watch your time on the treadmill!

Hey Linda,
I can only echo what Mary said. Let your Dean of Students know about your difficulties and keep the information flowing. There is usually enough time built into the semester for you to catch up on your studies but you need to be sure that you take good care of yourself and mind what the docs say. Do the bedrest and stay off your feet. Yes, you barely passed but you did pass and that’s all you need at this difficult time.
Get some rest and let me know if there is anything that I can do for you. While I am 135 miles away, it’s a straight shot down I-64. Steve is available too if you need muscles.
I am sorry to hear about your brother but good rehab is the key to making a good recovery. Take care of yourself and take plenty of time to get back on your feet.

Thanks Chris, Mary, and Nat for the support. I know it’s going to be okay, and the school has wonderful support services.
My PBL group has been wonderful, keeping me posted on new learning issues, lots of encouraging words, and even one classmate that offered to come over and cook dinner. And he is the youngest of all the PBLers, and is one darn good cook!!
I haven’t spoken with the school Dean yet, but I did speak with the Dean of PBL. And my facilitators. They have all been wonderful. The family doctor that is one of my facilitators was at the clinic when Dr. Small told me to stay home, and she was supportive from the minute he said it. When I went to class yesterday on crutches, she assured me that I was doing just fine and if I need more time off, I should take it. And the anatomists have assured me that they will help me catch up as soon as I’m back (and I think I’ll make it next week), even if it means bringing plastinated specimens to the main building and going over them with me so that I don’t have to be on my feet in the lab.
As to my brother, all I can do is say my prayers for him and hope that he will recover enough to come home. I know it is a hard road for him to follow, but I know that if he stays with it, he can come back a long way. . . just like Zane did.
And, Nat, thanks for the offer of help. I think we’ll be okay, but just knowing you’re just up the road a piece makes me feel better.

Everything the others have said! Take care of you. Right now, there are others who are helping your brother and hopefully he’ll recover well.
Remember that I’m right down the road from you if you need anything (and even if you don’t)! We can study anatomy together this weekend… I’ll even bring Mr. Skinny if you like. Call whenever you need…

I’m sorry to hear about your trouble with acute trochanteric bursitis. (I have no idea what that is but I’m sure I will learn about it soon enough). I’m glad WVSOM faculty & students are so supportive of you in this time of need and of course, you always have your friends at OPM. I hope you feel better and make a swift recovery.

I’m sorry to hear about everything. I just want you to know that my thoughts are with you.

Goodness gracious Linda, I am soo sorry to hear what has been going on with you. Here’s hoping and praying that everything gets better really soon.

Take care of yourself, Linda–best wishes after a really hard week. I’ll be thinking of you and rooting for you.
good luck–

sorry to hear about your troubles Linda - will keep you and your family and your brothers rehab team in my prayers as you take whatever steps you need to in order to deal with all of it.

Thanks for all the good thoughts. Things are getting better little by little, and I have a great support group here at OPM as well as at school, so it will be okay.
I talked to my anatomy professors. . they are more than willing to help me out any way they can. Plastinated specimens to study from so I can miss some of the labs, one-on-one time when I’m able. . . and reassurances that I’m doing just fine.
My brother is doing okay. Not making great progress really fast, but he is making progress. Will go to a patient-doctor-family conference Thursday and get a better idea of what’s going on.
Went back to class, but it’s really hard getting around on crutches. But I’m going to make it okay. Today I’m supposed to go to the clinic and work a couple of hours with one of the docs, and I’ll give it a shot. But he knows what I’m dealing with and told me that if I can’t make the full two hours, it’s okay.
Then I need to spend a couple of hours off my feet before heading back to the library to do some catching up on anatomy stuff.
Thanks again for all the prayers and good wishes. I know that it will be okay. God doesn’t give us problems we can’t handle with His help. . . and the support and encouragement of friends like all of you!

My thoughts and prayers to you and your brother.
Sincerely, Vita

I hope you are feeling better! I know its stressful to have to be off your feet and missing things but you will do fine. Just remain focused! Darn those joints anyway, don’t they know we big girls need more support!?
Take care,

Linda, I’m so sorry to hear about your plight, and I pray for a speedy recovery for both you and your brother.
Good wisdom here in these posts, your brother is being taken care of, so take the time to look after you! Just like when the O2 mask comes down on a plane - fit yourself first.
Take care of yourself girl – we’re all thinking of you.

Linda, I am so sorry to hear of the avalanche of problems that has tumbled upon you in the last week. My thoughts and good wishes are for you hearing positive things in your brother’s pt/dr/family meeting today and for continued recovery for the both of you.
Keep your chin up - Seth

So. . yesterday was the patient/family/doctor conference, right? Except after a 2 hour drive to get there, they had moved my brother out of rehab and up to the neuroscience medical floor. It seems his neurologist, after seeing a new MRI, decided that he didn’t have a stroke, just a bad relapse of the MS. Is that good or bad? I don’t know. With a stroke, you may be able to recover most of your function. With MS, once the nerves are damaged, they can’t be repaired. . . so I don’t know whether to be relieved or what.
So, at this point, I am simply trusting his doctors to do what’s best. 5 days of solumedrol drips to reduce the inflammation and hopefully recover some of the losses. Then at least a week in rehab, getting fitted for an ankle brace to stop the plantarflexion of his foot and hopefully keep his knee from hyperextending so often, causing him to fall.
Then I get home and go see my doctor about the bursitis. I have been using the crutches for a week, and while it does take some of the strain off the hip, it sure doesn’t help the neck and shoulders. And when he pushed on the trochanteric bursa, it was still (in his words) “hot as a firecracker on the Fourth of July”. So, what do you do when you can’t have any more steroid injections, the crutches are destroying your shoulder and arm (you should try carrying med school books while using crutches )? Well, you go to the medical supply store and get a wheelchair. A wheelchair?!! At first I thought that would be awful, but after thinking about it, if it takes the pressure off the hip without inflaming the neck and shoulders, then, okay, I’ll do it. It’s only temporary, anyway.
Right now I am feeling really good about getting a handle on things. . . thanks to the support of friends here at OPM and at school. And my instructors have all been wonderful, so it’s going to be okay.
Thanks for the continued good thoughts!

My dear friend. First, my sincere apologies for not having seen & responded to your catastrophe sooner. No excuses…just did not see/read this thread.
Second, you have my most sincere support. Even though I am few miles away, you know that if Wendy or I can help in any way that we are here for you…even if it is just to chat on the phone or to vent your frustration.
Our thoughts & prayers are with you, Zane & your brother. Feel free to give us a call this w/e.

“Get well!” wishes to you and to your brother! Keep on keepin’ on!

I’m sorry things are progressing so slowly for you. Probably better news about your brother though, in the short term. I’m very far away, but it looks like you have a good group around you and OPMers closer who could help if needed. My prayers are with you. Take care of yourself.