April 2009 Archives

35 days until graduation.
18 days until my last day of classes.
5 days left of the Exercise Physiology Practicum.
... And the work just piles on.

I can almost taste the sweet victory on May 30th, my graduation day, but it just seems too far to reach for now.  I still have tons of projects/presentations/papers to do before I can finally exhale.  I can definitely tell you that the sudden burst of summer weather is not helping my cause!  My house is pretty warm and it's making me very lazy and sleepy, which is a major stinker.  I seriously have to push myself through the "spring fever" if I want to get things done on time. 

There's only one thing that's keeping me going: BASEBALL!!!!

I bet that you rolled your eyes when you saw that word, ha!  The baseball team I coach has their first scrimmage game tomorrow and I'm siked.  My team is very young, which might be a fun challenge for the coaching staff.  The challenge is actually motivating me outside the baseball field. I guess the whole trying to figure out what kind of team I have, trying to find the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and my new role as "the manager" has helped me in many ways.  It's good to think that these kids are looking up to me to help them become baseball players.  I guess that itself gave me a warm feeling inside that I can't really explain.  :-)

- Coach Christian

It's been four years since I stepped foot into UMass-Lowell's Exercise Physiology program.  Four years ago, I did not know where the ulnar collateral ligament on the elbow was, nor did I know where the Recreational Center was.  Now I feel more knowledgeable, like the big man on campus.  It feels like senior year of high school. 

It's true that I've mentioned in my other blogs that I still haven't felt like the big man on campus or feel like I'm going anywhere.  I guess I feel like that because I never motivated myself to capture the opportunities for further learning or dared to apply what I learned to everyday things.  But ever since I've entered the Practicum portion of the Exercise Physiology program, I feel like I finally placed all my knowledge into something more practical (duh, that's why it's called a practicum).  Basically, a practicum is like an internship.  You can pick a site from list, which consists of research facilities, cardiac and/or pulmonary rehab clinics, athletic centers, gyms, and nursing homes.  The greatest thing about this is your choice of sites and the ability to create a site if none of those places interest you.  One of my classmates is working at a facility that supposedly trains the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics, and she is having the time of her life. 

My Exercise Physiology Practicum site is a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation facility.  The reason why I picked this site over an athletic center is the fact that I want to have experience as an actual Exercise Physiologist.  Many people would pick an athletic center over a site like this because they don't like the hospital setting or they can't do an exercise blood pressure (which truthfully can be a pain the butt)!  Another reason why I chose it was my interest of the "works" of the heart and lungs, and how diseases lessen its function and overall affects the body in a negative matter.  It's amazing how "bad" unhealthy habits contribute to heart, lung, and peripheral diseases...

So far, my experience is great.  First of all, the staff is amazing.  They are extremely helpful in trying to give me the full blown exercise physiologist's experience.  Another thing about them is their humor.  I've never met a group of professionals who would joke around with the patients in an appropriate and professional matter.  Oh man, the exercise physiologist over there is a riot.  His personality definitely lightens up everyone's day at the clinic.  When I first started, I thought that place would be "depressed city" due to the fact that many people are often "down" when they know they have a disease.  But it was the total opposite.  Everyone is laughing, sharing Red Sox stories with one another, talking about their family, and making fun of each other.  No wonder many patients have been attending rehab for 20 years! 

What's even better is my observation opportunities.  The clinic gave me a list of procedures that I am required to observe.  This includes an exercise stress test, pulmonary and cardiac entrance, an echocardiogram, and cardiac catherization.  Trust me, observing all those sites were amazing and very interesting!  I got to see how certain procedures work, how the staff works as a team, and how they interact with the patients so they can be nice and calm.  I honestly think that's the best part of the experience.

Unfortunately I have seven practicum days left... The semester was way too fast to grasp!  But I can say that I did enjoy my time at the cardiac pulmonary rehab.  As an exercise physiology student, this is something to look forward to!  It makes you feel like a true professional in the rehab setting, gym, training facility, research facility, and many more.  It will help you gain the experiences for future jobs.  Wow, I bet you want to be in my position... don't be jealous :-)

- Christian

 
As a baseball fan and a strong supporter against drunk driving (and drinking in general), I feel the need to step away from my series of UML-related blog posts and talk about something that really hit me hard this week. 


On April 9, 2009, a future baseball pitching star and two other people were killed by a drunk driver.  Nick Adenhart, the 22-year old Los Angles Angels starting pitcher, and two other people affiliated with the team were driving through an intersection in the wee hours of the morning.  Suddenly, a minivan, which was driven by a drunk Andrew Thomas Gallo ran the red light and struck Adenhart's convertible.  The impact caused their car to collide with a telephone pole killing them instantly.  The minivan tried to speed away from the scene, but was later caught by police.  Gallo is charged with DUI, vehicular manslaughter, and murder.  Gallo had a history with drunk driving and also had his license suspended. 

Earlier that day, he told his dad this: "You better come [to Wednesday's game]. Something special's going to happen."  On that same day, a few hours before the tragedy, Nick threw 6 shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics.

This is a heartbreaking story.  I felt my eyes watering up when I found out that this young and talented baseball player who had a great future ahead of him was killed by a reckless individual who decided to get drunk and drive.  Another drunk driving death.  Another life lost.  Another day of mourning.  When will this ever end?

I remember a similar event a few years ago.  My friend's sister, who was in high school, and her boyfriend were driving down a bypass road in Everett, MA... I believe they were on a date or something.  A drunk driver, who also had a suspended license, sped down that same bypass road, steered onto the opposite side of the road, striking their car, killing my friend's sister instantly.  The day after, there was a huge candlelight vigil for her at the crash site.  Everyone cried.  Those who were tough as a nail sobbed like there was no tomorrow.  You can feel the sadness in the air as everyone mourned the death of an innocent person.  Even if I didn't know her well, I felt the pain from her family, friends, and those who knew her... It was hard to take in... especially with blood stains on the road... 

It's hard to type about a topic like this.  It's hard because you know that life wasn't suppose to end for the people I knew and for the people I hear about in the news.  Stupid decisions, drinking alcohol as a way to have fun, and other stuff can cut a person's life in half... One person's trageic death doesn't only hurt his or her family... it hurts their friends... their teachers... their bosses... everyone they've touched... and everyone else who gives a care about the world around us. 

So when will drinking and driving end?  When will drinking to get drunk for fun stop? I'm sick of tragedies like this... 

Rest in Peace #34.

NICK ADENHART 1986-2009

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- Christian


 

Okay, I'm just kidding.

I'll still be your friend if you dislike baseball.  If you hate baseball, then there's a possibility...  But I'm told that I'm fair and that I'm a nice guy!

So here we are again.  Back to the old groove.  The baseball season is on its way. 

The Boston Red Sox will have their home opener this Monday at Fenway Park vs. the American League Champions, Tampa Bay Rays.  This will be the first time the team opened their season at home in 7 or so years.  That's a long time, ya know?  It will be the Sox ace Beckett vs. Shields.  I cannot wait to start screaming at the T.V. screen (and oh, you didn't know I was that passionate about my good ol' Sox?!?).  You know that my blog would stink if I don't mention my Sox!

Hey, I have to mention the team I coach too!  Today was my baseball league's tryouts at the city's high school.  According to registrations and my 2008 Roster, only 2 players are coming back this year... you know how much that stinks?  It's ridiculous.  That means I have to pick up 11 new players.  That means I might end up picking up rookies for my team.  That's not too bad actually... When I first coached my Babe Ruth team, I had a bunch of rookies.  At the very end of the season, we won the city championship!  So I'm looking forward to this new challenge.

Tomorrow, I will be attending the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and College (**takes a deep breath**) Brunch and the Omicron Delta Kappa Induction ceremony.  I'm happy to say that my community service and my good grades helped me get inducted into these two student organizations. 

I'm sorry that my blog is lacking punch today.  I'll blog more about my induction day and about clinicals next week. 

- Christian

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