Monday, November 10, 2008

Lubbock and Legacies

I just got back from my most recent trip to Lubbock, TX. The atmosphere in that west Texas town was electric as the Red Raiders took another step toward a potential national championship in football. As a Longhorn (whose team lost to Tech the previous week) I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and passion of this town for its team.

The purpose for my visit was to attend the contact session for my Neuroscience in Orthopedics course. As with many of this year's adventures, it was another eye-opening experience. When I set out this year to improve my understanding and clinical reasoning, I had no idea just how much I'd learn or how many great people I'd meet.

We spent the entire weekend exploring topics ranging from receptor biochemistry, peripheral and central sensitization, neuropathic pain, and a variety of other issues related to the assessment and treatment of painful conditions. The material was engaging and prompted a number of great clinical stories from my classmates. My laptop left the session about 200 megs heavier with journal articles. Interestingly, not even one of them included a clinical prediction rule!

One of the most truly humbling features of my trip was the opportunity to meet several fascinating members of our physical therapy community and the field of medicine. I briefly met one of the founding members of the World Institute of Pain, anesthesiologist Gabor Racz, MD. The interaction was brief, but it was great to talk with someone who has contributed so much to the field of pain science. I also had a chance to meet clinician and author Omer Matthijs. His hard work and clinical experience continue to set the right kind of examples for our profession. While the classroom experiences I had were memorable and continue to evolve my clinical reasoning, the fellowship with my peers and instructors made an even more lasting impact.

One of the talks led by our professor Phil Sizer drifted somehow into a brief but powerful mention of the legacy we all leave within our profession. In light of my encounters with Dr. Racz and Omer Matthijs, this tangent really resonated with me. It got my mind going, and I began thinking of the legacy I might leave behind. I also turned my attention to the legacies many of our peers are creating and I was hit with a sense of optimism for our profession.

It has been nearly a year since starting this blog and it has already been a transforming experience for me. I truly appreciate your joining me on this journey and hope it, in some way, inspires you to reflect on the legacy you may be creating. It is my sincerest hope our collective efforts within the profession will continue to carry the torch for those who have worked so hard to light it. Until next time!