Go! Go! Go!

Happy Chinese New Year of the Horse!

In the span of about a month, The Hubbs and I have had some pretty impressive life happenings!

Over the span of the Christmas holidays TheHubbs was contacted by his old manager, asking if he’d be interested in joining him at a new startup company doing pretty much the same thing he’s doing now but also try to help him change the culture of what QA does for the bigger and better.

Monday and Tuesday will be his last days at the current employer and then he’ll have a nice two week break to mentally recharge and regroup before he begins his new job right after the Family Day long weekend.

As for myself, last wednesday (Jan 30) I started that long awaited Yoga-PAH study (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) that was originally advertised in HawtDoc’s clinic summer of 2012(?) but was never officially given the green light. It’s a 12 week program to see what the benefits of yoga are for PAH patients vs. those patients that don’t do yoga, and only do the usual treatment with their doctors.

I’ve been wanting to do yoga classes for years and this is an amazing opportunity for me to finally be able to cross it off my Bucket List of activities I’d love to try accomplishing, but still be super safe!

The class is 12 patients large, plus the instructor and 3 aides(?) that go around the room helping patients into poses using all sorts of props like bolsters, blocks, rolled up towels, blankets, etc… The poses themselves have been modified for PAH patients, and then during the class, the modified poses are further modified to fit each patient’s (dis)abilities. I am a little bit of place, needless to say, because with the exception of one patient (a 29 yr old girl), everyone else is a senior in their +70s!

There is a little bit of work involved outside of class — we are required to write in a journal after each session about our experience with the poses, how it made us feel that evening or the next couple of days if there was soreness, discomfort, pain, etc…

Interestingly, after I had signed up for the Yoga-PAH study (and this would have been the second week of January, mind you, where the classes had not yet started!) I received a phone call the following week from the study coordinator asking if I would be interested in joining a new Patient and Community Engagement Researcher internship program that was currently underway. They were in need of more students to graduate from their program — specifically young(er) patients with experience being a patient in Alberta’s Medical System.

The PACER internship program is training patients to become proper qualitative researchers to aid the Strategic Clinical Networks and Alberta Health Services research departments acquire better research data. They’ve discovered that patients interacting with other patients, in a research setting, will find tidbits of information that would be completely unknown to doctors or researchers doing the data mining & collecting themselves via traditional means. As of December 2013, there are 12 graduates in the province and they are in very high demand!

So right now, I am being trained as a researcher and being put into contact with the currently interested research parties with AHS and the SCNs so we can develop a working relationship early-on in my program so that next year I could start working with these groups right off the bat if I wanted to(!!!)

The long and short of it is that I was head-hunted by the group that is currently running the Yoga-PAH study, to join the PACER program, likely to work specifically with them at the end of graduation… which is December 2014 ^_^

So what does that mean for me? I GET TO BE A WORKING MEMBER OF SOCIETY AGAIN!! I miss working… NOT working is highly overrated and people don’t realize how isolated you become when you go on disability or even maternity/paternity leave :P

Since the beginning of this program (2012/2013?), PACERs are in such high demand that they can decide how much or how little to be working — this is especially important to me because I don’t know that I could ever go back to working full-time or even what could be considered a part-time position with my energies being so uncertain. Plus, most of the graduates from this program are seniors (just seems to be the nature of the work and the hours the classes are held, etc) who aren’t making very much money being retired, so the program’s administrators(?) are currently writing up the contracts so that research groups don’t just think of PACERs as volunteer interns that will do whatever they want for no pay — they are writing up the standards for what they should be paid on a per contract basis (at least that’s what I understood from the discussion we had last week). Right now it sounds like the 2013 grads are working 3-4 projects each (by choice of course) with a ballpark of quite a bit per contract. That’s likely way more than most (any?) seniors are getting from their retirement cheques a year!

So that is what is going on with us and we’ve only begun the year! I was supposed to be starting new treatment in the New Year, but one of my doctors is MIA, so we’ve bumped it to April/May starting. How this may or may not interfere with my internship program, I have no idea, but cross your fingers I’ll be able to balance it all 😉

Doing all this stuff is really, really, crazy tiring! I’m hoping I don’t have energy burnout just from the last two weeks of ‘go-go-go!’

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