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There are moments in the madness that it is worthwhile to remember the joy in SLPing.

The excitement of starting a new patient and thinking of the potential he/she holds.

The excitement of being a hop, skip, and jump away from discharging a client you have had for years.

The excitement of a patient making progress on the one goal you’ve been working on forever.

The hilariousness of stuff my kids say.

Watching the wonderful, heart-warming interactions of supportive families.

The excitement of having a honest-to-God break from it all coming up.

I love SLPing.




Happy Better Speech and Hearing Month!!!

Where did April go? Did I even post in April? April was ridiculously busy for me. April was simply a mad rush to May at work and my schedule was wide open. Wide. Open.

In any case, April is over, Better Speech and Hearing Month is here. In honor of “better,” I’m going to list some things I feel accomplished about this past stupid month.

  • I learned how to place a trachoesophageal prosthesis.
  • I successfully executed my moving-target schedule 90% of the time.
  • I interpreted two FEES.

Well, it’s not a long list. But it’s more than one. And May stretches ahead with many opportunities to be accomplished. Let’s celebrate the beginning of Better Speech and Hearing Month by posting things we feel accomplished about as speech-language pathologists.


Ever have one of those moments where you think you’re having a Perfectly Normal Social Conversation when you realize those involved in the conversation have asked a really good question about something you happen to know about that’s specifically related to your job and you’re suddenly vomiting up All The Knowledge on them?


Anyway. I was fact-checking myself later because I had an insecurity panic attack about All The Knowledge I had shared wondering if I had word vomited wrong information, and I realized something: I love being an SLP because I get to learn new stuff all the time. I mean, I get paid to be nerdy about stuff I love. How awesome is that?

(Full title of this post redacted for brevity and pithy-ness: “This post might be cheating as a real post with substance, but it’s true.”)

While reading a book by Steven Pinker, I came across this fantastic quote.

This should pretty much be every grad student’s mantra when making lesson plans and remind us all on bad days that our patients are, above all, human.

“…the Harvard Law of Animal Behavior: ‘Under controlled experimental conditions of temperature, time, lighting, feeding, and training, the organism will behave as it damn well pleases.'”


It’s done (well mostly).

I have finished my externships. (The grade is even in!)  I defended my thesis.  (All that’s left is to get it bound and turn it in.)  I have a job interview.  (Now the petrifying process of preparing for it…and maybe even getting the job. Ha!)  I have the check list for getting my paperwork in line for my temporary license as a CF and then my CCCs. (Now to do it.)

For me, grad school, and in turn, the externships, have been a microcosm of life. Lots of work, long hours, the best friends you’ll meet to help you get through it, brief moments of relaxation that are duly treasured, and enjoying it overall despite the insanity.  The joy and pride of accomplishing something difficult and the low moments where you think you’ll never try to accomplish anything again. The stress and the silliness all wrapped into one.

Along the way, I thought I grew a lot both personally and professionally.  I was challenged by things I never expected, but also by things that I expect will challenge me for much of my life.  But at least I know what they are.

The biggest reward at the end?  Knowing that I still love what I’m doing.  That I can always look forward to speech-language pathologizing.

My advice to you this:

  • Words to live by:  Fake it until you make it.  Be less afraid.  Do it and you’ll be surprised about how often you succeed.
  • Laugh as much as possible, but cry (or however you relieve your feelings of failure) when you need to.
  • You always know more than you think you do.
  • Make contacts and keep track of them.  People are more willing to help you out than you might think.
  • Listen to what the people you meet have to say.  You’ll learn a lot from all of them, either patients or supervisors.  Sometimes it will be what to do.  Sometimes it will be what not to do.
  • Call back at the places you apply until you either have an interview set up, they’ve told you about another upcoming job, or they’ve told you that you are not what they are looking for.
  • Enjoy it.

Good luck!  I am off on my next big adventure….

This last day I:

  1. …started the day just like any other.
  2. …turned in my name tag.
  3. …dropped things multiple times.
  4. …made a coherent recommendation to a doctor.
  5. …remembered why I love this.
  6. …got all my hours set in stone.  Now they just have to travel safe.
  7. …said goodbye to all the heads of department.
  8. …said goodbye to all the wonderful, intelligent, hilarious speech pathologists I have worked with.
  9. …said thank you, thank you, thank you!
  10. …promised I would visit and bring a car next time.
  11. …promised I would email.
  12. …started forming a whole new set goals and To Do list.
  13. …have half a bag of Milanos and one quarter of a Boston coffee cake.
  14. …threw away my black sensible-heeled shoes.
  15. …packed half my clothes in my suitcase.
  16. …have no coherent thoughts and can’t process a damn thing.

I can’t believe it’s all over.

(There are at least a few more posts to come, though.)

I get to meet the most amazing, wonderful, interesting people in the this job.

Aspiring authors who need character studies?  I have all you need right here.

I get to hear their story, their experience, and their take on life.  I love it.  And that’s why I SLP.

Old Guy (after I’ve gracefully flicked some liquid barium on to my face during an MBS):  Wait, can you show me how to do that one again?

This one’s going to be fun.

Have I mentioned I love the brain?  Because I love the brain.  Love it in a way that probably disturbs other people who don’t love the brain.  More accurately, I love cognition, an important part of which is understanding the neuroanatomy of the brain.  That’s why I love aphasia and cognitive-linguistic disorders:  because they involve the brain.  (Reason #639 why I SLP.)

Some exciting developments in the past 48 hours that relate to my love of the brain:

  1. I have a case presentation topic and it has to do with aphasia!  (I thought for sure it would be swallowing because, well, we do a lot of swallowing.)
  2. I got to spend a wonderful half an hour with a fabulously generous-with-his-time neurologist who gave me a crash course in reading the brain MRIs and also some tips on how to navigate the program that stores the images on the computer here.
  3. I saw Awesome Neurologist again while waiting for my ride home and he offered to take me down to radioneurology to learn more about brain imaging and that they all love to teach about the brain.  I told him I would absolutely take him up on that offer.

The reason why the dogs are barking in your neighborhood?  Is because of the high-pitched squealing noise I keep making.  I have got to make sure I hunt Awesome Neurologist down to follow-up on this.

I lucked into this.  (I am feeling very lucky right now.)  For those of you interested in the brain, I highly encourage you to hunt down your nearest neurologist or radioneurologist or your own SLP if they are knowledgeable about it (brains and MRIs aren’t my CIs thing) and ask if they can find some time to show you the ropes with MRIs.  So.  Awesome.

I passed the Praxis II!  I didn’t think I had failed, but it’s nice to know for certain.  I did have a bad five minutes when I thought I hadn’t sent my scores to ASHA, though.

In any case, a post of actual substance will be forthcoming once I’m not avoiding my thesis by applying to jobs and the jobs I’m applying for don’t eat my online application right after I hit the “send” button and am instead writing a blog post to avoid my thesis.  I thought I’d talk about the documentation here at the hospital, and maybe a post about the out patient side of the hospital.  I generally do in patient with CI, but I’m spending the week with T who has more out patients.  They are two pretty different things, and I know when I started grad school and people started asking Where in a hospital I wanted to work I looked at them like they were crazy.  Didn’t hospital cover the Where?  It’s valuable information, I think, for choosing internships, not to mention the job thing.  Of course, you may not really know until you actually experience it.  Luckily, I’m enjoying in patient, which I wasn’t sure would be the case.  (Of course, now I’m wondering if I could really work out patient all the time….  Augh!  Decisions!)