Level 2b, Maitland week 8

OK. So, this is a bit different blog than those before. I finished level 2b in Maitland-concept in Warsaw two days ago. I waited three hours for the train in Helsinki and wrote this basically in one sitting. It surprised me how much there is to reflect on all of this. At the same time, I don’t have the slightest thought that participating on a musculoskeletal course would not be something that basically any physio could do if it was something that they wanted. People have ambition and they do much more demanding things in much more demanding circumstances. Every path is unique, and I just happen to be a person who likes to put the word out and express myself on one of the very few ways I am able.

How do you feel when you reach the point that has been in the backround of your thought for the last four years? The idea which started growing in your head while living in different city and doing a totally different kind of job. The idea that kept on sprouting and meant something big and bright. A naive thought, of course. A human life does not change in simple steps or become something totally out of the ordinary in clear stages. It always takes time to adjust from the inside.

When my patients, family or friends have asked me what I actually am doing ”there in Poland”, I have often said that I am participating on a course which lasts at least 3 – 5 yrs, depending on the speed one wants to go through it. I have said that it is a series of courses that goes way more in depth in musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment than the basic studies. I have said that it consists of several close study weeks depending on the level (1, 2a, 2b or 3). Now that I have gone through 1, 2a and 2b, it means that I have been studying Maitland-concept in Poland eight weeks during three years. I have been staying in eight different Airbnb apartments or rental rooms and I have gotten to know something of the Polish culture in Gdansk and in Warsaw.

A thing I did not know came clear to me during landing to Helsinki when tears started to rise to my eyes and my nose started running and I naturally had no tissue.

It was how hard all of this actually was.

On the first weeks on the course I felt like a complete outsider. Not because of the athmosphere or the people, but because of myself. I was going on with an autopilot. I had willingly jumped to unknown from the life, people and surroundings that I loved, moved to live with my parents and did not had a faintest idea how my life would arrange eventually. I had a goal and a mindset but that was all.

When everything else seems foggy and kinda hard to put your finger on it, it is a relieve to cling on something that has a schedule, a routine and a long distance plan. You know what the next move is going to be, and you just follow the structures. When you realize that now you are at the point where the goal was four years ago while scrolling down the different course organizers, it comes clear that there is no need to push anymore towards that goal.

I am tired after these years for many reasons. They have consisted of so many hours and days of nervousness, anxiety and feelings of being the worst physio ever and that means a lot when a majority of your identity is based on your profession. There has been several days when I felt like banging my head to the wall because of the feelings of not being enough of something grand and marvellous. I have had problems with dealing all of the problematic feelings and sensations and coping skills for those negative reactions and I have just recently started to learn how to balance with them.

And also, there has been the terrifying door opening cat during night time and a bed with just the half of the support planks so the mattress has been supported with a suitcase instead.

I don’t even want to count the loss of incomes or the total costs of it all. Not (only) because I would be horrified by it. It is just that I know I could not have used that money better.

I have dived in into so many different experiences, something I really did not though of when listing for level 1. I have practiced my language skills so that I am no longer timid about my English and now I have another language to work with. I have held a short lecture about pelvic floor physiotherapy in foreign country and spoken about vaginal electrodes in musculoskeletal course. I have gotten to know so many great, warm and encouraging peers and teachers. I have gotten to a level in my knowledge that is far from final and I need years and years more of experience to get everything in practical work. I have even gotten a real friend, a Maitland brother in who’s wedding I attended and who was exploring Finland with his wife and yet unborn baby boy last summer.

I am thankful that I was unaware of all of this. It would have been so overwhelming and too difficult to grasp.

Now that this focus and determination for finishing level 2b has done its job and I have a new title in my hands I do feel relieved. The push has absolutely been worth it and from this aspect it is easier to see how great tool I have been given. Also, now I am able to reflect on the first weeks of the studies easier and go back to them and revise everything again and again.

And. I have the intention to tackle also the final level which is kind of extra on top of everything else. The structure for level 3 is somewhat different and it consist of several different teachers. It includes three close studying weeks within a year. In the last day in the course when Thomas went through of the level 3 I felt like a big sigh escaped in my mind. I didn’t have to sign in right at that moment. I was going to have a gap year and maybe travel somewhere else and practice skills within the clinical work and with patients.

Somehow that feels completely different. I allow myself to have a break and enjoy this moment. When I feel like it, I can sign in for the final level as long as it suits my bro who has gone this journey together with me. We simply could not end it without a reunion.

So. When someone asks me again what I have been doing in Poland I save everyone’s time by saying that I have been on a musculoskeletal physio course which now makes me a manual therapist, or manipulative therapist in Finnish. In the same time, I know that it is impossible to wrap everything together and there is even really no need.

I am ready for new adventures and eager to dive in into them. That dive is going to hold more of fluffy, golden and tail wagging enthusiasm and sparkling puppy eyes. And pee on a newspaper. And dirt everywhere. I think Mimmi is also grateful for not knowing what’s about to happen.

Thank you Thomas, Daria and Stefan.

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