By Deb Matsuura

Introducing Co-op Jada!

We welcome Jada to the F&L O'hana. She works over at Kokokahi, at our Kaneohe clinic and Aquatic Therapy pool. Here's a little bit about Jada and her journey to becoming a PT student at NEU.

I attended Saranac Lake High School and currently attend Northeastern University. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to go to the Olympics for track & field. I had my heart set on being an olympian for a long time, so when I realized that it seemed like a long shot, I decided that if I couldn’t run in the olympics, I wanted to surround myself with people who did. I found out that physical therapy is such an incredible way to stay involved in athletics and be able to be a part of the athlete’s journey to success. 

 

I decided early on that I wanted to do a co-op outside of Boston because I love to travel and experience new places, and this was an opportunity to not only go somewhere beautiful, but to experience a completely new culture, climate, setting, and way of life. Doing a co-op in a place like Hawaii is really more than just a co-op. In addition to getting all of the amazing professional experience, we also get to explore a totally different part of the world in such a unique way. We only have a few opportunities to immerse ourselves in a totally new place so I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and make it count. 

My experience in Hawaii so far has been incredible. The patients at Fukuji & Lum have been amazing and are always ready to welcome us with food, plenty of suggestions and local tips & tricks to navigate the island. The staff has also been incredible, making us feel so welcome and like we really are a part of the family. One of the greatest things I’ve noticed about Hawaii so far is that the people here are so accepting of everyone. Regardless of your identity or what you look like, the locals treat everyone with respect and love and that is so inspiring. I can definitely understand why people don’t leave this place, it feels like home in the blink of an eye. 

The strangest thing I’ve eaten since arriving has probably been poke, just because I had never had it before and don’t even eat sushi at home! 

My to-do list is insanely long, but some of the big things are skydiving, ziplining, learning how to surf, and hopefully finding a way to hike stairway to heaven. 

One day, I hope to be a therapist working with world class athletes. Sports medicine is what lead me to physical therapy in the first place, so I can’t wait to see where that can take me. Whether I’m on the side of the track doing PT for olympic track athletes or on the ice being a team PT for a professional hockey team, I want to be right in the action. I hope to be the kind of therapist that these athletes trust to keep them strong and help them get back on their feet to continue doing what they love!

There are so many people that have influenced me and helped me become the person I am today. My biggest influences overall would have to be my family. My parents, grandparents and whole extended family have always been so supportive of me and have encouraged me to follow my interests. One of my biggest influences also has to be Allyson Felix, the Olympic track and field athlete. She is such an inspiration to me because of her work ethic, attitude and resilience. Following her journey has shown me how important it is to not let disappointments and failures keep you down!

Jada

By Deb Matsuura

F&L Fall Semester Co-ops Are Here!

F&L is very proud and excited to have four new Northeastern Co-ops this fall. They all wrote their own blogs and will be featured individually in our Happy at Work Blog throughout the month.

Let's meet Juliet! She will be working with our Work Comp/No Fault patients at WORC and learning all about Aquatic Therapy at our Kaneohe pool.

 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

I went to Kennedy Catholic High School in Westchester, New York, and I just finished my second year as an undergraduate in Northeastern’s 6-year DPT program.

What drew you to physical therapy?

As a lifelong dancer, I have always been fascinated by how the parts of the body work together to produce movement – whether it is as simple as reaching to the top cabinet to put a glass away or as complex as completing 16 consecutive pirouettes en pointe without losing balance. When I was an Achilles tendonitis patient in high school, I was intrigued by the multiple PT clinics I visited and therapists I worked with. Despite having positive experiences, I wished I had encountered a therapist with a dance background, and with that thought, I saw my future self as a potential solution to my situation. Since high school, I have spent time exploring by taking classes in anything that sparked my interest, from stem cells to food justice, and journalism to biopsychology, yet human anatomy remained front and center. I even had the opportunity to work in a biology research lab as a freshman in college, and while I loved the end goal of the lab’s work, pipetting and test tubes seemed far removed from the people I wanted to help. This quickly helped me to understand my desire to take my passion for biology, the body, and problem solving, and apply it in a way that would directly help people to return to an improved physical state. Every day, I return home from working in the clinic and the pool with a growing certainty that physical therapy is a profession that will not only give me a purpose, but more importantly, grant me the opportunity to help others return to their purposes.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I love to explore, and one of my passions is traveling the world to experience how people of different cultures live their daily lives. I had been to Hawaii with my family on vacation and I fell in love with the scenery but missed out on the culture; it’s tough to get a full cultural experience as a tourist. When I heard about a co-op opportunity that would allow me to be less of a tourist and more of a resident in a place that could not be more beautiful, it rose to the top of my list. Talking with the previous co-ops about their experiences at Fukuji & Lum only fueled my desire to live and work here even more. Hearing their stories about how welcoming the entire work community was and how much they learned about treating patients holistically resonated with my values and goals as a future therapist.

What has your experience been like so far?

My experience has been absolutely incredible. I come home from work every day in awe of how everyone really does seem to be “happy at work,” and I think of how lucky I am to be here. The entire F&L community has been so kind, welcoming, inclusive, and eager to help us learn, and patients have been so happy to work with us even though we are still beginners.  Time seems to fly in the clinic because there is always something to do – a patient to help, a new exercise or skill to master, a note to write, a conversation to have. One of the therapists convinced me to start coming for 6am workouts before the work day, and although I have never been a fan of early morning workouts, something about going in early and starting my day sweating with them has been such a positive experience. Outside the clinic, weekends are packed full of adventures: hikes, beaches, snorkeling, arts festivals, and more. I did not know the other co-ops very well before coming here and it has been fun getting to know them and to explore with them these past few weeks. I am so excited for the rest of this experience and will try to soak in as much as I can before returning to the Boston cold!

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

Lychee! It was extra special because it was from a coworker’s tree back home in Kauai. And although I would not consider it strange, poke is my favorite meal I have eaten (more times than I would like to admit) since arriving.

What is on your to do list while here?

My to-do list already seemed never-ending before I arrived, but after all the recommendations from patients and coworkers, I think I could live here for 6 years instead of 6 months and still not get to everything! The list includes too many hikes to name them all, skydiving, windsurfing & surfing, watch a surfing competition at the North Shore, lots of snorkeling, go to a luau, visit the Mermaid Caves, take a hula class, swim with sharks (maybe?), run the half marathon at Kualoa Ranch, try poke from every spot recommended by patients, go camping for a weekend, kayak to the Mokes, walk/swim out to Chinaman’s Hat… it really just never ends!

On a more personal level, I am really looking forward to using this time away from school and home to discover a greater purpose and to further develop goals for myself as a therapist. I am also hoping to impact the lives of patients and to give back to the community here, even if only in a small way. I’ll follow up on that in the final reflection!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

While I am still unsure of which route I would like to take within the PT field, I hope to be the therapist that my patients need at the moment in their lives that we happen to meet. While that is a lofty aspiration, I will work my hardest to make it a reality because every patient deserves a therapist who sees him/her not as an injury or condition, but instead as a person. I want to continue learning long after I graduate to keep up with the latest research that could potentially help my patients. I hope to be creative and to think critically like the therapists at WORC when they come up with exercises that mimic activities in patient’s work environments to help heal and strengthen them before they return to their jobs. I hope to be confident enough in my knowledge base to be able to adapt my style to fit various personalities and lifestyles that patients may lead – be more stern with some if necessary, humorous with others, a shoulder to lean on for someone who may need it at the time – and most of all, I hope to be empathetic and to help my patients understand that they are more than whatever injury or condition might be weighing them down.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My parents have always been the greatest influence in my life, although I am so fortunate to have met many other wonderful influences along the way, too. My mom’s compassionate, empathetic nature has allowed her to constantly support and encourage me and to instill in me the importance of giving back to the community. My dad has never stopped inspiring me to be intellectually curious – he reminded me every day before middle and high school that my end goal was to learn as much as I could from every situation, every textbook, every conversation. Whether it was playing the “hard question game” with me on rides to dance and gymnastics as a kid, taking long walks with me on the beach or in a foot of snow to talk things out, or sitting front and center at every dance recital, my parents have never stopped giving their all for me or being my number one fans. Mahalo, Mom and Dad!!

By Mark Yanai

Reflections and Gratitude

Aloha!

It is 35 degrees in Boston today. One of the milder days lately. Just wanted to put that out there :)!

I’m sitting in my room, looking at pictures and reading my journal. I remember the moment that I fell in love with the thought of this experience. It was a first-year meeting with my co-op advisor. I was interested in looking for a co-op in California, but was told that my closest option was a clinic in Hawaii… The dream of hiking, surfing, and being immersed in Hawaiian culture for six months was permanently etched into my mind.  

And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more excited, I saw Fukuji and Lum’s website, read the higher purpose, mission statement, values, and Mark’s blog… My heart had made its decision.

I remember the night that I landed in Hawaii. The mirror selfie with my first lei, first shaka, and a smile that couldn’t be wiped off my face. A whole lot of life has been lived since that moment. I’m not quite sure how to put all of it into words, so I’m just going to write for a few minutes and list a bunch of things that I loved and were meaningful to me as they come to mind… [/two_third_last]

I loved walking around barefoot everywhere, even getting the occasional ‘local feet’ compliment that boosted my ego and made me feel like I belonged. I loved having the time and space to journal everyday, which had been a goal of mine for years. I loved sitting by the water in Colleen’s backyard in the mornings, watching the sunrise and focusing on my breath. Sitting in the same place some nights and playing guitar under the stars… I loved kayaking to work –somedays a peaceful experience and other days a slightly more exciting/scary but equally awesome and meaningful one. I’ll be lucky if I can ever top that commute…

 

I loved the energy I felt when I walked into work every day. The high-fives, the laughs, the smiles. A whole lot of smiles. The spirit days that pushed me out of my comfort zone and occasionally ended with braids in my hair. I loved that we always seemed to be celebrating something or someone, and that potlucks were such a regular event. Curry Friday’s at work… The mochiko chicken was pretty incredible, but wasn’t nearly as awesome as the smiles, laughs, and ‘food comas’ that came with it.

I loved playing ukulele by the pool during breaks. I loved connecting with patients, learning Hawaiian and Pidgin words from them, hearing their stories, and playing a role in their recovery, no matter how small. I loved that I was able to play basketball every week with a beautiful view and even better company.

 

I loved surfing (a.k.a. lots of paddling around, getting tossed by waves, and occasionally catching one), hiking, learning ukulele, traveling to outer islands, getting to know a lot of really incredible people, and building professional and personal relationships that are far from over… Most of all, I loved that I was able to share this experience with four other awesome students, who added so much value to my life over the last six months.

 

I love highlights, but one of my favorite parts of this experience was that it was so real. I still experienced stress, overwhelm, indecision, frustration, sadness, self-consciousness… I even had one week when I managed to lose my brand-new GoPro, almost sink on my commute to work, and donate my iPhone to the ocean in the process (although I did find this unintentional technology cleanse pretty enjoyable ☺). These were often the days and moments that I learned the most about myself, so I’m grateful for them too.

My time in Hawaii was deeply meaningful to me and has impacted me in many ways that I probably haven’t even realized yet. What I do know is that it helps me remember to slow down, to appreciate where I am and who I’m with in this moment, and to always strive to ‘live aloha’ through compassion, serving others, and spreading positive energy. I felt more comfortable ‘being me’ over these last six months than I have felt in a very long time, which is funny because I stuck out so much. Red hair, inability to tan, and all. I’m not sure exactly what allowed me to do that, but I think it has a lot to do with the aloha and Fukuji and Lum’s culture…

It was a blessing to work for a company with such a strong, positive, and transformative culture and vision. I am so grateful that my path led me here, and grateful for everyone at Fukuji and Lum who showed us co-ops so much love and aloha and welcomed us as a part of the Ohana. I love how you all approach life and physical therapy…

Mahalo for being a part of my journey. A Hui Ho, Hawaii!

Matt

By Mark Yanai

Being Present for the Future

20170731_185543_HDR

There are many moments in our lives that mark significant milestones of achievement. It is in these past few months that many of these milestones have presented themselves, leaving strong emotions and memories that will stay with me forever.

My blog posts have slowed in recent months. My life has become filled with travels and milestones like everyone else’s. It began in May when my entire family traveled to California to watch my nephew, Matthew, graduate from Chapman University. A fun week of graduation activities was sprinkled with visits to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Markfam1 Markfam

The trip continued with a flight to Portland and drive to McMinnville where we celebrated my eldest son, Kaleo’s, graduation from Linfield College. After four years of multiple trips to Oregon, this last travel to McMinnville was the most enjoyable and memorable. Watching Kaleo walk up to the podium and receive his diploma was a definite proud father moment.

Being present at both graduations brought on a tremendous sense of pride. As my family sat in the stands and watched each moment, we all felt more connected and we all shared in the accomplishment. During the trip, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary while my mom celebrated her 80th birthday. It seemed surreal that all of these milestones would occur within a two-week period.

[one_half] Fast forward to this week when one of our employees, Ryan, completed his employment with F&L. Ryan was accepted to Western University in Pomona, California and began graduate school in August to attain his doctoral degree in physical therapy. Ryan was originally a patient with F&L while he was in high school. His experience with us led to a four-year period of volunteering in the summers while at Pacific University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science, Ryan accepted a job with us as a front office receptionist and PT technician, a role that he’s filled while building his resume for graduate school.

We celebrated Ryan’s last day at work with party and mini-golf tournament at Bay View Golf Course. With over 40 people in attendance, we all got to recognize his contributions to the organization and wish him well in his new adventure. As the F&L family gathered, I felt the same feelings of pride and connection to Ryan and the rest of the group. [/one_half]

[one_half_last]

 volunteer2  IMG_7834

[/one_half_last]

We often tell ourselves that there’s our work family and then there’s our real family. For F&L we strive to change that perception and our Higher Purpose is “to love and grow, as family.” By sharing common values, we want our employees and patients to feel safe and supported, that whatever accomplishment they work toward, it will be through collaboration and love. If we can create that in our small organization, we can share it with the rest of the world.

20170814_211042

By Deb Matsuura

Meeting Matt

Every six months, F&L gets a new crew of Co-Op students from Northeastern University. I get to interview each of the applicants three months ahead of time and typically do it through video conferencing. The application process is usually over a two-week period as we interview and consider at least ten to fifteen applicants.

I was fortunate to interview Matt as the first applicant. We immediately connected as we had several common interests and I knew before the end of the interview that he would be offered a position. One of the most important things we look for when choosing a Co-op, is someone who shares common values with our organization and whose personal purpose matches our Mission statement. I definitely saw these values in Matt and look forward to watching him grow and challenge himself in everything he does while here with us.

Get to know him as he guest blogs for us!

What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Tabor Academy in Marion, MA for high school, and I am now at Northeastern University studying physical therapy.

Tabor pic TheTaborAcademySeal

What drew you to physical therapy?
I pretty much stumbled upon it… As a high school basketball player, I had to go to PT for a few different injuries, but I never thought of pursuing it as a career. I ended up applying to nine schools for exercise science before I found Northeastern University and fell in love. The closest thing they had to exercise science was physical therapy, so I figured I would apply for that. It wasn’t until after I had applied that I started to reflect more on my experiences with physical therapy and realized the potential for an incredibly fun, impactful, and rewarding career. Since then, I’ve found more and more things that I love about it.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my advisor’s office and asked if there were any coop sites in California. My personality was beginning to shift a bit from high school. I was becoming more laid back, and the west coast lifestyle was something I wanted to experience. My advisor replied, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any in California, but we do have one in Hawaii”. I immediately knew where my heart was. I love experiencing and living in new cultures very different from my own, and Hawaii has one of the most beautiful, diverse cultures in the world. I knew that I would be able to experience the laid-back vibe that I was looking for in the west coast, and be able to immerse myself in the food, music, dancing, surfing, hiking, and beautiful people of this island at the same time. It was a pretty simple decision for me… matt2

What has been your experience like so far?
I am in love 🙂 I’ve only been here for just over two weeks and have experienced very little, but it’s easy to see how special this place is. Kayaking to work was just a catchphrase a few weeks ago, but is a beautiful reality now. Playing pickup basketball with co-workers on Monday nights and walking outside in between games to one of the more beautiful views I’ve ever experienced is surreal. Probably the most special part so far has been the people I’ve met: patients, staff at Fukuji and Lum, locals… The Aloha spirit has been more welcoming than I ever could have imagined.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I would have to say poi. I had it with some Spicy Ahi poke and loved it. I know that is a pretty disappointing ‘strangest food’, but I’ll keep working on it 🙂

What is on your to do list while here?
Soooo much. I want to surf a lot, do as many hikes on Oahu as possible, learn Ukulele and Guitar, learn Hula, get a tan (this one is more wishful thinking), kayak into work most days, absorb lots of knowledge at work, not cut my hair, eat an excessive amount of poke and other delicious Hawaiian foods, learn some Hawaiian and Pidgin, and hopefully have a positive impact on many of the people I come into contact with. I’m excited!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to become a master of eliminating pain and helping people live the lives that they dream of. Of course, I want to be able to make people feel better (which is why I also want to become massage certified), but I also want to educate and empower them to take charge of their own recovery and wellness. I want to be the type of therapist that takes a genuine interest in patient’s lives and goals and does their best to empathize and really understand what the their patients are going through, both physically and emotionally. And finally, I would love to incorporate my love of traveling and experiencing new cultures in there too, however possible.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

I’ve had so many, but my greatest influence is hands down my family. I am blessed to have two parents from very different backgrounds and an incredible older sister that have loved and supported me through everything –even this ‘growing my hair out’ stage (although it is really tough for my dad!)… But on a serious note, they have taught me so much about accepting myself and the power of unconditional love, and anything I am able to accomplish in my life will stem off of the foundation that they’ve built for me.

IMG_0215  matt3

By Deb Matsuura

How was Hawaii?

Guest Blogger Leila K., former NU Co-op PT student writes about her time spent with our Ohana.

People are curious when you have been far away for a long time. “How was Hawaii?” they would ask me over and over again. I had a hard time answering them. How could I describe such an incredible experience without making them listen to me go on for hours? Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. My experience was positive in so many dimensions and I learned so much from it, if I was forced to distill my time in Hawaii at Fukuji and Lum into a considerately short series of phrases, I would say that I found a home there, a place that I hold in my heart, and that I dream of returning.

leila1

One thing I tell people when they ask me about my experience is that I never once woke up dreading to go to work. Even though I had to wake up super early every morning (which is not easy for me I am not an early morning person at all), I looked forward to go to work. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum was so positive and fun to work with. There was never a dull moment! I learned something from every person I worked with.

Working at the clinic, pool, and pool front office allowed me to experience so many different aspects of the physical therapy profession. It was amazing to watch people make improvements in the pool and then to watch them continue to improve on land. It was very rewarding. Working at the front desk showed me how complicated patient care can be. I learned a lot about the importance of interdisciplinary communication from working at the front desk. 

When I wrote my first blog post, I wrote down all the things I wanted to do before I left the island. I am glad to say that I did get to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pill Boxes at sunrise and I ate an enormous amount of acai and pitaya bowls that I miss so dearly. I even got to learn how to hula dance! Unfortunately I never got to swim with dolphins but I did get to see both dolphins and whales from shore so I can settle with that!

[one_half] If I hadn’t co-oped in Hawaii, I may not have the three new sibling-friends that I have now. Ashley, Justin and Colby became my family and I don’t know what I would do without each of them in my life. From sliding down muddy mountains in the dark with Ashley, watching Colby almost die in the ocean multiple times, and watching Justin cook 10 pounds of chicken at a time, I have so many special memories with each of them.

When I completed my co-op I knew that I had learned so much from working at Fukuji and Lum. I had no idea how much I had absorbed until I was sitting in my spring and summer lecture halls and actually making connections from what I saw on co-op in my classes. It was really amazing to realize exactly how much I learned. I feel so much more confident in my skills in school because of what I learned at Fukuji and Lum. 

One of the best parts about my co-op experience was the Fukuji and Lum family. You all accepted us right away and I felt so welcome. You all made being so far from home much easier and I cannot thank you all enough for that. I think about Hawaii every day and I can’t wait until I can go back again.

Love and Aloha,
Leila

leila3  IMG_2662
leila4

By Deb Matsuura

Performance Plus Program

At Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy Associates, we challenge ourselves to deliver fun, happiness, and compassion in serving our patients and the community. In doing so, we strive to support those in need of a higher quality of life, as a family. For 20 years, we have served the community in need of physical therapy, but have also branched out to address another need: maintenance after physical therapy. Thus, the Performance Plus Program (PPP) was created to help patients maintain and improve upon their levels of fitness after physical therapy is completed, and no prescription is necessary. The program is also offered to community members that want to improve on their fitness levels and achieve goals they never thought possible. 

img_2697                           img_2696

Here is a testimonial from one of our regular PPP clients at our WORC clinic who asked to remain anonymous.

    “I was in a fitness quandary. I quit the fitness club after 5 years. I was tired of fighting for the treadmill and bikes and didn’t want to compete with the jocks for the other machines. Everyone there seemed to have his or her own fitness agenda. My hairdresser spoke of the Fukuji & Lum YWCA location. She raved about the physical therapy she received there, and had continued with an exercise program after being discharged.

    I was not in need of physical therapy, but Fukuji & Lum did offer a Performance Plus Program, primarily for PT clients interested in continuing their therapy with an exercise regimen. So, I signed up for my first 8 sessions. My goals were to improve my strength and improve my conditioning. I was told I was in poor to fair condition; so much for the fitness club routine.

    Today, 2 years later and starting my third year, I have completed 200 visits; my health profile has improved and I am able to do exercises I never thought possible. The staff teaches me the correct way to do the exercises; always offering helpful tips to improve my technique and correcting my mistakes. The staff pushes me to do more so I can continue to improve.

    My overall health has improved; my doctor is happy; I’ve lost weight; gained muscle and toned my body. I’d say that I fixed my fitness quandary.”

img_2694                            img_2693

That testimonial is typical of a lot of our PPP clientele. No more fighting over equipment, as everyone is scheduled at flexible times to accommodate for overcrowding. Our land-based Performance Plus Programs are offered at our Honolulu clinic located in the Kuakini Physician’s Tower and WORC location in Kaneohe, and is also open to high school students with parental consent. We have also expanded our program to include an Aquatic Therapy Performance Plus Program, located at the Kokokahi YWCA. For questions or more information about our programs, please call our Honolulu Clinic at (808)521-4922 or our WORC clinic at (808)234-5353.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Ashley

Embracing Change is one of F&L’s core values that we look for in each of our employees. Every six months we get a new set of students from Northeastern University and our entire organization embraces their presence and the responsibility to care for them. This fall semester we have four new students including Colby, which I wrote about in my last blog.

Since my first Co-op blog, I’ve always used the same format when questioning the students about themselves. In trying to keep things fresh and evolving, I gave each of the Co-ops the freedom to write whatever they wanted in introducing themselves as employees of F&L. Today, we get to meet Ashley. [one_third]

image-7

[/one_third] [two_third_last]

Deciding to spend my first co-op in Hawaii is probably one of the better decisions I have made. From the first time I spotted the Hawaiian site for my Co-op I knew I wanted to apply to Fukuji & Lum. However, never in a million years did I think I would actually get the honor of working with such intelligent and caring people. Being a physical therapy major, there isn’t much time to travel during the six years that I am I student. I am truly lucky to have been given the chance to be able to move to Hawaii and immerse myself in its culture for six months. [/two_third_last]

Working at Fukuji & Lum has given me opportunities that I never imagined were possible. From getting grastoned to actually taking patients through their exercise programs, I have gained so much experience that will help me become a better therapist in the future. Every day I learn something new. The people I get to work with are the best in their field, always making sure they explain things to me and that I understand, and constantly improving themselves as well.

image-4    image-3

Having the opportunity to work not only in a clinic, but a pool and front office, also gives me a chance to learn so many different aspects of therapy. Each job that I have is different and teaches me something new.

[two_third]

Working in the office has taught me a lot about the paperwork aspect of therapy. Before this experience, I never knew how complicated insurance was and I have gained a lot of respect for the people who do those jobs. Being in the pool was something that made me very excited to work here. The pool is a very unique setting for therapy and one I always found fascinating. While in the pool I have learned an alternative to land therapy and it has taught me to think out of the box when it comes to coming up with helpful exercises.

So far two months (one-third) of my Hawaiian adventure has gone by and I couldn’t be more shocked. It’s hard to believe I have already spent so long in this incredible place, at a job that makes me excited to wake up every morning. It also scares me that in a few short months I’ll be heading back to freezing cold Boston in the middle of January! At least I’ll have a nice tan… I am so thankful for this experience and can not wait to use all I learned and all I will learn at Fukuji & Lum as a physical therapist one day! [/two_third]

[one_third_last]

image-2

image-1  [/one_third_last]

 

By Mark Yanai

The Awesome Experience of Finding Yourself

image1

One of the rewards of working with physical therapy students is being able to witness their amazing growth during their time with us. At the end of their internship, students normally see the success they accomplished with their work and have the realization of a learned skill. But with the Northeastern Co-Op students, it’s often a lot more than what happens in the clinical setting. They end up discovering their identity of who they really are and want to be in life.

While the experience of being in Hawaii for six months seems like an extended vacation, it is often much more than that. There’s a saying “You never leave a place you love, you take a part of it with you, leaving a part of you behind.” I find this is true for many of the Co-Ops, but much more so with Kara, one of our 5 Co-ops this past semester. When I first posted a blog introducing her back in Febuary, she wrote about her hopes to finding out what kind of therapist she could be. Six months went by fast and I could describe her tremendous growth in my words, but it’s more clear when you hear it from her.

My Co-Op Experience: Kara

So I guess now that I’m done with my first semester back I have no more excuses to not write this blog. It’s a big undertaking, however, because I am not particularly adept at putting my feelings and experiences into coherent thoughts. My usual encounter with anyone asking me how my 6-month co-op was in Hawaii might be something like this:

“So how was Hawaii?” Internal dialogue: ‘Ohmygosh it was so great I had so much fun I learned so much Fukuji and Lum is awesome they actually care so much about the co-ops and that we are having a good/educational time and the islands were great/magical/more than I ever imagined and I made friends and swam in the ocean with cute sea creatures and almost fell off a few mountains and ohmygosh I got so fit biking to work every day but it was scary in the rain and everyone was always so concerned and supportive of everything that we did and looked out for us like family wait what was I saying? What I actually say: “uhhhh…. Awesome?!?!”

image2

[one_half]

I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear me babble on like that, but that’s pretty much still all I can do.  I cannot describe what a great experience working for Fukuji & Lum was, or how much all of my amazing coworkers mean to me. It wasn’t just 6 months of sun and fun in a tropical paradise, although there was plenty of that, I was welcomed into the F&L family as a long-lost relative. The Hawaiian concept of Ohana is now engrained in me, not by being told the definition over and over, but by being shown over and over in the kindness and love of everyone I encountered.

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

image5

[/one_half_last]

The experience I gained in the different clinics will shape the type of therapist I become. Up till now, being a physical therapist was a VERY distant dream. Being back from Fukuji and Lum and taking classes this summer, this is the first time I have actually felt this dream was attainable. Working as a therapist was something I wanted to do, but honestly up till now it was something I never actually felt I was capable of doing. I continued semester after semester with the growing feeling that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t smart enough. The people at Fukuji and Lum have been great mentors, and the confidence they have shown in me has in turn made me more confident. Since returning from Hawaii I find I have been able to accept the fact that no, I don’t know everything, but that’s ok, that’s what the rest of my education is for.

image7  image3

I am grateful for everything I came away from Hawaii having learnt and seen. In those magical 6 months I made lifelong friends, ate strange and delicious foods (does anyone want to send me some haupia?? no??), collected a hodgepodge of the culture and language, explored, learned much about myself, and fell in love…. with the Islands! So from the bottom of my heart, Mahalo Nui Loa!

By Deb Matsuura

Connor: My Co-Op Experience in Hawaii

 

Mokes

We are so fortunate in Hawaii to be blessed with such rich culture, beauty and love. Sometimes it takes others to remind us of how much we have as you listen to them reflect on their experiences in Hawaii.
It never seems to amaze me that the Co-op students, like Connor and Victoria, have such transformative experiences in Hawaii. I often forget how young these students are and how such an experience can set them up for not only a successful professional career, but a different perspective of life.

[one_half]

For Connor, his stay in Hawaii was a life changing experience. He wrote to us about the opportunities he had to learn not only about physical therapy but the Hawaiian culture. It was a pleasure to get to know him during his brief stay and I wish him the best in his future endeavors as he continues on his path to become a PT.

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

connor1

[/one_half_last]

After moving back to Boston and settling into another semester of classes at Northeastern University, I look back at my six months in Hawaii, working at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy, with nothing but fond memories. It hasn’t even been a month, but I already miss the people, the sights, the weather, and the aloha spirit. Although I am sad it had to come to an end, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work for such an inspiring company in such an incredible place. This experience taught me countless life lessons both in and out of the clinic.

My flight to Hawaii was my first flight alone and my first time traveling. I boarded the flight feeling equal parts excited and anxious. I was traveling to an island 5,000 miles away to live and work with people I had never met before. My worries quickly dissipated as I met Mark at the airport and was introduced to my host and the beauty of Kaneohe Bay. I still have vivid memories of my first morning in Hawaii; waking up to the sunrise and kayaking out into the bay.

12301645_10206400326704613_7933224675861418561_nConnor Cliffs

My first few days at W.O.R.C. were overwhelming, but I instantly knew I was surrounded by a team of positive, hardworking, knowledgeable, and caring staff. Mark, Woody, Jessie, Stacey, Ross, Lisa, Talon, and Ryan were all more than welcoming and helpful. My coworkers and patients did not take long to show me the true meaning of aloha. Working at F&L’s W.O.R.C. clinic was a unique experience.

From Graston to smashing, I was constantly learning new information and techniques that I wouldn’t have seen elsewhere. It was evident that I was not the only student in the room, as all of my coworkers were trying to become better therapists each and every day. This value on education and striving to be the best you can be, is what makes the F&L team so special.

rope

[one_half]

During my six months there, F&L went through some changes that opened up even more opportunities for me to grow as a future therapist. I saw Woody leave to start his own practice, which brought Jamie and Janie to W.O.R.C, exposing me to even more therapist styles and knowledge. F&L also hired Nicole, their first ever occupational therapist. I really enjoyed the inter-professional collaboration as patients transitioned from therapy to work hardening & conditioning.

Outside of W.O.R.C., F&L greatly expanded their aquatic therapy program. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work alongside Rachel, Joy, Jocelyn, Deb, Wes, Billy, and a fellow Northeastern student Victoria. Coming from the clinic, I once again had so much to learn. I was constantly impressed by the variety of patients benefiting from aquatic therapy, and the creativity of the therapists to accommodate each patient’s needs. The F&L team exposed me to so many different aspects of my future career and taught me that physical therapy and caring for patients is about more than just what you learn in a classroom.

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

Connor Pool  IMG_8018

[/one_half_last]
Of course, while in Hawaii, I did much more than just work for six months. The state of Hawaii is a one of the most unique and beautiful places. I was so lucky to spend my weekends at places like Lanikai, Waikiki, Mokapu’u, the North Shore, Volcanic Rock Gym in Kailua, and many more. Whether I was hiking mountains, kayaking around islands, learning to surf, climbing rock walls, or jumping off waterfalls, every day in Hawaii was a memorable adventure.

Connor Hanging  Connor Maui

I was also fortunate enough to take some time off from work to see the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai. I saw some of the most breath-taking views at Kilauea, Haleakala, Lahaina, Hana, Waimea Canyon, and the Napali Coast and experienced the thrills of swimming through underground lava caves, flying in a helicopter, and snorkeling with honu and tako.

The people and experiences of Hawaii opened my mind to so much and became a part of who I am. I cannot thank everyone at F&L and everyone else I met along the way enough. Despite the distance from my home, I have countless life-long friends in Hawaii who made me a part of their ohana. It’s not a matter of if, but when I return, I look forward to seeing you all again.

Aloha and Mahalo!
Connor Pokorney

Connor Falls