Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stressed out Christmas

This holiday hasn't really been great from a stress standpoint. Mostly I've been freaking out about the impending start of clerkship, whether someone's going to yell at me if I wear my own surgical hat, when I'm going to kill someone, how to run a code, and whether someone is breaking into my house at school and stealing my computer while I'm not there. In retrospect, I should have brought my computer home so I don't wake up at 3 am every day sweating having a panic attack. I don't like change. I'm excited about starting this new phase of my life but there are many many layers of subconscious panic happening. Guh.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow Snow Snow Snow!

It snowed, a lot. For our annual holiday party yesterday we had about 15 people from the neigbourhood show up and we pushed out 4 cars. Ben and I had lots of fun frolicking in our snowshoes around the golf course behind my house. We found a lovely tree and decorated it all up, after chopping an ambitious 7 inches off the bottom - I guess the ceiling always seems higher than it is?

Now I'm sitting in my room searching for a place that still has snow tires that fit my car. It's not an easy feat. Seems like everyone else actually got their snow tires before it snowed... lucky them. My Mom just decided this weekend that she wants me to have snow tires instead of my lucky tiger paw all seasons, so, with her as my financial backer, I'm on the hunt. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Going to get the Christmas tree today!!!!!! Ben and I are gonna cut one down on a tree farm. I'm stoked!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why must my tummy always show?

Here is a very attractive picture of ben and a not so attractive picture of me from our canoe trip this summer.

I'm not very sure why this post has screwed up my masthead....

Monday, December 10, 2007

Introduction to clerkship

So, even though I'm finished exams, I'm not done school. I still have a week of "introduction to clerkship" before my Christmas holidays. Today was day 1. When I told Ben about it he said it was somewhat like putting a bunch of soldiers in the room and telling them how great fighting a war would be with tanks and guns and armour and then sending them into the battlefield with wooden sticks. We had a talk on how bad sleep deprivation is and how 18 hours of working without sleep makes a person the equivalent of a legally impaired drunk driver. However, we are still asked to do 28 hour shifts on weekdays and 2 24 hour shifts on weekends. We have talks telling us how important it is to eat healthily when on call, but then they tell us that the cafeteria and cafe are closed in the evenings so the only option other than packing a lunch at 5 in the morning to get to the hospital in time for rounds is to order take out. We are told that family, spouses and loved ones should be priorities, however, clerkship is a 16 month study period for the board exams and we should be studying every night as well as sleeping 8 hours - try fitting family in there.

If all of these things are so damn important, why aren't they accommodated for. And, if they're not important enough to schedule around, why do we get lectures telling us how important they are. I can't work miracles and sleep 8 hours a day if I'm on call for 30. For god's sakes, stop confusing me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

infertility

I was watching Dr. Phil today because that's what one does on the first day after exams are over after they've done all of their laundry and gone to the gym.

The subject of the show was infertility and women who wanted to get pregnant and whose partners didn't want to have babies. It got me thinking about IVF. I think that sometimes IVF is more of a curse than a blessing. The success rate is so low that sometimes I think it provides false hope and prevents women from grieving the fact that they cannot have children. I think it also gives some women the false impression that they can wait until they're in their 40s to have children and it will be ok because if they're too old to conceive there will always be another way. Perhaps the world should be encouraging women to have babies in their most fertile years and be supportive of women who want to do so. Maybe there should be better ways for women like me to take time off to have children without their colleagues scoffing and saying that they don't deserve to go into medical school if they're going to then work part time or take a few months off. We need to stop looking at child bearing as a vacation from important work or as an unfair advantage for women who won't have to do months of residency. I still hear grumbles from colleagues who complain about the idea of having to take extra call if someone goes on mat leave and saying things like how dare women go into surgical residencies and then take time off to have a baby. Sigh. How short sighted.

Ok, Xavier tagged me for this meme so here we go:

7 things about me

1. I have a new obsession with everything fitness. I've lost 10 pounds I didn't even know I had to lose and I'm loving it. Ben really likes it too and that can't hurt.

2. I have been snowboarding for 11 years and I love it. I love the serenity and being one with the snow. I love that Shhhh Shhh sound.

3. I really miss my friend Amy who lives in BC.

4. I always think I failed after exams.

5. I'm SUPER excited about clerkship because I think it will really give me a chance to shine

6. I can't wear high heels - my feet just weren't made for that

7. Garlic makes me lie in bed and die of heat and I'm sure Ben wants to cry every time I eat garlic.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

done done done done done

I'm done and it feels good. That exam wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I'm just so glad to be DONE!!! No more block exams for the rest of my life. Now to be replaced by clerkship CME exams.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

2 down ...

I hate that post exam buzz where everyone talks about how easy/hard it was and asks about questions they weren't sure the answer to. Listen, it doesn't make a difference now and you'll never see that exam again unless you failed (which I'm sure you didn't). So, lets just move along and get ready for tomorrow.

I didn't feel that this exam went particularly well for me and so it makes it even worse when everyone else is talking about how it wasn't that bad. For me, it was that bad. Ok? maybe I'm just more stupid than the rest of you or I didn't study the right things, but please, get out of my face.

That is all. Tomorrow at 12:00 I will be free!!!!!!! Sweet freedom!

Monday, December 03, 2007

one down

One exam down, 2 to go. Today was the OSCE and I for one feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. OSCEs always make me very nervous because they're not at all anonymous. And, teachers who I really have a lot of respect for are often invigilating. I don't want to fuck up in front of my former clinical skills tutor, or the head of the department of emerg, or whatever. I care what these people think of me!

Anyway, the exam went a lot better than I thought it would. I fifed every patient within an inch of their life. I don't even remember half of the stations. It was a blur. I though 8 stations would feel like a lot but it didn't.

Onwards to the multiple choice!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I'm not scared enough for my exams tomorrow through Wednesday. It's like something is missing. I used to lie in bed at night with palpatations and I've only cried once in the past 24 hours - something must be wrong. Dammit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

another day, another sleep plagued with dreams about hypercalcemia.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You know it's close to exam time when you go to bed with a textbook instead of the usual mystery novel. Argh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

busy day

I had gyne clinic this morning - looking at cervixes, yay. This afternoon I have a technical OSCE and I feel exhausted. I don't think I slept very well last night at all. This OSCE seems like a waste of time to me. Each station is 5 minutes, we perform two technical skills (lumbar puncture, IV, ABG, airways and bag/mask ventilation, suture) and then we demonstrate our technique for getting in and out of an isolation room. The whole thing is just pointless because we keep being told we don't have to do certain things: put in anesthetic, clean wounds, etc. but we have to say that we would do these things. It's just so unrealistic. And I'm tired dammit. I just want to go home. We have our class photo tonight so I can't even really go home after the OSCE. I have lots of studying to do but I'm just not in the right frame of mind. Argh. At least tomorrow we have the day off so I can sleep in a bit.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How medicine gets easier

Studying in first and second year I hadn't had time to really develop the catalog of patients' stories that I now carry around with me. Studying the GI system this semester I've been able to pull on a lot of personal experiences to remind me of the real consequences of diseases and the real suffering that goes along with them. For instance, a woman I saw in palliative care with gastric cancer last year (she is probably dead now) who used to take her chemo bag out dancing. She was so unlucky, quite young, horribly disabled by her disease, and knew she didn't have long. She was diagnosed late, so she had a 10% 5 year survival statistic to beat. People said she wouldn't go for a visit overseas, she did. People said she would never make another trip, the last time I saw her she was planning one. I hope to god she made it before she passed. I was honored to share half an hour with her and learn from her courage and optimism.

Liver lectures conjure up my friend with jaundice who is waiting for a procedure to make his quality of life better. He was so friendly and open about his disease and was willing to let me poke and prod him until I was satisfied that I had learned everything. He shared his story with me and his frustration with the medical system and how complicated it was to coordinate care between our center and another larger center. I remember each of his lab tests, complications and medications, because he is real.

So, medical students out there, don't despair, the stories really do help the heaps of information become real and memorable.

You know you're a big nerd (or your exams are super early) when you're one of 3 people in the biggest study room of the library.

We like to call this room "Harry Potter" because it has a air of old tyme charm to it with sliding ladders, book lined walls, brass carrel lamps and dark wooden desks. This is my favorite study place. Not only is it pretty, there are also hardly any medical students in it because it's not in the main library or the health sciences library. I'm getting back to my roots at the engineering library and I love it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Swedish berries are slowly taking over my life.

Today i found a very large occipital palpable lymph node on my head. I did a quick survey for scalp lesions and didn't find any. I feel fine. This leaves me curious. Also, my left armpit is sore. I think I'm coming down with a case of medstudentitis.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes review sessions for exams do more harm than good. They freak the shit out of me that I haven't got enough done and don't know all of the answers. They make me more nervous than I should be. And, they make everyone in the class starting talking about how hard the exam is going to be. Argh. If they didn't hint at what was on the exam, I wouldn't go. But, alas, they do give good hints.

The semester we've covered endocrinology, obs/gyn and GI. GI is worth a ridiculously large part of our mark and is taught ridiculously badly. It makes me want to cry just looking at all the shit I gotta learn.

In other news, I tested my blood sugar today at the diabetes education center and it was 3.2 I guess I don't have diabetes. **** Note: this is in mmol/L

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm off to place my first IV in a real person - my victim is my housemate. In return, I will allow her to blow my vein. Friendships are built on such things.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

blood

So, as a result of my blood giving last week I have developed a rather large hematoma. Basically my upper forearm is bruised with petechiae and quite sore. It developed the day after giving blood (last Tuesday) and is still persisting. I'm now wondering if I should go see someone about it and get my clotting factors checked. But, if it goes away by Friday I'm going to leave it. I've never had this happen to me before and have given blood several times. It makes me wonder what happened. It seemed to me that they left the tourniquet on pretty tight during the entire procedure so I guess that could have caused some back pressure and a bleed. I also took pressure off the wound for a couple of seconds to find my phone in my bag after donating. I dunno, it's weird though. This is a very small picture of what it looks like (sorry, taken on my phone).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh Pizza

Oh pizza, why do you torment me with your delicious smells and then burn my mouth to blistering bits? Darnit all to heck.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance

Ben and I made a plan tonight to go to Ottawa for remembrance day next year. For Better or For Worse today was really good - it made me tear up a little. Remembrance day always does that to me.

This week my university gave us Friday morning off to attend the ceremony for students of the school who have been killed in war. My PBL group decided to have PBL in that time instead. I didn't object too much, but raised the point that some of us might want to attend the ceremony. My tutor laughed and said that he hadn't observed remembrance day since grade school and he was too busy "saving people's lives" in the hospital to observe it. I think this is a pretty short sited and callous attitude. I'm sure he does a lot of good every day in his job, but there are a lot of men, women and boys who have gone off to war and given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. I may not agree with a lot of things that are going on in the world today with respect to combat, but I still think it's a mournful thing for anyone to die in war. I remember.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Study Study Study


Well, finals are just around the corner again and I'm struggling to get enough work done and do the other things that have come to be important to me (spend time with Ben, go to the gym, sleep 8 hours). This week was the week that the gym got sacrificed so i would have time to participate in our yearly medical school talent night. With that over, it's back to the books and the gym (hopefully). Ben just left and I have 6 more lectures to review tonight in order to meet this week's study goal. eek. Wish me luck.

I also bought some awesome looking beets today and I'm hoping to make some delicious study food from them - I'll post more about that once it gets accomplished.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ben's Dad got a new dog. His name is Fiddich - he's sooo cute. Here's a pic:
I think he's pretty much the cutest dog I've ever seen. And he looks so playful. Ben's dad found him as a stray that someone had left on their summer holiday property after they'd gone home for the season. So, Fiddich has been rescued. Apparently he spends a lot of time outside because he has a new affection for shoes. That face just makes me want a dog.

In other news, I've been studying at home this morning and I live next to a daycare. There has been a kid who has cried non-stop for the past hour and a half since I sat down. I don't know how he does it - it's major staying power. With determination like that, maybe he'll be a doctor one day! Right now, he's doing his best to prevent me from becoming one!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You know what the worst thing about finding my perfect engagement ring is? The fact that I'm not getting married.

Edit: I haven't put the picture up because I think I'm reserving the right to change my mind between now and when i'm 75 and get engaged :)

On second thought.... I like this one:

My arm feels like it's going to fall off. Guess I might not be able to go to the gym tonight.

Blood - it's in you to give

I'm off to give blood. Wish me luck not getting rejected!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Body Jam

I just got home from Body Jam. If you don't know what it is, it's a class offered at goodlife fitness clubs. It's basically a dance/cardio class and it's super fun. I can never come out of that class feeling bad, which is why it's perfect for mondays. I always go into it feeling like I'm going to die or vomit or shit my pants after doing RPM (the goodlife spinning class) but then make a nice recovery in Jam. Usually on a Monday I would then do Body Flow (tai chi, pilates, yoga) after, but we have another rehearsal for our class dance tonight so I had to come home and shower and eat an apple. By the way, I've discovered my favorite kind of apple - honey crisp. They are SO GOOD. Crunchy and juicy and not too sweet and not too sour. Oh Granny Smith you've been replaced, and it feels so good.

Friday, November 02, 2007

This week I dropped below 130 lbs for the first time in approximately 10 years. Not because I've been trying to lose weight but because i've been trying to get into a shape that wouldn't frighten people if they were to accidentally see me naked. I've been eating the same old crap I usually do, which means I could probably look more fit than I do, but I like to eat crap so I'm happy as is. I was preparing for my session today on adolescent interviews and one of the questions is "How do you feel about your body? If there was something you could change, what would it be?" and I was trying to think back to highschool and what I thought of my body then. For the most part I remember being pretty satisfied, except for my small boobs. I was pretty athletic and was figure skating all the time, although a coach (not mine) once told me I could lose a few pounds... I knew I wasn't fat. This makes me wonder what it was with my upbringing that made me so secure about my body when other people I knew were very insecure. I was friends with at least 2 anorexic girls in highschool. One was a bit overweight and went on to become very very thin and the other started off as a thin athlete and became absolutely skeletal. Is it because my mom always told me that I was ok just the way I was, even though in the later years of highschool I had blue and pink hair and dressed like a punk? Is it because my family all ate dinner dogether and watched Star Trek the next generation? Is it because my brother and I got along so well?

I think about the anorexic girls I knew's lives and they seemed very much like mine. What was the crucial difference? Am I setting a bad example for other people by talking about my weight now? Am I buying into the weight loss obsession that seems to be gripping North America but isn't resulting in any less obesity (if anything, more obesity)?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I got it!!!!!

I am so stoked. I just got my U of T elective. Wooohoooooo! No more worries about that then.

So, here's what my elective schedule looks like:

4 weeks U of T ER
3 weeks in Moose Factory
3 weeks McMaster Obs/Gyn

Then hopefully I'll get my 2 weeks at UBC either in reproductive health or psych but that's until next summer so I'm supposing the information won't come through for a while. This is the most wonderful news I've had a while - what a load off my mind!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

does anyone out there in the cyberworld have a copy of the kareoke version of "Go Go Go Joseph" from the Joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat soundtrack?

Monday, October 29, 2007

I just came home from our first and hopefully second last rehearsal for our class dance for the med school talent show coming up. After 3 hours at the gym, it put me over the edge of annoyance that people in the class wouldn't shut up and starting talking at every break while the girl who choreographed our number tried to tell us what the next steps were. Yeesh. Some people.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm guessing that writing in my blog isn't on the list of things to do to study more efficiently, but I get a pat on the back for not being asleep right no as I wish I was. I just find endocrinology so boring... actually, I kind of find all of internal medicine boring. I can't wait to get through it and go on to obs/gyn. I would have probably gone into obs/gyn in another life where I didn't care about having a family and spending time with my loved ones and not being on call for the rest of my life. I find it exceedingly fascinating, but from what I know, it just doesn't mesh with the lifestyle I want. I know that people say that it's getting better, but the fact is that the schedules are less flexible than family med, it's hard to do it in a small town where you're the only obs/gyn there, and you still have to do call way too often for my liking.

I guess I should get back to learning about osteoporosis, hrmph.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A note to lecturers

If what you have lectured on for an hour takes me over 5 hours to review, you probably glossed over an obscene amount of information in your small time slot. I appreciate that it's difficult to say everything about everything in the hour you are given, but please, next time don't appendix 15 pages of notes to your one hour talk that we need to learn for the exam. Perhaps you could try to highlight what is important instead of just saying "everything is important".

Monday, October 22, 2007

Electives Disaster

So,
I got an email last week about an elective I applied for at U of T. It seems that my first choice has been turned down. That started a whole cascade into a panic attack for me and now I constantly have this sea of "what if's" in my head about having my other 2 choices turned down. U of T has a bit of a different system from other schools. Basically, if you know someone in the department you want to do an elective in, you can circumvent the system and arrange electives privately with that person. This means that you basically jump the que ahead of people like me who don't know anyone at U of T. This means that even if I got my application in in plenty of time, I could possibly not get an elective because other people have connections. This is stressing me out. I wish I'd known about his earlier and could have canvassed everyone I know in Toronto to see if they knew an emerg doc at Sunnybrook or North York General. As it is, I'm at the mercy of the electives coordinator. Sigh.

And, I was stupid and lost my copy of my McMaster elective form and am now having a brain meltdown because I'm not sure if I applied for a 3 or a 4 week elective there. It looks bad for me to contact them and ask how long an elective I applied for! But, I need to fill all 10 weeks of electives so might have to pick up an extra 1 week elective at my own school to fill that last 1 week slot. Argh. I wish I'd been more organized when i was filling out all of this paperwork. Unfortunatly, the talk we got that gave us all of these great tips about being organized when applying for electives happened after I'd already applied for all of mine. Bah Humbug!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

work out fanatic

Lately I've become a bit of a fitness fanatic and it's starting to impact on my school work. I mean, I haven't really ever been one to do things early or get on studying in the first week of school, but now that I spend at least an hour in the gym every day, I don't really feel like doing anything when I come home. My work is mostly done on afternoons off and it's a bare minimum at that. I keep telling myself that this is for my mental health and that it's ok to take some time for myself - but really, is it ok to take time for yourself in medical school? It's a 4 year period in which you're supposed to learn everything about medicine, that's a lot, especially when you add in personal growth and development, relationships and extracurricular activities to make that all important dean's letter look good. There aren't enough hours in the day for everything I want to accomplish but I don't want to sacrifice the things that make me feel good about myself, like fitness. It's a good way to ward off those winter blues and to meet people outside of medicine. I need to start studying for finals soon though - 6 weeks and counting...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ben and I had a very romantic weekend. We planned to meet at the cottage - him coming from the west and me from the east. I got there at about 4:00 pm to discover that the furnace was not working. I lit both fires and tried to warm the place up while calling all of the furnace people in my family to ask for advice. After trying all possible furnace fixes, I concluded that it was broken and would need a repair man. It was now after 5:30 and I figured we'd have to wait until the next day for someone to come. So, I made the best of the situation and set up a make-shift bed in front of the fire in the living room. Ben came in around 10 exhausted from his 5 hour drive through rush-hour and dark country roads ready to hit the hay. We snuggled in for the night, it had become nice and warm by then in the living room. At around 5 am we woke up freezing our bums off, as the fire had gone out and the room was quickly losing heat through the lovely big windows. Ben got up and got us another duvet and stoked the fire. We slept until 9.

Then we called the furnace guy who fixed it, but not until after he'd said he wasn't going to crawl below the cottage because he has a fake leg.

After the furnace started working, we discovered that it wouldn't shut off - leading to a day of turning and breaker for the furnace on and off and Ben trying to fix the thermostat while I contended that it wasn't a thermostat problem but a controller problem at the furnace level (engineering arguments - how boring). Yet again I woke up at 5 am freezing my bum off because Ben insisted on turning off the furnace before we went to bed, citing the "it's better to be a bit cold and snuggle rather than sweating" argument. He was probably right, but I was damn cold when I woke up! Despite all this, we managed to have a lovely day on Saturday and a romantic dinner for our anniversary (3 years!) with my Jamie Oliver Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni (It was not as easy as it looked on Jamie at Home) and a nice Riesling.

Today we took all the boats out of the water and stowed them under the cottage - earned our hearty vegetable soup and cheese toasties lunch!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Election Day

Well,
26 doesn't feel all that different from 25, but, I had a really nice sushi dinner with my friends last night and got some awesome gifts from my girls and Ben. The nice thing about having your birthday on facebook is that you get happy birthdays from the most random people - but it's nice.

I hope that everyone who reads this and lives in Ontario has gone to vote or is planning on voting today - I already have. Yes to MMP and a big "F You" to John Tory.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tomorrow I am 26.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Two weeks ago in family clinic we referred an elderly lady to the ER with suspicious pain and an existing condition that made us think she needed urgent care. She went there and they couldn't find anything but admitted her for observation - on the way to the floor she coded and died. She had lots of plans for the future with her husband and had a loving child who lived in another city and was on his way to see her. He didn't make it on time. It really does make you think that life is too short. Now her husband and child have some big decisions to make - will he move to another city to be with family or will he stay with his friends here. Will he follow her in short order as so many do?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Somewhat better

I found out yesterday that the meeting isn't to decide regional placements - what I really care about. It's only to decide which specialties we do for our medicine specialties rotation. I am not too attached to any specialty in particular, so, I don't think the consequences of missing the meeting will be too bad. Thanks for everyone's support!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Clerkship Freak out

So, today I had my first clerkship freak out. I'm not sure how I've held on this long without having one, but anyways, today was the first. There's a big meeting that is held in the fall of our clerkship year during which we decide where everyone is going for their rotations, and which specialties people will be doing during medicine specialties and surgical specialties. I AM GOING TO BE AT A CONFERENCE IN ANOTHER PROVINCE THE DAY THAT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED FOR THE MEETING. I. AM. FREAKING. OUT.

This basically means that I'm going to have no say whatsoever about where I go and what I do and I've really been looking forward to this meeting because I have some very specific ideas about where I want to be. I know that I want to do my obstetrics and surgery in a smaller regional hospital. I hope to god to get clinics instead of wards for at least one of my medicine subspecialties. I want to do urology instead of ortho. And, guess what, none of this is probably going to happen. Yes, I can get a friend to try and advocate for me at the meeting, but when it comes down to it the person who isn't there usually gets the things that nobody wants.

Why the hell didn't they give us this date earlier. I've been signed up to present at this conference since the summer. I have a plane ticket and can't back out now. I had a crying breakdown and thankfully my roommate was able to talk me down off the window ledge, but I'm still very freaked out. This is the next 1.5 years of my life we're talking about - the remainder of my medical training. I want it to be the best that it can be. Does anyone want to go to this meeting as my representative?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Patient Follow Up

My days in family clinic are coming to an end soon. I only have two sessions left and then I'll have to move on to other things - that makes me really sad. I really like my preceptor and the patients I've seen and next week I'll be seeing my first patient for follow-up. It makes everything we learn in medical school feel both real and oversimplified at the same time. My preceptor and I have been talking a lot about evidence based medicine and intuition and how practice takes a bit of both. There just aren't evidence based guidelines for everything, and there are different motivations for doing things that aren't necessarily based on evidence. For example, patient reassurance. I took someone's temperature the other day to reassure her that she didn't have a fever. There really wasn't any indication for it, but it didn't cause any harm - I think that's ok. We sent a patient who was clearly a vasculopath for a stress test. There aren't any specific guidelines for his situation, but we thought it would be prudent from a preventative health perspective - so we did it and I think that's ok.

I used to think that I would love family medicine except for the boring office part. Now I'm realizing that the office part isn't really boring at all. It's one of the things I've come to like the most about family med.

Yesterday I had my first patient express regret that I wasn't going to be able to follow her as her family doctor. Now, if you're cynical, you could think that she was just trying to play me for drugs or buttering me up for a sick note, but I really think she was sincere and it made me feel really good. I like being able to have a good chat with people about their health and where they're at. I like being able to find a solution to a problem that makes everyone happy. I like family medicine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

private practice

Tonight we're watching the first episode of "private practice", the new spinoff of Grey's Anatomy. As of now, it has yet to disappoint - good drama, good characters, good bad medicine. Yes!

I'm feeling a little better today and a successful family medicine event and a great day in family clinic have definitely buoyed my spirits. I also saw a previous PBL preceptor today and it was SO nice to see her. I haven't seen her since Christmas last year and I forgot how much I like her. It's nice to be gathering mentors with time during medical school.

I'll write more later - I'm on a sugar high and a cold low. Sorry I haven't written too much lately.

*** Edit: Private Practice definitely went downhill after I wrote that post (the first 10 minutes). I'm not sure I'll be watching next week.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Electives

Applying for medical clerkship electives is kind of like putting all your future plans + 100 dollars into a bottle and hoping that someone will pick it up out of the ocean and call you in 4 months to offer you a spot. The system seems so impersonal and confusing and full of forms that don't make sense or that you need to shoehorn your electives into. For example - a form says "hospital and faculty" and I'm applying for an elective that a) has no listed hospital in the electives catalog and the school won't reply to my emails about which hospital it's at and b) could be from two different faculties and which one isn't clear in the email and the school won't reply to my emails. The whole thing makes me feel like an idiot.

I had a nap this afternoon and now I fear I won't be able to sleep tonight because of a combination of a) not working out today b) maynards swedish berries and c) cherry vanilla coke.

Two babies!

One big, one small. My labour and delivery shift last night was awesome. I ended up staying until 1:30 am because I wanted to see a woman who had been there since I arrived go through all of the pushing and end up with a baby! The other deliveries I've seen have been of the last minute run into the room and the babies are pushed out variety so I wanted to see the process. It was very interesting and I don't think I've seen a happier mother. I'm not very tired now (I didn't want to wake up though) but I woke up with a bitch of a headache. I was going to go to the gym right after class again today but now I think I might go home and take a nap.

Tonight we're having the first event of the year for the family medicine interest group at my school. We're showing a family medicine movie and we're trying to recruit lots of first years. Hopefully we're still in the keen phase where they come out to everything because we got a LOT of food!!!! I could be eating subs for the rest of the week....

Anyway, I'm too tired to write anything else and I need some tea, so, adieu.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My bathroom mate was very happy about the cleanliness and was appropriately appreciative, for which I am grateful. There's nothing like doing something and having nobody notice to dissuade you from doing it again. I'm just killing some time at school looking up pediatric rashes before heading off to the gym. I have my labour and delivery shift tonight for our obs/gyne block and I'm pretty stoked about that. I hope there are some deliveries this time because I've had mixed luck the other times I've been there. I don't think there are too many residents/clerks on so that should give me a good idea what it will be like to be a clerk. Which, by the way, still terrifies me.

We finished endocrinology today (thank god) and are moving on to Obs/Gyne tomorrow. I'm stoked for that and think it should be relatively easy learning. I finally finished the report for my summer project that has been hanging over my head so hopefully my friend who's reading it won't think it's too bad and I can hand it in to my supervisor to be marked. I sent her an email the other week apologizing for being so tardy and telling her it would be in soon - I didn't get a reply... I hope that isn't a bad sign.

Ben and I had an active weekend filled with mountain biking at a new place (where I had a small breakdown over the fact that I couldn't ride anything but then recovered and we moved on and I'm chalking that down to PMS), running, snuggling and eating. The days went pretty fast because we were so busy with activities but we both felt pretty good about ourselves so that's always a nice way to come out of the weekend. We did less work than we were supposed to do though, more play!

Next weekend I need to do some fabric shopping and sewing. The dress I made last year for party season has been to all of the parties so I need to make a new one to wear to all of this year's parties. I'm going to make this. It's very similar to this one I made last year but the style works for me so I'm going to go with it. I think I'm going to make it out of broadcloth because it's cheap and then put in a nice accent fabric for the waist accent. Hopefully the sewing will go well!!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The bathroom in my new place was filthy when I moved in and nobody seemed to notice... I went on a cleaning frenzy this weekend and now it's spotless. I put in a new shower head because the old one sucked. I hope somebody notices.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fitness Frenzy

This week I've kind of entered a fitness frenzy. I'm not sure why, this is kind of uncharacteristic of me. I guess it's because I'm semi-addicted to spinning class, although I've realized that it may not be the ultimate workout for me (I need a bit more abs in my life so I'm going to add them in after). This week I've done 2 spinning classes, a yoga/pilates class and a step class. Tomorrow I'm going to do another spin and Saturday Ben and I are going biking. All in all I think this is a good change for me, but I'm not sure I"ll be able to maintain it. I've also been trying to change my diet to be a bit healthier. No more treating myself for going to the gym with ice cream, no more waffles for breakfast, no more bread. My diet this week has been mostly salad with avocado, goat's cheese, cranberries and tomatoes for lunch, and some kind of whole wheat based italian dinner (which the exception of stirfry and trout tonight). I'm not on a diet per se, I just want to eat less junk and make more things from scratch. I froze some tomatoes last week that a classmate gave me from his garden and I'm excited to use them for making sauces. I really want to learn how to make marinara sauce from scratch and a good thick pasta sauce. I will always remember my first tomato sauce experience in Rome and I long to be able to reproduce that. Send me your recipes!

I hope everyone else is having a good few first days/weeks of school. Harry, you start soon, good luck!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Family Clinic

I had my first day in family clinic today. It was awesome, everybody was so nice and I really like my preceptor. He also is probably the most tanned person I've ever seen in my life... except maybe my cousin. I shadowed a resident who had a really complex and cool patient and then got to see a patient on my own. It was funny, I felt like I was in an OSCE station the whole time, but it was real. My patient was very reminiscent of a patient I've seen before. It makes you appreciate that the things they teach in the OSCE really ARE like real life! Anyway, I've got a million things to do tonight starting with writing the family medicine interest group newsletter. I need to find a good family medicine based short story - I've used a story of Dr. Charles from the examining room of Dr. Charles before but I can't seem to find his blog? If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Then I've got a bunch of PBL to do and I need to write the discussion section of my paper from the summer. I really want to get that monkey off my back. In good news, I've kept up my workout schedule and I really am starting to feel good about it. I've been spinning 3 days a week and doing something else 1 day (I'm doing yoga/pilates tomorrow). Hopefully I'll bring down my fat percentage a little bit by christmas... I want to be a hard body! Well, not really, but I want to feel good about myself and it's good to get a good crack at it before things get really busy. I also bought a really SEXY binder today at Staples. Mmmm, strawberry.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I got my hair cut today. I finally found a hairdresser in this town that I like, and, she's less expensive than the other one I went to and regretted later! I always think that I look like Haley Mills from the parent trap after I get my hair cut, even though I don't really.

This week has been a good easing back into school week. I haven't had any clinical stuff this week but I have two next week so this weekend I'll be boning up on my physical exam skills with Ben as patient. I'm starting to get back into my family medicine leadership role and today went to a very interesting meeting on the role of family medicine in undergraduate curriculum, how to teach it, and what it should look like. My medical school is a specialist-taught model - all subjects no matter how much they really relate to primary care are taught by specialists. If you didn't know better, you could walk out thinking that all chest pain and hypertension was dealt with by cardiologists, all headaches by neurologists and all acne by dermatologists. Very untrue. This year it seems that there's a team dedicated to making family medicine teaching work, which is very encouraging. As was pointed out in the meeting, it's hard to teach a subject that is case-based and patient/continuity of care centered in a system that was set up for diagnosis/disease based teaching. Family medicine topics are often seen as "fluff" lectures and are poorly attended, which isn't helped by the fact that they're often in the afternoon after a full morning of lectures. So, the key is to find something that draws people in and to make the lectures so good that people will come back and bring friends. How to do that is still up in the air!

I'm really looking forward to my first two family medicine clinics next week. I meet my preceptor on Tuesday and I hope he's as great as he sounds in all of the emails!

This weekend Ben and I are going up to the cottage just the two of us. I think we're going to do a bit of biking/hiking/paddling. It should be great!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Phone

So, my new place doesn't have a home phone and that probably makes sense because there are so many people living here. Today I went and got a new cell phone. It's nice and whatever - I don't get very excited about these things. Unfortunately, I can't sign on to the internet site that is required to use my new plan to set up the numbers of the people I want to call for free. So I'm stuck now not being able to USE my new phone. How much does that blow?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Unpacking

I feel like I've been unpacking for the past 3 days (more like 3 hours but I'm dramatic). I didn't know I had this much stuff. At least it helps me put off the whole going to bed alone thing... Although I'm going to have to conquer that demon sooner or later. New house with new people is strange. I don't know where anything is or how we share dishes or where the laundry is or how the wireless works (obviously I've figured that out) and it's pretty lonely. My room is very warm and Benless so I'm not sure i'll be able to sleep tonight. At least I know two of my roomies and I can see 1/2 of my floor... another 1/2 to go! i never knew I had so much crap. It's hard to throw things away that you know you don't need but have sentimental value. I have thousands of cards my grandmother has sent me because I know that someday she won't be here anymore and I'll want to go look back at all the nice letters she sent. But... they're in a box, collecting dust. And the 65 issues of the JOGC and CMAJ that I haven't read... will I ever?

EDIT:

Last night was hell. I forgot how loud frosh week is in the student ghetto. My room is on the front of the house right on one of the main streets where students live. I had to keep my window open due to the very very hot temperatures so I was tortured all night by frosh yelling things like "Amanda I can't find you, wave your arms in the air, turn left, you look so skinny, oh my god I haven't seen your new haircut, I've lost my shoe, why didn't we take a cab.........". When I finally fell asleep after 1:00 I was then woken up a bunch of times. I seriously wanted to kill someone.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Let them eat cake

Yesterday they got a cake for me at work. It was really nice of them and it was cheesecake, my favorite! I had a slice of the cherry to match my shoes. One of my coworkers also gave me a gift of some earrings and some chocolate - how thoughtful! I have to say, the best part of this job has been the people. They're kind and funny and pretty relaxed and appreciative of my lightening typing speed.

The end of the summer is always a very sad time for me, moreso this year. It means that I lose my bedmate, dinner mate, snuggle mate, television watching mate and shower monitor. Back to the weekend visit routine which leaves us both pretty lonely during the week (and tends to decrease showering frequency on my part). I worry about Ben and if he's getting out and having fun when I'm not there instead of sitting in his room alone. At least he's joining another volleyball team this fall so he'll have two evenings occupied. I'm trying to find him some climbing mates too so he can get out to the local wall. It's hard being in a new place and not having all the avenues to meet people that you had when you were in university. I want him to be as happy as possible so that he'll stay.

I've been on the verge of crying all week and this weekend's canoe trip will hopefully not involve too many tears. Driving the 3 hours back to school is going to be brutal because driving and crying don't mix...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

False conviction

Those of you who live in Canada will have undoubtedly heard much about the Steven Truscott case in the news over the past weeks/months/years. For those of you who don't know, Steven Truscott was convicted at the age of 14 of the death of Lynne Harper, a classmate after he gave her a bicycle ride home to the air force base where she lived - her body was discovered two days later in a nearby wood. Truscott was sentenced to death but a year later his sentence is commuted to life in prison. During the investigation and trial several pieces of evidence were not disclosed to Truscott's defense attorneys, several witnesses who supported Truscott's innocence were discounted by the police and not interviewed for the record, many child witnesses were manipulated by the police into giving testimony that incriminated Truscott (much of which was later recanted) and several known pedophiles and dangerous offenders who lived in the area were never considered. In addition, the final nail in the coffin was the pathologist's report that Harper was killed between 7 and 7:45 pm on the day that she was with Truscott - a statement that was later revised by the pathologist himself to open up the time frame to a 12 hour window. Truscott served 10 years before being paroled.


In 2002, after Truscott lobbies the government for over 40 years for a new trial or acquittal, a federal review panel was assigned. After said review determined that the trial and conviction were a miscarriage of justice, recommendations are made for an acquittal. Two days ago, Steven Truscott was acquitted of the murder of Lynne Harper. He was hoping that there would be a statement of his "innocence" made but since courts don't declare people innocent (because they are innocent until proven guilty) he got a "not guilty" instead. Lots of people don't understand why they didn't declare him innocent, but really they can't do that because if this was the original trial and he was acquitted, he would have already been presumed innocent. Anyway, this is a good thing.


On the radio yesterday they were talking about the wrongful convictions appeal process in Canada and how far inferior it is to that of the UK because we don't have a full time review panel to deal with such complaints. I told this to Ben last night and he said to me "at least they don't turn around and charge the wrongfully acquitted room and board for being in jail". I thought he was joking until I read this article. Apparently this man isn't the only one to have the British Home Office charge him for room and board while being in jail on a false conviction. They will deduct this sum from any compensation he receives for being wrongly convicted. I'm not sure we should be aspiring to treating our wrongly convicted like this! I think it's probably an infringement on his civil liberties for being charged for something he A) didn't choose and B) couldn't change. Are convicted criminals charged for room and board upon their release from prison? I think not. And, in addition (according to Ben), those released from prison after it is found that they have been wrongly convicted have no access to the rehabilitation programs and other social services such as employment programs that are afforded to convicted criminals exiting the system. They are basically chucked out of jail with the clothes they came in with and told to re-integrate themselves into society... how unfair is that?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I was going to write about how melancholy I was today but instead I'm going to write about funny things that just happened:

1) P.A. : "The gallbladder is filled with smudge"
Me: "Smudge? Are you sure?"
P.A.: "Yes, you know, smudge *makes hand motion*"
Me: "Sludge? *makes hand motion*"
P.A.: "Ah yes, sludge, what did I say?"

2) Me: "You seem to be having a really bad day today"
P.A.: *total straight face* "That's because I am stoned."

Turns out he's taking robaxacet every 2 hours... but at first I thought he meant like... stoned stoned. I mean, he is french.

Layout

I hate it how my posts look so skinny on the page and how there's so much whitespace when you maximize an internet explorer window. Does anyone know how to change that? And, does anyone know why my google reader won't let me add any more subscriptions for the past week?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hospital observations

1) The cafeteria has all of the facilities for using re-usable dishes i.e. the conveyor belt for carrying them to be washed and everything and yet they use styrofoam. It's sad that the cost to the hospital of employing dishwashers outweighs the cost to the environment of all that waste in the minds of bureaucrats.

2) The elevator won't go anywhere if you don't press the button, people!

3) There should be napping rooms set up in the hospital for friends/family members/employees. There aren't very many quiet comfortable chairs around to decompress in.

4) There is one VERY good looking doctor/clerk/resident that I keep seeing in the hallways. I never get to see his name badge though... It's starting to look like I'm stalking him!

Writing, writing, writing


I've never been any good at finishing off projects. I'm a great starter of research but when it comes to writing things up, I always fall down. I have 3/4 of my paper done for the research I did this summer and I've lost steam. Much like the 2 papers from my masters thesis that I wrote up and have now lost interest in - 2 years later, they're still sitting unfinished on my laptop. I guess this is why I'll never be an A+ researcher, unless I have a partner who writes everything up. But, alas, I have to finish this research report in order to graduate so I'm going to have to get my bum in gear and finish off the results and discussion. The hard research and writing stuff is done, but now comes the cutting it down to a reasonable size part, my nemesis.


Due to the canoe trip we're going on this weekend, I'm not going to have time to finish it off then. I'd better get my bum in gear this week, but oh how I long to enjoy the last week of my vacation!!!! Tonight Ben and I are going to a nice bike shop downtown to drool over lots of gear. Wish me luck on not spending any money!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I like to sit in the morning and smoke my peace pipe (ok, maybe have my tea) and read blogs when there's a break at work. Imagine my surprise when I opened up google reader this morning and there were NO UNREAD ENTRIES!!! I've never had this happen to me. Weird, huh?

Tonight Ben and I are going to Rib Fest with my sister. Funnily enough, I'm a vegetarian. My nephew also doesn't eat meat (a texture thing, I think). I forsee a lot of corn on the cob in my future. My poops tomorrow are going to be interesting. It was my sister's 31st birthday yesterday so, Erin, if you're reading this, Happy Birthday!!!!

I'm happy that it's Friday but also a bit bummed that next week is the last week of summer vacation I will EVER GET until I retire. This is a sad realization folks... Why didn't I go to teacher's college?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vacation


Sometimes, like today for example, I wish I'd taken a week off work before school starts. But, I can't afford it. The extra 500 dollars far outweighs any benefit I'll get from a week of sleeping, going to the gym, and watching telly. I've almost reached my summer savings goal and might be able to survive through the next year without starving or not being able to do anything fun. The only concern I have is how I'm going to pay for my trip to Vancouver for my (I hope) dermatology elective/Amy's wedding. I'm sure I'll figure something out though and my grandparents are always willing to help me out a bit. Starting next year I'll be getting my clerkship stipend, which should help after a summer of not working to pay the bills.


In other news, I found out the other day that I get to participate in the family medicine clinical skills program at my school. This means that instead of going to the hospital once a week for internal medicine clinical skills, I'll be going to my preceptor's family practice and learning from him for an afternoon a week! I'm so stoked about this. After my fantastic experience earlier this year with a small town family doc, I'm super excited to get more family medicine exposure and hopefully learn lots of things that will help me in my future practice. The doc I'm paired up with seems quite cool so far, although I've only "met" him through email. I'm hopeful that this is going to be a super experience and make the first 6 months of my year more interesting and applicable to family med.


I can't really come to terms with the fact that I'll be back in school 2 weeks from now. I'm in total summer job/holiday mode. I guess it will all sink in when I have to go sit in good old B143 on September 4th.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I hate it when you buy really cute underwear (see above - and no that it's my body, but of course I look just like that. Picture and underwear from La Senza) and then they give you a wedgie. I mean, why are underwear made that just ride right up your bum, unless they're a thong, of course. So, I had to spend last night retrofitting a few of my new pairs of pants (British word for underwear, much preferable to "panties" in my books) with elastic around the legs to keep them away from my crack. I felt like I was in the '40's (my grandma tells me stories all the time about putting elastic into her pants after they've been washed). Unfortunately, this makes my new underoos slightly less attractive, but what can you do, comfort is queen when it comes to the bum area.

In other news, the move went well and the box spring fit into my new place. It was a feat of engineering to get it up there - good thing there were two enginerds on the case. Ben and I figured out the angles and only minimally scratched the corner getting my double box spring up the narrowest flight of stairs EVER to my attic conversion bedroom on the 3rd floor of my new place. It's going to be interesting living with many more people than I'm used to next year. Once I start clerkship it's doubtful I'll spend much time at home, so it doesn't really matter where I live. Essentially, the hospital is going to be my new home come January. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm hoping to go to a regional hospital for my first rotation anyway. If that happens, I'll be living in a place owned by the university in the small town I'll be doing my rotation in. This will be a major plus for me.


After the moving business, Ben and I came back to Toronto for a relaxing evening and decided to go biking the next day. I finally took the plunge and wore shin guards when we hit Albion Hills conservation area on Sunday morning. We really like the pine forest sections in this park and the areas around the sugar shack (S4 and S5). We rode the route of the August hot nights 24 hour race to see what it was like (there is one killer descent that I would shit myself going down in the dark and would be afraid to walk down and have someone clobber me). I was worried about looking like an idiot wearing downhill pads while going cross country because I didn't want people to think I was some kind of poseur. Well, I can't believe it took me this long to suck it up and wear the pads (which are probably the most comfortable piece of safety equipment I've ever worn, really well made). My ride was so much more enjoyable. I've really been working on my attacking and sprinting so I had my new mantra of going hard for a short time and taking breaks instead of going at 75% and riding whole long trails in one go (I'm more of an endurance athlete than a sprinter - Ben calls me a diesel engine). The two times I fell (once due to a handle bar hits tree incident and once due to a scrappy turn around a bit of trail that fell off on one side - both times ended up rolling down a hill into the woods) I felt no pain. I usually end up getting close to tears at least once every ride because I've knocked my shin or knee so hard on something that the tears spring involuntarily to my eyes and I try to pretend I've got dirt in my eyes. Not so on Sunday. It was really a refreshing ride after the frustrating days of the past. I only came away with a small scrape on my arm this time instead of the huge number of bruises I usually get. From now on, I'm going to be going out there padded up and if anyone feels the need to laugh at me they can go ahead.

Friday, August 17, 2007


For better or for worse today really touched me. I'm not sure if it's totally illegal to post this on here, but I"m going to do it anyways. Of course the credit goes to Lynn Johnston!

Google Reader

Google reader has ruined my commenting on other people's blogs. I used to comment a lot because I would visit each blog individually. Now, I read my google reader and if I want to comment I have to go to the post and my work computer then asks me 100000000 times if I want to read unsecured content and I give up. So, friends, sorry I haven't commented on your posts in a while, it's not that I'm not reading.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

When a friend is sick

A friend of mine has a illness which requires multiple surgeries and long hospital stays/absences from work. She's in the hospital now after a surgery and a does of intraperitoneal chemo. This has been a bit of a new experience for me because her pathology reports, slides, and other information has crossed my desk in the last few days. It has left me struggling with whether to tell her or not that I've seen it. She knows that it was likely that I would and she seemed ok with it, but at the same time I think it's a bit intrusive because she didn't make the decision whether to show me or not. I've made the decision that I won't bring it up unless she does first, and if she does, I'll try my best to say that I've seen it but don't know anything about it, because really I don't. I'm not a pathologist and she'll get the results soon enough from her trusted doctor.

It's been nice to be able to go and see someone in the hospital and have to play no bigger role than that of supportive friend. I go down on my lunch hour and shoot the shit with her for 15 minutes and then excuse myself - in my opinion, visiting often and for short times is better than hanging about for hours. Her sister is always there reading or doing puzzles and just being there - what a star.

Hopefully this stay will be uncomplicated and short and she will be able to return home to convalesce soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wiped out

I'm exhausted this week - hence no blogging. Ben and I went to the cottage for the weekend with 7 friends and had a great time swimming/eating/frisbeeing/drinking/watching crazy drunk neighbours play "King of the castle" with a Keg. My cousin and her boyfriend came, which was great because we haven't seen them in a while and he's also foreign so he and Ben have a lot to talk about both being from the general UK area and in Canada. They both have had some of the same troubles meeting people and making friends in this country and, as much as I think Canadians are very friendly people, I agree that some of our cultural practices make it harder to meet new people here. For example, in Britain you can go to a pub and pick up a game of pool with someone who you've never met and sit and have a beer and you're not considered weird because you're alone - or at least you wouldn't be in Glasgow. Here, people just don't do that, and they don't usually interact very much with strangers, making it difficult to get to know one another. Ben tried joining a volleyball league but, much to his disappointment, most weeks they all just go home after games instead of going to the pub or whatever. I'm encouraging him to join more things, like maybe a climbing club, to meet more people - I think persistence is the key!

Nextweekend we're renting a nice kevlar canoe (ours is crappy and fiberglass and weighs 300 pounds) and going on a day canoe trip. There are quite a few nice loops put together by the Frost Center in the area of my cottage, so we'll most likely try one of those.

This weekend is going to be moving weekend, gotta go to university town and move all of my things from one apartment to my new house. Ugh. I hate moving. Ben is already whining and it hasn't even happened yet. I'm moving in with 2 girls from my class and 3 other random people. Should be interesting.

Anyhoo, that's all for now, life just aint all that exciting!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Ok,
So can I just say that the Jays game was AWESOME because we won 15 to 4. Unfortunately, ARod wasn't playing because I would have liked to see him get hit by the ball again for being a dickhead, but Jeeter played badly for which I am truly greatful. I bought Ben a Jays hat, we ate pizza pizza and drank beer, life was good.

Ben has just come home from Scotland, which means that he is remembering everything that he loves about Scotland and is all "boo Canada" and the discussion comes up again about whether he's going to apply for landed immigrant status and stay here until I can finish medical school and residency or not. I'm happy to go and work in the UK (I can get UK citizenship through my Dad who was born in Wales) but I think it will take a lot of tests and paperwork and I might not even get a job given the current state of the NHS. Ideally, I would be able to move there and work as GP in a small Scottish town and we could live happily ever after and I could get Kirstie and Phil from Location Location Location to find me the perfect house so I could tell Kirstie how much I love her and want her coat with the big buttons. But, life is never that easy, especially when it comes to having to write the British boards, take an equivalency OSCE, and learn how the british healthcare system works. Who knows what the future holds, thank god I have 4 years to figure it all out. I'm going to apply for my passport soon though to make sure it all goes through fine.

This weekend we're going to the cottage with a bunch of medical school friends and my cousin and her Irish boyfriend, should be good times. I think I"m going to go rent "Hot Fuzz" because, although I saw it last weekend, Ben and Gary (Irish guy) would love it. It was so hillarious for anyone who has ever lived in Britain or knows anything about Britain, seriously, rent it. It's by the same guys who did Shaun of the Dead.

Work is really slow right now. Apparently, every surgeon is on holiday so we don't get any dictations. So, I read things on the internet and now I'm blogging. I told one of the residents yesteday that I was a med student and she looked at me like "then why the hell do you have that job" like it was below me or something - how snobby. I like this job and the people are great and it lets me visit my friend who's in the hospital whenever I want, and it isn't very taxing on the mind - perfect for the end of the summer.

Anyhoo, I'd better go look like I'm doing something useful. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm so stoked, I got jays vs. yankees tickets tonight and they're in the 31st row right behind home plate!!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

sad

Ben was supposed to get home today but his flight got cancelled. He's coming in tomorrow but I won't be able to pick him up from the airport because I'll be at work. This wasn't the homecoming I had planned. I want my snuggles!!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Could it be any freaking hotter??!??! I think the temperature topped out at 35 yesterday and last night only went down to 22 so no good sleeps for me. My parents don't have A/C (which is a good thing but makes things really hot) and I sleep on the second floor so even with my ceiling fan, it's hot times. When Ben gets back next week we might have to sleep in the basement to escape the heat. It rained and there was lots of lightening at about 3 in the morning (my new mid-sleep wake up time, what's up with that??) but it didn't seem to cool things off very much. I kept waiting for a cool breeze to start coming through the window and it never happened. At least I won't have to feel guilty about watering my mom's garden now that there have been some showers. I really think that she should get a rain barrel watering system.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

sometimes accents are funny....

"The specimen consists of a right forearm and a head" - I think they meant hand...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A lonely week for me


This week Ben has gone back to Scotland to visit with his family and take a bit of vacay from the hectic engineering life. That leaves me all alone except for my Dad (I'm staying at my parents house) and my cat. Dad is good company but he's going out to dinner every day this week so he won't be around much. I've already spoken to Ben 3 times and he only left on Saturday night at midnight! For the record, I wasn't planning on speaking to him for a second time yesterday, but he called me when he couldn't sleep. We'll see if I can hold off calling until Wednesday. This does give me an opportunity to finish my mental health and sexuality research paper for school so I can hand it in and get it off my plate. I'm sure my supervisor is wondering where the promised report is! I have to edit this thing like crazy, I think my lit review is longer than the whole paper is supposed to be. A friend of mine went through a chopped a bit out of it so I have to go through her comments and make further changes. I also have to get my referencing sorted so that it meets all of the necessary requirements. Man, I feel like I'm going to school a month early. I want to take a nap just thinking about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


They may not be the prettiest shoes going, but they fit and they're comfy. The ones I bought actually have a bit of a different bronzy/gold pattern than these ones but they're the closest I could find on the website. I bought a full price pair of shoes (not something I do often) and I think it will be worth it. So, now I have one black and one brown pair of shoes that are suitable for clerkship, I see a road paved with smelly footsteps ahead.

Friday, July 27, 2007

One of the things about working in an administrative position is that I have to be dressed nicely every day. I'm not very used to this because I usually dress up a couple of days a week to see patients, at most. This has meant that I keep running out of clothes in the middle of the week and need to beef up my wardrobe a bit. So, I've done some serious shopping. I've managed to buy everything on sale and for really good prices, but after showing up to work in a brown skirt and black shoes and black purse, I think I may need to expand my shoe wardrobe to a pair of brown shoes. So, today the search begins at the nine west outlet. I have a love/hate relationship with shoe shopping due to the fact that I have very long and narrow feet. It's hard to fit into shoes. I buy lots of cute shoes and have to abandon them within weeks because they hurt my feet too much - I have yet to find the formula for a perfect shoe. Wish me luck on my search!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The other transcriptionist is off today so I have to do all of the transcription on my own. AAAAHHHHHHH! There are already like 10 envelopes in my box. This is going to be a crazy day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Emotional day

Ever have one of those days when everything seems to have a tarnished lining and the smallest thing can set you off into a spiral of sadness? That's me today. This morning I found out that a relative, who has recurrent UTIs due to urine stasis due to progressive BPH, isn't feeling any better after being put on tamsulosen therapy and antibiotics. He is, infact, feeling worse and having syncopal episodes and has occasional hematuria. Apparently tamsulosen is not supposed to produce syncope as much as other alpha 1 receptor blockers, but, nevertheless, it is. I am telling him to badger the urologist for another appointment soon possibly to try finasteride although the fact that it can take months to start working is worrisome. It's funny how the people around someone every day (in this case his wife) just know when something's not right by a person's smell, demeanor and energy level. I also told him to consult his family doctor because I'm worried about what's happening with him right now. He discontinued the tamsulosen on his own two days ago. Anybody have any other ideas?

Ben is leaving to go back to Scotland for week on Saturday. Today in the office the song "Leaving on a jet plane" was playing on the radio and I almost cried. You may think that a week is nothing, but either of us leaving on an airplane reminds me of the long spells that we've spent apart and all those episodes of leaving. There's always that thought in the back of my head that one day we may have to do the long distance thing again while I qualify to move to Scotland and practice. I would be willing to do that for a couple of years, but I have no idea what it would take in terms of training.

I also had a dream last night that I was pregnant and woke up to realize I had my period. Weird.

I'm gonna go get some chocolate.

Friday, July 20, 2007

the city is going down the drain

I grew up in Toronto, a great city for those who like big cities. This week there was a vote on two new taxes: a land transfer tax and a vehicle registration tax. The land transfer tax would be levied on individuals buying a home and new home owners would be exempt (I though it was on individuals selling a home, but someone suggested it was the other way around this week). Thus, it would be levied when people had money in their pocket so they could afford it, being different from raising property taxes which would affect everyone whether they had money or not - people who in the past moved into homes that they could afford might find themselves not being able to afford them with property tax hikes, this would especially affect the elderly who are on fixed pension incomes and have maintained their own homes as an asset. The vehicle registration tax would be on all vehicles registered to the city of Toronto. It would only be 60 dollars to register your car, not very much if you can afford a tank of gas these days (I'd say the average fill-up is between 40 and 60 dollars). Since we're trying to encourage people to take transit, by taking this tax and improving the transit system our environment can only win. I think it would be better if this payment was scaled to the size of your vehicle, i.e. SUVs pay more than compact cars, but it's a good start to getting people to maybe take their cars less, improve transit in the city, and pay for much needed road repairs. I supported these new taxes.

These taxes did not pass at city council. Instead, the vote was deferred until after hte provincial election. Some councillors have the pipe dream that the province will offer the city the balance for the $500 million dollar deficit. After the vote, each of the candidates for premier said that they had no plans to offer this kind of cash to the city - ooops! So, this week it has been announced that one whole subway line is going to be closed and 40 bus routes cancelled, 100 new buses are going to be mothballed and property taxes might go up as much as 18%. People are crying that they didn't know what the consequences of the vote were going to be, but I remember the mayor going on the radio and saying that if we didn't levy the taxes, services would be cut and Torontonians would feel it. So far, these cuts have only contributed a small amout to fixing the city's budget shortfall, and we will only see more painful cuts happen in the future.

Brace yourself Toronto, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Toronto is going to slip backwards in terms of climate change action and environmental conservation, the transit system is going to fall apart, and the new sewer system that is needed to prevent the dumping of raw sewage into lake Ontario will not become a reality. You're, literally, going to be up shit creek without a paddle. One city councillor has sugested that a way to cut spending is to force city employees to take unpaid days off, much like the Rae days of the 90s. Why would we put the burden of our city's debt on the backs of city workers alone, that's unequitable. Many city workers already make meagre wages, especially those who work for outdoor seasonal services and parks and recreation. They are going to be hit hard if their salaries are cut through unpaid days. Maybe city councillors should give back their 9% pay raise from last year and maybe they should give up their golf passes and take unpaid leaves. Heck, maybe they should just become volunteers! Or, maybe people should wake up and start paying for their city.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I was going to post pictures of my water skiing adventure today but Ben managed to leave his memory card at my parent's house - maybe tomorrow. Tonight we're going to go to the batting cage/mini golf with my Dad, should be interesting. Last time we went to the batting cages I managed to hit my first 65 mph baseball only to then hit my second in the wrong part of the bat and set up a resonance that travelled down my arm and numbed the whole thing. This time I think I'll be wearing gloves.

My first week of work as a transcriptionist is over and the second has begun. This isn't as hard as it originally seemed to be and I feel like I'm settling in well. A few of the clinicians have difficult accents which makes things hard and sometimes puzzling (fecaliths in a french accent doesn't sound like any recognizable word) but once you get used to someone's manner of speaking, things get easier. I would like to give some tips for dictations though:

1) Turn off the radio - it's hard enough for me to hear you let alone try to decipher which is an add for Ontario Place and which is your patient history

2) Turn off the tape if you're going to cough, it makes me deaf.

3) Ask others in the room to stop talking and laughing (see #1 for reason why)

4) Don't sneer at me or feign disbelief when I call you because you've forgotten something - you make mistakes too and I'm just trying to make everything run smoothly

5) Keep up the thank-yous. I usually get a nice thanks at the end of a tape, and it is appreciated. We both have a job to do!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I learned to water ski this weekend. My first three times getting up I managed to drag my ass in the water in a very un-ladylike way. This had the unfortunate consequence of giving me high-speed colonic irrigation with freezing cold lake water. I think I shit out about 4L of water after getting out of the water. I also managed to tear my anus. Anyhoo, when it wasn't painful, it was fun and on the fourth try I got up on my feet sans ass wake and did two tours around the lake. But, I'm not sure I'd do it again. It's not very exciting once you get over thrill of no longer having water pile driving up your asshole.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yesterday in the hopital I saw a man of around 70 wearing the greatest outfit ever: white short athletic partly see-through shorts, white polo shirt, white knee socks pulled up, HUGE HUGE SILVER BELT BUCKLE. Now if that isn't a rockstar outfit, I don't know what is.

I also sat and ate my lunch beside a gentleman who gave me some sage advice: don't ever get old. He said one day he was 40 and the next thing he knew he woke up and was 73. Time really does fly. I can't believe I'm almost 26 already and 1/2 way through medical school. I wish time would just slow down!

Work is slow today - we've run out of dictations to do so I'm just sitting her blogging. Nobody seems to care what we do when we don't have any work to do. The people who I'm transcribing for laugh at me and call me "little flying fingers". It's nice to be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pathology

Sorry I haven't posted since my new job started, but I'm exhausted. The learning curve has definitely been steep. I'm working in pathology, so the transcription has some terms and formats I'm not used to which has made the work taxing and nerve wracking. Going into day 3, I think I have the hang of it. My biggest problem is with doctors who have thick accents and whose English isn't the greatest - I read back over the dictations and often they don't really make grammatical sense so I need to do some re-working to make it make sense. My favorite are short dictations which are only 5 lines - I can whip through them really fast.

I think this experience has definitely crossed pathology off the list of specialties for me. I wasn't planning on doing an elective in path and I'm still not! I find it really depressing - lots of metastatic cancer to several organs, lots of autopsies of obese people with coronary artery disease, and lots of fetal demise. I know that it's a necessary part of diagnosis, but I couldn't do it.

Anyways, it's Wednesday, yay! The week is half over! I'm looking forward to sleeping in this weekend (I've been getting up at 6 every morning this week to drive into the city - yes, I'm now one of those people who contributes to global warming through commuting, but it's only for a month and a half and I'm staying in the city a few days a week with my parents who live down the street from the hospital).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Does anyone know how to add a password protected blog to google reader?

Well well, someone is smiling at me. I got a job through the temp agency for the rest of the summer. I am now a transcriptionist at a local hospital and it pays REALLY well. Much more than I thought I would get for these temp jobs. Now I just have to make sure I can type fast enough and spell medical terms well enough.

I'll write more soon, I'm a bit busy watching the Tour de France right now. My personal favorite, Cadel Evans, did much better than expected in the prologue and Fabian Cancellara won it with an amazing time trial. Tour time is one of my favorite times of the year - SO EXCITING!!!! I'm really rooting for Cadel to wear the yellow jersey at least once.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The weekend was long, and good. Canada day was fun, we had a big bonfire at my cottage and burned all of the branches of the trees we took down 2 weeks ago. Ben managed to get bitten to death again, which put him in a grumpy homesick mood for Saturday and Sunday :( I wish there was a way to make him stop itching without giving him antihistamines which tend to make him extremely groggy (even more than a usual person) - especially because he insists on taking the maximum dose because he's really itchy and then later regrets it. While I was gone my oregano plant shot up over night. This makes me think that i've probably been watering it too much since it hasn't done this while I've been home and diligently watering it every day. I'm going to switch to every second day and see if this new growth continues.

I probably had the worst game of golf of my life this weekend because I didn't go to the driving range or play all of last week. It's a game of lots of practice for small rewards and once I don't practice enough I lose everything I've gained - FRUSTRATING!!!! Although, I still do like it, I just like it more when I'm doing well. My sister shot a 51 though and that's awesome, congrats to her! I had some pretty good tee shots, it was my short game (chipping mostly) that was awful.

This week I'm back to being unemployed for the next two months. Today I sat around in my PJs until noon - I'm going to have to get myself moving a bit faster tomorrow! I cleaned our room and did the laundry and now I'm going off to buy some more plant seeds to plant something pretty for our room. I have two pots that currently have unruly spider plants in them that I want to get rid of and I have discovered that I really like growing things from the seed. Hopefully I'll find something that survives a bit better than the pansies I got on sale that now look really scraggly. Hopefully soon the temping agency calls and has found me some work - I don't like sitting around!

This was a really random post. I'm feeling really random today.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Writing Writing Writing


The main goal of the job I'm at is to produce a document analyzing a survey and providing a literature review of educational literature regarding sexuality education. So far I'm at 21 pages of text (double spaced, 11 pt font, 1" margins). My report that I have to hand in for school has to be under 20 pages. So, I'm going to have to do some cutting. My friend D was kind enough to read over my report and she's going to edit it for me, but I'm still not sure how I'm going to cut out at least 5 pages (I haven't written the results and discussion yet and I'm sure I'll need a few pages left over for that). It's funny, you get attached to what you've researched and written and it becomes hard to cut things out. I'm not even sure if I can recognize what's not needed - I'm too close to it. So, I might put it away for a week or so when I'm finished here tomorrow and come back to it with a fresh eye. My supervisor who has to mark it is on vacation anyways so it won't make a difference to her. I feel like I've written my masters thesis all over again!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I feel like the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock today:



I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.


Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.


I do not think that they will sing to me.
T.S. Eliot
P.S. whoever got to this blog by googling "youtub sexmassage" - What The Hell!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You show a STRONG automotaic preference for other presidents compared to Bush.

Looks like I feel the same way implicitly as I do explicitly!

Venting

You know, I'm really really really angry. I hate it when someone tells you something and gets your hopes up and then changes their mind. I applied for a research position with the college of physicians and surgeons because the person who posted the position told me I didn't have to be in Ottawa to do the job. I got really excited about the opportunity and send in my resume right away. Today I get a call asking if I can be in Ottawa for the duration of the project and the woman tells me that it's mandatory. What the hell. You can't just change your mind like that, do these people not realize that what they say has a huge impact on other people? The lady didn't even apologize when I pointed out what I had been told. Dammit. I'm really really sad and disappointed and angry. This means that for the next two months I'll have to go back to the temp agency and see what they can do for me. Argh. This really chaps my ass. I just want to work and make some money, is that too much to ask?

Monday, June 25, 2007

The anatomy of a good weekend

What makes a good weekend? This weekend was a good one due to a combination of things:
1) just enough activities to not be bored, but not so many as to prevent sleeping in
2) one good wine-induced fun time (oops, I broke my diet)
3) Shaving 3 strokes off my golf game after my golf lesson which totally revolutionized my swing - I gained 20 yards of distance in 1 hour
4) Spending it with Ben
5) Ice cream
6) Taking my blood pressure on Sunday and getting 98/66 with a heart rate of 55 - which I see as a measure of fitness.
7) Getting my pay cheque

Now the only thing that could make my life better is to get this job I applied for... cross your fingers for me. By the way, if you email in a resume, do you expect to get a note back from the person saying that they received it or should I follow up with another email (I sent it in on Thursday).

Friday, June 22, 2007

I know these things are lame but I'm tired after my long day and I just don't have the energy to post something real.

4 jobs I've held
1. Figure skating instructor
2. Coffee whore i.e. barista
3. Research Assistant
4. Engineering Technician

4 movies I can watch over and over
1. Dirty Dancing
2. Singing in the Rain
3. White Christmas
4. Pride and Prejudice

4 places I've lived
1. Toronto, ON
2. Glasgow, UK
3. Guelph, ON
4. Prisontown Ontario
(is there a theme here or what??)

4 categories of television programming I enjoy
1. Wedding shows
2. Decorating shows
3. Fashion Shows
4. Dancing shows

4 places I have been on holiday
1. Rome
2. Scotland
3. Spain
4. St. Thomas

4 favorite dishes
1. Pizza
2. Lobster
3. Chocolate
4. Ice Cream

4 websites I visit daily
1. Fat Doctor
2. Midwife with a knife
3. Dooce
4. Facebook

4 places I'd rather be right now
1. Hanging out with my sibs drinking wine
2. Rome with Ben
3. Anywhere having sex
4. The cottage

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I walked by a really seedy hotel on Bay street today and there were boxes from two massage tables sitting outside... Isn't that kind of asking to be raided by the police for running a sex massage parlour?

I got word of a job opening for July and August today. I'm going to apply and see what happens. It pays well and I can work from home - it's mostly a research type thing. I'm going to update my CV today to include my most recent job and more of my research skills and write a coverletter. Thankfully a friend of mine said she would edit it.

I've been really really fatigued over the past couple of days. Last night I went to bed at 9:00 and I still feel tired this morning. argh.