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


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.