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.


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


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

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


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...