Sunday, March 30, 2008

The proposal

It was very exciting because it was SUCH A SURPRISE!!!

I drove back from Kingston Airport to Toronto after my 3 weeks in Moose Factory. As per my previous post, I was really missing home and really excited to see Ben! When I got home he came out and met me at the car in the front of my parent's house. He gave me a huge hug and then suddenly he got down on one knee with a Tiffany box in his hand and asked me to marry him! It was surreal and wonderful. I haven't slept in 2 days I'm so excited. He gave me a small ring so we can go shopping for the real thing. We spent a day looking and found something I like - now we just have to find it somewhere else cheaper! I think I've located a potential winner, so we'll go on the weekend to see it. We've decided on a pink sapphire mixed with some tiny little sparkley diamonds. We'll probably get married in the summer of 2009 after I graduate. Everyone from my class will be getting married then! We'll probably have two things - one here and one in Scotland. I can't wait to be married!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ready to go home

I've been really down for the past 2 days. I think it's because I'm ready to go home. I miss Ben, I missed being there for Easter with my family, I'm tired of this little green house of blankness. The really odd thing for me is that I have a very ominous feeling, like I'm just waiting for something to go wrong. I'm not sure where it has come from. I can't seem to shake it. Tomorrow I go to Kashechewan. I've been guaranteed that it's going to be an eye opening experience.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Remind me next time I go to dinner with Eastern Europeans not to drink as much as they do

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today my dentist roomie Sylvie and I took a trip to Moosonee for some groceries and supplies....One of the guys who works at the hospital was nice enough to pick us up in his truck and give him a ride back! It was chilly out there...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dog Treats

I gave in and bought some dog treats today for my two favorite pals: Atim and Brown Doggy.

This is the teepee (also spelled tipi...) that's in my neighbour's garder that my roommate Sylvie is OBSESSED with going into.

Monday, March 17, 2008


This is the dog that adopted me today for a walk. I call him Atim, which means dog in cree.

The walk was BEAUTIFUL. It was +1 today and nice and sunny. The general surgeon told me about this path he walks regularly.

These colourful strips of fabric are tied to trees around a house down the road from me. Apparently the man who lives there does sweat lodges. I wonder if these having some spiritual significance.

Happy St. Patty's

I'll be going to bed now.... post call... up all night. Another night of bleeding - seems to be the story of my life!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


It is really surprising how much Christianity (especially the born-again variety) plays a role in this society. There are several churches on Moose Factory Island and in Moosonee. Next weekend is Easter and I'm wondering what it's going to be like here. I wonder if the lasting effect of christianity has something to do with the lack of traditional pursuits here.

When I came here, I naively thought there would be a lot more traditional activities happening like drumming, dancing, crafts, hunting, etc. This probably has a lot to do with my preconceived ideas of aboriginal society. There is some hunting, but a lot of it is done with a different attitude than traditionally ( not hunting for food but hunting for pleasure leads to a lot of people killing more than they need and leaving carcasses in the dump or the bush). The only people doing crafts are the elders, who are in their 70s and 80s and won't be around forever. There is at least one person I know of who does traditional sweat lodges in the community.

Last night a bunch of medical people were at someone's house and this topic came up. Apparently they have noticed the same things about the community. Next on my 'to do' list is to find an elder who will sell me some traditional goods like moccasins and mittens. I hope I can find them to have some keepsakes of my time here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Project

So, I'm starting to cook up a new project. Something really useful for the people here and the docs. I'm not going to say what it is until I get the go ahead from the surgeon I"m working with. Let's just say I'm pretty excited!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aurora Borealis

Oh man, the Northern Lights yesterday were just amaaaaazing. After a chance encounter with some new friends over pie at the eco-lodge, we headed out onto the frozen river to look at the stars. When we got there, all we saw was a halo of green extending over the sky. Slowly it changed into a spiral and then some more vertical shapes.

We're having a potluck at our house tonight for some of the students/residents/dentists who are living around us. Hopefully we'll make some new friends!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting used to feeling like an idiot

There are lots of diseases here that are much more common in the native population than in the general population of Canada. For example, Alport's syndrome and IgA nephropathy. These are things I:
a) hardly remember learning about (Alport's we learned in ENT not in nephro)
b) have never seen

Consequently, I don't think of them in my differential when I should, and look like an idiot when I am asked about them in clinic.

The experience of being here is really good. I'm doing a bit of everything. I did some surgical assist yesterday. We had a few gastro-type cases and then there was an emergency section. Mom and baby were both fine, but it was a bit hairy for a while.

I have two roomies here. A crazy french girl from Montreal and a guy from Richmond Hill. They're both dentists and it's great to live with people here. Much less lonely than it could be otherwise. Today I had the day off so I'm chilling and doing some laundry. I'm supposed to be off tomorrow too but I asked the general surgeon if I could come to his clinic - I'm just too bored staying home! Then on Friday I'm doing home visits, which should be eye opening.

Overall, I'm having a great time but also miss Ben at home. I'm not sure I could live up here forever on my own, but I would sure love to work somewhere with a similar scope of practice!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Went walking around with my roomie today. We were originally going up to the Northern (the grocery/everything store) but realised when we got there that it was closed on Sundays!

We then went to this shop that has no sign so I'm not quite sure what it's called. Got some batteries for my camera so now I'll be able to take some snaps and show them when I get back!

THere are SO MANY stray dogs here. Big ones, small ones, huskies, collies, labs, makes me want to take one home... until they start wrestling with each other and making a ruckus! Apparently they have a cull every year of stray dogs because if they're left to their own devices, they'll form packs and attack village children. So, no collar, get culled. Even so, there are lots of dogs with collars wandering the streets!

I'm looking forward to my first full day in family clinic tomorrow!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Last night

Last night was awesome from a medical point of view. My preceptor did call my supervising doc for the night to tell them I'd be late so that we could attend the Weeneebeg Aboriginal film and video festival. It was really good - the films gave me a great perspective of native life. There was a film called Mino Bimaadiziwin (Touching the sky) that chronicled an all-native school's attempt to get kids to sign up to a challenge whereby they wouldn't use drugs or alcohol for a whole semester. Of 75 or so kinds who signed up for the challenge, 18 made it to the end without drinking. Better success rates than most drug/alcohol rehab programs. Fantastic film. Then there was one called "Miss Navajo" - it's about a Navajo "beauty pagent" that's so much more. It was both tranditional skills sections, which involve things like the slaughter of a sheep, and modern talents. If you can get a copy of this doc, it's super.

In my night on call I saw some neat stuff. DKA, pediatric intubation, PPROM, some toxicology in action. The stuff you learn algorithms for in med school! The DKA case was especially interesting because it's a balance act between insulin, D50W, potassium, fluids, and bicarb. Biochemistry at its best!

Tonight I think I'm just going to chill at home. Maybe make some chili and watch movies with my new dentistry student roomie!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

tomorrow morning i leave for an elective in Moose Factory. I'm both excited and apprehensive. i don't know what it will be like being a vegetarian in Moose. I have no idea what the experience will be like. I could only take 25 lbs of luggage, so no laptop. I'm not sure how i'll be able to connect with the internerd. I hope my cell phone works. I hope my calling card works. I'm stressing a little bit and haven't had much sleep lately. So, i guess i'm going to bed!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

perhaps I should have gone to Wendy's and had their new fish sandwich instead. Regardless, today was a better day. Had a surprise cancer diagnosis, but other than that most people were pretty straight forward. Worked with a great doc who has offered to write me a reference letter for CaRMS. So, one for the good guys.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Saw patient die tonight in ER. Cried in car after shift. Had McDonalds Fillet O'Fish to make myself feel better. Didn't work.


Each year the Canadian College of Family Physicians gives one third-year medical student from each Canadian medical school a $10,000 scholarship. The winner is chosen based on a desire to pursue a career in family medicine, a demonstrated involvement in extracurricular activities involving family medicine, electives in family med, research in family med, and family medicine related awards. Two reference letters are also required.

The application involves writing a one-page essay about why one deserves the scholarship. I hate writing things like this. I want to win it, and I think I deserve it, but I think it's hard to seem humble and like a nice person and write all these great things about myself. I also hate actually writing out "I deserve this scholarship because..." so I'm trying to figure out a better way to say that.

I've tried to write this a couple of times so hopefully I'll be able to strike a good balance soon. It's frustrating me!