Saturday, November 29, 2008

This weekend

Hello all,
Today has been a good day. Last night I attended the section of teachers dinner at the Family Medicine Forum - it was at Hart House at U of T. My fiend Michelle and her husband were there and it was really nice to see them. Also met some other scholarship winners from Ottawa and Winnipeg. Then today at 8:30 a.m. (yawn) Ben and I were in the Sheraton ballroom waiting for my name to be announced to receive my scholarship. It was really nice. Ruth Wilson (the president of the college, stepping down this year, and a mentor of mine) gave me my award along with the man from Scotia Bank who was wearing a nice purple/blue outfit :) It was super. Ruth gave me a hug and the bank guy was fantastic - he was like 'way to go!' Then Ben and I went around and talked to people from all of the residency programs. Asked a few questions, schmoozed a bit, etc. I missed the lunch because Ben and I had horrific headaches, but I'm really looking forward to being able to go to more of the forum next year in Calgary. Unfortunately, because of my exam, I wasn't able to go to the week-day talks which looked SO interesting.

So, M and 2S asked about post-grad training in Canada. This is how it works from undergrad to post-grad.

1. Get an undergrad degree or at least 3 years of one
2. 4 years of medical school
3. Residency: Family medicine is 2 years, most other programs are 4 or 5 years, for example, obstetrics and gynecology (5 years), general internal medicine (4 years; specialty matches occur after 3rd year of IM residency), urology (5 years), general surgery (5 years), Pediatrics (4 years), etc. etc.
4. Fellowships - say you want to be a colorectal surgeon - you would go and do a fellowship after your general internal medicine specialty which vary in length - usually 2 years or more. Family medicine residents can do a variety of third year programs including anesthesia, emergency medicine and other things. These end after 1 year.
5. Start practicing :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So, my residency application is done. Well, everything is assigned anyway. Maybe I'll change something before Sunday but as far as I'm concerned right now, everything is as good as it's going to get. I know that family medicine isn't really competitive, but I still worry that I won't be able to go where I want to go and that programs won't want me, etc. I think everyone feels this way no matter whether they're applying to dermatology or psych. Anyway, there's nothing I can really do now except wait. I'm going to re-check all my program requirements to make sure I submitted the right documents, but I think things are correct.

I had a nice talk with my sister this evening and talked about Christmas, fashion advice, kids, and other stuff. It's nice to have such a nice sister who I can talk to. Finally, she stopped trying to put me in the garbage can :)

I'm excited for Christmas! Only 3 more week of work - 2 weeks of Anesthesia and one of ER before I go home for the holidays! I'm kind of sad that I'm working on December 20th but I'll still make it home for our family xmas party on the 21st. I have a lot of ER evening shifts (4pm to midnight) which kind of sucks because I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to talk to Ben. We'll have to work something out like when I used to call him in the morning when I was here and he was in Scotland. Ah, back in the day.

Ok. I'd better get to doing something useful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I realized a little while ago that I hadn't seen anything on "short white coats and stethoscopes" for a while and now have realized that it's gone private and I wasn't invited :( Google reader makes me a bad commenter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ok. I'm less anxious now, I'm only missing one letter and it's from the guy who said he was submitting them online and the deadline isn't until Friday. I need to finalize my personal letters but I'm also studying for this darn psych exam. Ugh. neuroleptics, I hate you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's really adding to my stress that two of my reference letters for CaRMS haven't arrived yet. I have enough letters to complete all of my applications but I would have like to have a bit more room to wiggle. One of the people who wrote a letter for me doesn't know me very well and I'd like to substitute another. One of the referees told me he's submitting his online - for which the deadline isn't until Nov 28, but the other person didn't even reply to my email telling him that I left a package in his mailbox. I don't even know if he got it! Dammit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I just got back from my third dental appointment - cleaning and scaling. They froze me for it because I'm a giant wuss and I hate dental work. Now I can't feel the left side of my nose, mouth or tongue. It's an odd feeling. Why does it feel like my face is swollen 3 times its normal size? It's like I've been in a bar brawl. In good news, it didn't hurt except for my middle tooth on the bottom which wasn't covered by the block. All in all a very positive experience. Take that dentist phobia!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today I:
Got two fillings
Got my hair cut
Whittled my CaRMS letter for U of T down under 500 words
Read some psych

Sounds like a full day, but you'll notice it doesn't involve any actual clinical work. This is because my attending was away, yet again, today. The hour he was in the hospital coincided with my filling. I could never do psych - all this relaxing is making me very edgy!

My hairdresser and I had a conversation about a perm today. The jury's still out on that one.

Monday, November 17, 2008


  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the closest.
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon:
"All right."

Seriously, that's the sentence. So I'm going to pick one that better represents the book: And I voyaged into him, as he into me, so that when the last small storms of love began to shake me, he cried out, and we rode the waves together as one flesh, and saw ourselves in each other's eyes.

Gotta love a bit of trashy reading every once in a while!

Personal Letters, again

So, here's my dilemma, when a program says you have a maximum of 1500 words to tell them about yourself and answer some questions - is it bad to only have 1000 words? I'm very opposed to filler fluff type stuff and want to be to the point but also don't want to look like I don't care. I'm torn!

I should really be studying right now.

I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow!

Enough randomness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

home again?

Well, if this can be called home, I'm back in it. This week is going to be hectic. Dentist again on Thursday, call Wednesday, haircut Tuesday (ok, that's not very strenuous, but still). Hoping to get to the gym tomorrow and then study study study for the psych exam. Another NBME - good thing there aren't any math questions in psych- no crazy american units!

Ben and I went to Newmarket today to check it out for residency. It's a very nice little town with a quaint main street and a VERY nice hospital. Well, it looked nice from the outside anyway! Ben is getting more into the idea of going there, especially because there is lots of snow lying about when it's all wet and rainy in Toronto!

We are in the process of finding a wedding officiant. I found one I like but he is doing a wedding at 4:00 that day. We're not getting married until 6 but it's on the opposite side of the city. I guess it really depends how long those people's ceremony is. Ours will be a quick 1/2 hour or less (we don't want to lose the light for our photos). I'm thinking it might involve some modification of a celtic handfasting. We'll see, maybe it's a bit too Braveheart :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a nice weekend. It's raining outside and our plans for tonight look like they might not come through, but despite that, Ben and I have had a really nice weekend so far. Last night we made fish pie and watched 3 episodes of the Vicar of Dibley. Today we went to give blood. Turns out they don't take British blood so Ben sat and drank tea while I gave blood, but it's the thought that counts! I think we're going to try and find some Christmas gifts for people today. Maybe we will end up at the Santa Claus parade, but it doesn't look like it. Not sure what we're going to do tonight but it's nice to have a long weekend - feels like we actually live together again!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day off

Today I have the day off. I am going to study psych if it kills me. I did a good few hours with the USMLE Case Review book and I'm going to commune with it again today. I guess it's good that Ben only gets 2 TV channels because it means I don't have that as a distraction. Today is one of those days that I wish I had a road bike to go out and ride. Instead I'm going to go to the gym whether I want to or not :) We had chinese food las night and I'm sure it's now residing in the fat on my ass. I saw this really fun british TV show last night called cook yourself thin and they made some really nice food. Some of the recipes are online but I'd like to find out if they have a cookbook.

I guess I'm doing enough procrastinating!

Ben and I are going to drive around Newmarket tomorrow to see if we like it and would want to live there. Next We need to go to Kitchener-Waterloo because Ben's never been there. Adventures!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I found out today that I need 5 fillings and possibly a root canal. This is why I dont' go to the dentist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I just submitted my residency application form. Eeek. Now to finish the personal letters. Why do I want to be a family doctor again?

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.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I just got home from running some errands and have the most annoying tension headache.

I had to re-submit my CV to CaRMS because of some date discrepancies between my CV and my Dean's letter. I hope everything is sorted out now and matches up. The submission is after the "milestone" but as the milestone is not a deadline (they keep telling us this in emails) I guess it's alright. And, if not, I have my other CV there anyways.

Maybe going to the gym will help my head. I hope so.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Well, the formal is over and I never got called. It was odd, I called in at 5 and gave the resident my pager number. She asked me if I wanted to be called or not and I was like "Whatever you prefer" and then she said that if I didn't want to come she wouldn't bother calling me but then I said "I want to learn so call me". She made it seem like there were consultations already in the emerg. It's 6 hours later and I wasn't called. I wonder if she interpreted my trepidation or unsureness as disinterest... I hope not. I hope to have at least a few busy call evenings so I have some idea of what to do when I'm on call in my R1 year. Maybe Sunday will be busier.

I feel very anxious today. I don't know why. I'm on call tonight (home psych call) and going to the med school formal until I get called. Of course I won't be drinking or anything else. I'm not sure why I feel so uneasy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today I went to body pump for the first time in a long time. A half hour ago I tried to pick up my phone and talk on it - my arm started shaking so badly that I couldn't hold it up. I guess that's the definition of a good workout?

Starting working on personal letters today. It's surprisingly easier than I thought to tell people why I love family medicine. I guess that's the sign that it's a good fit!

Just an excerpt: I want to be a family doctor because I want to treat both individuals and communities, I am a passionate patient advocate, and I am dedicated to life-long learning in all aspects of medicine. I believe that preventative medicine is the best way to ensure the future health of Canadians in the most socially and economically responsible way and I want to deliver the highest quality of care possible.

Now I'm looking for a way to increase the personality factor in my letter. I'm not one for anecdotes so I'm going to have to find another way to inject a little bit of me into the text.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Moving on

This is the time in my class of 2009's medical school career when everyone is looking forward. 'Where are you applying for residency' is the first question in most conversations with classmates. 'How is CaRMS treating you' is another popular one. This weekend Ben and I sat down and talked about my current biggest stressor: where to apply. Originally I was really stoked about going to a small program in a small city, somewhere like Kelowna or Newmarket or Peterborough or Sydney or Charlotte town. I craved the independence I have experienced doing rotations in hospitals without many residents. Talking to Ben, we have to address a few issues:
1. Jobs - Ben needs to be somewhere where he can find a civil engineering job and hopefully have a bit of choice
2. Mountains - Ben really craves being near mountains and having a sporty 25 year old carefree lifestyle
3. Togetherness - many rural programs involve travelling to different sites for large chunks of time. Kelowna, for example, involves 7.5 months away split between two different sites. This really doesn't work for us as a couple. I don't want to be separated for 7.5 months of the year.
4. Vacation and wedding - it is important to me that I get enough time off around the wedding to make it both to our Toronto and Scotland weddings - this means at least 2 weeks.
5. Not in Hamilton - Ben is sick of Hamilton and feels that it is poisoning his health (his words, not mine!)

So, I think we have a short list. It includes: Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Greater Toronto and Ottawa. I have come to the conclusion that within each of these programs I can find hospitals to work at and family medicine experiences that meet my needs and prepare me for the semi-rural practice I hope to eventually have. Plus, there are always electives and requirements for rural training in each of the programs. Each of these places has a strong engineering industry. They don't all have mountains but the ones that don't are close to my family and that is a bonus for me.

If anyone has any additional suggestions, feel free to comment.

I really don't feel like going to work today. It's dreary and cold and I haven't showered yet. Daylight savings time doesn't really work very well when there's no daylight to save.