Sunday, April 15, 2012

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra

I will.

I'd have to say it is odd to "pack" to head to your own home for the weekend. Nonetheless, I bundled up with little Furries on Friday afternoon and made the long (ahem, one and a half hours) journey back to the Big City this weekend to finish emptying the old house into the new condo, which in comparison is sizing up to a matchbox. 

While I have a few things left at the condo, with it's greatly reduced storage spaces (what do you mean there aren't three bedrooms, a large den and huge backyard?), the majority of my personal possessions and a good chunk of all that "stuff" we accumulated over the last year are causing much less frustration and cramping in their current hiding place in the house in Small Town. One of the bedrooms is more or less functioning as a free heated storage space, which is nice considering we were going to actually pay for one had we not had room to store everything.

Since being gone a week (which keep in mind is 7 weeks in dog time), The Little Stink has really come around health-wise. He's a bunch more chipper, but perhaps a bit crankier now that we're reunited with his younger and more treacherous brother. He seems to have even less patience with Destructo's antics than he had before, which was already bordering on nil. And since his bark sounds something between a dog and a baby Orca/screaming monkey of some sort, I'm sure our new neighbours are really starting to love us. Destructo just has to walk by him and the chorus begins.  

This, while cute, would definitely not be
allowed in the bachelor pad.
We did manage to get quite a bit done yesterday between The Mr. and I, and the matchbox is really shaping up into a suitable place for human (and canine) life. Shelves up, closets organized. For a while the Mr was resisting anything feminine or girly in his "bachelor pad," scoffing at my cute vinyl placemats in bright spring colours and insisting on "manly" soaps from Bath and Body Works (and I quote, "Don't they have like forest smell?"). The closest thing we managed was Orchard Pear and Coconut Lime Verbena, which are at least green, haha.

Did I mention how much I love moving? We're pretty much nomads now. Three moves in 2 years. Four if you consider my recent relocation to Small Town. How nice it will be when we can build or buy a house and never. move. again. Alas, I feel this is still in the far distant future.

Other good news: I was confirmed on an elective in Penticton, BC for August! YAY! The Mr. has the time off, and the dogs don't have any plans, so we're going to turn it into an elective/family vaca. Why the heck not! We're frantically trying to figure out our plans and locate a pet-friendly (that term is like the bane of my existence lately) vacation rental near the hospital for our electi-cation. 

So where am I spending the majority of my time lately? The hospital, obviously. With its total of 13 acute care beds, 1 trauma bed, 1 labour and delivery room and the other wing being long term care, it's my idea of a small town hospital. There are 9 total doctors and I've already met most of the staff. Can't say my colleagues in the Big City can say that ;)

But, I didn't take any pictures of the hospital really. So I'll have to show you the rest of the town. I have yet to take pictures of the house in Small Town (blame it on the folk concert on Thursday night - I'll get to that).

Ok, I lied. So there's one picture of the house. And the beautiful grass. At least this was taken pre-dumping of snow on Thursday evening. You're welcome.

Adorable coffee shop!

Carmalato: Mocha + Caramel + Chocolate Sauce = Yes please.

Like any good rural town, there are more saloons and liquor stores than anything else. This one is the Swamp Donkey. Classy establishment, even if this is a terrible picture :)

Vintage town square - tres cute!

Complete with a Pharmasave, Sobeys, BBQ/Grill,
Telus and the Walk-In/Maternity Clinic

Thursday night we were asked/voluntold about this folk concert being held in town, and "Would we like to come and help out?" Being the good medical students and newest residents of Small Town, we happily obliged. The concert was put on by a hilarious folk artist from Regina, Saskatchewan named Connie Kaldor, and between her comedic descriptions of life in the prairies, her Joni-Mitchell-like feel and her upbeat and original songs, we really enjoyed ourselves. You can check her out here.

The Mr and I will be heading back to Small Town this afternoon to hide another load in the home-away-from-home before I start my first night on call. Eek!

I'm on ER and maternity call with my preceptor. My preceptor is really great, and is one half of a husband and wife doctor team (of which there are 2 in Small Town). 

I have a good feeling about working with her, and she has high expectations and plans to achieve them. In her words, "I want you to be managing the MVAs and traumas by the time you leave. I want to be able to stand in the back and just advise, while you run the team." A huge, giant, colossal role for me to fill, but encouraging (read: petrifying) nonetheless.

I'll be needing some odds in my favor.  

Aside from learning and learning and learning to supposedly become real doctors, my Partner in Crime and I have compiled somewhat of a "bucket list" for our experiences in Small Town. I'll for sure keep you updated on what we finish as we do them, and first on our list is Ultimate Frisbee (which is held in the community centre Tuesday nights) and curling (there's a women's curling league in town, although we might wait until winter to start this up). Others include white water rafting on the nearby river, seeing wild horses and hitting up the Farmer's Market May through September. 

That's enough for today. Life is short, so I'm going to go enjoy a coffee two of my favourite people. Until next time, average of 42 anonymous readers.

A latte love,


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just in case you're here alone and need to do a vacuum delivery or cardiovert someone.

Famous first day quote #1: While on our bird's eye tour of the clinic and attached hospital yesterday, it went something like this:

"So here's the ER and labour room stock area. You should make sure you are familiar where everything is, so when you're here alone and if you need to say, do a vacuum delivery or cardiovert someone, you know where everything is."

Gulp. Can I get a holy crap.

Oh, excuse me Mr. Rural Doc, perhaps you forgot I'm pretty brand new. I guess there's nothing like an expectation to fill. 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

On the bright side, the hospital is nice and tiny. I should only get lost once or twice in the total of three hallways. We've met some of the staff, and are greeted with a big smile and "well, welcome!" most of the time. I promise to learn as many names as possible, I swear.

There is something really thrilling and equally petrifying about the apparent degree of autonomy we will have out here in Small Town. It's refreshing, but as my Partner in Crime and I can agree to, feels a touch soon with what feels like our very limited knowledge.

I like to think of this journey as a way to bring me along the spectrum of unconsciously incompetent to consciously competent. 
That is, when starting something brand new, you're often completely unconsciously incompetent - you have no idea that you have no idea. 
If you're lucky, you graduate into consciously incompetent - you are so very aware of how little you know, and how much you don't know. I'd say this is where I am most of the time right now.
Next, you'll get a bit more competent, but really have to work at it - you'll be consciously competent. I look forward to this stage, but think it will probably be either somewhere at the far end of this clerkship roller coaster and into residency.
Finally, when you've been at it for a while, you become unconsciously competent - you just know stuff, and you don't have to think about it. I'm definitely no where near this yet.
I didn't come up with this idea, but I really like it. I feel like it's really a good representation of what our dramatic learning curve in this field is like.

Other cool facts about my first few days:
1. The hospital offers two types of diagnostic imaging: good old x-rays, and ultrasound. However, ultrasounds are done by us. Yes, us. We might not know how yet, but we're going to learn. How exciting! My Partner in Crime and I have planned to go ultrasound each other one night to get a feel for it. 
There are no echocardiograms, MRIs, or CTs out here. This just got real.

2. The teen birth rates and teen suicide rates are higher here then the average in the Central Zone of Alberta.

3. There is an adorable coffee shop called Little Country Cappuccino that serves a great latte, has some adorable things for sale (my favourite was a sign that said "a cat is just a tiny lady in a cheap fur coat") and serves ice cream on warmer days. Only open until 6pm though, so no late night studying there. 

4. Wednesday Wing night in a town/village/bump-in-the-road about 40 minutes away serves wings for 35 cents each. Drinks and wings put us out 22 whole dollars. Talk about cheap dates! We were greeted by again, big hearty smiles, a few sideways "these girls aren't from around here" looks, and even a tip of a cowboy hat. This is real cowboy country. How fun.

Well, it's getting late. We have an appointment with The Town tomorrow to get some stats and info about what services are offered. We have our first session online with our other colleagues that are scattered throughout the province on Friday and our task is to show-and-tell our new digs through a slide show. 

So like tourists, we ventured out to take some pictures this afternoon. We'll be working on that tomorrow after "work". Not sure what that might entail yet, but I'll keep y'all updated. (See what I did there? ;) ) 

A latte love,


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

They bag your groceries and even put them in the car.

It has been quite a crazy week. After my last blog post where I detailed our change of plans and the Mr. needing to find a pet-friendly rental, many many things have happened. I'll try to summarize!

I had an amazing time in my low risk obstetrics elective - I really really love that area of medicine. There are no other areas really where someone goes to the hospital for a good reason and comes out (usually) with something WAY better than they went in with. It's not all good of course, and sometimes it gets complicated and scary (especially for the petrified baby doctor), but for the most part, low-risk is enjoyable because it's exactly that - low risk. 

The last day of my rotation was really something. After my preceptor explained that she had "terrible call karma," karma went ahead to prove her right and delivered us quite the share of patients. SGA, oligo, HELLP and a supposedly "resolved" placenta previa. And for those of my colleagues who are thinking "holy crap, that's anything but low risk," all of this was present in one patient. Add that to a very unfortunate still birth, some serious dystocia, a surprise frank breech delivery and a massive post partum hemorrhage, and you've got one very tired clerk. A great learning experience, but also a good reminder of my general incompetence.

At least I got to deliver a nice uncomplicated baby girl at the end of that shift, and did a little victory "I'm not completely incompetent" dance with my preceptor afterwards. 

We ended up finding a pet-friendly rental after all, a cute one at that. If not a bit small. Maybe a lot small. That's what we get for moving from a three bedroom 2-floor house with a backyard to a one bedroom condo. 

We scrambled to sell all non-essential items and furniture in anticipation of this move, yet somehow still have SO MUCH STUFF. I swear I have no idea how this happened -_-. We moved the Mr. and DevilDog into the new condo this past Saturday. We rented a moving truck and with the generous help of some of our greatest friends, we were able to move a considerable amount of shtuff into the new place. Crammed it into there like a little sardine box, only to realize there is still a massive amount of stuff at the old house. Humph.

My move to Smalltown was today. Happy and sad. We started early (as if we had a choice, thank you furbabies), loaded up a considerable amount of "essential-must-haves" into both vehicles (my hobbies take up space, what can I say, I couldn't leave home without my bin of fabric), kissed DevilDog, left him with his supposedly ergonomic dog bone (yes, you read that right - check it out) and ventured out with the Mr., Miss. Thing and The Little Stink. 

Smalltown is only about an hour and a half from the Big City, so it didn't take us long to pull up to the tiny rural hospital, be greeted with big small town smiles and be handed the keys to my new second home. We excitedly drove a block or so away (admittedly, a terrible commute), and were pleasantly surprised by the accommodations, I feel so spoiled.

The house is a one-up and one-down of two separate units. My unit is the top one (as per the landlord's request due to the furbabies), and has three bedrooms. One master bedroom with a queen bed, two closets and a 4-piece ensuite bath, a spare room with two twin beds, and a third bedroom set up as an office (read: sewing and craft room). I'll be sure to post pictures soon :)

My Partner in Crime showed up not long afterwards and her unit is just as nice, if not a touch smaller and with a bit more carpet. Each unit has brand new appliances, each has a stackable washer and dryer and we have a nice big deck and backyard. Spoiled is right. 

Miss. Thing had a really tough time settling in. Pfft. By the time her squeakies were out, she was running around flipping them in the air like she owned the place, full of excitement at the reunion with her favourite babies (since Destructo Dog came, they had been put away for their own protection). 

Unfortunately, The Little Stink has not been feeling the greatest since the first move on Saturday, and is having quite a bit of trouble getting around :( So he's been a little slower to adapt to the moves, and we hope he'll perk up a bit more after he settles here in what the Mr. calls his "nice quiet retirement home." With Destructo in the Big City, there will be less excitement around the house, and it might be easier on him. He seems happy and able to rest now, just needs a bit more help to get around than usual. 

Naturally at least 2-3 bad or unlucky things have to happen to make this a balanced day, so I of course left my purse at Quiznos to start. This was inconvenient, because Quiznos is in a nearby town about 25 minutes away that the Mr. and I had gone into to go to Walmart. I had forgotten both pillows and a comforter (bad thing #2) and so needed to pick up those essential items. When we got back to the house and I frantically realized my purse mistake, the Mr. had to turn around and drive back, pick up my purse and turn around to come back. During that time, I had to meet my preceptor and have a tour of the clinic and hospital, and so didn't have time to go back with him. He came back to the house while I was still at the hospital, and left with my cell phone in the car (#3 unlucky thing) and drove back to the Big City to be with Destructo. 

The landline doesn't call long distance. The resident loaner cell phone doesn't call long distance. Apparently, the Mr.'s cell phone is considered long distance. Bah humbug. And to top it all off, I forgot/lost the paper that told me the internet password for the house, so I couldn't even use my iPad to message him. I love when things like that happen. So without a cell phone and no access to the internet, I was sufficiently cut off and feeling like a big-city girl in a very small town. Alone. Bahhh.

The internet password has been obtained now however, as I am able to write this post. Success #1. It can only get better from here.

No rest for us though, as I am driving back to the Big City tomorrow to help move the last of our shtuff out of the old house. I have the day off to settle in and become acquainted with my new digs. With all of the room in this place, we're planning on using the extra room as a free storage unit (yay!) and will be packing it chock-full of our random crapola. 

After a nighty-night Skype session with the Mr. (you'd think we hadn't seen eachother in days), a sufficiently long blog post, and enough moving for at least three more years, I'm off to bed with my small furries in tow. We will awake for more moving (yippee). 

I promise to share pictures of both of our new living spaces, as well as update on my first exposure to the hospital, the clinic and small town life. So far, I have gone grocery shopping, chatted with the friendly cashier, and had a nice conversation with a man who not only bagged my groceries, but brought them out and loaded them in the car. Talk about small town hospitality.

A latte love from a little town,