Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When life gives you lemons, whip the lemon right back into life's eye.

There's something about working in the emergency room all day that makes me feel like drinking a Caesar, eating Oreos for supper and definitely not studying. Actually, not doing anything productive at all. 

So far, mission accomplished.

I suppose writing a way-over-delayed blog post counts as something semi-productive. As I am "serenaded" by Whimsey's shrill "I think there might be a stranger coming to kill us somewhere randomly in the neighbourhood" barks, which are different from her "I actually see someone and am certain he's coming to kill us" barks, I realize that it has been nearly a month (maybe two? I've lost track) since my last blog post.

Shame, shame.

So what is new in the chaos that is our lives? I will attempt to update in a succinct medical student manner (haha, which for those of you who know medical students, you'll attest that we're rarely succinct). 

First off, this distance relationship nonsense is really losing its novelty. At first, it was all fun - yay, time to myself, no one to tell me to stop knitting/sewing/listening to my own music/crocheting, no sharing the bed (at least not with a person- the two Royal Highnesses are a different story), getting to choose what I want to watch on TV (Slice 24/7 - for the dogs, of course).

But ya, as my time in Smalltown adds up and I drive out to Calgary every weekend, or The Mr. comes out here, we're both feeling a little bit tired of this back and forth (pun completely intended). Sadly (and perhaps overdramatically), the words "how it used to be" have been heard in these walls. 

Womp womp womp.

However, considering our journey has more or less just begun out in Smalltown (7 months left), we're looking forward to the time we have together, and making the most of our time apart. I've become more productive studying-wise, and have gotten a bit more into my beloved yoga. Whether this has anything to do with The Mr's absence, or simply my sheer boredom and loneliness, I don't know.

Mr. Sensitivity
Destructo has been taking obedience classes (ahem, The Mr. is taking him there). As we suspected, he's the star pupil in his class. Although we're thrilled to be the lucky dog parents of such a canine Einstein (I'm a Mom, let me brag damn it),  we now just know that when he is misbehaving, that he's doing it completely conscious of what he is supposed to be doing and not doing. This is frustrating, but he has become considerably more well behaved, and might I say, emotional with the recent re-arrangements of our lives. I may even consider changing his name from Destructo to Mr. Sensitive. Poor big black pumpkin. 

I look cute but really
I'm rolling in a dead worm
If anything, Miss Thing is the one who needs the training now. Little princess is giving me grey hair. She has discovered two black dogs down the alley behind our house who look similar to Destructo and insists on visiting them nearly on the daily. And without permission, might I add. Even more than before, she has decided that my pillow is really hers, and oh, by the way, how dare I try to sleep in until my actual alarm wakes me? There is a minimum 20 minute window before then that she has decided is her time to bother me. Grumble. 

The Little Stink is ever more stinky and spunky. He is still doing way better health-wise than he had been prior to moving out here to his retirement home, and he runs around like a little crazy rabbit in the backyard. 

Loving life
With a busier schedule, and with The Stink being on a diuretic for his heart failure (yes, my dogs have human problems), I thought I would trial the pee-pad method of potty-ing for him because I'm often out of the house for 4-6 hours at a time, and it's unfair to make him hold it when he's on that medication. (Haha, like he would hold it anyways).

While I have always been against this method, because I think it's silly and confuses the dog, I thought it might be beneficial in this unique situation. So off to Walmart I went for these pads.

Since the inception of this plan, the pee pads have become the following:
1. Battle arena for Stink/Miss. Thing wrestling matches
2. Dog bed for midday naps in the sunny kitchen
3. Roll-around-towels for post-bath drying

and NOT:
1. Designated places to do any business.

Believe me, I have tried to capture photographic evidence of all of the above situations but he also refuses pictures. Even while sleeping soundly, like a flattened pancake dog (you have to see it to know what I mean), if I so much as shift to snap a picture, he's standing up and acting like nothing is going on. Alas, you'll have to take my word for it:
Pee pad training does NOT work. 

So what else exciting has happened.

Oh yes, we got bikes :D With our upcoming electi-cation to Penticton in August (yippee!), and with The Mr. really wanting to be a bike commuter, we purchased two bikes recently. We have been getting a good amount of use out of them, and have been exploring different areas within both The Big City and SmallTown. I'd have to say, Smalltown takes the cake for cooler biking paths thus far.

Both Destructo and Miss. Thing are excellent bike-riding dogs, and just run happily alongside. The Little Stink just hangs out like a little sloth in his backpack, of course. Destructo has learned already not to stop directly in front of Mommy's bike already (don't. ask.), and Miss. Bims usually stays pretty well out of the way. 

We look forward to biking in Penticton as we have heard there are wonderful wineries, I mean, bike paths there. And good wineries too, of course :)

On the learning front, things have really picked up and my brain is more or less exploding on a daily basis. Things are good for the most part, my current preceptor has a crazy work ethic and probably too-high-of expectations, but we've found our common ground for the most part over our last 3 weeks working together. 

And for all of my city colleagues, I bet you can't say you put an NG tube in your own preceptor for practice. RICC win. Totally his idea, and I made him swear it wouldn't go on my evaluation.

I'm working long days, studying when I'm not there (and mostly sleeping) and trying to stay afloat. I must report though, that I love it. 
I really love it.
Clinic, ER, deliveries (2 so far!), and sometimes even OR (against my will) - it's just crazy enough for me. I can't wait to have this be my real job. 

Even saying that makes me more tired already, haha. But tonight, as promised, there will be nothing productive going on (except perhaps folding a load of laundry). Tonight is for blogging and watching Nurse Jackie, season 3. Shit, even my TV shows are about medicine.

We're going to get family photos on Saturday, so I'll probably post some of the better ones here if you're lucky (we'll see how they turn out). Hopefully, they won't be like those ones on that Awkward Family Photos website (which is pretty hilarious, by the way). 

I'm sure there is much more I could update on, but getting tired now. Will try to update sooner next time.

A latte love,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Don't count the days, make the days count.

You can decide the verdict after reading this post on whether I'm ridiculous or boring, I suppose.

Supposedly, learning is the spice of life. Or was that variety. Maybe variety of learning. Learning, learning, learning. Either applies I guess.

Man, do I have a lot to learn.

I feel like the learning:hour ratio is like at a maximum out here in Smalltown, which is exactly what I was hoping for, but sheesh it's tiring. If it's not an hour filled with learning, it's an hour scrambling up what I can for food, spending some quality time (read: studying) with the Furbabies (who are troopers, might I add - for the inconsistency of my schedule is astounding at times), or sleeping. Unfortunately probably not enough sleeping.

Multitasking has become my new norm. An example: As I type up this blog post, I'm also making a quiche and fruit salad. Haven't decided yet if I'll also make some tabouleh (spelling? tabouli? bah!). Oh, and don't forget about the two loads of laundry that are going. 

I'm making what will hopefully be a delicious and relatively nutritious vegetable quiche. I have learned that if not in some readily consumable form (ie. above noted quiche), vegetables have found a way to sneak right out of my regular diet. Ditto for fruit, hence fruit salad. Blame it on having next to no time for food prep and being sans wonderful, culinarily-blessed Husband (and yes, I realize culinarily is not a word.)

Speaking of food, I went to the local grocery store today for my 15 minute shopping trip. I still can't believe how shopping with the Mr. takes usually about an hour and costs twice as much as shopping for just myself, and the groceries last only half as long as they do for me. I suppose we now know who eats all the food usually :O)
And no, I still haven't figured out if I should be tipping the nice folks who help carry my groceries out.

There are a few other things I've realized since living separately from the Mr. First, the garbage doesn't actually magically empty itself and be replaced with a new bag every day. I think I knew this, but it has become very apparent to me lately. Also, it's a little known fact that I hate cleaning out tupperware containers of food. I can attest to detesting this since I was a young girl, and what luck, I found someone who actually likes (okay, doesn't mind) to clean out the fridge and it's many mysterious containers. Alas, I was at a loss to find not one but two containers with most probably expired contents this afternoon, eyeing me as I peeked in the fridge. I couldn't ignore them any longer and since the Mr. isn't planning on visiting this week, I couldn't wait and pawn them off on him. Humph. I succumbed and emptied them. Not a fan, not a fan. And don't even think I'm investigating any creepy noises at night.

This new lifestyle could take some getting used to, I say. 

Oh, I'm making all of this food to help prevent the acute starvation crises that I have been having spending these long-ish days at the hospital/clinic with no hope of sustenance in sight. (So what if I'm a little overdramatic. Sue me.) So I am making some ready and easy-to-scarf meals and snacks. I have also compiled a clinic survival pack of instant oatmeals, granola bars, rice cakes and microwave soup thingies for any future situations similar to last night - a hunger so evil I was driven to fast food. As soon as I was freed, I fled to the one drive-thru you can be certain to find in any small town in Alberta (no matter how small) and scarfed down a meal that most certainly brought me 1 step closer to a heart attack. I was so famished that I even forgot to take off my seatbelt before trying to get out of the truck. Laugh if you must. Unfortunately I then suffered for the night with one seriously upset stomach (and for the night, I mean until 8:30pm when I went to bed).  

Truth #2
And to think, I haven't even gotten to telling you about the whole learning-how-to-be-a-real-doctor part yet. And for those of you who think maybe my thought is getting a bit tangential, please bear/bare with me (PS. Does anyone actually use those little strawberry-leaf remover thingies when they're cutting up strawberries? Hm. A definite mystery.)

Well, the quiche is in the oven and the salad is made, the laundry buzzed but I'm ignoring it, so I'll update on the medicine-side of my life.

I'd have to say that if even half of the call shifts are as, should we say, fruitful as the ones I've had thus far, I'm going to be pretty kick-ass at this whole doctor costume by the end of this year. Yes, maybe my attempts at putting in IVs are so far 2:2 (2 success and 2 going interstitial), and in emergency situations perhaps all I'm useful for is keeping out of the way with eyeballs bigger than grapefruits in awe while "we" do an emergency intubation on a patient with flash pulmonary edema. Sometimes I hold an ultrasound probe or something equally as minimal, and I'm thankful they haven't yet depended on me to do anything seriously important. But that time is coming, grasshopper.

But I have been seeing lots of healthy and sick little kids in clinic, which is great for perfecting my physical exam skills on sometimes happy, and sometimes screaming children. I've wondered whether exposure to so many tiny terrors is good at my vulnerable pre-procreation stage of life, and hope that not all kids are as crazy as the little constipated buggers I see in clinic. All I can say is thank goodness for flavoured tongue depressors. Totally having those in my future practice.

Wishes do come true though. Yesterday, for example, I think to myself - hmm, well we haven't seen much in the way of fractures or GI stuff, or deliveries yet. And then some lady's horse decides to go opposite to the one she's leading after being spooked by a rogue moose, she falls off and bam! fractured humerus. A gent comes in with wicked RUQ pain and bam! acute cholecystitis. And to top it off, at the end of the shift, we have a 38 week pregnant lady come in with query labour. Ask and you shall receive.

Serious truth. #3.
I'm going to not think anything like that again, because talk about an exhausting shift. Sprinkle in a little dysfunctional uterine bleeding, casting an avulsion fracture of a lateral malleolus (read: broken ankle), debating about a pulmonary embolus when the nearest CT scanner is an hour away, and removing a metal foreign body from someone's eye. 
I told you it was intense.

I think that snapshot is all I can give you tonight, as I'm getting tired and The Little Stink is running around (yes, running!) doing his squeaky breathing, which tells me he either needs some mother-lovin' or to pee. It can be tough to tell, believe it or not.

Until next time. Don't hold your breath for the next post.
(Although if you happened to stop breathing, I might know what to do. Maybe.)

A latte lattes and love,