Saturday, 30 May 2015

Hunting Trip

We spent yesterday, as we have many Saturdays, at the beach. It's finally just warm enough that we can hang out and laze around in the sun. Being very fair, I spend a lot of time in our beach tent so that I don't burn, but it's still lovely to just lay in the sun for a while (after applying a generous amount of sunscreen!) 

I came to the realization I need better sunglasses. The over-the-glasses ones I have are awfully ugly, but they are great for driving since I hate those clip-on ones and I just never got around to buying a prescription pair. I definitely should get some while I still have really good vision coverage since that ends when I finish work in a few weeks. Of course this has me thinking about all the other little finalizing things I need to do.

One thing I really need to figure out ASAP is whether I should do a house hunting trip, rent sight unseen via realtor, or whether I should just ask someone local check out a couple places once we've narrowed things down. We're wary of ending up in a place with dampness, bug, or rodent issues and you really can't tell that stuff from photos. We also want to get a place that will work for the full three years we'll be there since we just won't have time to move, but I don't want to leave it until the end of June to find a place. 

I definitely want an extra room to be an office which can double as a guest room. With us being back in Ontario, some of our friends from Ottawa will be coming to visit so we want to ensure we have space to allow for that. Also, to put someone from a regional campus up for MF1 and let out of town applicants stay during interviews. 

Still have a bit of time to decide on a house hunting trip, but it want to have it figured out soon as I need to book my flight soon if I want a good deal. 

For now, I'll happily stay at the beach all day when it's nice. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Making Decisions

currently use an iPad mini in my day to day computing, and I have a somewhat geriatric laptop which I've been using for school stuff. The keyboard is broken and I can't find the part but it seemed pointless to replace when I can just use a Bluetooth keyboard. I decided to wait until I got into med school to replace it. 

Now that day has come so I'm evaluating my options which will probably take weeks because I'm horribly indecisive with this stuff. I really hate spending money on myself but I'm required to have a (presumably functional) computer so I'm trying to get something well-suited to my needs. The device I think will work best is more than I've ever spent on a single thing for my own use, vehicles excluded, so I'll probably spend at least a month talking myself into and out of it repeatedly. 

I gave my boss my notice at work. My last day will be June 19th, which gives me about five weeks to relax a bit while preparing for the move, plus three weeks after. I consider this a treat for myself, as I was originally planning to work until July 10th. This is the last time I'll have any prolonged time off until graduation so I intend to enjoy it and use the time to ensure I'm at my best before I start the marathon of medical training.

It feels really weird that everything is coming together since I had pretty much talked myself out of thinking it possible. It's still hard to believe I'm actually starting med school this fall. 

I have a piece of paper sitting beside me that reads, in part, "[Kay] is a medical student at..." and I am still having a hard time really believing it. Now that the last pieces are being sorted out and it's actually for sure happening, I am still often in a bit of a state of disbelief.  I'll be leaving my job and will never work as anything but a doctor ever again. Still hard to believe it. 








Thursday, 28 May 2015

Humbled

I wrote very heartfelt thank you letters to my professors who wrote my LORs. It means a lot to me that they were willing to support my application and I expressed as much. While I did thank them (profusely) before now, I waited until I knew I got in so I could include my final result in the letter. I left the notes in their offices.  

Just got an email from one of them congratulating me and reiterating that he thinks I'm well suited to medicine. Gave me a huge smile first thing. 

This process has, above everything, been humbling. I am not generally a prideful person, but this whole process has shown me yet again, in many ways, that success is never a purely individual achievement. 

First, my husband. I cannot describe how amazing he is. From handling sick kids so I stay healthy during exams to flying across the country to work outdoors in the winter for months at a time to support us, he has made everything possible. He is indescribably wonderful and has worked far harder than I have to make this happen. 

I have benefitted from the wisdom of many people who have done this before me - collected in the premed forums, on blogs like Medaholic, and by med students and experienced physicians and residents who have words of wisdom for the next cohort. Other moms at Mothers in Medicine have helped me see how this future can work for our family. 

All these people in our lives - from my still-tight high school friends to my close friends here on the Island to my professors and my amazing coworkers - have been sources of unending support and positivity. Friends have been shoulders to lean on when the stresses have peaked and I've doubted my sanity. My boss has looked out for me because she is a mentor as much as she is a manager. 

I've had help from colleagues. A member of the class above me put me up for my interview (a favour I'll be paying forward next interview season,) a member of the class of 2018 at MUN helped me prepare for interviews and drove me to my own. My (former) family doctor even voiced her support before I wrote my MCAT and my current family doctor reminisced with me about her med school days and wished me luck. I've had help sorting out the funding part of my education and now that it is handled, I can move forward and ensure I fulfil my potential. 

There have been innumerable words of wisdom, tips, tricks, messages of support, kind gestures. 

All I did was make a plan and stick to it. I've had the path for me paved by the kindness of others - many of whom I've never met and some I probably never will - and I am looking forward to the many opportunities to pay all that kindness forward. 

My posts in the last months have, by times, been quite despairing and gloomy - though I'm far more candid here than I am offline. I've had a rough year and managed to get through it with the help of many, though I did my fair share of moping at home. 

It's amazing how fast things turn around.  

Every spring, the Island wakes up from winter quite suddenly. We go from having bare trees rattling in the breeze to an explosion of green dressing every street in a hundred hues. This week, the Island shook off the last of winter and my home came alive again, much like the rest of my life. 

I am immensely fortunate to be where I am, and I have so many people to thank for it. 





Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Things That Make Me Smile

I'm having one of those days that remind me that I occasionally need to revisit why it is I'm doing all of this and how I'll get through it. 

Firstly, this made me smile today:


I love it when numbers line up like that. 

In the exactly two months since I hit 100,000 views, I've had 23,456 more. It took me over a year and a half from when I started to get to 30,000 so this is really quite fascinating to me. I find it funny that so many people read this, but then I read personal blogs too so I suppose people read this for the same reason I read others.  

I was reflecting this morning on why I'm going into medicine. I just got confirmation today that my LOC is approved so I'm definitely off to med school this fall. 

It's a topic I've addressed here before and I know it is something that we can lose sight of from time to time in the actual pursuit because everything can be so stressful while trying to get into medical school.

This morning, I dropped off my eight year old son at school. He got out of the Rav, looked me in the eye and told me he loved me and that he'd have a fantastic day and that he's looking so forward to his concert tonight. He has two speaking lines. This is the kid who, four years ago, could barely string together a few meaningful sentences. Who couldn't get through a few hours around other kids without a meltdown. 

With the constant attention of his fantastic paediatrician who has guided us through the last six years, he has come a long way. Like a good paediatrician should, she has made a difference for our whole family by treating my son.

I'm thinking about the doctor who finally helped me to quit smoking. 

I'm thinking about the doctor I've seen in emerg here several times who was so amazingly kind and compassionate during my very worst moments. Who knew with practiced skill that I needed that hand on my shoulder to keep me grounded. 

I'm thinking about the patient who wrote this note on the whiteboard in emerg, a tiny note of hope while my mother went into cardiac arrest twenty feet away and my son gasped his way through pneumonia. 



Given how things have played out, above all I'm thinking about the doctor who so long ago who put a stethoscope into my hands and let a sick little child know what's possible. 




Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Changes to Come

Since I'm not a premed anymore, technically, I need to come up with a new blog title. I'll keep the same address, just have the new address redirect.

I was thinking Mom Meets Med, Maritime Med, Mother Doc, Mom's Going Med. "Going Med" alone was taken, but I do like that one too. I'm open to suggestions as I'm not strong on wit. 

This is the sort of hard-hitting decisionmaking that occupies me these days, when I'm not tearing my hair out. 

I'm REALLY stressed out right now, to be honest, even though I realize stressing myself out does no good and I realize compared to yesterday's post is a bit of a departure. There is a non-zero possibility I may have to defer and I am uncomfortable with that. There's a non-zero possibility I'll be able to attend without problems. At the moment, I don't know what the relative likelihoods are so I have no idea how to feel. 

But today, for the first time, my son expressed that he'll miss living here. He said he loves it here because it's so peaceful, and he's going to miss how pretty it is. 

Me too, kid. Me too. 


I suppose we could do worse than another year here. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Steeping

There's a certain ritual to brewing tea. A certain timing, a practiced dance of movements that is completed without thought, and then a necessary pause, a fantastic time to collect one's thoughts. I'm a bit at odds in some ways because, while I enjoy my modern conveniences, I like to do some things in such a way that they become exercises in patience because I am not naturally someone who tolerates waiting very well. So I practice patience. 

Lately, I have needed lots of patience. 

Nearing two weeks since my acceptance, and whether or not I'll be able to manage to go this year is still up in the air. I dislike uncertainty but, well, refer to the above. I need to be patient. I have been given information that may help, and I have hope, so that's what I'm focusing on. 

Nothing can be done this late in the evening, so I'm just sipping some spice tea and listening to my kids giggle and bicker while they run our obliging dog to exhaustion (they're playing soccer.) My kitchen smells lovely; I'm making stir fry for supper using some chicken broth I made last night. The sun is shining, warm breeze blowing through the windows, and life is good. 

There's some difficulties, some speed bumps, but things will get sorted out and life will move on. 

I just need a little bit more patience. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Footprints

It's with considerable amusement that I took a look at my blog stats yesterday and noticed that someone in my family of origin (meaning relations other than my husband and kids) has been searching my blog. Blogger shows you the keywords people searched when they click through, and it's pretty obvious from looking at them who has been searching which is why I'm amused by it. 

Of course this has me thinking about privacy and anonymity from the new perspective I need to adopt.  The Canadian Federation of Medical Students has published Recommendations for Social Media. As I am now a student professional, and very aware of how not anonymous the internet is, I really do have to think about this differently. 

I've kept my online presence relatively sanitary particularly because I don't try very hard to be anonymous. I'd rather just be careful all the time about what I post instead of worrying someone will uncover something I thought sufficiently anonymized. There are no secrets on the internet. As I've been online since I was younger than my son now is, I can't guarantee that's perfect, but in a general sense it's accurate. 

I don't drink to excess, do drugs, participate in illegal activities, or anything of the sort so I'm not worried about references to/images of those things arising since they don't exist. Being boring has its benefits. I have some political stuff online, but while some of it is in passionate defence of the underprivileged and marginalized, I highly doubt any of it would be considered unprofessional. 

Of course I've googled myself and I know what is out there connected to me. I think everyone should do that now and then. We all leave footprints online.

I have written this blog with the general restriction "would I be okay with someone I know offline reading this?" As several people I know offline do read it regularly (hi, guys) I'm satisfied. It's pretty obvious that I don't make this anonymous, though I do make a slight effort to leave out some keywords so as to reduce the chance it will come up when googling my province, workplace, etc. Reverse SEO, if you will. 

My plan for the summer is to read through my posts to see if there's anything I really need to consider changing the settings on. I'll re-evaluate my content with the thought of "how would my patient/preceptor/professional college feel reading this knowing I wrote it?" being the guiding principle. 

Honestly, I think I'm probably pretty good from that perspective but I'll be reviewing anyway, just to make sure there's no particularly horrible posts I forgot about.

But for the moment, I'm going to finish my tea, go make some biscuits, and enjoy my first truly lazy Sunday since the school year let out. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Summer Zombies

My son's school had a pancake breakfast every year to fundraiser for their grounds improvements. We're on our way there right now.

My son is talking to my daughter about going to elementary school and how she'll be joining him at his school and how much she'll love it. Issues aside, he really is a fantastic big brother and he adores her completely. 

We're looking at the possibility that we may move into a two bedroom (sans LOC, our finances will be extremely tight) which will mean the kids would have to share. I'm pretty sure most kids wouldn't be, but they are thrilled at the idea. They are best friends and I absolutely love that this is the case. 

We just passed a graveyard and my daughter asked about it. My son told her "those are dead people." 

My daughter immediately asked "there's no zombies in there, right?!"

I love these kids. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Things to Miss

I'm sitting at the window table of one of my favourite little places in town, watching people go by. It's a small cafĂ©/restaurant. The food is pretty much uniformly fantastic, at pretty decent prices, so I pop here for lunch now and then when I'm at work on a lovely day. 

If you're ever in Charlottetown, it's called Leonhard's and it's right downtown. 

I'm getting a bit sad about all these places I'm going to miss. While I realize that there are plenty of places in Hamilton I'll have time to discover, and more than one restaurant with Pho, it's unique places like this that make you miss somewhere you used to live. 

I'm going to miss the beach and the woods, the stream and my gardens, the big farmer's market and the country market on my road. It's going to be a big change. Our entire world is shifting in a couple of months. We left Ontario for a reason and those reasons haven't changed, but it's necessary. I'm just nervous about it, about my kids having to deal with fenced yards and bigger schools, loud places. 

It's not that it is worse or inherently bad, it's just not us. 

My amazing salami sandwich with Havarti and cucumber just arrived, so I'm going to go eat that, and enjoy this place while I can. 







Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Attention to Detail! [Episode IV]

I pulled my bureau reports (you should do this annually. I... am not perfect about that) and took a look the other day, as I mentioned. 

I missed one very important thing while reviewing. Something I have passed over while examining my reports at least three other times. A mistake. 

One of my old credit cards from a long time ago shows on only one of my reports (it's fine on the other) as being repossessed three times more than a year after I paid it off and closed the account. This is quite obviously a mistake, since it's impossible, and I have documentation which proves it. I've submitted an amendment request to the creditor and will dispute through the bureau if they don't fix it. 

When my advisor said I was being denied because of a repossession (he only said this today; he'd just told me last week it was because of problems with an account with that bank I used to deal with) I immediately started worrying about identity theft.  

I'm really annoyed that there is a mistake on my report and I missed it until now. Lots of peoples' credit reports have mistakes. Yours might too, and it can cause serious problems for you. 

Everyone can check their own report annually without cost or impact on their credit - you don't get your score this way, just a printout of your report by mail. You can pay to access your bureau profile online, which is awfully convenient and you  can get your score that way. I recommend it to anyone, but particularly non-trads who actually have credit histories. It's easy for mistakes to slip in or for identity theft to go unnoticed. In this case, I have documentation proving it is a mistake and I will hopefully soon have a "oops, our bad" letter from the creditor which will allow me to get an LOC. It should be relatively easy to repair. If I didn't have proof, it might be harder. 

Time will tell. 

Good thing I kept - and properly filed - my documents. That's important too. 




Unrelated photo. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

It Has Begun

We've given our landlord notice and have started the moving cleaning. 

Coming from a military family, moving means cleaning EVERYTHING. Scrubbing the baseboards, in and out of every bit of furniture and whatnot. A lot of stuff can be started now, a lot needs to wait until closer to the day. 

We decided we'll be looking for a place for August 1st and we will leave the Island on July 31, driving over two days. We might make it three and stop in Ottawa for a day to see friends that we haven't seen in years. It only really adds the cost of a hotel room. 

That timetable gives us three weeks in Hamilton to get stuff sorted out before orientation. It's not long for my husband to find work, but he'll take whatever he can find right away and will work to find something better once the pressure is off. We'll have some time to go do some fun stuff, help the kids settle in. 

Still not looking forward to the loading part. I don't mind packing so much, I just loathe loading. We will likely bribe friends with beer, barbecue, and cookies to help with the truck loading. We don't drink more than the occasional bit of wine, but beer is practically currency in the Maritimes so it'll do. The trick is not to have too much, or very little work gets done. 

With just over ten weeks to go, the timeline is short but not impossible. Just have to keep disciplined about it all. 







Sunday, 17 May 2015

Projecting

I'm working out the budgets for Hamilton. We're looking for a place, since places for August occupancy are already coming up, and so we need a range of rents to look at which means making some assumptions. I am basing everything on the assumption that we will not have the LOC and that I will only be able to access enough loans/bursaries to cover my tuition and fees. 

Basically, nothing for living expenses except what we earn and I'm projecting my husband will earn 30% less. I'm covering our bases and assuming less, while hoping for more. This is the minimum scenario, but I'm sure it will probably work out better. 

I'll likely be working part time. I realize everyone says not to work during med school, but if it comes down to that or living in a tiny place in a dangerous area, I'll work. My kids have spent their childhoods in the idyll of the Island countryside - cities are different, and I want the move to cause as little disruption as possible. 

We definitely will have to make some sacrifices - probably the size of our residence and yard will be the most significant - but I'd like to live in a halfway decent neighbourhood that won't result in us having horrible commutes.

Fortunately, our budget isn't too restrictive and should allow for this. We just have to sort it out so we can avoid needing after school care (which costs more there than here by a wide margin) for the kids.

Still, feels better having made the projections. If I do manage to work out the LOC, all the better and then I won't need to work, but at least I have a range to work with now and can get moving on really looking for a place.





Saturday, 16 May 2015

Speed bump #1

That I have struggled financially in the past is something I've been fairly open about here. Anyone who has dealt with the realities of living lower income will know where I'm coming from. I am having a less than smooth time getting a med student line of credit, apparently because of accounts that had issues but which I paid in full and closed years ago. I was young, stupid, and got myself into trouble nearly ten years ago. I freely admit to a significant component of stupidity in that string of bad decisions, but I fixed it, which took several years, and moved on. 

That the old accounts were closed at my request and in good standing for the last 3 years they existed is all reflected on my reports so I'm unsure *why* they are considered a problem, but apparently are. I pulled my bureau reports myself and took a look. Not perfect, but hardly terrible and I know people with far worse who have gotten approved so I just need to be persistent. 

This is where being a non-trad who has had financial struggles can come back to bite you. People talk about how hard it is to get declined for the LOC and that might be true if you're a traditional student who has just a credit card and student loans and no other history, but it seems they are not so easy to get for those with imperfect pasts, even if the recent past isn't so bad. Besides my student loans, which are in grace, I have one credit product to my name and it has a small limit and is up to date, but my past from 4-7 years ago, which isn't even that horrible, is sufficient to disqualify me. 

It's frustrating, but we're not by any means out of options so it's not time to give up hope. I'll do what I can to secure a med student LOC at any institution. It is the best, easiest option for us (and I'm ready for something to be easy for once!) but if I can't get one we can still manage, it will just mean more of the same forced frugality for 1-3 more years. But there's a very bright light on the horizon and things will get better, no matter what. 

For now, we're preparing for the move under the assumption that we will not have LOC access unless proven otherwise, as it is the safer option given our limited timeframe. Hopefully we will because it will make ings a lot easier, though. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Checklist for Change

I'm a checklist sort of person and so the fact that McMaster includes a checklist on the page of documents for which they send a link with your acceptance made me feel right at home. 

It's just the stuff relating to the school, though. I have a whole lot more to do and most of it depends what I hear back from the bank. Once I have confirmation of my LOC, then the ball really starts rolling. 

So far I've done the following:
- confirmed my acceptance of the offer (SAM and by form with my proof of citizenship)
- booked appointment with my doctor for serology/TB test/health form
- emailed local centre to register for my basic life support training
- advised my boss I'll be leaving work by July 10 at the latest
- applied for LOC
- looked up school registration info for the kids
- spoken to several people in/from Hamilton who have lots of information
- made checklist of house attributes to look for 
- had cake because my husband made me a celebratory cake

Still to do (once I get the LOC confirmed)
- give notice to landlord for end of July (maybe mid July. We're not sure yet. Sort of depends what we find)
- get 3 moving company estimates
- speak to realtor about finding a house - we want to rent, but realtors can help with that 
- find a house. Will likely involve a trip. 
- decide on end dates for work, give notice
- notify daycare of termination date
- final appointment with Dr B for my son so she can make her referral since she knows someone in Hamilton to send us to
- notify school board in Hamilton so that we can start the special needs services ball rolling (I still need more info, since school registration is at the end of August  but I need to talk to them before that)
- pack
- arrange for utilities off here and on there 
- pay for people to load the stuff (I hate loading moving trucks)
- drive to Hamilton 
- try not to weep while leaving the Island. 

This is going to be such a huge change for us. Hamilton is huge, comparatively. My son has no recollection of living in Ontario and my daughter has never once left the Island so they are both in for a culture shock. 

This morning something happened which  was so telling of what the Island is like. I dropped off the car at my husband's work and grabbed the bus to my work. I dropped my student ID/bus pass without knowing it and then not not ten minutes after I got to work, I got a message from my friend who works at the mall on the other side of the city. Someone found my ID and knows she's my friend so they brought it to her at work. I have NO idea who this person was. But that's the Island for you. :)

We have so, so much to do. Right now I'm just waiting to hear back from Scotia regarding the LOC and once that's taken care of, everything is a go!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Reviewing the Day

Three years ago Sunday, in my first post on this blog which I have revisited occasionally to measure my progress, I posted the following words:

One year from today, I will have a 4.0 GPA. 
Two years from today, I will begin intensive studying for the MCAT.
Three years from today, I will be holding an acceptance to at least one Canadian medical school. 
Seven years from now, I will introduce myself with the title 'Doctor' because I will be able to.

I did have a 4.0 in my first year. Wrote my MCAT a year ahead of schedule. So that was check and check. 

And point three, CHECK! When I saw the "Offer of Admission" subject line, I actually whooped in surprise then threw my phone on my desk and ran over to my coworker's desk yelling "I got into medical school!" In my excitement, I totally forgot about the fact that I have a sprained ankle and I fell rather hard into the wall but I was far too excited to care. My ankle is currently making me really, really regret that, though. 

Various coworkers all around the floor who had heard me (I swear, I probably sounded like someone who had won the lottery) were congratulating me and coming by my desk to wish me well. Just absolutely fantastic day. My boss was all smiles. 

Today has just utterly blown me away. By the time I left work I had a bucket of messages to respond to and offers of help and information with regards to moving to Hamilton. A coworker in Hamilton has offered me a place to stay if I need to come down for house hunting or anything. 

I've written to the local (to Mac) rep for Scotia's professional student line of credit. I need to get that rolling, since it will be necessary to have that in place to move the family. Without it, things will be sticky, so that's the next hurdle. Without it, my family will either stay behind for a year or I will have to defer. 

Once that's in place we'll give notice to the landlord for the end of July, arrange to see some properties in Hamilton around the end of June, and then get ready to go. I can pack the house on my own in less than a week if I'm not working. I'm not actually sure what date I'll finish working. 

It's all just very surreal, still. I can't believe all this work has finally paid off. I keep re-reading my email over and over. Seeing that Congratulations! every time just makes it a bit more real. 

I'm actually going to be a doctor. Just... wow. 

Doodling at my desk. 

Summer redirected

I have been accepted to McMaster, starting August 24. 2016. 

I am shaking too much to type much. 

Holy hell. I didn't think this would happen. 

Over twenty years of hope and three years of insane hard work. Holy cow. 

Thank you so much, everyone. You have kept me going. Thank you, thank you. 

Edit: I've removed the screenshot of my acceptance email.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Birdy

'Hope' is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb- of Me.
-Emily Dickinson

I've loved birds most of my life. They are intelligent and beautiful, full of energy and life, and so very adaptable. I have also had a deep and abiding love of poetry since I was my daughter's age. 

When I first read this poem - it must be around twenty years ago now - it seemed so apt. While I realize she was not describing birds as embodiments of hope, but describing hope as a bird, it still seemed perfect to me. Combined with my love of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, it seemed only right.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is about working ever harder towards perfection, no matter how much it sets you apart. It is about being called to something more than oneself, toward perfect knowledge.

Tonight, while awaiting the results of three years of hard work, and more than twenty years of hope, I am reflecting on that little song that has been sung in my soul for so long. That faint light on the horizon that has guided me through these years. 

Tomorrow might be the start of something even greater, or might feel like a crushing defeat throwing me back to square one. All I can do is wait. I've been shushing the quiet tune of hope that my mind has insisted I should acknowledge because I have been so afraid of letting myself have any hope at all for fear of what the disappointment will do to me. 

But I'll let that little bird sing for tonight, for a short while. 

And in the morning, I will know. 






By Inches

Tomorrow is the day!

I won't go so far as to say I don't care about the outcome (obviously, I care a great deal) but I think the best part of the day will be just finally knowing. Just having the confirmation of my suspicions so I can move on with my plans for the summer. 

As I've said before,  I'm expecting bad news. If the news is good, all the better, but I think I'll cope just fine if I don't get in. 

The one outcome that will possibly bother me the most is being waitlisted. I am terrified of being waitlisted. After months and months of waiting and hoping and uncertainty.... more waiting and hoping and uncertainty. How bloody anti-climactic would that be?

It also presents a huge amount of logistical pains in my rear that I'd rather not have to deal with. 

So hopefully tomorrow brings with it a firm yes or no. Something that will allow me to move into the next phase; either planning for my fourth year or my first year, depending on the news. 

My last waiting day started as a fantastic example of my year, though. It's only lunchtime (well, 2pm, but this is when I'm having my lunch) and I've squeezed a whole week's worth of crap into just the morning.

Woke up with a headache. Sprained my ankle badly as we were getting ready to leave. Daughter had her appointment during which I got a phone call. Thinking it was speech therapy calling to reschedule the appointment that was supposed to be on Thursday, I didn't answer. It was actually the school calling to tell me my son is suspended. Again. 

They couldn't reach me and didnt call my husband's work, so they called my parents (we have pretty much no contact with them anymore) who called my husband at work. W went to get our son in the company truck. Kid is now spending the day watching videos on the laptop at my husband's work and will be doing that tomorrow too. 

Embarrassing all around. 

Right now, I'm waiting to hear from the hospital to find out when my imaging appointment will be so I can find out if I'll be having surgery this week. 

Like I said, this has been the year of comically bad luck and I am ready for a change!

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go, I wanna be sedated. (Pleeeeaaase!)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Second Sunday

For Mother's Day, my daughter's daycare has them fill out a little questionnaire about their moms. With help, obviously. 

This is the one my daughter just gave me with her gift:


I'm sensing a theme...

My son wrote me a lovely card in French. His writing is improving a lot this year, and I love seeing it. His English spelling needs some work, but that will come with time. 

I love that my family is so close. My kids are independent, but also enjoy spending time doing family things. I know this won't last more than a few more years, but I think it's wonderful for as long as it lasts. 

We face everything together, as a family, and this week may signal the biggest change ever for us. Or it won't. It's hard to be on the precipice of something so grand, breath held in anticipation, with no certainty about what happens next. 

For today, I'm going to let my kids be sweet and attentive because they feel special for treating me well and I love seeing them happy. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms reading. Enjoy your day. :)


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Reboot is Rebooting

Recall a little while ago when I posted about being a huge nerd?

Well, I found out today there's going to be a new Reboot series called Reboot: The Guardian Code. Any even slightly nerdy child of the 80s or 90s will probably remember Reboot. We've had our kids watch it and they've loved it. This has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of my post, but it thought I'd mention it because it made me all happy to hear it's being rebooted (hah.)

Anyway, TWO AND A HALF DAYS! The day after tomorrow's tomorrow. 

Right now, I'm Schrodinger's premed. Until Tuesday morning, anyway, when I'll learn my position. 

Hopefully it's the morning. I'll go insane if I have to wait around all day. Because I missed work yesterday and Thursday, I will have a ton to catch up on when I get back on Monday so that will definitely keep me busy. Actually, my whole week will be kind of crazy. 

My daughter has an appointment at the hospital (OT) first thing Monday, so I'm working a later shift on Monday than I usually do, which means the evening will feel shorter. Wednesday and Thursday nights I'm volunteering (regular shift and then a donor gala I'm putting in some extra time for) and sometime before Thursday, I'll be hearing from the hospital for an appointment.

It's a good thing next weekend is a long weekend, because it will really be the first downtime I'll have to process my rejection/acceptance. I'll need it, I'm sure, after the crazy week I'm going to have. It will either be a huge disappointment or a huge shift in our lives, so either way I'm going to need some time to myself.

For now, I'm just going to go get myself a slice of warm banana bread. My house smells amazing right now. Baking is probably not the healthiest way to pass time, but to be fair this one is like half fruit. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Could be better

I've been laid up the past few days. Could be worse, but at the same time I'd rather be out enjoying the lovely spring weather.

All told, though, it's a fairly effective distraction from the last few days before I hear from McMaster. The days seem no shorter or longer right now, to my surprise. I thought things would be dragging by terribly, but nope. The time is passing as it always has. 

Quite honestly, I'm not expecting good news on Tuesday. It's far easier to assume the worst. That way if I get good news, it'll be all the better. But I really, honestly, am not expecting to get in.

I'm having a hard time getting into a good mood lately. I feel like we're running on a treadmill while trying to get away from a tidal wave, so I've been admittedly grumpy. Not being able to get out and do anything is certainly seriously limiting my ability to cheer up. 

At least Tuesday will bring answers. I will be glad to just finally know, even if the news isn't good. Just so we can stop living in limbo, and we'll know we will be here for another year. At least I'll be able to plan my gardens and start preparing the beds for planting in a few weeks. 

Time will tell. Just have to hold on for another few days and then I will be able to make plans. I hate not being able to plan. 


My approximate expression this week. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Threshold

My coworker's daughter apparently reads my blog and is pulling for me to get into Mac. [Hi K.G., thanks for the support! Your dad is awesome and a great guy to work with!]

I've made no particular effort to keep this blog anonymous and anyone who knows me even peripherally in person will recognize this as mine. Even then, it still feels really weird when I know or encounter someone who knows me from reading the blog. Not bad-weird, just sort of like meeting in person a coworker who always attends teleconferences but never talks. 

Over the last three years, I have had a number of messages of support from people all over the world. I've made friends and learned lots of new things. People have helped me with MCAT materials and interview practice coaching and essay review. I cannot begin to describe how much this has all meant to me.

As I wind down what will be the last few days of my first (hopefully only...) application cycle, no matter the outcome, I'm reflecting on what this has all meant. Not the going back to school and applying to medicine part, since I think about that frequently, but the act of recording my journey here. 

I'm nearly 650 posts in. I've written well over 400,000 words which have been read by a lot of people. I'm over 300 views a day now and I wouldn't be surprised if I get over 1000 on Tuesday alone if the news is good. 

My online life here has intersected strongly with my offline life, something that still feels odd. I've been chatting on PM101 with other applicants who are waiting for next Tuesday as well, and I keep having moments where I realize that these people are quite possibly going to be my classmates.

Three years ago, my primary interaction with other premeds and with med students was online (not exclusively so, but primarily.) The world of medicine was so close, but still so far. It was not my world, but one whose windows I could peek into. Over the years, I've gotten to know other premeds, and I've made many connections in the world of medicine and it has opened up to me. I know many other premeds and have met a number of the ones I chat with. Each step has taken me closer to a future as a doctor, and as I've gotten closer, people around me have started seeing me as more a part of the medical world than I was before. 

Now I'm no longer looking in the windows. Right now, I'm standing on the threshold, waiting to be invited in. 

Tuesday awaits. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Ice and Sun

We gave up waiting for the weather to get much better and just packed up and went to have a picnic at the beach. Cold cuts and veggies with fruit for dessert. Nice light supper. 

My kids splashed around barefoot in water that still has ice floes in it, and they were throwing chunks of ice into the bay. It was fantastic and refreshing. 

Our dog even went and laid down in the water and was almost knocked over by ice going by. 

I'm going to miss our beach when we move. This is one of my favourite places on the whole Island. It is beyond beautiful there. The smell of salt and sand and seaweed. The screech of birds and soft splash of the waves. It's just magical and I wish everyone could live near some place so fantastic.

This Island is my home. No matter where we may live, this will always be home. 

As I get closer to the day that will decide whether or not we get to spend the whole summer here at home, I am getting pensive about my favourite parts of the Island. We had an election today and the leader of the Green Party actually won his seat (first Green seat ever) which is a sign of how things are changing here. For the better, hopefully. 

I'm sad I may not be here to see it all happen in person, but we can always come home. Back to our snowy beaches and summer sun. 

Royals

My daughter is at that prime princess age. While I'm not terribly fond of the idolization of women whose entire purpose is to be pretty and wait for a man to come along and fix everything, there are some decent princess role models in more contemporary stories that don't raise my feminist hackles too much when my daughter sings their praises. Then again, this is the girl that loves The Hulk, Inuyasha, and TMNT, so she's not lacking for taste.

Anyway, she is a bit fascinated by the new Princess of Cambridge. My daughter's first and second names are both in the new princess' name. To any little girl with a thing for princesses, this is one of the coolest things ever. I'll tell her tonight but I'm fairly confident my daughter is going to flip her lid. 

Also, while I admit to being a bit of an Anglophile, I'm not particularly obsessive about the royal family. I'm sure, though, that I'll be hearing a lot more about them from now on.

I can cope with the princess interest, in light of her otherwise good taste. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Mirror Mirror

I've mentioned before that a friend of mine, also a premed mom, is expecting. While I am admittedly jealous given my continued failure to sustain a pregnancy, I am above all very happy for my friend. 

This will be her second - her daughter will be a few weeks off the exact age my son was when my daughter was born. It's a great gap and having two kids is awesome and a whole lot of fun. Her daughter is going to be a really fantastic big sister. All in all, super happy occasion. 

She had her mid-pregnancy scan on Thursday (shortage of sonographers has meant she didn't get her scan until 21w), and they found an anomaly. Just to be clear, I am posing all of this with her permission because it is interesting and my audience is mostly premeds.

Anyway, neither the sonographer nor radiologist had ever diagnosed a case of what her baby has: a form of situs inversus. Situs inversus is where organs are flipped or positioned on the opposite side of the body from where they should be. It isn't always diagnosed prenatally so there are people walking around with their livers on their left and their stomachs on the right who don't find out until they have imaging done and a very surprised radiologist tells them about it. 

In her baby's case, his (they don't know the baby's sex, I'm using male pronouns for simplicity's sake) organs aren't all flipped. The heart is definitely flipped, though she doesn't know yet if the lungs are too and the abdominal organs are normally positioned. It could be isolated dextrocardia with situs solitus, but exact diagnosis hasn't been pinned down yet. 

She's being sent for a level II ultrasound at the only large children's hospital in the region just to make sure baby is healthy, but she was told things looked fine aside from placement.

The radiologist had never diagnosed a case of it and was surprised that she had seen x rays of situs inversus before (this is the friend that introduced me to Figure 1, I should mention.) What are the chances that his first time diagnosing it would be the child of someone who actually knows about the very rare anomaly?

She wants to name him after a very important figure in the history of medicine and I am so, so in favour of it because it's both an awesome name and very fitting of the name of a physician's son. Time will tell!

This is the small person in question (again, posted with permission). I'm hoping, of course, that the initial thinking that all is fine aside from the anomalous organ placement does turn out to be the case and that he makes it through the remainder of pregnancy without any more unexpected findings. Some surprises are good, but pregnancy is one of those times where the "hm, that's weird..." surprises are generally best avoided. 

Thought I would share this very interesting case with you all and suggest you go read up on Situs inversus and take a look at images of it on Figure 1 so you can recognize it if you ever see it during your clinical rotations.

Update 2015-05-09: After a level two ultrasound, it turns out the information I originally had isn't correct. He has situs inversus abdominus with isolated levocardia. This means that everything is flipped except his heart, which is in normal position. Very rare. But everything appears healthy, which is the important thing. :)