Wednesday, 30 September 2015


It's no secret that my home province is aching for doctors.

I don't generally mention the Island by name here because I don't want my blog to end up tied up in the tourism stuff Google ends up attaching to anything mentioning the province. But it should be pretty obvious what province I've been talking about for three and a half years on here.

Today, I'm feeling distinctly warm and fuzzy about the Island, though. For reasons like this: Doctors and Dentists Welcomed to Western PEI.

The community held a meet-and-greet for their new doctors and dentists.

Also today, I received my med student kit, which is sponsored by the province and the medical society.

While I realize that a big part of this is that it's basically a long-term recruiting tool, it also just feels a bit like the province is putting their support behind me. Reminding me to go on and learn, but not forget where I'm from.

The fact that this stethoscope is a very specific shade of red is entirely coincidental. I knew I was going to get a stethoscope from the province since it's a fairly longstanding tradition, but I didn't know what they were going to send me or when it'd arrive. Since I wanted to make sure I'd have a stethoscope  I liked when I needed it, I ordered one during O week. The sample red was very pink-y and I didn't like it, so I ordered burgundy, though was a bit disappointed since I have a thing about having my own red stethoscope.

Last week they emailed to ask the shipping address and I found out then that they were sending me a red Cardiology III. It's actually the exact colour I wanted and has a date of 2014 on the box so I guess they may have changed the colour in the last year. Also has the logo for the Medical Society on the nameplate, so I think this is going to be my school one since no one else will have one like this.

Having the support and encouragement of my home province's medical society matters. Island med students are a very small group of people - about 50-ish of us in the whole country - and so it feels nice to realize that they think of us, and want to show their support in such a tangible way.

Thanks, PEI. See you soon.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Tomorrow I have my first CAE - Concept Application Exercise. It's exactly what it sounds like.

We have to apply the concepts we've been learning to a case.

So far, my evaluations and feedback have been very good. Quite comforting, considering I'm supposed to start my family medicine experience next week. Nice to know that I'm where expected at this point in my education and am not going to seem like a blithering idiot when I meet my supervisor.

We're entering the point where we can start horizontal electives, and I think I'm probably going to wait a little bit before I start since I'm noticing that I am getting easily distracted these days. I need to keep my mind where it needs to be, and taking on a bunch of clinical electives is not the way to do that.

I'll have my family med experience, which I'm very excited about, so I'm sure that waiting a few more weeks to start horizontals (which are optional) won't hurt me academically. But burning myself out by taking on too much too soon might hurt me academically. Not that I have marks, exactly.

Have I said recently how much I love Mac's program? Super focused on self-care and our wellbeing as future health care providers. The de-emphasis on marks and examinations (in the traditional sense) helps with that.

But I notice a lot of my classmates are preparing for the CAE the way they'd prepare for a midterm in undergrad. I'm choosing not to. I want to see what I actually solidly know tomorrow, not what I can retain from review today. If I know it for the CAE but not in the clinic, then my learning wasn't any good was it?

One thing I do think I need to be careful about is that my undergrad taught me a lot of what we've learned so far. I need to be very, very careful not to let myself coast on prior knowledge. That could be dangerous.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Initiated Wisdom (?)

Since I got into medical school, I've gotten lots of messages from applicants (current and future) asking my advice to get into medical school.

I don't mind giving it by any means, though some of it is getting a touch repetitive at this point. Probably should get around to adding tags to my posts because a lot of what I've been writing is here on this blog somewhere but with almost 740 posts (dear me I have no life) it'd be quite the undertaking.

Thing that baffles me a bit, though, is that I got into one school out of four I applied to. Specifically, I was accepted to a school that places no emphasis on extracurricular activities (what I knew was my weakness from the outset,) has no essays and bases their admissions decisions after the MMI on three very well defined criteria: the MMI score, your GPA, and your VR/CARS score.

I had a very good GPA, a very good VR score, and so I only had to do decently well on the interview to get in, so there's no saying how well I did on the interview. Anywhere from "fantastic" to "moderately well." Did I do well enough to overcome a 9 VR or a 3.6 GPA? I have absolutely no idea. Being in medical school gives me no further insight into that than a premed has.

The years before I got in were filled with somewhat obsessive collection of admissions information so yes, I do have a pretty decent handle on what someone's chances might be, insofar as they can be assessed from the sort of information premeds share. The admissions requirements change a bit each year, though. Not every school, but some schools change them a bit. I no longer have any reason to keep up on these developments, except to help premeds (who really should be looking them up themselves,) and I just don't have the sort of time to keep up that I used to.

I don't mind helping out premeds when I have time, since I was exceptionally fortunate to be helped by a number of med students and residents and I consider paying it forward to be the right thing to do. But I think what help I can offer them at this point is not terribly, well, helpful.

I don't know how well I did in my interview. I don't know how other schools assessed my (admittedly weak) ECs. I have no more insight into how to get in to U of T or Ottawa or U of A than a premed would.

So while I'm glad to help where I can, I honestly don't know how much good I'll be at this point.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Where I'm Going

So, we ended up with a cockatoo. I was looking for a full spectrum lamp for the canaries and ended up with a galah who was very much in need of a new home. It's a bird person thing. His name is (now) Gallifrey and we have some work to do with him since he's a plucker and he doesn't seem to be very familiar with toys but he's fitting in to the house fairly well so far.  He's only a few years old and a galah can live up to 80 years in captivity so he'll quite probably be around longer than my husband and I will. Possibly longer than our kids. 

I love my dog and everything, but she's almost five and will reach half her life expectancy next year. Mammalian pets are lovely, but they just don't live long enough. My Quaker parrot, at age 14, is barely halfway into her life expectancy. My cockatiel is 18 and is just now into his sunset years. I like that my little fluffy dinosaurs (yes, birds are avian theropod dinosaurs. Puts a bit of a spin on the chicken sandwich, eh?) live so long. 

So, what with the human-size-lifespan bird being added to our flock, I'm thinking about my long term plans, both life and career. 

Up to now, the plan has been to go into family medicine and return home, potentially for residency if I can match to that program. We're still considering spending a couple years in Europe when the kids are older - mostly because it'd be nice to have some variety in life. Going home is still the plan, though I'm open to most specialties if I find my calling somewhere else in medicine. I won't choose something that would prevent me being able to go home, though. Not all specialties can work on the Island.

I met with my advisor yesterday at the General. He's really lovely and was very welcoming. We talked for a good two hours and it was really nice to have such an experienced physician confirming that my interest in medicine isn't misplaced and that my enthusiasm is a good thing. He confirmed that my pretty strong feeling that surgery isn't for me is probably going to prove accurate even once I've had some exposure to it since he thinks my interests point me towards a medical specialty. The fact that I'm so interested in everything means rural family probably will be a good place for me. He had some suggestions for how I can get rural exposure here.

The fact that we each get assigned to an advisor who will follow us throughout the three years of the program is really lovely. My advisor is quite well known, apparently, since it seemed like at least 20 people waved to him as we were talking and I'd heard of him by reputation before I met him. 

We get our orientation to horizontal electives on Monday and I'm sure I'm going to jump on those right away. My family medicine experience (mandatory part of preclerkship. We spend six weeks with a particular family doctor) starts the week of the 5th and I'm super excited about it. Real clinical exposure - month two of medical school. Hard to beat that. 

But it's the weekend right now so I have a parrot on my head playing with my hair. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Voluntary Silence

I'm finding myself uncharacteristically not having much to say and I was actually reflecting on that and ended up having a lot to say about not talking.

I've been blogging here for three and a half years now. Literally hundreds of thousands of words. About my life. Dear gods how narcissistic that seems. But it's more or less my journal, though I do maintain a hand-written offline journal for the stuff too sensitive to put here.

Some of the stuff I want to talk about, I can't, and that's going to happen a lot over the coming years. There will be whole huge sections of my life I can't talk about directly. I can discuss them indirectly; talking about how I felt about something that happened, lessons I took away. But patient privacy is paramount and that is something I know I'm going to be extra cautious about.

There's also things I have a personal rule against. Things that fall under my personal concept of reputation hygiene. My classmates' dramas and goings on and whatnot are not going to be fodder for blog posts and I've kept mention of the issues with my family to a minimum and do intend to keep it that way. This isn't the place for me to gossip. I don't really gossip anyway.

I fully intend to not say anything negative about my classmates in any specific way that might possibly identify anyone or make the program look bad. I'd had some bad comments about me, and I did mention those in as non-specific a way as I could and I don't think that sort of thing crosses a line. But if anyone reading ever thinks a post goes too far, feel free to mention it (in person, by comment or message. Not like people don't know who I am.) I have no problems modifying posts if the criticism is reasonable. I don't mind silencing myself when it is necessary.

Physicians are, largely, storytellers. They share stories with us learners so that we can take lessons away from their experiences - this has been happening a lot. These are stories that stay within the circle of medicine. They are stories that can only see the light of day if heavily edited so as to be unrecognizable to anyone involved.

So far, I think the hardest part of med school is how much I either can't talk about or worry about discussing in case I say too much, or the wrong thing.

I have professional responsibilities now that I didn't have six months ago, and right now it's like breaking in new shoes; bit uncomfortable for a little while but worth it in the end.

Tonight, I'm just feeling very reflective which has the unfortunate side effect of killing any chance at productivity. I've mostly been doodling with a flex nib pen instead of researching.

Definitely be more productive tomorrow.

Blog post and doodles. Productivity defined. 

Monday, 21 September 2015


I am feeling very homesick today. I miss the Island. I miss my friends. I miss the ocean. I miss my life there. I miss people knowing me wherever I went and being able to strike up a conversation with a stranger because of a shared history. I miss being around people who feel as connected to the red earth as I do and who talk like I do.

Since moving here, I've noticed I regularly suppress my accent unconsciously. My father, who does have an Island accent and always has, used to do that too (I don't know if he ever realized it, but he no longer suppresses it since retiring home.) I grew up with a sort of mish-mash maritime accent because we lived everywhere but still went home a lot. Think I'm definitely stuck sounding like an Islander now, not that I mind, since it's the single longest dialect exposure I've had in my life. I can get quite the rolling going when I'm angry.

If you're ever curious what an Island accent is like, look it up on Youtube - when you don't have children around. Islanders have a reputation for being nice because they get it all out by swearing a blue streak at each other in a friendly way - like a steam release valve. Comes with the nautical history; the saying 'swears like a sailor' isn't based on nothing.

Anyway, I don't feel like I belong here. I really don't. Most of the class has been beyond nice, but at the same time, I don't fit in. It's no one's fault and I kind of expected it. I might find my place, I might not, but I'm not going to stress myself out over it. I'm there to learn; friends would be a perk, but that's hardly a primary objective.

I like the school. I love the program for sure, and obviously I'm not going anywhere but I really hesitate to socialize with my classmates. Most people have been very nice, but I don't want to be where I'm not wanted so I've just not been going to avoidable social stuff (and yes, I have reason to believe I'm not wanted there besides just insecurity.)

The forced socialization early on in medical school seems almost like throwing a bunch of crap at a wall to see what sticks. That's not the sort of situation I really benefit from; it's not really good for introverts. If I make friends here, it's not going to be like that. And if I do make friends here, good. If not, I can go back to my house and be with my best friend and my amazing kids and that's enough.

Related; I've definitely decided against OMSW. The kids are so excited for Halloween here and I figure there are going to be many times in their lives over the next few years that I have to miss special things; I'm not going to miss something they are so excited about so that I can do something optional.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Weekend Planning

We were thinking of going hiking today but the weather interfered. I wouldn't mind going in the rain, but I'm sure the kids would. 

We're coming into my favourite time of year right now. Well, I love summer on the Island and swimming and spending time outside, but summer in Ontario means I can barely do anything because I can't breathe outside and that was the case when we lived here before. I don't know how asthmatics can stand living here. Half the year I can't do anything outside! And the pollution here is worse than Ottawa was when I lived there so it's just horrid. 

So cooler weather with less humidity means I get to spend a ton of time outside doing more than just walking and I am so excited after being trapped inside the majority of the time for most of the last month and a half. Hiking, biking, maybe even running a bit if I can manage it, though I'm unsure how my lungs will handle that here. 

Anyway, today the information came out for how to register for Ontario Med Students Weekend. It's at Queen's this year - was at my school last year - and I've been to Kingston before, though briefly. Lovely city. I'd love to visit again, and I'd really like to go to OMSW so I think I'm going to try to get a ticket. 

Apparently it's very fun. My only hesitation is that I get very tired from being around so many people and it's four to a room so basically no chance for any sort of privacy. I don't even like sharing a hotel room with my kids, so I'm not terribly comfortable with sharing a room with people I barely know, but I don't think you can get your own room. 

Decisions, decisions. I'll probably buy a ticket on Wednesday and then sell the space if I decide against it. I could drive three others there, so I could be of use too. 

The only other problem is that it's over Halloween and my kids like to dress up and go out. I hate missing those special times with them, but at the same time I'd really sort of like to go to this. 

I've got time to figure it out anyway. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Skills Building

At this point, I'm basically a fetal doctor. Haven't yet taken my first breath in the bright light of day and won't for a while.

But I'm pretty sure the clinical stuff - the figuring things out on the go, gathering information and putting the picture together - is going to be my favourite.

Clinical skills is my absolute favourite part of my schedule so far. For one, our residents, the people doing the clinical skills teaching, are awesome. They're first year residents so all of two and a half months into residency (assuming their residency started in July since I think they all do) which means med school is in their very recent past so they have a pretty good idea of where we're at. They're super nice. Everyone is really nice, actually. I'm starting to wonder if that wears off.

Had my first interaction with a standardized/simulated patient today which was helpful. The feedback was fantastic and it's just what I've been hoping to get.

In my former job, I spent a lot of time reviewing medical information and learning how to present it. Different but enough overlap that I'm able to present fairly well because I have done it before. I'm comfortable taking a history because I don't need to put so much brainpower to remembering what to ask since I already know most of that in a general way. It lets me focus on how I ask things.

I still have plenty to learn, obviously. I'm still nervous about messing up or talking too fast or missing something important, but I was told today that I don't seem nervous, which I took as quite the compliment.

That I have had so much exposure to medical terminology - not just in my old job but in my life - really helps. I can take my notes during a history mostly in medical shorthand so I don't have to focus on what I'm writing very much.

Despite the nervousness, I definitely feel more at home doing the clinical stuff than the classroom stuff, though obviously one complements the other. It's sinking in for sure.

Tomorrow is my group's 'Super Wednesday' which is sort of calibration for the clinical skills groups to ensure we're all going at the same pace. Then I have my first PPI - Personal Progress Inventory. It's sort of a test-but-not-test which I'll explain tomorrow. It's a really interesting thing Mac does and I'm eager to do it.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

On Big Milestones

My class' white coat ceremony is a month from today. It's our formal welcome to the profession of medicine. The white coat has symbolized physicians for over a century and receiving it is a rite of passage. It's only fairly recently it's been in a formal ceremony, but still, it matters. While I enjoy re-visiting traditions and forging new paths, some traditions are fantastic as they are and I do enjoy them.

I have quite literally been waiting for the moment I get my white coat since I was a young child. It's been longer than 20 years since I first started dreaming about it, so it's a big deal to me.

Don't know yet whether we'll bring the kids. Obviously I'll be sitting up with my classmates and my husband will be in the audience. The kids can usually manage okay in assemblies and whatnot. This will be several hours of stuff they are definitely going to find boring, so we'll probably need to bring the DS and a tablet in case they absolutely need to be distracted. I'm just worried about the possibility of them disrupting other attendees, but I doubt they'd be the only kids there. I honestly have no idea but need to decide fairly soon to sort out sitter arrangements if we aren't going to bring them.

I'd really like them to be there, though. They've had to sacrifice a lot through these crazy few years, and I want them to see that we're making progress. I also really want them to see how many women are in my class because I think it's good for them to see that women have every right to be in the professional sphere, no matter how traditionally male-dominated a particular profession is.

Short sidenote related to that: if one more person asks me if I'm going to medical school to become a nurse, I might scream. Nothing wrong with nurses, because good nurses are amazing and make the world go 'round and I'd probably be a nurse by now if I'd not been rejected (twice) from nursing school, but I get a bit annoyed by the assumption that a woman pursuing a medical career means she's going to be a nurse in so many peoples' minds. Not annoyed enough to get cranky at someone, but it rankles a bit.

So yeah, I want them there. Partly because without them there, the only person clapping for me will be my husband. And while he's wonderful and amazing in so many ways, it's going to be very hard to see all my classmates being celebrated by parents and grandparents beaming with pride. I won't have that.

While neither of us have any desire to reestablish ties with my family of origin, it's rather like amputating a necrotic limb. It's beyond salvaging, and the loss is better than the alternative, but you still miss what you should have had. And at times like this, you get phantom pains.

I know my husband is proud of me, and the kids are too. That's enough. More than enough.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Into Traffic Hell

If it weren't for the fact that there are interesting things there, we wouldn't bother going to Toronto at all. My country sensibilities do not appreciate that much traffic and I usually end up rather cranky. Apparently the residents all hate it too, so I'm not sure why about 20% of our country's population lives there. Seems a bit burdensome to deal with that every day while complaining about it. 

But for the occasional cool thing, we can cope with the headaches. 

Today it was to go to the Ontario Science Centre because tomorrow is the last day of the Mythbusters exhibit. 

The kids had a blast. We had a lot of fun there in general; there are so many activities and so much to enjoy. It's probably not somewhere we'd visit more than a couple times, but overall it's a fantastic introduction to science history and a good grounding in basic principles. My son wants to be an engineer, so all the hands-on stuff really excited him. 

Got myself an awesome hoodie too. 

Tomorrow we are heading to Supercrawl. Art, food, music, just generally cultural stuff. I still have a lot to do to prepare for the week, but it's something that only happens once a year so I'll manage my time well to make up for it. I'm good at that. Can't stop doing family stuff just because school started, and the kids are at prime memory-making ages. We'd thought of doing a hike this weekend but the Mythbusters thing kind of claimed today and the Supercrawl tomorrow. Trails will still be there next week, these events won't. 

Their first week of school was last week and while my daughter got off to a good start, my son did not. Hopefully things will start looking up next week after a weekend spent doing enjoyable family stuff. 

At the moment, I'm spending the evening relaxing with the husband and I plan to sleep in tomorrow because I can. 

So far, med school isn't too stressful. Plenty of weeks to come, though. That will change. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Finding the Bright Spots

For all my grumbling and frustration about having to move here I must admit that Hamilton has surprised me. 

While much of the city is definitely industrial and the sheer amount of humanity that exists here is a bit suffocating, it definitely has its perks. 

The shopping, for sure, but there is a lot of green here. Mostly on campus and up the escarpment (where we live) but there's definitely some charm to be found. I'm hoping to go hiking this weekend, but just today I decided to take a walk around campus. Haven't had much chance to because I can't breathe when it's very humid which it had been, mostly, since we got here. Today's feeling distinctly autumnal so I took a walk from one end of campus to the other. 

There are many beautiful old buildings; clad with ivy and shaded by towering oaks. Heavy doors carved by hand by people now long dead dot some of he buildings. Stone gargoyles can be found here and there too. 

The older parts of campus are my favourites. All grey stone and ancient trees reaching up and out with gnarled limbs. Near the statue of the university founder is this absolutely gorgeous old maple, bark smoothed by years. I would love to climb that someday but doubt that's permitted.  

Much of the campus is fairly new. You can see the evolution of contemporary architecture by walking north to south. The newer buildings dont bring the mind to castles and lords the way the old stone ones do. Maybe someday I'll get around to wandering in the old buildings. Today was fun, that's for sure. 

I need to learn to enjoy myself here and not be so sad about being away from home. There's a lot to enjoy while we live here; time to make sure we do that. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Still Surprised Every Day

Very slowly, it's sinking in that I'm going to be a doctor. Soon. Sooner than it seems looking at the finish line all the way there in 2018. But I already know the years can zoom by in the blink of an eye. 

Part of what is helping the realization is that my tutorials this week were in a care unit at a local hospital quite near my house. The residents teased us a bit today; just friendly teasing, nothing mean-spirited. A sort of "you'll be here soon" sort of joking around. 

Yesterday we got to practice history taking and presentation. We'll have a simulated patient next week in clinical skills and we're going to be learning some aspects of physical examination. Some of my classmates have been out on the wards alteady; seeing real patients. Our clinical skills sessions have some variation group-to-group because the preceptors have some leeway which is why we have sessions every few weeks to ensure we're all going at the same pace. 

The benefit of Mac's program is that we do all of our hands-on learning in small groups. My tutorial group is 8 students. So in a few hours with a standardized/simulated patient or on a ward with just a few patients with diagnoses relevant to our current topics of study, we can get sufficient exposure. 

We'll be allowed to start booking electives early next month, once we've had a proper introduction to them. So there's another level of exposure to real medicine as really practiced. Many schools still have very little patient contact in preclerkship so things are very different for us. 

The "I don't belong here" is slowly wearing off. I'm sure by the time MF2 rolls around before the winter break, that will have changed. Patience, though  no sense forcing anything. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


I have a pretty wonderful schedule, I must say.

As a sample:

8-12 (ish) LGS - usually, but not always
5-8pm Tutorial

9-12 ProComp

9-12 (ish) - LGS, clinical skills, or nothing
1-4 (ish) - anatomy
4-7 (ish) clinical skills practice session [not always Wednesday]

5-8pm Tutorial

8-12 (ish) LGS - usually, but not always

[LGS = Large Group Session, our version of lectures]

Only the things in bold are mandatory attendance. Of course, everything brought up in all of them is potentially testable material and everything is fair game for licensing exams and, you know, being a doctor. The responsibility is completely on us to ensure our education is sufficient.

Given that, I probably will manage my own anatomy education on my own time.  I have all my resources from last year and access to the lab at any time, so I'll probably spend time there when it's quieter. Kind of impossible to do anything when there's 30+ others looking at the same specimens.

The LGS are usually multiple sessions - we have three separate ones on Friday, and there's a half hour break.

I really like how Mac does it. I feel like I'm being treated like an adult and my education is in my own hands. What is a mark on a transcript or a test compared to the health of my future patients? My responsibility to my future patients has started; it is my responsibility to learn as much as I can to be the best doctor I can be. For them.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Searching for Something

My husband started looking for work here before we moved. A good two months it's been now.

Still nothing. He had a thing on Friday which was an intake/info session for becoming a school bus driver, but the compensation package is crap and we'd need both before and after school care (about $250 a week) for both kids.

He can't work evenings because my tutorials and (some) clinical skills sessions are in the evenings. Plus once clerkship starts at the end of next November, my schedule will be all over the place. We also are still looking for after-school care for the kids (the YMCA programs run through the schools were full) so currently he needs to be home by 3pm when our youngest gets off the bus.

If my husband could find a job that's from 9-2, that would be utterly perfect since we wouldn't need child care, but jobs like that are certainly not easy to find. Employers generally aren't willing to accommodate family needs and med school definitely won't. They'll let students refuse certain tutorial times because of religious services, but you can't get out of a tutorial time because of an inability to find child care. It would be lovely if they were accommodating during these early months as we work to get stuff sorted out, but I've got to work with what I've got.

I'm getting really annoyed with all of this, to be honest. Not at my husband, but the circumstances. We're living on debt right now and I do not like it. It costs several thousand a month to support our family. We're certainly not expecting my husband to earn that much, but every dollar he earns is one dollar less that we pay interest on, and the longer it takes him to find a job the more my LOC balance goes up.

Part of why I put Hamilton as my top choice campus, even though I probably would have preferred one of the regional campuses, was because I figured it would be easier for my husband to find work here. It's not like we're actually at risk of the LOC being maxed out unless we go spending crazy, but I want to graduate with as little debt as possible, obviously.

Most likely, next year I'll be applying to the family medicine sponsorship program next year which will mean it'll be feasible for my husband to be a stay at home dad, which, all things considered, is probably the most workable solution for all of us.

Just have to get to that point. If it weren't for the fact that people can be horribly sexist when it comes to child care, we'd probably just look at opening our home to do before/after school care. Lots of people aren't comfortable with men watching their kids, which is unfortunate because my husband is amazing with children.

Saturday, 5 September 2015


I generally always have a TV show on the go. We don't have cable, but we love Netflix so I've made my way through a number of different series over the years - an episode here or there in the evening over months.

So yesterday I started watching the new series of Doctor Who...

This was not a good idea. There's currently 8 series on Netflix, and of course there's a lot more that.

Anyway, I'm studying today. Still super sick, but with the big couch I now have in my office, this is the best room in the house. As it's a long weekend, I get four days to prepare for my next tutorial. We have our next tutorial at a hospital near my house on Tuesday so a couple of my classmates will be coming here after large group to finish preparing.

We're still figuring out how to navigate the expectations of tutorial. Largely, we have to figure things out ourselves, though we do have some guidance from our tutor. It's to help prepare us for the lifelong self-directed learning that is going to be expected of us as physicians. I rather like it - I don't want to be spoonfed my medical education. I don't want lectures and step-by-step anatomy sessions.

Mac was a good choice for me. I just wish I fit in a bit more socially, because as yet I really don't. That will likely ease over time as I eventually make friends. Currently things are still pretty awkward, though, and I still feel very out of place. Coupled with a very large dose of homesickness, I'm finding myself rather bummed, even though essentially my dreams are coming true before my eyes.

A big part of it is 'imposter syndrome' which will, I hope, alleviate as the months go by and I find my feet.

Friday, 4 September 2015

That Didn't Take Long

Last day of the first week of med school classes and I'm sick. Really sick. Fever, body aches, can't really talk. Fortunately there's nothing mandatory for me today, so I'm at home, having a bowl of microwave pho. I had never heard of this until we moved here, but we get boxes of this from Costco. Ten bucks for four bowls of chicken pho and it's delicious. Particularly when sick.

My husband's on the mend, fortunately, so at least we're not both terribly sick at once.

There's someone else laid up in the house right now too. Injured, not sick.

Yesterday my husband took our dog to the dog park nearest us. Apparently most of it is swampy so couldn't really be used and the one longer stretch that was suitable for frisbee has broken up pavement. It ripped up our dog's feet terribly. My husband had to carry her to the car.

I provided first aid when they got home - got her feet cleaned up and applied bandages then my husband brought her to the vet. It cost us $300 in vet bills, antibiotics, and pain meds to take our dog to the dog park. Her foodpads are shredded and we have to put booties on her to take her out to go to the yard.

Her feet are bandaged and wrapped. Vet was pleased with my bandaging skill so she sent my husband home with a bunch of supplies so I can do the wound care myself. Unfortunately, the wrap bandages are latex-infused. I'm using it as another opportunity to test how sensitive my allergy is. So far, having a dog with latex-wrapped feet in the house has not triggered my allergy, so that's good. I may have some tolerance. I'll wear gloves and a resp when I re-wrap her, just to reduce the chance of a reaction.

My poor pup, though. She's mostly refusing to eat and she's just been laying in her bed all day. For a half border collie, not being able to move is torture.

I am going to email the city about the park because dog parks should not be dangerous for dogs.

My poor girl. She was such a sweetheart to the vet. They liked seeing her because of how calm and friendly she is. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Shut up, Kay

When I am nervous, I tend to ramble a bit. This is not uncommon. I am a maritimer, we tend to be an open, talkative sort of people who like to share stories. There's the whole "sit down at the bus stop and learn the life story of the stranger beside you" sort of attitude. Ontarians are, in general, decidedly not like this and it's part of why I never felt at home here when I lived in Ontario before. 

I have been very nervous about starting med school partly because of the disaster that is the combination of nervous rambling and maritimer openness. Combined with being super enthusiastic about the subject matter, it's a potential mess. If I'm talking about the subject it's not because I'm trying to show off or be a know it all, it's because I really do find this fascinating and I love to talk about it with other people who enjoy it too. 

I need to recalibrate the little "shut the hell up, Kay" voice in my head before I drive my classmates nuts. They are all very nice and tolerant, but I really don't want to be irritating and I fear I might edge into that territory. 

To be honest, the first week hasn't been going as well as I would have hoped and it's partly because of how nervous I still am. It's hard to approach people. 

I also can't make plans to go join in any of the super fun outdoorsy stuff my classmates are planning because my asthma is worse than it has been in years, mostly because the air in Ontario doesn't agree with me at all. I'm having to constantly try to find places where I can take my puffer more privately after having been outside, or sneak off from groups. Obviously I'm going to see a doctor and develop a treatment plan, but it's aggravating how much this is impacting my ability to socialize.