Have you?

November 25, 2006

Have you ever been locked out of your house because its so cold there are icicles in the lock?

We have.

That is all.


Ice and Snow

November 23, 2006

Imagine trying to control your car without using your hand. No, you can’t use your knees. Also, pretend you have no brakes. And no accelerator. Thats kind of what it’s like driving in the snow. Except in the snow, everyone ELSE is driving like that too.

So today it snowed. No, it wasn’t the first snow of the season, but it was quite a goodie. We haven’t had anything but a few temperature drops and a touch of moisture (I didn’t see exactly what it was, but the roads were wet one afternoon). But today it decided it was time. Now, I had to pop to the shops (well, the ‘store’. I’m trying to fit in.) so there was an actual reason to get the windscreen scraper out.

As some of you probably know, the windscreen can get pretty thick with ice in the course of one night. What you might NOT realise, is that the windows of your house can ALSO get a layer of ice. On the INSIDE!!!! Okay, so it only happens when you have a humidifier which pumps about 2 litres of liquid into the air in 8 hours, but you would still be as shocked as me the first time you discovered it. Awesome.

House windows aside, it’s fairly dangerous out in a car. But it’s usually not frustrating. The one possible exception is not being able to go up a hill. Not a steep one, mind you. No no. A lame, pansy of a hill. Okay, so the layer of compacted snow of the road upped its status from pansy-ass to insurmountable, but I still felt like a right charlie (sorry dad) having to reverse back down the hill. I say ‘reverse’, but you and I BOTH know I mean ‘slide’. I sometimes worry that its not being out of control that’s a problem, since you simply go in the direction you WERE going. I think it’s WAY worse when you hit that patch of “not slippery” and your wheels are now facing OFF the road (or directly AT a tree/pole/old person). I digress.

Speaking of Claire (well, I was. Just not right now), her computer arrived this week. Look at how pretty.

Yeah, the machine is not bad looking too.

So now you should all bombard her with mail (if you don’t have her mail, I’m not giving it to you, since we ALREADY had some spam issues. Post a comment and I’ll give it to you) and tell her how wonderful it looks.

Otherwise, things are rapidly approaching meltdown with our impending departure for Europe. Specifically, London/Edinburgh. It’s just a week-long stopover on our way to SA for a little longer than that, so everyone get your Prohep out. We will be BUSTING IT UP!!!

Oh, and Gran, we love you, you strange, wonderful, ribbon wearing, teddy loving, lady!

That is all.

The self doubt that keeps us all human

November 12, 2006

I’ve just walked in from another night in a hospital. This was my first night on in Moose Jaw. It was the kind of night we dream of, lots of quiet with only a few interruptions of paranoid mothers or drunken teenagers. And yet, even with a night like this I felt uneasy. As with most things in life the waiting is worse than any event that could actually happen, and when your on call – you are always waiting for something. Yes, you get used to it and most times now being in the hospital for days at a time doesn’t bother me, but sometimes you just get a feeling.

So at 5:30am, the ambulance phoned – 2 minutes out with an old man having a massive heart attack. Now in Moose Jaw as with most rural communities- if you’re on call you’re it until you convince someone better to come in from home, and in Canada we try to save everyone. So in they come, fat 82 year old white guy, cold as ice sweating, drooling, out of it. He needs me. So as with every time this happens to me, I go really quiet, I want to wait to see what happens. In lots of places, I’d give them a few seconds to die. Anyway – not Canada. The nurses are running around me, each with their specific job, and my mind is just going through a sequence of random events. Many snapshots from long nights during internship, all the stupid medical decisions I have ever made, all those I have been reprimanded for that I did not make, and lots of pictures of pharmacology textbooks and scraping to remember the new protocols that came out last week.

So finally I get to the only thing that helps me – he’s dying already, anything I can do will only help. No-one is expecting him to live. Even though I’m at least half the age of most of the nurses here, I’m the one with the authority even if they are more experienced.

So off we went. IV lines, ECGs, masks etc. I had to intubate and first time got the stomach, resulting in a flood of stomach contents and heaving and much more distress. Eventually airway in, me pumping madly to keep air going into his lungs and suctioning to stop his stomach acid from going into his lungs -the cardiologist arrives. It was probably only 5 minutes, but it felt like an hour. I stayed and helped in a nurses capacity, which sometimes I feel much happier in. As he confidently ordered different drugs I knew them all in sequence in my head. They are in my rote learning section, lists to know in your sleep – but yet I was so grateful that it was him and not me. Sometimes the know how is not enough. Again I felt like the quiet girl who no-one will take seriously, who doesn’t know if she can be a doctor.

So now old man is in ICU, he will see at least one more day and I had something to do with that. I did my best even if my best wasn’t as slick as it should have been, or as ER-y as you would like to imagine, for today it was my best, and next time I will do better.