Sunday, May 28, 2006

Everybody's Working on the Weekend

I had a busy weekend. Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:15, and since I had wanted to actually get up at 6:15, I was afraid to go back to sleep, lest I not wake up again. So, I got up and watched an episode of Felicity, then got to school in time for the 8 o'clock bus to Brooks, about two hours east of Calgary. There, we had a procedural skills practice day, doing some suturing, fibreglass casting, airway, and IV/IM/SC stuff. An interesting town with an extremely high refugee population. Apparently, there is a huge meat-packing plant in town, with big numbers of unfilled positions, that ends up being an easy starting job for refugees. Few language skills required for a job there, living expenses are low, and health services are excellent, so it's a good place for people who are starting from nothing. Also interesting is the landscape in the region: flat, flat, flat grasslands, with the occasional copse. I suspect it's mostly cattle country, explaining the big meat packing plant, but I'm not sure.

Sunday, I picked up Magic Pants at the crack of dawn, and we headed into northeast Calgary for an all-day CPR course. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to animate any of the ACTAR dummies.

Now, it's time to prep for tomorrow morning's integrative session... :( All work and no play makes me a dull boy.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Victoria Day

It's a long weekend up here. I'm celebrating by studying neuroanatomy. I should study a bit of PE later in the day... after which, we'll see if Albertans can walk the walk when it comes to fireworks. I'd hate to have to inform people that Toronto does it better.

BTW, the sun is setting around 9:30 these days. That means it's light until after 10, and midsummer isn't for another month. I'm almost a bit sad that I'll be so far south when midsummer does roll around.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Time keeps slipping

A year ago today (the 20th), was my last day on the job back in Boston. I was at work until 7 or so, then went to see Star Wars III with Bil, Sam, et al, bought some #2 coffee filters at the Star Market in Fenway, then spent the night cleaning and packing up my apartment. In the morning, I was off to the airport to catch a flight to İstanbul. I had no distinct plans, no future, no past.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of wardriving for late-night internet access. Right now, I'm sitting in my car, down by the river. There's a thunderstorm in the distance; the occasional flash of lightning is lighting up the northeastern horizon.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Yesterday in small group, our preceptor randomly picked me to quickly demonstrate a lid lag exam on... and great, I had lid lag. Later, I had Rococo confirm the observation, and then looked for it myself in the mirror in the evening. At that point, I noticed lid retraction as well, but I think that was just brought on by me staring at the mirror repeatedly looking for lid lag.

I suspect this ties in with my mitral valve prolapse somehow, being an adrenergic symptom. Does that sound right?

Today is hot hot hot, true midsummer weather. Gotta go coop myself up in my room to study; thank goodness, once again, for the TO notes. Again, other textbooks failed. For example, the Crash Course textbook was riddled with errors in its diabetes section, even referring to HONK as a hypoglycemic state at one point! Unbelievable!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pre-exam Quiet

Not much happening here these days. I've got my endocrinology final exam next Thursday. Hormones are interesting, but I am not looking forward to be tested on them.

So, at the moment, I'm hunkering down with my textbooks and notes. Oh, I finished watching season one of 'Felicity' this week... what a depressing series. I borrowed it from Rococo, of course. Sadly, she doesn't have seasons two through four.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Spirit Guide

I've really let myself go for the last two months. I don't think I've gone running in at least seven weeks. Which wasn't such a good thing, since yesterday a bunch of us from class were entered into the annual Banff-Calgary relay race. I was supposed to do the easiest leg, being the un-fittest of the bunch, but due to last minute injuries, I was bumped up to the third-hardest leg, a 10.9 km section, 5.5 km of which was a big climb. I wasn't great, but I survived. :) We ended up 29th out of 102 teams, a decent result.

My leg started at Lac des Fées, and then passed the area of Mount Yamnuska, at the foot of which were the races I first came out to Alberta to run in, back in 1985...

On the way home, I was passing over Kananaskis Creek, and saw a huge bird soaring low overhead. I slowed down, and looked into the eyes of a gorgeous bald eagle, hovering motionless on the wind, just five metres above me. Beautiful bird.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

School's Out

Today was supposed to be the first day of our two-day first year OSCE final exams. Basically, we get tested in communications by interviewing a standardized patient, then we have to follow that up with a set of physical exam maneuvers. Tomorrow would have been similar, with either suturing or IVs added at the end.

I was scheduled for an 8:20 a.m. start time. Physical exam is by far my weakest subject this year, so I was pretty nervous about things. I love precordial and resp exams, but MSK leaves me cold. Anyways, I spent the last couple of days freaking out about it, and finally got everything necessary into my brain last night. Slept terribly, dreaming about the exam, and that it somehow involved bicycling, followed by an essay. The essay I wrote was great, but I had trouble coming up with a good ending for it...

Got up at 6, made it to school on time. They signed us in for the exam, told us to wait a few minutes, then told us that there would be a slight delay. I was crazy thirsty, so I eventually went to go get a drink of water. On my way out, I overheard the profs talking in the hallway, and heard the words "cancellation" and "inflame the situation". Not at all what I was expecting to hear.

About an hour later, the whole thing was cancelled, due to the standardized patients being on strike. Tomorrow is still up in the air, but my bet is that it'll be cancelled as well. The result? A big super-stressful exam has just become a four-day weekend.