Sunday, July 29, 2007

Survival of the Fittest

Obstetrics is going well; of the surgical specialties, this is by far my favourite so far. Did I already say that?

I just survived a week with three 24 hour shifts in it, so I'm a bit tired. One of the things with long shifts, is that you end up eating a lot in the hospital cafeteria. Options there are... limited, to say the least. However, the result has been an improvement in my diet, I think, as I have been consuming vegetarian sushi almost exclusively. Getting home, I'm too tired to go get take-out, so I'm eating mostly yogurt, Ensure, and chocolate. Yes, chocolate, thanks to my total life disorganization.

Recently, I bought a big box of chocolates from Bernard Callebaut for the nurses in one of the units I'd been working in. Unfortunately, I never got around to going back to drop it off. So... I opened it up and started eating it myself. And man, it's good stuff, bringing a bit of joy into my life every night (every night I'm home, that is). I'm sitting here with the taste of chocolate in my mouth as I type this; it's not just a moment of pleasure that it brings, but it also evokes memories of previous times and places, involving chocolate from various sources, like Burdick's, Serenade, or the chocolate of my youth: Rottenhöfer.

Anyways, I'm sure that right now there's an accountant at the head office of Wendy's, who's staring at some balance sheets, and thinking: "What's gone wrong in Calgary?"

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Gates to the Garden

Okay, I've enjoyed a lot of medicine before, for various reasons, but I have to say that the biggest rush you can get in meds may be obstetrics. I have three 24-hour shifts this week, and finished the first one this a.m.; it was my first completely sleepless call shift.

And it was good. I felt like the opposite of St. Peter, standing outside the gates of the womb, receiving the sinless into life, and cradling them in my size nine hands as their cords were cut and they took in their first breaths.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


As everyone knows, today saw the release of the final Harry Potter book. I preordered from Amazon months and months ago. Well, today is the day... and they have yet to ship it, those jerks. They sent an email a while back saying that if you wanted it shipped on time, you'd have to pay extra. I'm pretty angry at Amazon right now... I wish I hadn't ordered $270 worth of textbooks from them last week; they haven't shipped those yet either, those jerks!

'Chapters' all the way from now on!!!

Anyways, so here I am without Harry Potter to read. I had the entire plot worked out in my mind, based on the final few chapters of the last book, and now I can't confirm my predictions.

To make up for this fiasco, I picked up some light reading at the local used book shop: 'A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis' by Sigmund Freud.

I was thinking this week that I have been mostly successful at eliminating all fun from my life. Almost all reading I do these days is textbooks. I don't have a TV; I gave up renting movies. However, I unfortunately still listen to music, and have a remaining hobby. I ordered up a bunch of Towa Tei and Haroumi Hosono CDs a few weeks ago (Motivation Five, Future Listening/Future Recall 3, Sound Museum, and Hosono House), along with a disk I was missing from Faye Wong (天空), and they arrived this week; I drove to the courier office today to pick them up. I'm enjoying GBI (German Bold Italic) right now. Augh! It's fun! Darn, must stop!

Anyways, I should really be studying obstetrics now. I need to know how to deliver babies by 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

High contrast. It's cool!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, I've enjoyed paeds neuro so much for the past week and a half, that I am thinking this may be it. I will decide over the weekend if I should just go for it. If I find I'm not so crazy about it after another rotation, I can always take a year off.

Cases are very complex, and come to the clinic typically undiagnosed. After spending time in surgery, where the cases were mostly 'done' by the time they got to you, it's a refreshing change, and more or less provides me with the main thing I wanted out of meds.

Funny, surgery seems to be about black and white: he has this, we do this, in this way. Things that fall into grey areas make surgical people nervous... and sometimes angry. That attitude is pretty desirable in the OR, but ultimately fails to satisfy me. I like the greyness of uncertainty that you find in the most complex cases. Heck, my life is spent living in grey, so it's what I'm good at.

Anyways, how can't you enjoy a profession where you get to test for the Moro reflex every time you meet a baby?

As an aside, the number 9.51 keeps coming up for me. What is the significance, I wonder?

Monday, July 02, 2007


Well, I have very little to report. Anaesthesia is over; it had its rough moments, notably in the first week, but things pulled together more-or-less in the second week. One more week, and I would have been competent.

My current study style is a bit of this, a bit of that, what are they going to ask me tomorrow, what did they ask me today. That system really doesn't work at all; I need to formalize some kind of studying regimen, but haven't yet. I had all weekend to study for my next rotation, but felt so far behind, that I didn't even begin.

Anyways, this will be my first rotation outside of the OR since starting clerkship. So far it's been surgery, followed by surgery, followed by surgery, surgery, surgery, and anaesthesia. Now, paediatric neurology. A big shift. Will I cope with going from an action and anatomy orientation to a diagnostic one?

A preceptor told me on Friday that I should pick a discipline where I save the soul of a person, i.e., their mind. A finger, a bit of bowel, none of these are crucial to a person's being. I am taking that into consideration...

To quote the Trashcan Sinatras:

It's a hard road when you know where you're going
And it's harder when you know where you're not