My love-hate relationship with Christmas hospital

The hospital is a funny place at Christmas. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with Christmas hospital.

One part of me loves Christmas hospital. I love that everyone tries so hard to make it festive and that each floor or section have a different décor scheme (or lack thereof). I love that some people really rock the decorations. I get excited for the treats on the nursing units.

I love how people try so hard to make it a welcoming and festive place, even if for many people it is the last place they want to be.

But, I hate that people have to stay in hospital over the holidays. I’m glad we have the option and that these people are well taken care of. But, this weekend, I seem to have spent a good chunk of my on call rounds talking to people about their hopes to get out, their dismay about not getting out and trying to help them see or find the bright sides in the situation. It comes up a lot. And it is important, so it makes sense that it comes up.

I remember when I was about 5 (it was the year I got a Troll watch for Christmas), my Aunt was in hospital over Christmas. And she swore never to be there at that time again. I am too young to remember what was so bad about it, but I do remember her saying repeatedly she would never go to hospital before Christmas.

That is something I won’t forget.

I don’t want that for my patients. Because, unfortunately for a number of them, this probably is their last Christmas…

Our service is pretty good in that if there is any way the person is stable enough to go out even for a few hours, we try to make it work if the person and their family is wanting, willing and able.

I have one person who has the most festive room ever and plans on having their whole family in for Christmas dinner, although the logistics are still being sorted out. They are pretty excited and encouraged about being around for the holidays at all.

I saw another who only just realized home isn’t going to be an option and just wants to not be alone. Another who is going to get someone to bring in decorations. And a third who was working on Christmas cards and gift wrapping with their spouse.

Its not all that sunny, though. Some people say it won’t be Christmas this year, or get upset when talking about not being home.

I can’t make it better. But I want to. We can treat pain or nausea, but treating being in hospital over the holidays isn’t easy.

The nurses on our ward are awesome and make the best of it. We all, for the most part try to. That is what humans do over the holidays. And that makes it kind of a cool display of how people are decent.

Thus my love-hate relationship with Christmas hospital.

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

After one of those insane days where the work just seemed to keep piling up, I am finally back home chillaxing with the husband and watching the Buddy the Elf the Musical. It is pretty cute so far.

Because it is Tuesday, I figured it is a good way to relax while doing my Top Ten Tuesday list with the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list is the top ten books I read in 2014.5f1e1-toptentuesday

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I feel like every list I have made lately (all 2 of them) have raved about my love of this book. But seriously, I really did love it.
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. By far the most disturbing book I have ever read, it had me glued to it (once I got past the first few chapters).
  3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. This was funny and adorable all at the same time. I related to the main character in ways I’m embarrassed to admit.
  4. Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson. This was by far one of my most surprising likes in the realm of books. It was a beautiful journey and took me back to another era.
  5. The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I’m always weak for true stories and for stories about people living in the medical system and books. This book combines all of these things for a heartfelt look at a mother and son’s literary and life journey.
  6. This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. This was a really neat book in the way it addressed marriage and relationships as they reflect the gospel and about the covenant that marriage truly is. I learned a lot reading it.
  7. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. I was on a big marriage reading kick this year apparently. This was another fabulous look at the covenant of marriage with a more practical, but still gospel driven approach.
  8. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but I find myself chomping at the bit waiting for the next book in the series.
  9. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I seem to consistently love his books and this was no exception. It blew my mind how so many story lines were so closely intertwined. I loved seeing their lives play out before my eyes.
  10. The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls. She is another author who never fails to impress me. Her characters are consistently so multidimensional and real, yet they have just the right level of bizarre.

What were your favourite reads of 2014?

My first band concert (in a long time)

Today was my first band concert and what turns out to be almost 7 years!

I played my last band concert with the previous community band I was in in August of 2008 just before I started med school.  That was 6 and ½ years ago.

This makes me feel super old.

And so does this band sometimes.

As I said before, it is a “feeder” band and is mostly made up of junior high and high school students and their parents and then people like me who used to play in band but haven’t in a while.  So, the band that I often call the “good” band often calls us “the kids.”  Funny enough there is an age range in our band that I am smack in the middle of (although in near the older edge of that, I think).

The concert went fantastically.  The “good” band is AMAZING.  I could listen to them all day and they remind me of a somewhat better version of the band I played in in university.  The band I’m in played really well, and I think our sound was great even though many of our pieces are on the simpler side of things.

Patrick came and cheered me on like the awesome husband he is.

I remembered how much I missed performing in this kind of setting.  I’m so glad I am doing this and plan to keep on with it even after the baby and residency inclusive if both let me.

Also, speaking of baby and band, I am finally starting to look a little pregnant and not just fat.  As a result, I was stopped by an older man in the “good” band this afternoon on my way to the bathroom before the concert and he asked me if I was one of the kids in the 9am band.  I told him am in the 9am band (and refrained from the kid question).  And he asked again, are you one of the kids or are you older, so I told him I’m older, like way out of high school older.  He told me that was good because his wife pointed out to him that I was pregnant and they were concerned if I was a kid (or something like that… I was busy being puzzled by what was happening to get the exact wording).  I told him I’m happily married, have a career and am a good 10 years or more older than the “kids”.

It made me laugh pretty hard.  Partly because that was a bold statement (I could just be fat and I could be a teenager) and partly because I couldn’t believe that conversation really just happened.

Patrick took me out for a quick supper on the way home, so that I can spend my evening focusing on studying (and procrastinating while writing this blog post… whoops).

How a movie, physics and my day-to-day nerdy life combine

Patrick and I went on a date tonight to see the movie about Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything.  I have been wanting to see it since I saw the preview a couple months ago and finally we had some time (read: I have a treatment planning exam this week and am on call next weekend, so I wanted to be “normal” and also simultaneously procrastinate).

I was impressed.

Not only did I get to nerd out a little bit (although science and/or medicine weren’t the main focus of the movie), but it was at times funny, and heartwarming and sad, much like life is.  It was quite a journey.

Seriously though… I would watch it again.  Happily.

Then, we went home and spent an inordinate amount of time nerding out in a different way by looking into how true to life the movie really was, how the actor learned to portray gradual motor neuron decline so well and all that good stuff.  Apparently, it is pretty close to life, although there were, of course the odd composite characters and embellishments or sugar coating.  And the actor studied a ton with dancers and videos and such to get the movements (or absence thereof).

All in all, a good movie.

And now I want to read the book (written by his ex-wife, Jane).  In fact, I saw it while we were out and about today and I almost told Patrick I couldn’t see the movie before I read the book (since that is my general life rule), but I decided against that.  And I need to read his book too, because I like to be well-read and because I love science and physics (and I do firmly believe that much of it does point to God).

Also, it reminded me that physicists are some of my favourite kinds of people.  Seriously… I work with a ton of them… Not cosmologists or theoretical physicists, but medical physicists who are equally nerdy and insanely intelligent.

This in turn reminds me that before I read these books I should probably study my physics and radiobiology so that I pass them this year (although that is improbable because as a rule that doesn’t happen and we repeat them in 4th year).  And that in turn makes me continue to put that stuff off because it is way too early.  And as I said, I have a treatment planning exam this week that I need to study more for because it is on prostate and I haven’t worked with a doc who treats prostate in almost 2 months, so I am way rusty (and realistically never got the hang of it particularly well).  There is, of course some physics in there, so I guess it all relates back.  Kind of.

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and Bookish is “the top ten new-to-me authors I read in 2014.” I’m way behind on my reading goals for the year (I blame residency and the parasite, but I still have a few weeks to catch up… haha), but I have had the chance to read a number of new-to-me authors.5f1e1-toptentuesday

  1. Rainbow Rowell. I read Eleanor & Park and was thoroughly impressed with how she wrote about teen angst and made me really enjoy and care about the characters.   As a result, I want to read everything else she has written.
  2. Gillian Flynn. I am one of the many, many people who read Gone Girl after hearing all the hype even though it was outside of my normal reading realm and loved it. It creeped the heck out of me. And yet, I want to read her other books even though they will likely have a similar effect.
  3. Graeme Simsion. The Rosie Project was priceless and I have the second book on my ereader awaiting. His writing is funny and just bizarre enough it is believable.
  4. Pierce Brown. I hadn’t heard of him before a friend lent me Red Rising and although it started kind of slow, it was really good and I look forward to the rest of the series.
  5. James Dashner. I started The Maze Runner series and although I don’t have an overwhelming urge to read the other books, I probably will at some point pick them up.
  6. Eleanor Henderson. I was surprised with how good Ten Thousand Saints was. In fact, I would never have picked it up (unless I was hard up for a book) until Patrick picked it up and raved about it. The book is a journey in which you really grow to care about the characters. I would read more of her stuff.
  7. Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. I read The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules and it made me laugh and laugh. Unfortunately, many of her books don’t appear to have been translated into English, but I would check out another should one appear.
  8. Jay Asher. I read 13 Reasons Why and it was shocking and sad, but overall well done. Although it wasn’t one of my favourite books of 2014, he does make the better new author list.
  9. Adena Halpern. 29 Again was a bargain book find at Chapters and it was well worth the bargain price (in retrospect, it would have been worth full price). It was a sweet, funny story and looking at some of her other titles, it sounds like a lot of her books have potential to be cute/funny.
  10. Timothy Keller. I know some people will find it strange, but this year was the first time I read a Tim Keller book. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot, so I will probably do it again sometime.

Who were some of your favourite new-to-you authors this year?

25 Faces (reblog)

I stumbled upon this awesome piece on Buzzfeed by Aemun Reza called “25 Faces Everyone Who Went To Medical School Will Remember.”

Check it out.  It is worth the click and the laughs.

My favourites (and most common expressions) are number 9, 15, 22 and 25.  But seriously, I think I have made all of these faces at one point or another.

Day tripping with the parents

This past weekend, my Mom and Dad visited.  It has been awhile since they have been here and since we have seen them since our trips home have been limited as of late.

We got Starbucks one afternoon (mmm Peppermint Mochas) and went on a little adventure to a beautiful oceanside area not too far from where we live.

It was freezing cold out… No wonder, it is practically winter and we were by the ocean.  But it was quite lovely to have both the company and the scenery.

Evil Genius

Sometimes I feel like an evil genius. Not for especially good reasons either.

Image from cryhavok.org.

I feel like I beat the whole world because I took an in- lieu day and a couple vacation days to make an extra long weekend in early December to do all of that festive stuff that I need to get done.

It has become my routine during residency. The last few years, I took one day to get most of my shopping done. You see, I hate shopping at the best of times, and when Christmas comes and the crazies come out, it induces a kind of rage in me that is kind of terrifying.  So, I take a day off during the week and try to hammer out all my shopping while at least some of the crazies are at work.  This year, with the parasite, I decided it might take me an extra day or two and that I might have other stuff to do, so I took an extra couple days.

And thus, I hammered out all of my shopping, Christmas card writing and helped decorate the church plus I’m considering even doing some gift wrapping (if I can find last year’s wrapping paper…) before heading back to the world of work.

I even caught up on Grey’s and some other stuff I have been meaning to watch and cleaned out my closet! I may or may not have cried during both (for different reasons… I blame the tiny human).

Take that consumerism, festiveness and life! I can be festive and not want to die (it is sad how big of a deal that is to me).

Image from degrassiwikia.com. Interesting that this is from the Degrassi wikia page but is clearly a Boy Meets World scene… Fail internet. Fail.

Books I Wouldn’t Mind Finding Under My Tree 2014

It has been a long time since I have done a Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and the Bookish. And the topic this week is about books I’m most looking forward to in 2015. Given the fact that I have been doing little fun reading (for some reason school and sleep have been prioritized) and that I pretty much consistently live in a cave, I decided that I will participate but will do a list that is slated in a few weeks time (partly to help people who ask me what books I want this year) the list of books I wouldn’t mind finding under my tree.5f1e1-toptentuesday

First of all… Confessions…. The M family has a lot of books. And it seems that I am gaining a bigger and bigger to be read pile. Second confession… I have been too sick and busy to really window shop for books a lot, so my “books I want” list isn’t as long as it often is.

  1. Another book by Rainbow Rowell. I LOVED Eleanor & Park. LOVED. As a result, I want to read everything else she is written. Seriously… Landline or Fangirl or They all sounds grand.
  2. Lola and the Boy Next Door or Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I am embarrassed to have these on my list. But, I love a good light read as much as anyone and these definitely fall under that category.
  3. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. This was on my list last year and I have yet to acquire the books, so I am putting it on again. I have a fascination with how different cultures view illness and medicine and how “my world” and “their world” connect.  This would be a great lesson.
  4. Desiring God; Loving. Doing. by John Piper. I enjoy his writing style and really get a lot out of reading his books. These are two that I have had my eye on for a little while.
  5. Gillian Flynn’s other books. Gone Girl was probably one of the scariest, most disturbing books I have read in some time (probably since I liked scary books when I was a tween). That being said, it was a great read, so I would try another one out. Even if it will probabably freak the heck out of me.
  6. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. I stumbled upon this in one of the many displays in Chapters. The title was intriguing but the story sounds good too.
  7. The Secret Life of Bees or The Invention of Wings: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd. I keep hearing great things about her writing, but I have yet to read anything she has written.
  8. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. I love nonfiction, but I don’t read enough of it. This book combines the fascinating world of writers (it is like looking into a world I would like to be in if I wasn’t in my own) with a kind of coming of age/attaining status in the world story.
  9. A Train In Winter by Caroline Moorehead. I need more history in my life and this is history with the human side of things.
  10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Everyone lives grief, but I see it every day at work in addition to the stuff in my own life. I want to learn everything I can about it so I can help and understand it more and more. This book offers a look at one woman’s experience of grief and comes highly recommended in another book I loved, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwabe.

Let’s face it. I’m open to most books. And I really don’t need any books.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

So, I have an excuse and an announcement.

I haven’t been posting very often because my life has been consumed with trying to do my job adequately, sleeping and trying not to throw up.

Jeter has helped me out with the announcement part with his new choice reading material…IMG_0463 IMG_0469There is a tiny human growing inside me and in June, the M family will contain 3 humans (and a giant cat).  Really, it has 3 humans now, but one of them can’t live not inside of me.

Because of past events, my healthcare background (aka my insane ability to worst case scenario any possible health event because I have either seen it or have heard of it) and social norms (I know, I’m not always big on social norms, but fear was a big driver in this once) we decided to keep this whole thing on the down low until I hit the “magical” 12 week mark (which I don’t actually think is that magical).  So, now that we have released the gag orders on our parents and best friends and told our friends from our old small group, my “other mothers” and our church family, I get to tell the blogesphere (because not only am I now the kind of person who announces their pregnancy with annoying cat photos, I am the person who tells the internet).

Stuff got so much more real over the weekend (and strangely, will be a bit more real when I hit “publish”).

Funny how other people being in on your little gift from God can do that.

The cat is out of the bag, so they say.

So, yay new life who we celebrate every day because I get such frequent reminders of what a gift it really is.  I know I am so fortunate I am to get to be sick and tired and slowly expansile.  Sometimes waiting for something is hard, but the lessons in that wait are huge.  I keep seeing that piece more and more every day (more on that later too).