Dance Party… Residents’ room edition.

Dr. Bond and I had a mini dance party in the residents’ room yesterday to this song.

Let’s face it.  It is an awesome song.  And dancing is great stress relief.

I am sure the social worker in the office next door thinks we are crazy.  That being said, I am pretty sure she already knows that by hearing some of our conversations across the office.

I have developed a new love for the website rdio.  Partly because the hospital hasn’t blocked it yet and partly because it lets me listen to various playlists and CDs without killing my phone or my pocketbook.

Yesterday was contouring to 50s and 60s music.  

A couple weeks ago, I was working on my research to Boomfalleralla by Afasi Filthy from The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack (ps the movie is almost as good as the book and the soundtrack is equally as good as the book.  I then went down a rabbit hole listening to more music from this Swedish group.  

Another day it was clinic prep to cover songs.

You get the picture.  I really like some background noise, especially when I am doing stuff requiring concentration.  Not everyone else does, but it works for me.  And it makes for some priceless “what are you listening to!?!?” moments, as well as the odd dance party.

Whatever gets the job done, I suppose.   

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I Must Read

When you read a lot, you begin to have many people telling you books that you must read. Actually, there are a lot of people in my life who have told me I must read certain books for any number of reasons. And then, there are all the book bloggers I follow and all the books they say people should read. So many books, so little time. The folks over at the Broke and Bookish are asking this week what the top ten books people have been telling you that you must read.

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  1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Because the movie is coming out. And because we have it on loan from the Child, so it is a must read while it is in our house.
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Again, because the movie is coming out. But also because everyone that I have talked to or read who read the book loved it.
  3. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. I haven’t even watched a movie, but I know so many people who loved these books and keep telling me that I will too.
  4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Powell. This was really popular last year, but it is still on my list and from time to time, I hear I should pick it up. One day I will… One day…
  5. Mere Christianity and A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. I lump these together because we have both in an anthology I have been told I should read and have been “getting around to” for years. People tell me to read one because it is great Christian writing and the other because I work a lot with death.
  6. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I did med school. And I have internet. I’m not reading this flipping book. No matter what you, your blog, or friend may say. Also, if I were actually in charge my own fertility, I’d have birthed something by now.
  7. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. People assume that because I’m in medicine and I’m strangely okay with death, I would be interested in this book. Well, that is indeed true.
  8. Clinical Radiation Oncology by Leonard Gunderson. I know, I’m a big nerd. But, so are many other people in my life who have done the whole Rad Onc thing before me. They say this is a good textbook. Well, this good textbook is likely where much of this year’s textbook allowance is going.
  9. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. This series comes highly recommended to me by my 12 year old “nephew.” But, I have also read about it on a few blogs as well. I don’t know much about mythology, but they do sound interesting.
  10. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. This is one of those books all kinds of people that I have worked with over the years have read and recommended.   I can’t seem to bring myself to pick it up. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind.

What books have people declared “must reads” for you? And do you actually want to read these “must reads,” or could you stand to maybe skip a couple like me?

The Name’s The Thing

Yesterday’s Daily Post prompt was The Name’s The Thing asking for the story of an object with which we are on a first name basis.

It may be a day late, but I have a few objects with which I am on a first name basis.

To start off, I name my musical instruments.

This one time, at band camp, we were doing an instrument maintenance class and I was learning, disgustingly for the first time in almost 2 years how to properly clean my saxophone. Someone made a joke about not wanting fuzzy saxophones, which I declared mine was, as did another one of the alto sax players. This then turned into an inside joke between the alto saxophone players and tenor saxophone players that altoes smell like fuzzy saxophone.   And from that came the name of my saxophone, “Fuzzy Saxomaphone.” “Fuzzy” for short.

Little C&C meeting Fuzzy for the first time.  That was about 9 years ago (my, how time flies).

Little C&C meeting Fuzzy for the first time. That was about 9 years ago (my, how time flies).

Fuzzy and I have traveled to 4 different provinces. We have been together for 16 years. He has a few scratches and dents (so do I, really). We grew up together. I haven’t played him in a couple years, but we plan to reunite this year, as I really want to join a band and get doing music again.

My flute is named Frank. The story isn’t as good. It just made sense in my head.

We also name our cars. I blame my med school friend H, who insisted we name our car and we concluded that Jag is a sufficiently manly and awesome name for a car (so Patrick wouldn’t hate me for naming our car). We drove Jag for years and confused many people into thinking we drove a Jag only to discover our rusty, older Mazda3.

My first year of residency, Jag was becoming progressively more and more decrepid and we traded him in to get our current car, Chuck. He was named that with the help of our friend DB. He is named like the spy show Chuck. This contrary to my father’s belief he was named after Chuckie the horror movie puppet or some other people’s perception it is Chuck Norris we named our car after. Nope. A comedy spy show is where we got the name.

What inanimate objects have you named?

How Did That Happen?: How I Survive Breaking Bad News

It is due time for another How Did That Happen? post. This one is How I Survive Breaking Bad News. Not how to break bad news. That gets covered all over the place. I’m talking about the facing people later, living the rest of your life kind of survival.stethoscopes1

This one is a result of my week of breaking bad news. I know, I am an oncology resident. More days than not, I break bad news. I tell people about pathology reports they don’t want to hear about. I tell them they have cancer (not always for the first time, but sometimes for the first time they really process it). I tell them their cancer is back. That it isn’t curable. That they need treatments they didn’t want. That they are going to die… Soon.

Breaking bad news is tough. So tough it is its own section in many med school communication classes. So tough most people do a crappy job of it because they are scared.

I’m a weirdo. I don’t love breaking bad news, but I like to do it. Because I believe people have the right to know the truth. And to hear it in such a way it is understood and compassionate.

This week has been especially bad newsy. From clinic to call to pediatric brain tumor clinic, I have delivered or been in on delivering all kinds of crumminess. It wears on a person.

  • It is okay to cry. Seriously. Sometimes, stuff is really tough and you just have to let it out. I’m not saying sob on the shoulder of the person you are talking to, but it is okay to shed some tears then or later.
  • It is okay to be angry or disappointed or relieved. Emotions are good.
  • I’m going to sound cliché, but reflect on it. Sometimes, you say stuff that is stupid or comes off the wrong way and other times it goes well. Actually think back on it, even if it is tough and then learn from it and move on. I tend to really stew on things, so this is something I’m working on.
  • Find the rays of hope. This is also helpful when delivering and discussing the news, but I really mean it is important for me too.   Sometimes, I start to feel like I am the grim reaper or that life is a miserable existence. It is good to find the bright sides, like how fortunate I am, how that person will have a good outcome or good days or whatever. Just something positive.
  • Count your own blessings. If I get really discouraged, I find it helpful to think of how fortunate I am despite the bad in the world.
  • Talk about it. Confidentiality is important to maintain, but there is nothing wrong with discussing it with co-workers involved in the case, or even just your thoughts around it without disclosing details with a friend or family member.
  • Have an outlet. I sing and dance like a fool. Or exercise. Or write. Just something not work that helps get some of that badness out.
  • Do something happy. I like ice cream. Or spending time with friends. Or music. Or books.
  • Mix it up. This isn’t always an option. But, I love that my job involves lots of time on the computer doing technical stuff or research, not just difficult conversations. I also love that there are really good positive things mixed with the difficult in clinics.
  • My faith is super helpful to me at those times too.

What are your bad news survival tips?

“Anniversary” antics

So, I wrote a post about how awesome my husband is here.

He is still awesome.  

Our “anniversary”, got ever so slightly less awesome, though.  Although it is a good story.

So, as I said before, our real anniversary isn’t until Friday, but I’m on call this weekend and Patrick’s brother is visiting, so we figured it is just a day, so we’ll celebrate early.

We were leaving town to go out to grab coffee and then supper and (surprise!) Inn (that I have been wanting to check out since we first drove past it a couple years ago) for the night when we stopped for a car stopping in front of us (on what is a really busy main city street).  I watched the van behind us stop just in time.  I then heard a car run into said van and said van ran into us.

Happy Anniversary, you’ve just been rear-ended.  In fact, you are the front car of a three car pile up.

Nobody was hurt, thank goodness.   Chuck wasn’t hurt either.  He just had a couple scratches on his bumper that buffed right out.   The van and the car behind us on the other hand were pretty dented up, but still drivable.  So, we had to wait for the police and the “quick” reports that took almost an hour.  

How festive.

And only minutes from the nearest Starbucks.  I could have walked there, but instead I just stood there and played 2048 (awesome game, by the way) and listened to the one of the passengers from the van behind us and the guy driving the car who hit us all catch up because as it turns out, they were neighbours (we seriously learned all the neighbourhood gossip from the old dude who had a heart attack the other night to who is going to college where). 

So, eventually, we get sent on our way and grab coffee and go get supper.  

I promptly feel terribly sick after supper.  It shouldn’t be that surprising, I wasn’t feeling well the day before or even that day, but it hit me like a ton of bricks after I ate (timing is impeccable).  It was bad enough Patrick had to go buy me Gravol.  And he had gotten us a room with a jacuzzi as a part of some last minute special.  We spent much of the night with me curled up hyperventilating (sometimes a change in your PaCO2 will alter vomiting signal in your brain… I really hate throwing up) and watching the Muppets movie (thankfully, this is one of Patrick’s favourites).  

Happy Anniversary.

I eventually felt well enough that I though the worst had passed and decided we should try out that jacuzzi.  Because that was a selling point for Patrick.  And because we were there now.  And I already ruined most of the night.  I hate hot water.  Between that and being still sick, I almost passed out.

Happy Anniversary.

The place we stayed was actually really nice and had a pool (that we didn’t use) and a good restaurant (that I feel I didn’t get to thoroughly enjoy).  I would like to one day go back not sick and not sore from being run into an enjoy it.  And getting to chill with the spouse and watch Muppets was actually a good night minus the blinding nausea.

We spent Saturday going for a short drive, then napping and reading until Child and D came over for games.  It was a much better day, even if I still wasn’t feeling great.   I read 2 books and we tried out our new Wii game.

If I believed in karma, I would say it was karma for winning rock paper scissors to get our own cabin when we were away last weekend (because we were one of two couples not doing anything special just the two of us this summer) and then going “away” for our anniversary after all (at least that is what my guilty conscience says).

Patrick joked that for 5 years, we just really wanted to give the “for better, for worse” and “in sickness and in health” thing a good run for its money.

Either way, it makes for a good and memorable story.

“BIFFs’ Weekend”

Last weekend, we had yet another awesome weekend.

We went away to a place near Kouchibouguac National Park with two of my best friends and their husbands (Child&D and L&C).  We decided last year to make it an annual tradition to go on a “BIFFs’ trip” (BIFFs is a word we made out of the abbreviation best friends forever back when we were in very early undergrad… We don’t really use it anymore, but it works in the context of naming the trip).  A trip where V&D, L&C and Child&D and Patrick and I could go away just (kind of) like old times no matter where we were in this world.  

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that all of us could go.  I was very disappointed.  Such is life.  But, we went to the park from our separate corners of country and met for a weekend adventure.  It was all the more exciting for me because it was most of their first times there and it was where I spent a large chunk of my childhood summers.

Although it was my second weekend full of people, it was worthwhile.  We saw lots of beautiful scenery (and Child too tons of pictures).   I took people on random back road adventures.  I got to eat scallops at this place we always stopped at when I was a kid.  We took L and Child for their first trips on kayaks.  We saw giant man-eating (okay, not really man-eating that we know of) jellyfish and caught all kinds of marine life at the beach.  We ate a ton of food.  Played some games, including one of my favourites, Bang where the other outlaws and I won, read books and laughed a bunch. IMG_0202 IMG_0214IMG_0197IMG_0219

A highlight of the trip was the fact that the house next door seemed to be particularly sketchy and had a lot of animals.   We think that a very feral looking cat who hung around while we cooked and barbecued was part of that household.  When we went out for a bonfire that evening, we acquired a very adorable kitten, who crawled into all of our laps and ate our hot dogs (she stole them from beside someone while she snubbed him).  Patrick had to try really hard to get her to go back to what we thought was her home, only to have her show up crying at our cabin door.  She wasn’t the only one, as it turned out, cats started appearing everywhere once night fell.  IMG_0230 IMG_0224 IMG_0226

I’m lucky to have friends who have been around since I was an awkward teenager (or even tween… ugh), or who I have stuck with since they were awkward teenagers.  I know not everyone is so fortunate.  Yes, that proves to be challenging because people do grow up, get married and change, but they are the closest things I have to siblings, so I’m stuck with them for life.  Even if it is sometimes insanely difficult for some and suspiciously easy for others.

A terribly embarrassing "selfie" from Christmas vacation 2007.  Back when the Child was still literally a Child.

A terribly unflattering photo from Christmas vacation 2006(?).  Back when the Child was still literally a Child.

So, I have someone who gets up early, drinks coffee by the pound and discusses things like books, life and music.  I have someone else who hugs me more than anyone else I know (less my mother and my husband) and somehow understands my crazy and knows what I actually am feeling even when I don’t.  I have someone who will always laugh hard and long at stories with me (even if they shouldn’t be that funny).  The cool part is that although everyone is unique, they all crossover too.  

Pretty cool, huh?

My Kind of Husband

I have the kind of husband who let’s me play in the waves at the beach for hours. Even if he’s cold.

He is also the kind who celebrates anniversaries a week early because Im on call on the real one.

My husband is also the kind who gives me cancer for our anniversary (the giant microbe kind) and is okay with the fact it is probably my favourite part of the gift.

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1 week to five years and we’re still alive!!

White As Snow

The M family has been on the road (minus our guard cat, Jeter). 

Vacation is a beautiful thing.  Especially when it is spent with friends and family (and good books and beautiful scenery).  It is late, we are still away and I am lazy, so no pictures for today.

I just wanted to quickly share a song that has been on my heart.  It is called “White As Snow” apparently, although, I thought it was called “Create In Me” so it took some epic searching to track down the actual song and not some random hymn.  We have been singing it a fair bit in church the last few months and some words in the song are taken from Psalm 51.  

 

 

 

 

Have mercy on me, oh God

According to your unfailing love

According to your great compassion

Blot out my transgressions

Have mercy on me, oh God

According to your unfailing love

According to your great compassion

Blot out my transgressions

 

Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God?

Restore in me the joy of your salvation

Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God?

Restore in me the joy of your salvation

 

The sacrifices of our God

Are broken in a contrite heart

Against you and you alone

Have I sinned?

The sacrifices of our God

Are broken in a contrite heart

Against you and you alone

Have I sinned?

 

Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God?

Restore in me the joy of your salvation

Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God?

Restore in me the joy of my salvation

 

Wash me white as snow

And I will be made whole

Wash me white as snow

And I will be made whole

Wash me white as snow

And I will be made whole

Wash me white as snow

 

Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God?

Restore in me the joy of your salvation

Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God?

Restore in me the joy of your salvation

I have been struggling with anger and guilt and a whole host of other emotions because of a friend and some other crummy circumstances life has thrown my way.  They have come to a head of late and I stated to notice some of my behaviours and tendencies.  To be honest, I don’t like them.  I also realized that although some circumstances are crummy, some people don’t always treat me the way I know I should be treated and some difficulties are bigger than I can fix, it doesn’t mean I can’t pray through them and love and act in such a way that demonstrates grace.  I haven’t been so grace filled.

And yes, I am human.  And yes, I am allowed to feel hurt.  But, it is wrong for me to be bitter.  And I shouldn’t be spiteful (even if it seems satisfying in my head at the time).  Really, I choose how I feel.  And yes, feelings are just feelings, but continuing to fester can be harmful.  And it is sinful.

So, basically I have been reminded that those thoughts, those tendencies, although completely human, they are wrong and hurtful to God.  And in the end, they are hurtful to me and those around me.  But, most importantly, they are wrongdoings against God who has done a ton for me and loves me despite the crap I do.

I don’t deserve to be forgiven for some of this garbage.  But, the cool part is that God has taken care of all that stuff.  A big sacrifice.  And I keep getting second chances.  And that is awesome.  And should make me more excited than it does sometimes.

I really want to be restored to that kind of joy.   The happiness that comes from knowing what I have been saved from and how loved I really am.  I want to move away from some of my harshness and bitterness.  I want to love those who hurt me and those who seem beyond my reach.  I want to be patient.  I know there is no magic switch.  Relationships are hard.  Life is complicated. I’m human.  

But, He is God.  So, He can move me in the right direction better than I or anyone else can.  So, this song is my prayer.

Reuniting With Some Favourites

I had the best weekend.

We spent time with the core group from our small group from when we lived on that lovely island for med school.  The 7 of us were together for basically 3 years and other people came and went.  It is the first time we were ALL together in 2 years.  I have been looking forward to this time, since I found out it would happen in May.

There are people that life is simple with.  There are people that, for introverts like me, barely count as people.  Who you can just exist with and not feel completely drained.  The kind of people you can just pick up where you left off and hardly miss a beat.

These are those people. 

We went to Magic Mountain, a pretty awesome water park.  We played mini golf.  We made up our very own road trip game to drive to one couple’s home complete with mid-trip car switches.  We stayed up until 2 in the morning playing Sing Star and were up and off to the races again at 10.  We explored a market and watched Highland games.  We grocery shopped and went to games stores.  We BBQed and lounged around just talking for hours.  We played a million new board games until almost 2 in the morning again.  We went to church, we went to lunch and had a great discussion.  

I barely took any pictures except at the Highland games.  

I love that we can be real with each other.  Really, truly honest and open about where we are.  That we can talk about tough stuff.  And in the next breath crack jokes about being “tied and pleasured” (long story).

It was a full weekend.

I was sad it was over.  

We are blessed to have many good friends.  Despite that, we have been feeling discouraged because we don’t have as many close friends where we live currently (but we still have a few we are attached at the hip to), but part of that is because it is so rare to have the kind of friendships we have with this crew we spent the weekend with.  God provided us with great people when we needed them in a certain way and I know He is doing the same here, just in different ways.  It has been a slow go feeling like we are a part of things here.  And part of that is because it was so easy when we were there.  And maybe that is because we needed it to be at that time.

Community stretches you and grows you.  Spending time with what was our main community was amazing.  And comforting.  And a true testament to how awesome God is.  Our church here encourages community, and I can sense the community, but it is bigger and broader than what I once knew in some ways and the relationships, like people are different.  But, then again, so are we.  It is a good thing.  

I am thankful for full weekends.  And friends who change and yet stay the same.  And for the comfort that comes from really loving and knowing people.

We get to go away with some other very special friends this weekend.    People we have known and loved much of our lives. I am super excited.  So, really, we are very fortunate.  Two awesome weekends in a row!

I have a musical interlude for this post.  A song that was stuck in my head the whole weekend and, well, is still stuck in my head.  It isn’t quite about amazing friends or community and yet, in some ways, it fits because of the concept of coming together.  

Top Ten Authors From Whom We Own The Most Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and Bookish asks the top ten authors from whom we own the most books. Confession… I kind of like this challenge because it is as simple as looking at our book shelves. I have also come to realize that we tend to only have a book or two by most authors. We are still library people or book borrowing people, so there aren’t as many books on our shelves as we read.

  1. John Green. He is an author both Patrick and I love. Funny, clever and easy to read, but with enough layers and depth that the books don’t get boring.
  2. Jodi Picoult. I know, many people feel her books follow a formula, and I totally agree. That being said, I like how they examine issues from various sides.
  3. C.S. Lewis. We have two anthologies. Not a lot of books in appearance, but a ton if you break them up into individually. I really like his writing, although I haven’t read very much that isn’t The Chronicles of Narnia yet.
  4. Khaled Hosseini. His books books are beautifully written and complex. I also love learning about another culture and country just from reading them.
  5. Ted Dekker. The Circle series is fantastic. The way two worlds are made to overlap and the symbolism blew my mind. We need to add more of his stuff to our shelves.
  6. Suzanne Collins. The entire Hunger Games series is it, but it is a good one.
  7. Stephen King. These are mostly Patrick’s but the one I read was amazing and I might just read one of the less scary other ones.
  8. Mitch Albom. I love his writing and it seems that everyone remembers that. To the point where I had doubles of two of his books at one time.
  9. Lurlene McDaniel. They are remnants of my childhood that I am re-reading on occasion, but the are present in multiples.
  10. Clive Cussler. Okay, none of these are mine. In fact, I haven’t read any of his books, but Patrick has a whole hoard of them.

What author’s books do you have a lot of on your shelves?