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.

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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.

Snow. Yay?

I got a text from a friend while I was getting ready for work this morning.  It read “SNOW!”

In the mornings, I stagger from my closed curtains bedroom into our windowless bathroom, so I exist in oblivion to the weather unless it is raining hard enough for our leak to drip or is windy enough to shake the windows or sunny enough to shine through the curtains (which is not likely at 7am where we live right now).  It has been unseasonably mild the last two days or so, and I live in a bubble in which I check the weather only  before venturing outside to catch the bus, so that wasn’t exactly on my radar.

Now, lets be realistic.  I live in Canada and it is Fall, so snow is a given.  But that wasn’t the shock factor.  The shock factor was my initial gut response…. “Yay!”

WHAT?!?!

I don’t say yay to snow.  I’m more of a bah humbug, go away winter kind of person.  Usually I’m anti-festive until December and even then I get cranky if things are excessive.  I only like snow on the holidays not overlapping my travel plans (which it always does). The one thing I always love are Starbucks peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes.  Mmmm.

But, that has been changing.  I started doing things like sending out cards (I need to buy my cards this year) and decorating.  I still don’t like excessive or commercialism, but I think because I am embracing the reason we celebrate, I am embracing the celebration more.

But moreso, I think friend is rubbing off on me too much.  And I’m okay with that.

So, I almost said yay to snow.  Not quite.  But almost.

The Annual M Event

We went on mini vacation to the M family reunion this weekend. I do better with it every year.

I think I am getting used to bigger family. I also think I am learning my limits and not pushing myself to do everything with everyone.

I stayed at the cabin by myself after dropping Patrick off to meet his family for the second drive in movie. I found a hatchet in the cabin. I didn’t know whether to be comforted I had a weapon or terrified who left it there.

Saturday was a beach day. I hit the beach for a run first thing, then spent the day there with everyone reading and swimming and capturing marine life.

We played mini golf that night. I beat Patrick and tied for third. It was thrilling.

Sunday was a day for leisurely travel. Spent time relaxing in the morning. We even stopped at a wildlife park!

Good trip. Despite the sunburn that I got even though I applied my SPF 30 every 2 or 3 hours.

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First intent to swim beach of the year!

We had our first beach with intent to swim adventure this weekend.

I specify because I like just going on field trips to walk around the beach or explore areas near beaches all the time.

It was still pretty post-tropical stormy, but it was hot out, so we figured the waves would be epic and the beach might not be crowded.

Problem was, we failed to factor in that ocean windy is different even compared to the harbour windy we live every day.

We also forgot that it is still really early in beach season in these parts and that tropical storm/hurricane just passing through would mean cold water.

We got to the beach and the sign read that the air temperature was 16 and the water temperature was 13.  

But, I am stubborn and Patrick is insistent.  We drove an hour.  I put on my bathing suit already.  We are going swimming!

Child and D dug a giant hole in the beach.  They weren’t as hearty stupid as we were.

You kind of felt this searing pain followed by numbness as you entered the water.  It was the kind of cold that made you think you might actually have a heart attack and die.  It was the kind of cold that numbed my still sore-ish toe enough that I couldn’t feel it even when I knew I landed on it wrong jumping in a wave.

The waves were awesome, though.  And there were no jellyfish (probably because the rough waters were murdering them all offshore.  

We might have only stayed in for under 20 minutes.  We might have had to change right after to try to get warm.  But we swam.  And that was awesome (so was Child and D’s hole.  It was as long as Child’s leg.).  Other bonus was that I didn’t get much of a sunburn because I didn’t stay in the water longer than the lifespan of my SPF fifty million and two.  Last bonus was that I got to read some of my current fun book.

I love the beach.  And I love summer weekends where I don’t work (even if I had to spend the rest of my night on clinic prep and reading).

June!

I found this gem on the walk to pick up some groceries on the way home from work.  I am totally impressed with whomever put a bird house in a park.  It is very June.

I found this gem on the walk to pick up some groceries on the way home from work. I am totally impressed with whomever put a bird house in a park. It is very June.

It is June!

I know, it was June yesterday. But, yesterday was church day (for which I was on set-up duty), in-laws visiting day and finish my freaking molecular genetics presentation day. It was not a blog posting day.

I feel like the end of April and all of May was that brand of chaos that comes from having too much stuff to do all piled on top of one another in sequence. After my presentation today (ps, the molecular genetics of brain tumours is super cool), June feels like a reprieve. Journal club is the only bigish work project this month. Sure, we are getting my support group project ready for publication (I got two emails about it in the time it took me to write this). Sure, I am starting a new project looking at radiation for lung cancers. But, there are no giant epic mountains of manuscripts, presentations and exams to worry about. That could change if I failed physics. Let’s not talk about that.

In other things June not to talk about, there are the June bugs.  I don’t like shelled insects.  Exoskeletons give me the heebie jeebies.

I quite like June. It is my birthday month, but I’m not too huge on birthdays, so that isn’t really a big deal. It is the month where the weather becomes nice enough to go outside and do stuff. It is the end of the school year for Patrick. And it is the end of the residency year for me.

It is tough to believe that I am one day away from starting my final rotation of PGY-2 (so long as I pass everything) and thus also finish what is our ridiculously long rotating internship of sorts. And then I will be on-service. Agh. I don’t even know what I will do with myself when that happens. Crazyness.

Tonight, we celebrate with the Child and D survival of the insanity that was May and 2 days of June. We will eat (and eat and eat) and play Munchkin (which is an awesome game… Check out the Tabletop video below (and know that Tabletop is also awesome)).

Then maybe we will enjoy the fact that our house is not full of extra people for a little bit. We will enjoy that I am not continuously operating on a new deadline (realistically, that never happens in residency, so I don’t know why I dream that big). I can get back to the gym, although maybe not running quite yet (heck, maybe that darn toe will stop hurting).  Maybe…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

This week’s photo challenge with the Daily Post is entitled “Spring.”

I love Spring and this weekend (once I got back from the conference, things actually started looking Springish.  We went out on the deck (cat and all) for a BBQ and to enjoy some nice sunshine and enough warmth to stay out for a bit without a coat.  I hope this is a sign of many such Sunday afternoons to come.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

This week’s photo challenge with the Daily Post is called “Monument.”

Monuments are pretty cool.  I like seeing the famous ones, but sometimes, it is the local and the functional that I find really fascinate me.

Maybe because I come from a costal town and maybe because I love being near the water.  Maybe because I am practical.  But, I think lighthouses are kind of cool when they are still in their natural location and still doing something.

Last Spring, Patrick and I went on a field trip to visit a tourist spot where there is a lighthouse.  We discovered it is pretty popular. It was built almost 100 years ago and a lighthouse has been on that spot for almost 150 years.  That is pretty old, especially for a lighthouse that gets hammered by wind and sometimes waves day in and out..

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1km, downhill in a blizzard.

Image from globalnews.ca.

Today was the storm of the century.  Or decade.  Or year. Something like that.

Either way, there was a lot of snow and even more wind.

Ah, Canadian Spring.

Everything was shut down.  Everything.

But not the hospital.

So, Patrick drove me to work this morning before it all started.

I saw my follow-up visits.

They took the busses off the road.

I got called to go to the other site.

I learned on the shuttle that the police had told people to stay off the roads.

I went back to the other site and watched an ambulance do a 360 in front of my very eyes.

I had a hard time tracking people down to get information because they had all bailed early if they could.

And then, it was 5 and I could go home.

Except I couldn’t see across the street.

I was ready for this.

I had my giant green, puffy coat that is the best $200 I have ever spent. I bought this expensive monstrosity when I started med school because I didn’t have a car and walked/bussed everywhere in a very, very windy, stormy city.  It is always warm.  It also makes for good padding when you wipe out on the ice.

I had my giant winter boots.  The sort that are so heavy and warm and dry you can’t pick your feet off the ground when you try to walk.

I was so bundled with scarves and hats you could only see my eyes.

Image from arcticlise.blogspot.com.

I had a crummy day, so I had all kinds of angry energy.

So, I said, “bring it on, winter,” and left the hospital on foot.

It is a 15 minute walk.

It took me 25 minutes.

My glasses fogged up and froze within 2.  So, I took them off and stumbled home blind the rest of the way home.

The sidewalk for the first bit was plowed.  Well, kind of.  It was plowed,but then the wind un-plowed it.  The snow was only ankle deep.

But, then it started to really suck.  The snow was knee deep on the sidewalk.  Some of the banks were as tall as me.  I staggered my way down the hill.  I only fell over once and that was because I didn’t quite clear a snowbank. I got stuck a few times, but not for long. And I kind of fell in someone’s sunken stairwell (one of those ones that goes under street level), but I caught myself on their house).

This is what I was afraid of happening to me. Image from smartcanucks.ca.

I walked on the road a bit.  It wasn’t like anyone else was as ridiculous as I was and was out. I seriously saw 4 cars and 2 pedestrians.  That being said, I am too paranoid and blind (and the visibility sucked too much) to walk in the road the whole time.

It was kind of like one of those stories our grandparents tell us of walking 5 miles uphill, barefoot in a blizzard.  Except I was wearing 10 pounds of clothing, going mostly downhill for only just over a kilometre in a blizzard.

I have good training for this having lived in a city where they never plowed sidewalks and walking took your life into your own hands.   I just don’t have to crack out that level of hearty very often here.

I kept telling myself that this will make a great story over and over again. That and that it is totally my workout for the day.

The Joy of Renting

Gratitude.

We had some horrendous wind and rain, which led to some sleep deprivation in the M household last night.

Why gratitude, you ask?  I’ll tell you…

When your barbecue cover somehow flies off into oblivion (despite it being bungee corded to both the deck and the BBQ), but your husband notices and rescues the barbecue of the balcony before it projectiles off as well.

When a chunk of your living room ceiling (that has never leaked before) caves in sometime in the wee hours of the morning, but does not hit your TV, other electronics or wedding photos. Also, that your husband is awake to clean up said chunk and the water that fell with it, put down buckets and call the rental office (who are coming today to survey the damage and do some repairs because apparently we aren’t the only ones who had that happen last night).

Image from strifeinc.com

When the window you swore was leaking last year during one storm, but then the maintenance person came and looked at it and said it was fine and it never seemed to cause a problem again (until now) starts dripping like a sieve, but you have enough towels to sop it up and the landlord is conveniently already coming in the morning to tend to our other leak.

When you realize that all of this went down in one night and probably won’t again until the next storm where the wind and rain blow just right.  At least you hope so.  Preferably, you hope it never happens again.

When you realize a 330 in the morning all of these things happened and you slept through them because your husband is a superhero night-hawk.

Image from sprudge.com.

When, at 330 in the morning, you and your husband can laugh about the fact, that we have never had problems with our apartment except for a broken drawer until RIGHT NOW.

When, at 330 in the morning, you and your husband realize that although we need to clean up the mess and protect the place from further damage, we are not responsible to fix it because that, my friends, is the beauty of renting.  And with that, we high-fived our prolonged schooling and general lack of funds to own a house with its added responsibility.

Image from giphy.com.

When you see that it is kind of funny that I need to go drop off my signed lease sometime this week.

When you realize you have a home with heat that is mostly dry and things to protect and all of the things that many people don’t have.