Alternative

This article “What Do Doctors Say To ‘Alternative Therapists’ When a Patient Dies?” by Ranjana Srivastava appeared on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday.  I couldn’t resist reading it.  I think you should read it too.

First of all, it is clear I am a big nerd when this is the most eye catching thing I saw on Facebook.

But, the big reason it is eye catching is because I was curious what it would say.  And it said what I thought it would.  We say nothing.  We don’t talk about it with others.  We talk about it amongst ourselves.

It also echoed a lot of feelings I would describe having around alternative therapies.

I am probably one of the more “loosey-goosey” of the people in my department when it comes to alternative therapies.  I am touchy feely, I inherently trust people and I do believe that there is value in a lot of things we can’t or haven’t necessarily studied.  I’m that kid who did a presentation on medical marijuana in research rounds and concluded that it isn’t all bad and we really need to look into the stuff more because people are using it whether or not we think they are or should.

I ask people what they take over the counter or with supplements.  I explain why I ask.  You see, some products, although “natural” act in ways that counteract the actions of chemotherapies or radiation or other drugs.  Sometimes in terribly harmful ways.  Ways that make cancers not respond to treatments.  Or ways that make side effects worse.  I ask because I care.  Not because I want to judge you or make you feel foolish.

Actually, some of the drugs that we give people are “natural.”  Some chemotherapies are plant derived.  They are natural and very toxic, but when used appropriately can treat cancers.

I see nothing wrong with trying something different when nothing is working.  I see nothing wrong with adding things that have low risks of harms that may help.  I see nothing wrong with doing things that are healthy for you.

I do see something wrong with people who are encouraged to spend their life savings on a “miracle drug.”  When people risk their lives to procure enough cannabis to make the oil they were told online was a “cure.”  When people entrust their health to internet “doctors” and people who make a profit from preying on the sick and the scared.

Many of the “miracle” agents on the internet are anecdotes.  Sure, everything starts as an anecdote.  But, that is why things are tested, because we are often wrong and they are one-off events.

There is some laboratory in anecdotal data about cannabinoids.  I’m not refuting it.  I’ve read it.  But, there is no cold hard evidence for it as a cure for cancer in humans beyond the odd case.  Could it be coming?  Maybe… But that day isn’t today.  And there is cold hard evidence for other treatments in some cancers.

It scares me that some people believe the person that will make a fortune off of them buying their concoctions is more trustworthy than the person who makes the same amount of money whether or not they take the treatment.   It upsets me that people think I am the one brainwashed because I am offering medicine with evidence behind it, with the experience of time, the monitoring of governing bodies and the backup of provincial funding.

It terrifies me to know that supplements and some complementary therapies (not all) are not regulated at all.  In fact, often they aren’t even containing what they claim or have contaminants that can be harmful.    And people die from complications from these therapies.  Just like conventional medicine.  But in a lot of cases we don’t even know some of the risks.

When something claims to work almost all of the time or have no side effects… It probably isn’t for real.  Too good to be true is something I see a lot.  But people want it to be true.  And why not?  Some people have nothing left to lose.  But really, everyone has something to lose.

It also makes me sad that some of my colleagues think all complementary or alternative therapies are bad or dangerous.  It is scary to see people doing things we don’t understand, so I get it.  And it is hard to trust when people you cared for and gave your all for die, sometimes because they gave it all up for the wrong choice.

Miracles happen.  There are things we don’t understand how they work, but they do.  There are things we know do work and they scare some people because of misinformation or lies spread through all kinds of media.

When people forgo conventional treatments or risk counteracting treatments for something advertised on the internet or sold by an alternative provider, it makes me uncomfortable.  I’ll be honest.  When people die doing this, it makes me sad.

Complimentary and alternative therapies can be many things… I send people for massages, acupuncture, reiki and I think chiropractors do good work. I encourage spirituality and  and exercise.  I preach good diets and appropriate vitamin supplementation depending on need.   I think cannabis can be an option for some people for symptom control.  I am okay with you doing something else so long as it isn’t putting you or your treatment at risk.  I can’t stop you from doing something I don’t agree with or trust because you are your own person.  But, I can be honest and tell you why it is concerning.  I can review the evidence.  I can help you interpret it because I have a background in reading that kind of stuff when many people don’t.   I’d rather know than not know in any case because your health is important to me.  And I make no gains or losses by having someone take “my treatments.”

I just want people to be healthy and safe.

Conventional medicine can’t save everyone.  Neither can alternative medicine.

It is scary, but things go wrong.  Alternative therapies (namely the various supplements and drugs and cleanses) can cause a lot of problems.  But, we don’t talk about it when things go right.  We also don’t talk about it when things go wrong.

Talking would be a good start. Regulations would be wonderful.

There will always be people out there trying to make money and preying on the sick and vulnerable. Sadly, these people give everyone a bad reputation and are the source of my distrust and skepticism.  I know there are practitioners out there who think they are doing good and maybe are not.  That is where better regulations and research could make a change.  And I know there are practitioners out there doing amazing work with the best interest of the patient at heart.

An open mind is good.  Educated professionals are better.  But, I think that opening up the lines of communication between professionals but also with patients could make a movement towards making a difference.  At least in some cases.

A long New Years themed questionnaire

It is a few days after 2015 has started, but I have never been one to celebrate festivities conventionally (Okay, actually I did stay up until after midnight, saw fireworks as the clock struck twelve, toasted the new year (with sparkling apple juice) and kissed my husband… That is pretty darn stereotypical, I must say). I saw this 2014 in review questionnaire (one of many) done by a few of the lovely bloggers I follow and I decided to play along. Warning: it is long-winded and reflective.

YOUR 2014

What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

Tough one… Seeing Wicked on Broadway. Getting to see/hear “The Creature” for the first times.

If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?

Emotional, blessed and nauseated.

What new things did you discover about yourself?

I learned that I am capable of depths of emotion on both ends of the spectrum (joy and sorrow) at levels that I previously was unsure were possible. I also learned that taking time to do the things I enjoy or spend time with the people I love is something that I too often put off, so I am gratefuly that I am now starting to do that more.

What single achievement are you most proud of?

Does being in the middle of growing a human count? I’m mostly serious. But, if we are going with tangible obvious things, it would be having completed my research project and presenting it at a national conference (although we are still editing it for publication… Ugh.).

What was the best news you received?

That “The Creature” continues to be growing and healthy. After a long wait for a baby and especially after losing Elim and knowing how many others wait and pray for well little ones, I can’t help but be so grateful.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?

New York. Hands down. Best early 5th anniversary and partly free trip ever! I got to see musicals, Body World and eat a lot.

Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

My high-baseline optimism.

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?

Patrick, obviously.

Which new skills did you learn?

I apparently got pretty good at microscopy according to my Pathology evaluation.

My countouring skills are getting better. Bring on the head and neck cases!

I am getting better at transrectal ultrasound (I know, valuable life skills here, boys and girls) and inserting needles for prostate brachytherapy. Cervical brachytherapy seems to be a bit of a slower go for me, but it seems like whenever I’m on, the cases wind up being super complicated, so I get stuck not doing much.

Today, I have realized I have also become pretty stealthy at putting on Jeter’s harness.

What, or who, are you most thankful for?

I am most thankful for the many friends and family, particularly our extended church family God has stuck in our lives. They have loved us through a lot this year and keep putting my focus back on what really matters (sometimes with some laughs and healthy distraction on the way).

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?

A dramedy? I think that might be a genre.

What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?

It is not my story, it is God’s story.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome?

The perception or belief that I’m not “good enough.” Its an ongoing struggle, but grace is the gift that keeps on giving.

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?

This is challenging, there are many people with whom I enjoy spending time. I’m going to say C&C, A&P, K and M from our old small group (I know, that is 6). We got to have some special quality time with them for the first time in a few years and it was really enjoyable, meaningful quality time, even if it was brief. That doesn’t downplay the time we spent with many other very important people in our lives, it was just some of the most special time.

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?

When I started realizing that I could answer questions intelligently in teaching sessions and during my treatment planning exams and that I totally couldn’t have done that last year. I didn’t notice at first, but looking back, I can see how much I am learning.

How did your relationship to your family evolve?

I find myself more attached and concerned for my family and extended family as I get older. Probably because I keep learning how fragile life is and how important those people are.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I don’t know if profound is the exact word I would use, but it made me think about my relationships with family, with patients and how I share my love of reading with certain people. It made me want to check out more books and to actually discuss them (instead of reading being a solitary activity).

What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?

It wasn’t a compliment. It was the most heartfelt hug and simply “thank you” from a patient’s husband.

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?

I love coming home to Jeter who immediately “flops” and expects me to give him a good rub as soon as I walk in the door. I also love the time Patrick and I have when we do our individual Bible reading, pray and just cuddle and talk about our days before I go to sleep at night.

What cool things did you create this year?

I’m not that creative. Probably a knitted mug cozie (and then I lost the mug it fit on).

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?

I’m a resident, so stressed.

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

I ran for 20 minutes straight. Brachytherapy insertions. I played Munchkin, Gloom, Love Letter, and several other games. I saw Wicked.

What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?

I’m torn between kayaking with L, C, Child and D in the summer or playing games and having a BBQ with C&C, A&P and K this summer.

What major goal did you lay the foundations for?

I’m continuing to be a resident, so a suppose that is working towards my major goal of one day having a real job as a staff physician.

I would one day like to run 5k straight. I know for many people that does not seem like a big deal, but I am NOT an athlete by any means. Before I got pregnant and super sick, I was up to somewhere between 1.5 and 2km without a walk break and didn’t need too crazy long for a break. But now, I went for my first run again last week and I can barely run for 3 minutes without starting to get hot and out of breath (it has been about 12 weeks). I know that I can’t push myself excessively now, but I want to at least maintain (or improve) my fitness, so that after baby gets here, I can keep moving in that direction.

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

Patrick always tells me worrying won’t make me taller. And he is always right. So, all of them.

What experience would you love to do all over again?

New York. The time we spent with our old small group friends. Our cabin adventure with most of the BIFFs.

What was the best gift you received?

I’m going materialistic on this one. Mr. Holland’s Opus, which was a surprise from Patrick who remembered me mentioning it was one of my all-time favourite movies, so when he stumbled upon it, he bought it and watched it with me.

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?

That is a deep question. I think I’m getting better at seeing how grace really plays out in our world and in our lives in all kinds of ways that are sometimes more challenging to see.

What was the biggest problem you solved?

I fixed our broken drawer. I know it sounds trivial, but Jeter broke that bloody drawer trying to get to the treats a couple years ago and I finally fixed it! Maybe not the biggest “problem” but definitely the best fix.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?

When we were in New York, there was a voice on one of the subway trains that said “Please stand clear of the closing doors” who just sounded so happy while saying it (and also like a CBC sports personality). Patrick thought it was hilarious and would mock it and get even more excited if it was the voice on the train we were on. After getting back, we would still periodically announce “please stand clear of the closing doors” in that voice and crack up. Then, we noticed the elevator they are replacing in our building has a small automated sign that says that exact phrase. We lost our minds laughing at that.

What idea turned out to be the best decision ever?

Choosing to work Christmas Eve, so that we would have Christmas day to ourselves and more time to spend with family/friends at home over the New Years half of the break. We got to rest and relax, enjoy our alone time and our time with people (and even saw almost everyone we wanted to) and it was the best break we’ve had in some time.

What one thing would you do differently and why?

I would have accepted more help from people. I’m often reluctant to admit that I need help, but there were points this year where I was so sad or so sick that I probably should have taken people up on offers of breaks or a hand with things around the house or at work than I should have. I realize now that the past few months would have been a bit better had I maybe taken another couple of sick days or evenings to myself.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?

I finished my off-service rotations in one piece and made it through the first difficult 6 months of core Rad Onc in one piece (half of which I spent drowsy and barfy) with people somehow thinking I am keen and have a good attitude.

What activities made you lose track of time?

Board games with our lovely gamey friends. I can lose hours playing good games with good people. Also, as always, reading. And I will admit, because I am a big dork, clinic prep and contouring are huge time sucks for me and often lead to me losing track of time.

What did you think about more than anything else?

Having children and not having children. I know it is so cliché for someone in my age and stage, but this was a seriously consuming issue for me this year in both the good and bad.

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?

I love my job and my field, so I enjoy learning most about oncology and everything that goes with it from how people (on both sides of the desk) cope with cancer and live with it, to how it works to the technical side of treatments. I have also been really excited to be learning more about God this past year.

What new habits did you cultivate?

I was doing decently at going to the gym before the morning sickness took me out. Hopefully, I can get back to that. Patrick and I have been doing better with prayer together. I have also been trying to be more intentional with being “social.” I’m not saying I am a social butterfly, but I am trying to have meaningful (or at least some) conversation with people more often in situations where I would otherwise have tried to hide out.

What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could)?

I don’t know. I’m not always a good advice heeder. I would probably remind myself to be patient and know that tough stuff is good for growing and learning and that worry isn’t going to make me taller (even though Patrick did tell me that).

Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?

Not especially. My caffeine intake is probably a quarter of what it was previously, but that is the fault of mind-numbing nausea.

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?

Getting back to some important things. Like playing music again. Seeing and staying in touch with people who have been important in my life. Most importantly, seeing the thread of grace that God has woven in our lives.

YOUR 2015

What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be?

Growing.

What do you want to see, discover, explore?

I’m excited to do my Med Ed elective and improve/develop my teaching skills. I can’t wait to meet “The Creature” and figure out all that good stuff that comes with parenting. I am always happy to go on adventures anywhere, even if it is just close to home for the next while.

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?

Our families/extended family. We see them more now than we did our first few years of marriage, and I want to keep that up. Plus, their presence is going to be super important as “the Creature” grows up.

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

I need to learn how to be a parent at some point. As I said before, I want to work on my teaching and I just plain want to keep working on my clinical knowledge and skills. I always can improve on how well I love my husband and others. Plus, I want to be more fit, you know, the whole running thing, as I mentioned. If I could finally learn to play guitar, that would be great, but probably kind of a lofty goal given everything else.

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

I’m not sure exactly how to word it, but I want to continue to work on my time spent with others. I want to be more open to people and more loving towards them and less afraid of interactions.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?

I just want to find joy in the mundane. Because that is what life is made up of, those ordinary moments that add together to make up our days.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?

I want to keep working on our prayer time and devotions as a couple. I also want to get back to/get better at being more active.

What do you want to achieve career-wise?

I really want to pass physics and radiobiology this year (lofty dreams), so that I can just sit in on them when I come back from mat leave without feeling the pressure to have to write the exams and pass them with a toddler in the house. Doing adequately well on my other in-training exams would be great too. I also want to finish all of my rotations up to the start of maternity leave, so that I only have one 4 week block left of third year when I get back.

How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?

I hope I remember it as a good year, but really, it is just a drop in the bucket.

What is your number one goal for 2015?

Read 67 books. Just kidding. That is a goal, though. I guess it is just to love and serve well.

The last few weeks in a nutshell.

When it comes to regular blogging, I have been an epic fail lately. Sometimes life is just plain busy and my priorties have been such that sitting down to write has not been a priority.

So, for those of you who care… Some updates on my last couple weeks in a nutshell.

The treatment planning exam I wrote about went decently. It was challenging. I got through it and my score was not good, but was good for a first exam. Plus, that means I met the milestone of doing my first treatment planning exam.

The Child and I started going to Body Pump classes. Once a week. But every week. For those of you who are regular Pump attenders, this may not seem like much, but it is a huge stretch for us to commit to going every week and getting stronger (even if it would be better to go more than once a week, I’d rather set a realistic goal). As a result of attending these classes, we have turned into bigger gym rat-like people, not only discussing our run times at times, but now also plotting out how we could go up on our weights or do a certain move better.

I went wedding dress shopping in a real wedding dress store for the first time ever last week with my sister-in-law. True story. I am married, but I bought my dress online from Sears. I lived away, so I didn’t go dress shopping with any of the friends that I know who got married. It was an experience. I feel okay with never having to do it again.

I am very excited to go see Gone Girl later today. The book freaked the heck out of me (once I got past the first ¼).   I expect the movie could do the same.

Patrick and I went to a produce store yesterday that is known for its ridiculous deals. We have had friends from church recommending the place for ages, but had yet to go. We now understand the beauty that it truly is.

My program changed our academic half days to Friday afternoons. It is a form of torture to sit through 4 hours of lecture on a Friday afternoon. Especially when you have a busy review clinic all morning and no time to see your inpatients until after all the teaching. I discovered caffeine and cookies help, but don’t cure the Friday half-day blues.

I had a post-call day last week because I was stuck in hospital until 2am with a spinal cord compression who, after we treated, started having “new” chest pain (that in retrospect wasn’t new) and then was called several times overnight. I was so excited to have a post call day. And didn’t even feel that guilty for taking it because the night was that kind of ridiculous. Then I remembered, post call days suck when you were actually up most of the night because you need to sleep. Silly.

I love treating head and neck cancers. Even though they tend to get so sick from treatment. And even though some of the patients are tough drinkers/smokers who don’t want to do anything they should. I like a challenge. And I really want to help. And we can cure people with this type of cancer, which is always cool.

My computer at work was giving me the blue screen of death and shutting down intermittently. It got to the point that I couldn’t get any work done and had to use someone else’s computer. The helpdesk person had no real explaination as to why my computer blew up in my face like it did. He had to reload everything back on it from scratch (and I lost everything that was saved on the computer itself (not much)). In retrostpect, I like to rest my feet on the computer console thing under my desk and twice in the last few weeks I accidentally kicked it over. That might be related. Whoops.

I have been attempting to read The Maze Runner for two weeks. Much like my blogging, life has gotten in the way of my fun reading. Silly.

I have been obsessed with listening to Needtobreathe lately. Not sure why, but their mellow has been drawing me in. Like this song:

What is new with you? Anything exciting?

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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Milestones

I was walking to work the other day when the thought struck me… I have met a milestone.

What milestone, might you ask?

I was wearing normal people shoes (not my fake Toms and not sandals).

This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that I have not worn normal shoes in a month and a half since I broke my toe.  It is very exciting stuff.  I was super sore last night as a result, but still, it is a gain.

I also thought of a few other milestones…

I finally figured out how to take the bus to a few key locations in the city without getting lost and knowing where to get on and off the bus.  Taking the bus used to be a huge adventure and I considered it a big inconvenience here.  But, now it is normal.

I passed junior physics.  Yes, I got an 86%, despite the question I knew I got wrong because I circled the wrong answer and despite me forgetting to put units on one of my long answer questions.  If I got those marks back, it would have been a 90.

I used the first of my herb garden this weekend… Chives on our pizza and a couple pieces of coriander in my “Asian noodle bowls.”  I decided to focus on the coriander and ditched the chives because they weren’t growing well anyway.

I am back to the gym.  Still not running, but getting some good rowing and cycling in.  On a related note, I can now walk to and from work without wanting to die (I really didn’t know how important toes were, but I also think a tarsal was involved, not just the toe).

Monday will be my last day of PGY2.  That is a big milestone.

It will also be the end of Patrick’s first adventure as a long-term substitute teacher.  Tonight was his first grade 6 graduation (well, his second if you count his own).

What milestones are you celebrating?

 

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…

Playoffs versus Sleep

Few things can make me stay up past my bed time.

Let me list a few:

  1. Call.
  2. Caring for a very sick relative or friend.
  3. Seeing a very special relative or friend for the first time in a while.
  4. A playoff hockey game.

It is the playoffs.  And my team… The Montreal Canadiens are still in it.  As a result, every Montreal game means that it is hockey night in the M household (during the regular season, I generally only stay up for whole games on the weekends).  That means I have to stay up late every other night for the last almost week.  It also means that I eat more junk food (not good given I can’t run).

Image from the Montreal Gazette.

Yes, I have to.  It is not an option.

Tonight, we cleaned the house.  I did an assignment for my Molecular Genetics rotation and worked a wee bit on my manuscript (almost done the submission for research day).  We are now watching the hockey game and it is around that time I would normally be hitting the hay.

I’ll be sleepy in the morning (and I have to leave extra early because my half crutch/half walk thing I have going on means it takes me about triple the time to get to the bus stop).

And yet, I don’t want this to end.  I will deal with the sleep deprivation of a good long playoff run (I would like to thank residency for training me for this kind of thing).  Preferably Stanley Cup kind of long.

I am a hockey fan.  What can I say?

 

I Forgot My Pants

“I forgot my pants” is a phrase that I never thought I would utter.

I mean, how does one forget their pants?

When they aren’t wearing them of course!

Patrick and I often joke that somebody forgot their pants if they are wearing a terribly short skirt.  We point out that they forgot their pants as if it is an unfortunate accident rather than a fashion fail and an eye gouging experience for innocent bystanders.

Here is a helpful guide to whether you are wearing pants from Huffington Post… In case you aren’t sure.

I can’t say I forgot my pants in that way.  I have a “my skirt must always be longer than my fingertips rule” that is quite protective in that sense.  Also, the whole, if I wear it to bed or the gym, they probably aren’t appropriate for prolonged public wear.

However, I still managed to forget my pants not once, but twice this month.

My gym pants that is.

The first time, I went to the gym after work.  Got there, went in a changing room and changed shirts and bras and then went to grab pants and realized I brought a t-shirt, not my running pants.

So disappointing.

You see, I hate changing clothes.  I will often spend the evening in my work clothes at home relaxing because I hate changing that much.  So, making the effort to change for the gym only realizing I have no pants to work out in is a very upsetting experience to me.

But that wasn’t the last time the pants forgetting happened.

When I got to the hotel for the conference, I went to unpack my suitcase and realized, yet again I forgot my pants… My gym pants.  I have sneakers and appropriate upper body wear.  But, no pants.

I know how it happened.  I was doing laundry and put the last load in the dryer overnight.  The next morning, I couldn’t remember what I was waiting for to come out of the dryer to close my suitcase.  Instead of checking, I just assumed I must have grabbed it and that is why I couldn’t think of what it was.

Turns out, that thing I was thinking of was my pants.

So, I was that cool cat who went down for a very quick run (I only had 20 minutes between arriving and the start of the Montreal-Boston game… Priorities, people!) this evening in my pyjama pants.  My light pink, pink, striped pants with my fluorescent running shoes and bright blue tank top.  I am a cool cat.  Thankfully I saw nobody.  I am sure if the hotel staff saw me on camera in colour, they would think I was “special.”

The good piece is that I only forget gym pants.  If I had to pick a thing to forget, that would be an item of choice.

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.

Twisted MixTape: Get Moving

Confession, I am still kind of liking running.

I know, I am not the first person to have found running.  And I am definitely not the best runner by any means.  I am slow and my endurance is limited to 5-8 minutes of running with 2-3 minute walks in between right now.  But that is better than my complete ineptitude when it came to running this summer.  I would probably have made more gains, but I do well to hit the gym 3 days per week and generally pull off 1-2 between work and other commitments like sleep taking up time.

But that being said, nothing makes going to the gym better and in particular, running better than good music.

This is true… Kind of. Other things can stop me. Like my iPod falling, me falling, horrendous nausea if I run after eating or the inability to breathe.

That and not hurting yourself.  I was running last night and knocked my phone off the treadmill ledge and it shot off the other side.  I got distracted by the projectile week of pay and lost my footing and sprained my ankle something fierce.  Today was spent hobbling up and down the hallways and limping up and down stairs.

Sometimes I think fitness is overrated.  I know it isn’t, but on days like this when I recuperate from my accident prone-ness, I do.

Back to the subject at hand.  This week’s Twisted MixTape with Jen from My Skewed View is called “Get Moving.”  Interestingly, the Child and I were discussing our gym playlists last week, so this is an easy one between my programmed iTunes list and previous conversation.

“Great DJ” by The Ting Tings.  The song makes little sense, but it is great to get moving to.

“Headphones” by Hedley.  My husband is a huge Hedley fan and thus we own most of their albums.  This is on their newest album and it is catchy, but I also quite like the lyrics.

 “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce.  This is an oldie but a goodie.  Something about singing about a possible brutish criminal that gets me moving.

“Dead Man (Carry Me)” by Jars of Clay.  This was one of the songs on my old school MP3 player Patrick and I could agree on, so it has all kinds of happy memories for me.  It also has a pace and a level of encouragement that keeps me moving.

“Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia.  I didn’t like this song when it first came out but somewhere between watching Pitch Perfect and getting back to the gym regularly, this has become one of my favourites.

What are some of your favourite get moving songs?