Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold, cookies, and Christmas oranges

It is SO cold outside. Sure, it gets this cold every year, but I don't know if this time we were prepared for it. It was so nice in Nov. and part of Dec., and then WHAM super cold. It has been in the mid minus 20's now for weeks, and with the wind it is like -40! I often think to myself about the first people who came here - What were they thinking! One winter without forced air heat, and I would have said, "screw this!" and left. I guess it was really bad where they were from.

This weather makes people do funny things. My husband, for example, is even more of a hermit than he normally is. He wants nothing more than to sit downstairs cuddled up in blankets and watch TV. As for me, it makes me want to use the oven. It goes like this, the oven is warm, standing by the oven is warm, maybe I will bake something. And so, starts the Christmas baking. Yesturday, I made homemade cottage cheese dill bread that I will use for an appetizer with spinach dip on the 24th, along with butter pecan cookies that have no flour in them at all. Today, I plan to bake thumbprint cookies, and I might go to the grocery store to get the things I need for wednesday. I will brave the cold, but only if that means I can use the oven again!

The other thing about cold is people want warm drinks. I keep thinking that I really must learn how to make hot buttered rum or a hot toddy (what is that exactly?), but so far I will just stick to coffee and tea. This morning for breakfast I had one of my cookies and a christmas orange to go along with my coffee. Don't you just love those little oranges? I don't much care for the white stuff, so I pick it off. Just that act of getting all the white stuff off and eating each piece is so calming.

As I probably won't blog again before Christmas (it is right around the corner!), I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! Have a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Deal

So, as we have settled in to life as two anesthesiologists, it begs the question: What is the next step? Kids? A new house? Both? Which one do I convince Jurgen is the way to go? And how? Initially, I thought we should have kids. It is the next logical step in our lives together, but then I looked around at our house. A two bedroom condo with no back yard in which we use the second bedroom as an office. Yes, a new house is needed before we take on the next challenge. However, we are in an economica downturn, a recession, and convincing my hubby that we can afford anew house is very difficult! It began to really stress him out. So much so, that he decided on a deal. He has pledged that he will work out 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, every week. The moment he falters we can buy a house.
I win either way!! Either I get a smoking hot husband out of the deal, or I get a house. Either way, he stops being stressed out and gets healthy, at least for a little while.
For those of you who don't know, my husband is a couch potatoe. The most exercise he gets in a day is exercising his thumb muscles playing Xbox. So, this is a big deal. He must have been really stressed out about the prospect of having to buy a house. I commend him for it. We shall see if he is able to do it. But, like I said, either way, I win.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

settling back in

We have been back for about three weeks and have settled in nicely back into "real life". Work is going well, still fun and full of challenges.
I have become accustomed to the climate again here. Actually, it has been quite pleasant considering it is November. Temperatures hovering around zero with occaisonal light snow. I even when for a run one day (that was lovely!).
I am, however, adjusting to the fact that it is almost Christmas! We missed Halloween and worked over Thanksgiving, so it really doesn't feel like it should be time for Christmas yet. That being said, I went out shopping yesturday and got a LOT of my Christmas shopping done!! It is amazing what you can accomplish when you have a plan!
Now, I am planning our next destination - San Diego. We are going there for a conference on Transesophageal echo. Luckily, we have a lot of staff people that month, and so have been granted an extra week after the conference. We are thinking of going to DisneyLand!! We have invited two of our friends to come with us. Gwynn isn't super stoked about going to DisneyLand, but I told him that if they could get the time off, I would be willing to go wherever. So we will see.
In the meantime, we are planning to go to Hornby for a bit after Christmas. We are going to go skiing at Mount Washington by Comox, then take our time coming home, maybe stopping in Calgary to do some shopping or do some skiing in Banff.
Let's see.... Since I finished I have been to Halifax, Montreal, Thailand, then off to Hornby and Banff, San Diego and possibly DisneyLand! Again, I marvel at how much Jurgen and I are enjoying our life now that I am done. We are debating on buying a house in the near future. And are thinking of where our next big trip will be.
Life is good as a "staff man". Life is good.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-jigg!!

We are back in Canada after 3 fun-filled weeks in Thailand. It truly was a fantastic trip!! As much as I am happy to be home, I miss the heat already (although I complained there! The grass is always greener!), and I am still suffering from jetlag.
We were so happy the way we did this trip. What do I mean? Well, Thailand can be incredibly cheap if you want it to. You can stay in "guesthouses" or "beach huts" or hostels and take your chances eating from vendors on the street. But Why? I think if you can you might as well stay at a nice hotel with great service where you don't have to worry about bugs in your room, where you can have your own bathroom, and get special things like flowers in your room everyday and turn-down service included! As for the vendors, I always feel like going out to eat is an event. You can still try authentic flavors in a restaurant, but you can take your time, get dressed up if you want, and you don't have to worry about the cleanliness or how long the food has been sitting there. Finally, you could take a bus or a train to get places, but when you can take 1 hour to get somewhere that would have taken 8 otherwise, why wouldn't you. Some people may not agree with all of this, and think it takes some of the adventure out of it, but I think it just takes the STRESS out of it all. Then it truly is a VACATION!
Life is all about learning, constantly, and we learned some valuable lessons on this trip. First, if you are planning a trip to somewhere as far away as this, if you can afford it, fly first class. We didn't (we thought about it too late), and really regretted it. Being smushed in like sardines for 20+ hours on a plane is NOT fun. Second, research WHERE a hotel is, not just how it is rated. Twice I picked highly rated hotels that were very far from all the action. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but at night when you are far away, it is not very fun (especially when people at your resort don't speak english). Third, on a trip if there is something you are thinking about buying, just buy it! If you don't, you will regret it! There was this gorgeous saphire pendant I was thinking about buying, and didn't, and now I regret it! Fourth, once you are settled in your hotel, explore a bit. The meals in the hotels were often very expensive (as were the spa treatments), but there are cheaper alternatives that are often not very far away. Finally, as much as you want to, don't sleep before it is night time when you are arriving at a place, or you will have jetlag!!
This was a great trip and we now have wonderful memories and great pictures!
Next destination? Not sure. Egypt? Greece? China? Scotland? Who knows? Only time will tell!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Krabi Island tour

These are all from the speedboat tour that we took to Koh Phi Phi.
This picture is of Maya Bay where the film "The Beach" was filmed. The one with Leonardo Di Caprio. A couple we met on the tour said that hadn't seen it and now they had to, but we informed them that they hadn't missed much. It was very busy there and not too exciting. Other than the number of boats and the beautiful beach (and a thousand people or so), there was not much else.

This was at Monkey Bay, which is aptly named. I have about 7 pictures of monkeys - swimming, eating, hanging out, but this one is the best as it is so close!

It was so beautiful here with the towering cliffs and beautful green water. Such paradise!!

We had a great time on this tour. Proably one of the hightlights for sure!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


As the internet here is SLOW, it takes forever to download pictures. So, again I will regale you with stories....
We are staying at the Sheraton Krabi resort. It is a lovely resort (5 stars), but the food and drinks are EXPENSIVE and it is far from everything. There are a few cheaper restaurants outside, so we mostly go there. We went into Ao Nang one night which is a resort town 15 minutes away, just outside of Krabi town. It was fun with lots of restaurants and bars and some more shopping. Jurgen bought another watch (this time one for me) and I bought a necklace (fake pearls). There was this sketchy part in the back of some of the shops where there were a lot of different bars and a lot of Thai girls hanging around. We didn't stay there long!!
Yesturday we went on a snorkelling trip all around the islands. We saw James Bond Island, Chicken Island, and Maya bay which is where they filmed "The Beach". We stopped at Koh Phi Phi for lunch and even saw Monkey Bay where there really were monkeys!! One even jumped onto one of the boats, but then thought better of it and jumped back into the trees.
There is an elephant who lives at our resort and comes out to play with her trainer to entertain the guests twice a day. She is SO beautiful! We swam with her today, worried that "warm spots" in the water might be elephant pee!
We have two more days in paradise before we take a plane back to Bangkok. We leave on Thursday to come home. As much as we love it here, we are looking forward to coming home. That is the one thing about travel - it makes you appreciate home a bit more.
Looking forward to popcorn, cable TV, and a comfy bed....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phuket to Krabi

The beach of Phuket abuts onto a forest which is similar to the forests we are used to with evergreen trees.

Outside our hotel there were many little restaurants and bars where you could eat right on the sand. We thought this sign was funny, as it was definately true! "Broken English Spoken here!" and semmingly everywhere we went!!

Despite being sort of cloudy, you can tell that the beach is beautiful. Fresh fish is caught here every day - evidenced by the fishing boats. Jurgen hated the smell, but I thought it just smelled yummy!

This was the little pizza place we ate at the last night. They had a kiln for the pizza (woodfire) which Jurgen said was quite good. I had veal funghi (although they didn't actually have veal, so I had pork) and a glass of wine. Altogether it was 600Baht, which was only $20!!

Now we are in Krabi. After taking a taxi which picked us up at our hotel and dropped us off at the next, we arrived at the Sheraton 2 hours later. A full hour earlier than if we were to have taken a bus, and so much easier. This hotel is VERY lovely, but much more expensive. We will take a tour of the islands one of these days, if it stops raining that is.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pictures of Chiang Mai and Phuket

This is our resort in Phuket. As much as the room was cheap, the food is pricey and we are far from the towns of Phuket and Patong. Well, live and learn I guess. Still lovely and very relaxed.

These are the ladies from Canada. They were quite a bit older than us, but we still had lots of fun with them swapping stories!

This was the traditional Thai market. Here I am in front of a giagantic display of fireworks! Jurgen really wanted some for next Canada Day, but decided against it.

There are MANY dogs in Thailand. Most just roaming around. These two were hanging out just outside one of the temples - such a hard life. Jurgen said that he wanted to come back as a dog, and the guide thought this was a bad idea. She says you should want to go UP the ladder, not down!

One of the temples in Chiang Mai ( I am not sure which one, they all started to run together).

Chiang Mai to Phuket

I will try to upload some photos soon.... However, in the meantime, I thought I would share some experiences. Our last two days in Chiang Mai was filled with temples (or Wats). We drove up the mountain to Doi Sutep, which they consider the jewel on the mountain. Then went to three different temples and saw a day market. This was a more traditional market where Thai people went to buy everything from food to cosmetics to clothes and jewelery. We enjoyed the Chiang Mai night market and managed to buy a lot of items (man! Jurgen loves to shop here). We met some lovely Canadian ladies who were on all our tours and then on our flight to Phuket. They have been EVERYWHERE! We were enthralled with some of their tales of places they have been.
The Phuket airport was crazy. It seemed much more chaotic and sketchy than in Bangkok. When we finally got a cab, the driver didn't know where our hotel was (although it is quite big and there are not many in the area we are in!), and drove around aimlessly until we found it. Once here, we were greeted with a cool towel smelling of Jasmine and a cool iced tea even before check-in. This is a posh hotel with ultramodern decor in the theme of the old tin mining that used to occur in Phuket. The room was not a bad price (for the luxury!), but the food is still quite expensive. I think this is because it is low season. We asked for a DVD to be put in our room and finally took the chance to see if any of the 50 or so DVDs that we bought for super cheap would actually work. They did!! We watched part of the Mummy 3. I was craving popcorn, but it is no where to be found. Maybe when we go into town...
We are planning to either visit Phuket or Patong city tonight to see the night life and see if we can find cheaper food (and maybe popcorn).

I will post more pics when I find more computers that will allow me to do that....

Having fun, melting in the heat, and wishing you all were here.......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bangkok and Chiang Mai

There are many monks in Thailand. These were visiting one of the temples, just like we were!
In Chiang Mai, we went on a tour where we saw the elephant camps. We ended the day with a raft ride. The guy let Jurgen drive for a bit - he was surprised how difficult it actually was.

This is us on our elephant. She is an 18 year old ornery elephant who was more concerned with getting more bananas than keeping her eyes on the road! No deaths of tourists today, though!

Before leaving Bangkok, we hired a taxi for the day to take us to Ayuttaya. This is a city with may ruins including this one with a buddha head in a tree!

The ruins were beautiful! So much history and culture here!
Stay tuned.... same bat channel.... same bat time....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Days 1-3

The flight getting to Bangkok was long, over 36 hours to get there. Jurgen took a nap in Minneapolis.
This was the plane to Tokyo. Probably 400 people.

Our first day we went to the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha. We hired a tour guide who was very cute!
The next day we went to the weekend market. It was crazy! Jurgen kept saying, "I am not sure what I am looking for, but I am sure it is here somewhere!" I bought less then he did, if you can believe it!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Amazing Race

I am watching Amazing Race 13 (Can you believe there has been 13??). I love that show. The biggest reason is that I love travelling and I can do some of it vicariously through the show. There are places that I never even dreamed of visiting before that now I might, simply because of the Amazing race.
So, now Jurgen and I are about to embark on our own Amazing Race! We leave for Thailand on Thursday. I have never been any where as exotic as that before! We will be travelling all around the country for a total of 3 weeks! I am excited, but also a bit apprehensive. There ar ea lot of things that could happen in a country like that, and I am just a Saskatchewan bumpkin! Good thing I am taking my worldly husband with me!
I just started packing today, realizing that I often repack a couple of times before I am truely ready (yeah, I know that is silly). I have been thinking about what to pack for weeks now. Afterall, it is hot, but it is also a conservative country. I can't just wander around in short shorts and a tank top. No, that would be frowned upon. So, I packed for that.
Well, if you happen to read this, or just tuned in, and you want to see what we are up to on our amazing race, keep looking here. I will be posting pictures and stories from our adventure in Thailand!
Next time on Joelle and Jurgen's Amazing Race.... Bangkok.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"vacation job" and kids

Lately, I often think to myself, "I can't believe they pay me for this!" For the most part, I really am enjoying my job. I was on call at the Pasqua Hospital last night, and had a great night. I worked with a great group of nurses, and the surgeons we worked with were also great. I have enojoyed being at a different hospital for a little while, just to see the differences. There aren't many. It is still good.
I realize just how lucky I am. I know there are lots of people who hate their jobs, or don't even have one. I am, however, a firm believer that a job is merely a means to an end. Sure, I enjoy my work, but I am not in love with it. Would I prefer to be on vacation, or even hanging out in my pyjamas in my house for the day? Of course. Most people are that way. But, I go to work so that I can go to Thailand (6 sleeps, by the way), or other such places. I am very fortunate that not only is my job a means to an end, but I also get some sort of fulfillment from it. I realize how rare that is. The problem with most people my age group is that someone told all of us that you should love your job, that going to work should be like a vacation, and that is just not reality. Again, I am just lucky.
Now, if the market would just get better, maybe I could convince my husband that we should start a family. I think I have reached that decision. He hasn't. He keeps using the market as an excuse. We can't afford kids because of the market. Ridiculous! But, I can't force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. There is something that is underlying this fear, and I don't know just what it is yet, but now is not the time to rush things. So, we will wait. We will go to Thailand, enjoy our vacation, and come back renewed and ready to face what the world throws at us. Hopefully, by then the market will be a bit better, and I will finally be able to convince him, that he too wants kids. I guess we will just have to wait and see...

Friday, October 3, 2008

insurance and dying

I thought I was dying. Not a very pleasant thought. See, I had applied for disability insurance and had a physical exam. This was over two months ago, so I finally called the place through which I was applying. They had a look at my file and said, "Oh, you're not approved, didn't you get the letter?". No, I didn't get any letter. Why would I be phoning if I did? Apparently they sent it to the wrong address. So, she sends me the letter.

Meanwhile, I am freaking out. I MUST be dying. Why else would a healthy person like me be denied insurance? I just ran a half marathon not two weeks ago! What could it be? Well, I thought it must be something that I don't know about, something in the blood they took. Didn't they have to tell me if they find something? But then, the letter went to the wrong place, so maybe they tried to. Anesthesiologists are high risk, afterall for lots of blood-borne infections, the scariest of which is HIV and HCV. Sure, my last needle poke all my blood work, and the patient's was negative, and it was over a year ago, but you never know.

I started thinking that these are DEADLY viruses with no cure. I was worried. Worried I was going to die and that I wasn't ready yet. I want to have kids (thinking I was going to die, solidified that one). I want to see the world. I want to enjoy life a little more. Besides, I just moved to the same city as my hubby. I am just starting to enjoy life again! This couldn't be the end! I was sobbing, thinking all of these things. Thank God for good friends who can talk some sense into you!

Well, I am not dying. The minute I found out I jumped into bed with my hubby and kissed him! It turns out that I wasn't approved because of my Celiac's disease. As much as that really sucks, I was relieved. I know it isn't a big deal regardless of what some stupid insurance company says. I asked them about the blood work, and they said that there was nothing abnormal, and if there was they would have sent it to my doctor's office. I have been told that I just need to go to a different insurance company. One of them will insure me. There are people who are a lot sicker than I am who still get insurance.

It is surprising what it takes to shake your tree. Some things make you think about what is important, what you want out of life. A little sad that it took a real scare to make me think.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Canadian Debates

I am watching the Canadian debate right now. The first question was issued by a Calgary man regarding the economy. The first person to answer was actually the Green Party Leader. She answered the question directly, and was very well spoken. I was surprised. Then the Liberal leader. Ok, so he can't speak English (disappointing), and didn't answer the question at all. Then, the Conservative leader, our current Prime Minister. Again, terrible. All he did was comment on what Mr. Dion had just said. Again, not answering the question. And the Bloc leader? Why the heck is he even allowed to be in the debate? He wants a separate country, not Canada! So, how could he possibly LEAD the country?!
So far, I want to vote for the Green Party! How is that even possible? Sure, I care about the environment, but let's be honest, I don't even recycle very much. But, she is the most well spoken of all the party leaders.
Poor Steven Harper. This whole debate is just going to be everyone attacking him. It is hard to be the encumbent.
Yes, I could be watching the American debate. But the question I pose is, Why? Sure, it might be entertaining to watch Palin make a fool of herself. But in the end, I live in Canada. We should care about what happens HERE. The US does impact us, but this impacts us more.
Who will I vote for? I am not sure yet. Green? Conservative? Liberal? NDP? We'll see......

Friday, September 19, 2008

birthdays and bruised arms

My week this week definately made up for last week. My birthday was on Monday. I had a ton of well wishes from people, two different bouquets of gorgeous flowers, and dinner with friends. Then, after another fantastic dinner, my hubby and our two friends went to the Elton John concert! What a great concert! Despite being a short, funny, little man, with sausage fingers, he is a great performer. He played for almost 3 hours, signed autographs for 15 minutes and definately played to the crowd.
My calls this week were also pleasant. Sunday night on call for Obs, although tiring, was pleasant. Then, last night I worked with a great group of nurses who kept me laughing all night long. Most days I can't believe they pay me to do what I do (and as much!)! I enjoy most of the people I work with, love the patients, and love the challenge that every day and every case gives me. I was invigorated reading journals at work last night. I am awed by the people who do research to constantly improve our field. Progress is great, and fascinating.
I feel like I make a difference - to my patients mostly, but also the world, with my work. A little at a time, I make a difference.
Finally, today we went to the Travel Clinic. There is probably no better way to make your trip seem close then to get all the vaccinations you need. Man! MY ARMS HURT! I am sure it is all worth it, though. The minute I get over the feeling that I ran a marathon with only my deltoids, I am sure I will feel fantastic!
Speaking of marathon, I don't know if I blogged about it, but in short it was (yeah, you guessed it), great. I was comfortable throughout, had a decent time, sprinted to the end, and finished with a smile on my face! What an accomplishment! I don't think I will do a full marathon, but I definately liked the half. Maybe that will be a reason to go to a destination!
Anyhoo, things are good and back to "normal". Now, I just need to find a new hobby....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Frustration

After having been working for a month, I have now experienced a bad week. It started with a very long day on Tuesday (see previous blog). Yesturday was fine - I did Ortho, I had a JURSI who was keen, and the day seemed to fly by. Today, not so much.
I worked with people today whose personalities clashed with my own. The unfortunate thing is that I knew from the time I looked at the slate that at least part of the day would be like that. I was geared up for a bad day to begin with. How can you fight with that? It might have been bad because I expected them to be bad. But it continued to get worse. When that half was over and I expected it to be better, it didn't. More personality issues. More problems. More Frustration.
One other problem is that even thought I know I am right, I don't always have the confidence to say something. Is it wrong to seek a second opinion? Is it wrong to get help? Just because I am "on my own" doesn't mean I should be left out to dry, does it? That is why most people open clinics with other people. Sure, they can share costs, but it is nice to get help and bounce ideas off of someone as well.
I try and be nicey-nice and that just doesn't seem to get you anywhere. It seems like all people respond to these days is bitchyness. They see me as some silly little girl, until I step up and don't back down. Well, that is really too bad. It was nice to know, however, that both the nurses I was working with, as well as other colleagues I spoke with, agreed with me in the situation. That definately made me feel better. It makes me think that I should have confidence, that I do know what I am taking about. And, if they don't like it, that is just too bad!
I guess everyone has bad days and bad weeks. Not everything goes smoothly all the time. I just wish it did.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

hard day

I had a hard day today. It was really long. It seemed like nothing could possibly go right. A comedy of errors. So, after being there for 11 hours working, I came home and did what I usually do when I feel this crappy - Cry. As I sat on the couch crying and telling my hubby how bad a day it was, he consoled me. He told me that he (and everyone) had had days like that. That things don't always run perfect. As he told me that, and I listened to what I was actually upset about, it started not to sound too bad. Afterall, my patients woke up comfortable and completely stable, and isn't that what is important? I am hard on myself, but that is because I want to do well. I want to perform and prove to everyone that I have those letters behind my name for a reason! So, it sucks when things aren't smooth. Someday, I hope to look back on this and have learned from it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

crazy person?

I think I am a crazy person. Ok, not in the strictest sense of the word, but a little mental at least. Why? You ask. Why would someone who seemingly is loving her life and so happy be a bit mental? Well, that is just it. I feel a bit lost. I have been working for so long (my whole life, in fact) towards something, that now that I do not have a goal or ambition, I feel lost. I thought about taking a class, but university classes have already started. Not to mention that we will be away for 3 weeks straight. Then, I thought of taking a dance class, or a pottery class, but same problem. For it to be worth it, I should be here for the whole thing.
So, what can I do? Well, I did plan a three week trip to an exotic country. That did eat up a lot of time and energy, but it is complete now, just waiting for us to take off. Other options? I suppose I could throw myself into work, but I am not too sure how to do that. I don't do research (nor do I want to), I don't have a special position in the department (nor do I want one), and there is only so much reading one can do (especially after just studying the hardest I ever have for over a year straight).
A couple more ideas: I could start studying for the TEE course that we are attending in Feb (probably a good idea). I could read a lot of journals (and actually read them instead of just the abstracts). I could find a couple of aerobic classes (drop-ins). During the day I am busy at work, it is just at night.
I think all of those are good ideas. Then in Jan. if I still want to take a language or pottery class, I still can. That little engine that ran so hard for so long last year just doesn't want to stop.
I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could......

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My life is blessed

My life is truly blessed. I am extremely happy. I love my husband. I love my kitties. I love my job.
I was on call the other day and called in early (I only start at 4pm) for a big emergency case. My hubby was second call and just finishing his case. He decided he could start the case while I came in. Luckily, I rolled into the OR at precisely the same time as the patient. We looked at each other and immediately started dividing up the work. Our OR was abuzz like a bee hive busyily working, and I was its queen organizing everything, my bee king at my side helping me with every detail. (Wow! What a metaphor)
Again, I am amazed by our relationship. I love the fact that I see him at work everyday. That he may pop into my room and bring me coffee, or just come in to make me laugh. I love that no matter what, he is there for me. He will come and bail me out at a moments notice, or just give me the advice I need.
And, the job. Back to the night on call... We worked until just after 4am. I was tired, but not totally bagged. The next day I was fine. The difference? Sleeping in my own bed. Sure, I am always checking the clock and wondering if they are going to call me back. But, I don't have to sleep in a disgusting call room, get up to do consults, IVs, traumas, and epidurals. I can crawl into bed and cuddle up with the man who was on call with me (but went home early, as he was on second call), and my two beautiful little cats. Ah, bliss. Oh, not to mention all the money I made!!
Finally, with work comes rewards. Our newest reward? A BMW 335XI in metallic silver!! Only the hottest, most fun to drive car ever!! Check it out on-line.
My biggest stress right now is whether or not to completely book our trip to Thailand, or to just let things flow and fly by the seat of our pants. This attending thing is great!

Friday, August 22, 2008

first call

Well, I did it. I survived my first night on call. We worked hard, but it wasn't crazy. Not quite as enjoyable as my resident nights on call (those nights I had a long supper break, and a coffee break), but not as tiring and crazy as well. When I finished (and between myself and my hubby, we cleaned the slate), I was able to go home and sleep in my own bed. What a treat! As a resident, the staff person would go home and we would stay. We would sleep in an uncomfortable little room with very thin walls dreading the time when our pagers would inevitably go off. Many a night I made money for my attending with IV starts, traumas, and epidurals, getting very little sleep. Last night, I did none of that. Sure, my pager could have gone off (it didn't), and I could have had to go in, but before I would have had to, I would have gotten a bit of good sleep in my bed. I wasn't even really tired today. Previously, the day after call (we just call it "post"), I would have been bagged the entire day and needing to go to bed by 7:30 pm. I feel like I could stay up to my usual time tonight and be just fine. This is so civilized!

Again, I am struck by what a wonderful husband I have. He was ready to help me out at any moment. I am sure that if something really awful had happened and I would have had to run back to the hospital, he would have been there for me. He even told me that he was proud of me last night! I knew I loved him for a reason!

As firsts go, and I still am having a lot of them, I am doing OK. I keep saying, "so far, so good!", and it truly is. Do I feel different as a staff? Yes, and no. Yes, because now I can go home after call and I am respsonsible and can make the decisions. No, because none of this is any different than anything I was doing before. It is like being married to someone you have been with and lived with for years (like Jurgen and me), it is different, but good different.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I had nightmares all night last night. About crazy cases, people dying, and incompetence - my incompetence. I used to dream about not doing well at work - my attendings getting mad at me, about failing the exam, but now it is more serious. Now, when I make a mistake, it is huge. People could die. No, nothing has happened, but I am worried and my psyche knows it. Tonight is my first night on First Call. All night there were mean faces, sick people, and no help, and I am worried that it will come true.
This is how I felt before my first day of work, and that went fine, didn't it? And, I am not really alone. I do have help. Jurgen is going to be working in another room. He asked our scheduller (who is awesome) if we could be on call together, at least for the first little while. So, I am first call, and he is second call. He knew how I would be feeling, and knew that it would make me feel at least a little better knowing he was there. I trust Jurgen with my life, not to mention our patient's lives. His knowledge and skill is unsurpassed.
Still, I worry. I hope that the nurses and surgeons will be just as nice to me tonight as they have been for the last week and a half. I hope people will be understanding. I guess the only way to know for sure is to just do it (Nike). Jump in with both feet and hope you don't hit the bottom!

Friday, August 15, 2008


It still doesn't quite feel real. I keep having to stop myself from writing PGY5 at the end of my name. I keep expecting to look up and see my attending come back in from coffee. Maybe it will feel more real after I get paid for the first time.
Nonetheless, I am doing it. I not only survived my first week as an attending Anesthesiologist, but I enjoyed it. I did a whole host of cases - neuro (twice), gen surg, urology, ortho, and not all of them were completely straight forward. I even got a couple of compliments from the surgeons. Today, one even said that my spinal was in super fast!
I think this is going to be a great working environment. I already like all of the nurses. I know most of the surgeons, and like most of them, and I love my colleagues. I am finally starting to understand what my husband was talking about. It is so nice, too, to come home after a busy day and not have to study. I can do absolutely nothing after work if I want to, and not feel guilty! I have to be honest, though, I hvae picked up an anesthesiology book once or twice just to make sure I was on top of my game for the next day. I definately didn't learn anything new, but it did give me confidence the next day.
I am sure I will have "precall jitters", but at least I know my most trusted "friend" will be there looking out for me. Jurgen asked our scheduller if he could try to schedule us on call at the same time for the first few. That makes me feel better, as he knew it would. He really is sweet sometimes.
I am no longer counting down the days. I am no longer dreading something coming up. I am no longer living with that dark black cloud living over my head. Freedom is a wonderful thing!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

first day

Well, I did it. I survived my first day of work!! No one died, and I didn't screw up! I am amazed. I got along well with the nurses in my room and the surgeon was really nice to me. Maybe I can do this!
I was doe late, but it wasn't my fault. One of my patients ate, so we switched the order of our cases, and that took awhile, and then my last case seemed to take a lot longer than the surgeon thought it would.
The only bad thing is that my jaw aches, and now I am getting a headache. I am sure that it is because when I am stressed I cleanch my jaws. Even if I wasn't that stressed, I must have been a bit, because I was definately clenching.
Well, little by little I worked at becoming an Anesthesiologist. Now, that I am an Anesthesiologist, I will work little by little at becoming a really good one!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

prework jitters

I start work on Monday, and I have the jitters. I am worried that I won't be able to do my job properly. I am worried that people will think I am terrible. I am worried it will take me until 7pm to finish my 7 cases.
There is always this little voice inside my head. It tells me that I am not good enough, not smart enough, that I keep fooling people. Do other people have this voice too? Most the time I am able to smush it down inside and remind myself of how far I have come. Me, no one else, me. I got into Medicine. I graduated with Distinction. I matched to my first choice in Anesthesia. I passed my Royal College exams. So, have I fooled people? No. I worked at it, hard, and was successful.
I must remember that I can do this. That I do have the knowledge. And, I am not really alone. I can call on Jurgen, or Paul, or Annabelle, or Tim, or..... I am sure the nurses and the surgeon will take pitty on me, as it is my first day.
That little engine never seems to get off the track. It just keeps on chugging: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggedy jigg!

We just got back from Montreal.  We were there for a week.  We went for a wedding, and stayed for the fun.  We did some of the traditional tourist sites like Old Montreal, Notre Dame basilica, and the Harbour.  We did some shopping on St. Catherine street and on St. Laurent.  Then we also did some fun things.  We went on a rapids ride down the St. Lawrence river, and to La Ronde Six Flags amusement park.  That was probably the best part of the whole trip!  I learned a couple of things there - Jurgen likes rollercoasters as much as I do, and we are both just a bunch of big kids.  6 rollercoasters in under 7 hours!  The little bones in my ears where just a whirling by the end of the day!!
Some of the bad things of the trip really made me appreciate the end of the trip - coming home.  I lost my camera the third day.  I left it in the restaurant we were in (I am sure!).  It never turned up.  In SK someone would have turned it in, not taken it.  Then, the French.  Some were nice, but we ran across some that were really rude!  At the wedding for example, we were unfortunately seated at a table with all french, except us.  They only spoke French around us, although I knew for a fact that they could all speak English.  They got up to do a little song and did not invite us.  We just felt completely excluded.  Luckily, my hubby has a great sense of humour and kept me laughing about it all.
Then the noise.  We were on a busy street in a hotel with a hot bar, which we were above.  In short, little sleep.
I had a great time in Montreal, but I am very happy to be home again.  The kitties were super happy to see us, I know we will have a great sleep, and there are no French people here.
Amen SK!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Insurance secrets

I am increasing my insurance. So, of course, that comes with a price. The insurance company sends out a nurse to ask you a ton of questions, take your blood and urine. It felt weird. Although I have nothing to hide (my life is an open book), the whole time she was here I felt like she was digging for secrets. All of this hidden in a a facade of chatter and humor. I said to Jurgen earlier that I felt like they were going to take my blood, do a DNA test and find out exactly when I would die, and of what. He told me that I watch too many movies. Still, does it make a difference that I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner sometimes? What about all the stuff you can't control, like migraines, Celiac disease, etc. I feel like you are being punished for bad luck. Isn't it enough that you have these things? I kept hoping my blood pressure was lower, my heart rate lower, my height taller, and my weight less. Doesn't it count that I run, try and eat well, and don't smoke? It should, but I am not sure. What secrets will they discover? What lies have I told? What is my body hiding from me that they will find out? The whole thing just felt: SKETCHY!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is it possible to feel more alone in your own city and your own house, than you would if you were in the middle of no where? I think so. That is how I feel. I have been spending a lot of time by myself lately. Some time alone is good, but too much just makes you feel lonely. I go for runs, do errands, and research a trip which may never come to pass. All the while waiting for the time to come when I will have human contact again. I wait for him to come home, thinking we can do something together, but no that does not happen.
Lately, it is all fights and disappointment. I feel like a roommate, only I sleep less than I would if I were just a housemate (then I would have my own room and I wouldn't have to put up with his snoring). How can two people who have been married for almost 4 years and together alomst 12 have so little in common with each other? We don't like to do any of the same things. I feel like we are living two completely separate lives, only in paralell.
Sometimes I think I would like to have a child, but then I think, would I really want to bring a child into this relationship? It wouldn't make it any better, thats for sure! It would probably be a lot like this for the first few months - him making me feel guilty for not working, having to rely on him for money and being made to feel guilty. Only thing is, it would be a lot less fun, as I would be exceedingly tired and grumpy from having been up with the tike all night. A little sad really, it is the next step in our relationship and I fear it.
Will things change when I start work again? Absolutely! No more guilt about not working, no more guilt about not having money. Will our relationship change? I doubt it. A selfish person who can only be jealous of their partner instead of happy for them, will not change. I will just have more freedom.
Now, if I could just find someone to take my trips with me!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brotherhood and Anesthesia

It is funny how people seem to band together about certain things. Whether they are knitting circles, 4H clubs, or the NFA, commonalities tie us together. And so it is for running. As I was running the trail that I often run, I would come across people. I am a friendly person, and I say hello to everyone, but not everyone is the same. However, you can be certain that if you are running (and seeming to work hard at it), and another runner comes across you, you will get a least a nod, sometimes a hello, and often a big smile. At first, I thought it was just a nice lady across the street from me who waved and said hello, then again and again people along the trail would say hello. By the end of my run, besides feeling tired but proud of running 12 km, I felt like I had joined some kind of elite club. No wonder people frequent places like the "Running Room", they are looking for some of that comraderie even when not on the trails (because they certainly don't have much for stock). It is almost like we know that we all share the same love-hate relationship with the mistress named running. The distance, the sweat, the blisters on our feet, and the desire to continue to strive to be faster and go farther.

On an entirely different topic, I was pleasantly surprised yesturday. We got some Anesthesia journals in the mail and I started randomly flipping through them. My interest was immediately peaked by several of the articles. I had to sit down at once and read through them, exclaiming my surprise and delight at the author's findings to my husband. Yes, I am still a geek. And yes, despite 6 weeks off, my fire is still lighted by my profession. Maybe I miss work more than I think! I think it will be good to eventually go back to work. It will be great to decide what exactly is MY practice and not have someone correct me on that. It will be an adventure, nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shout out to SK

I just wanted to shout out to the world about what a great place Saskatchewan is! The fields of wheat, canola, and flax are like a multicoloured ocean, waving in the wind. The skies are a canvas in which all the colours of the rainbow are stroked across. The lakes are beautiful and warm, perfect for waterskiiing and swimming. The people are the type of people who would go out of their way to help you. If they saw a stranded person on the road, would they think, gee I shouldn't stop they might hurt me? NO! Of course not! Those people don't live here! They would stop, without question, and help.
And what about the negatives? I would be lying if I said that there were none. For example, the winters are cold. Well, snow is fun if you dress right. Skating, sleding, even skiing is available (although it is not the mountains). There are only two weeks of the year that are really bad, and you should just use those two weeks as motivation to go on a hot trip! Just remember, it could always be worse - the NWT for example. What about the hunters, and the country music? As for country music, just like ANY music there are good songs and bad. Ever heard of Shania Twain? And hunters/fishers? I would take them any day over hippy trippy tree huggers who don't contribute anything to the world except their lament for everything fun in the world! At least they know how to have a good time!
Saskatchewan is an up and coming power in Canada. The economy is booming, and yet it is still affordable to live here! A beautiful place to live, with fun and friendly people!
So, here is to the big rectangle in the middle of the country! Cheers Saskatchewan!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lake and Run

I didn't really have much to do today, so I went out to the Lake. Jurgen had forgotten his wallet there, and there was some stuff I wanted to bring back. I also wanted to run some of the hills there. So, I went. It was rainy and cloudy on the way out, but as I descended into the valley I could feel the sun start to peak out and its golden rays wash the city away. It was so peaceful out there. The birds were singing. There was no one around. I thought to myself, once again, how fortunate Jurgen and I are.
As I was exhilarated from the beauty around me, I decided to go for a longish run along with my hill training. I ran the 3 km to the big hill that goes up to the farm land and part of the Reserve above the lake. As I began the half km run in the gravel up to the top, it started to rain. It was gruelling. I had to stop a lot, but I was determined to make it to the top. I know it is important for my training to do hill work, even if I hate it. I completed 9km of a hard run full of rain, wind and hills.
Once again, as I rounded the corner into the property, the sun began to shine. I was dried off right away and able to enjoy a few minutes of peace yet again. One of these days I am going to bring out the cats and stay out there for a day or two. That would be lovely, peaceful, pure bliss. I love the Lake.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vacation Joy

I am loving my life. I am loving my time off. I am not really doing anything terribly constructive, and I think that is just wonderful. I seem to be able to fill up my days running, reading, hanging out, and running errands. It has been great.
We have also spent a lot of time at the lake where we can play host to many people. I have become a much better waterskier in the last few weeks. Now, I can slalem just like the boys. I may even decide to try my hand at wakeboarding, maybe.
I had a moment of pure bliss today. While surfing the net (which I have not spent any time doing in over a year), my kitty came and sat on my lap. There she sat cuddled up next to me, purring. Both of us were completely content. They are so great. I love that Seven runs to the door whenever I come home. I love that Stupe is so affectionate.
Could I do this sitting around thing forever? No. I think eventually I would go stir crazy. However, the prospect of actually starting practice on my own is a little daunting. But for now, dreams of where we will visit in the next 6 months (Thailand, Jamaica, San Diego) keep that at bay.
So, more advice: I recommend that if anyone can have a few weeks off to do absolutely nothing, they take it. It is very freeing, relaxing, rejeuvenating.

Friday, June 27, 2008

spiritual moment

It seems like the universe is trying to tell me something. I have been bombarded by spirituality lately. Yesturday we went to Jurgen's Aunt's house for dinner. His cousins, whom I love, were there. Both of them are quite different from how I see myself, but also similar. One is a Vegan, and one has recently discovered a new spirituality. As much as I find so much of that stuff a little weird, I have to admit I was intrigued. Then, today I had the luxury of watching the last 15 minutes of Oprah. Again, they were talking about spirituality and how you can "heal your life". Both of these, although different, had the same message: you have the power to change your life through positive thoughts and actions.
Think about it. It makes sense, doesn't it? When you are happy, the world is your oyster. You are smarter, stronger, better. When you are depressed, the world is dark, cold, empty. It is so much easier to harness positive energy than negative energy. So simple, and yet we are all not doing it? What makes it so difficult to do that? How do we let ourselved become overwhelmed with negative energy and thoughts? All of us do it. So, how to change it? I guess that is where these folks have come in. Their ideas of "positive thinking", "vision boards", and "the Law of Attraction".
Where does this leave us? The universe is trying to get my attention, and if you are reading this, yours as well. Why not try it? For one week, I am going to try and be completely positive, and grateful. Also, I will envsion a goal and think positively about it. The universe wants to listen, we just need to speak its language. Try it. See what happens.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I am currently in Halifax. I am here for the Canadian Anesthesiology Society Annual Meeting. The conference itself is a bit ho-hum, but I LOVE Halifax. Great shopping, great restaurants, great people, great views. I could live here. I have been to some of the talks, but let's be honest, I was really here to see Halifax. I think most people are. We saw some of our attendings out shopping, so I didn't feel quite so bad then. I have also been seen at the conference (several times), so that is good too.
My Mom comes in tonight. I wasn't going to go pick her up, but I think that would be a nice surprise for her. We have never been out just the two of us on a vacation before. There has always been someone else there - my dad, my brother, my grandmother. So, this should be interesting. We should have a lot of fun together. There are some places that I have already thought of that I want to take her, and I am sure there is stuff that she wants to see as well. She has spent a bit more time here than me, so she might know some more stuff to see. Either way, it should be fun - just the girls.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

my life in a box

The sky outside echoes how I feel inside. It is cloudy with the sun just trying to break through and shine. That is how I feel at present - a little sad, but also joyful at what is to come. I am leaving. After 14 years of sweat and toil, of tears and joy, I am leaving. I am packing up the house that I have lived in for five years. The first house that I ever bought, my first house as husband and wife. The house where I toiled and sweat and worried as a resident.

It is kind of sad really. The mere fact that you can pack your entire life into 15 little boxes is just a little depressing. Not to mention that I hate moving. I hate it. I find it very stressful. What if I don't get everything done? Well, there is always the movers. They are packing all of my breakables, and whatever else I don't quite get done.

Then there is the excitement: I am moving to Regina. I will be with my husband and kitties again. We will be a family. I am starting my CAREER. Not just another year of my training, not just another year of my residency, but the actual career that I have been striving for for the last 14 years! I am excited, and a little apprehensive all at the same time. I will really have to prove myself now. It is not enough to just have those little letters (FRCPC), but now I have to prove that I am worth them. Everyone says it is better. Everyone says there is not as much of an adjustment as you would think. If those before me can do it, so can I!

The future is wide open. What cases will I do? What places will we visit? Will we buy a new house? Car? What about kids? It is all open at this point (mostly for discussion).

At this point, I just want to finish packing.