“Owl…. woo woo ….”
“Thomas …. train …. friends.”
I think I’m ready for the half marathon in a couple of weeks.
This was my last long training run. My friend joined me for the first 7 km and I continued on as she turned back.
I tried a gel for the first time. It was gross. I then tried a gummy energy chew and it was much more palatable. I’m glad I used this run to figure that out.
My brother and I had a long talk the other day about our parents. He has positioned himself to be their power of attorney for finances and I am their power of attorney for personal care. In the past year, it has become evident that we may need to start exercising our roles. I can’t tell you how sad that makes me.
Growing up, my father was larger than life. He was a tall, formidable man with a deep voice but he was for all intents and purposes, a gentle giant.
Over the past year or so he’s become impatient, occasionally verbally aggressive toward my mom and is forgetting things. He was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment last fall but his condition seems to have deteriorated in the last 3 months. He has a much shorter fuse now and asks my mom to repeat things several times a day. He denies feeling depressed but we all think he is. Thankfully his family doctor suggested a trial of a low dose antidepressant and he actually agreed.
He will be having an brain scan soon. I fear it will be normal. Why? Because the thought of watching him continue down the road of dementia is heartbreaking. It would frankly be much easier if he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I don’t think I could bear the day he forgets his grandchildren and then me. I don’t think I can watch him become aggressive and angry and frightened at his memory loss. I see it already happening with my maternal grandmother.
And there’s the kicker: dementia on both sides of my family? What does that mean for my brother and me? Are we destined for the same end?
We talked about all of it. Dad won’t want to go into a nursing home when the time comes. Will I have to have him declared incompetent and take over as POA? If dad moves into a nursing home, mom won’t be able to stay in the condo; will she live with me or my brother or alone in an apartment? How long are we going to have to watch him deteriorate? He would never want to live like that. I certainly wouldn’t.
I fear the road ahead.
I’ve had this coffee cup for at least a decade. I feel proud to drink out of it and it always makes me smile. I love my work. I don’t really consider it a “job” like most people would consider their job. I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity to study medicine. It was a long road to get into medical school. I spent 12 years in higher education after secondary school to become a doctor. I spent a lot of the bank’s money on tuition, rent, food and books. I didn’t know then how much money doctors made. It wasn’t even on my radar at the time.
When I started working most of my income went to paying down my massive school debt and trying to save for a house, not to mention paying the government in taxes. I started my family practice, I bought a house and got married and had 3 children. I have a mortgage, I still have school and maternity leave debt and I still have to pay the government their taxes. I run an office in a building that I pay rent, I have two receptionists who depend on the salary I pay them to live, and I have purchased all the office and medical equipment I need to run my clinic. I pay for the phone and internet coming into my office. I paid for the computers I use and the paper I print my prescriptions on. I guess you could say that I am a small business owner.
I am not paid directly by my patients for the majority of the work I do for them. I am paid by our government; and that government is waging war on me and my colleagues. They are cutting our fees for a third time in less than a year and there is talk of a “hard cap” on physician billings. It is vague and no dollar amount has been disclosed. If this “hard cap” is reached before the end of their fiscal year, there is a strong possibility that they (the government) will just not pay me for work I have already done, for patients I have already seen and treated.
What would you do if your employer said there was no money left in their budget and you simply weren’t going to get paid?
What would you do if your income supported others and you suddenly couldn’t afford to keep your business running? What if you didn’t have a nest egg put aside for just this kind of scenario and could manage business as usual?
I didn’t become a doctor to get rich. Honestly, that was the furthest thing from my mind. I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. The wonder and awe of the human body captured my imagination at a very young age. Sadly, for me. there is nothing else I could do if I ever had to leave medicine. I take great pride in being able to educate my patients on how they can stay healthy. I feel privileged to be able to support them through birth, death and all that comes in between. I wish the majority of the public didn’t see us as money hungry. Most of us aren’t at all like that; we have all worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to be here and to be told by our government that we’re being greedy is insulting and unfair. Our population is aging and is going to need medical services above and beyond what we already have in place. The lack of forethought and planning for an aging population is terrifying. We, as physicians, can only do so much. Our system needs help and the way our government is approaching the problem might work in the short-term but the longer term issues will still be there, waiting for a solution. I fear there won’t be enough doctors by then to shoulder the burden. Where will that leave patients?
I haven’t written lately about the running. I think this is mostly because I’m afraid of jinxing myself.
While I was off on vacation in cottage country, I did a few short 3-4 km trail runs. The area we were in was pretty hilly so I did walk most of the hills. My endurance sucked but the previous weeks’ rest overall helped the groin injury.
When we returned from vacation I set out for a slow 6 km run to test the legs. And man, was it ever slow!! My groin did ache a little bit right at the end but the pain never persisted. I was very, very cautiously optimistic. I stretched after the run and foam rolled and hoped for the best. I also added back another short run of 3-4 km during the week. And the groin cooperated.
My next long run was 9 km. Again, I felt pretty good for most of it but the groin ache kicked in around 8 km. While it was frustrating to experience that ache again, it was also reassuring that it only happened near the end of the run. It’s the little things, right?
The following week’s long run was 12 km. No groin pain, just a little bit of lower back stiffness at the very end. Last week, I ran twice during the week; a steady 3.5 km run and then a 5.1 km run.
Yesterday, I set out for 15 km. My girlfriend had just given me a new running shirt for my birthday and I was excited to wear it.
I ran all the way downtown and back. Around 13 km, I started getting real tired and hungry! Thank goodness for traffic lights. I was able to stretch my legs at the red lights. In the end I completed 16 km and felt pretty darn good.
Today, not so much. Today, everything hurts, even my upper body from supporting myself while foam rolling my legs. Oy. I can’t quite tell if it’s the good muscle soreness or the groin injury rearing its ugly head. I leaning towards the good muscle soreness.
I also realized that I should probably take the next day off work after the half marathon.
Running along the Humbling River
Thoughts and pictures from a running Librarian. Proud owner of 1 broken hip from 2014.
The Inner Work of Physician-Patient Relationship
Doing my second year of medicine and I am falling in love with it <3
Observing life through writing
A Day In My Running Shoes