Countdown.

5 signs it’s time for a vacation.

  1. You’d rather sleep in than go for a run.
  2. You have no idea what day of the week it is and don’t care to find out.
  3. Listening to your patient with a laundry list of complaints causes you to start daydreaming of the lake.
  4. You stop caring. Period.
  5. You start marking an ‘X’ on every calendar you see until the day it’s time to leave for vacation.

muskoka-cottage-rentals

What if?

What does a wife and mother to 3 children do when her husband (who stays home to look after the kids) is suddenly offered the opportunity of a lifetime but it means 2 years away from home while he tours Canada, the U.S., and Japan?

Gah!

So many scenarios run through my head…

Of course we could make it work.

I can parent three children on my own and still work 30 hours a week.

My job is relatively flexbile, I could change my hours to accommodate school pick up and drop offs.

I can’t let him pass up this amazing opportunity.

What if he resents me in 10 years because he didn’t go?  What if he resents me in 10 years because he did go?

I used to watch this television show called Fringe.  The main premise of the show was parallel universes.  I often wonder if there were a parallel universe or ten, what would it show me?  How would my husband leaving to go on tour for 2 years affect my children’s development? How would it affect them if he didn’t go?  Would it make me a more capable mother or would it make me worse?

I don’t think he’s going to go, but the exercise of thinking about it and wondering if I could handle running a household on my own really makes me realize how much I depend on him and need him. Sometimes I think I might take that for granted.

This also reminds me of my favorite poem:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

 

A Breadmaker?

Further to my post earlier this week, that first batch of dough I tried to rise in the refrigerator did absolutely nothing. 

Nada. 

No rising. 

I believe it had something to do with my starter. While there were loads of bubbles that I thought were yeast, the mixture wasn’t doubling. So I fed it some more and the next day magic happened. My starter doubled in size and I tried again. 

This time though I didn’t rise the dough in the refrigerator. I instead left it in the oven all day and husband looked in on it. By the time I got home from work, the dough had risen to double and I made some bread. 

 
Apart from it being slightly under-salted and having an extra crispy crust, it was damn fine bread!! 

From Scratch

I couldn’t let the day pass without writing.

It’s February 29!

Happy Leap Day/Year everyone!

There has been so much I wanted to write about but getting my thoughts down has been hard.  It’s been very busy at work and by the time I get home and see my kids, eat dinner and relax, it is time for bed.  I’ve been running about once a week which isn’t nearly enough and that has been hard to deal with as well. I just haven’t been motivated to run lately and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been on-again off-again having issues with my calf.  Coming home late from work also means there’s no time to run.  The kids barely see me during the week as it is, so it’s not like I can arrive home and immediately turn around and leave for a run. Needless to say, mommy guilt is at an all-time high. 

I have also been preoccupied lately with being an assessor for medical school admissions.  After doing a file review of 30 applicants, I also took part in the in-person interview. I’m not sure who was more nervous, me or the applicant!  Thinking back to my own medical school interview, it was an hour long while I sat across from four very important looking people. Daunting indeed. It was interesting being on the other side of the table. It was more a privilege than anything else. I felt like I was a member of a very important club and it felt good to be able to play a small role in choosing our future physicians. 

Husband and I have been watching a lot of Netflix recently.  We just watched a documentary called “Cooked” and it was a fascinating look at how we as humans approach food.  One of the episodes was called “Air” and it was a look at the art (and science) behind bread.  Did you know that if you mixed water and flour and left it to the air that something magical would happen?  You can make your own yeast sourdough starter!  You don’t need anything else but time and patience.  There are yeast spores in the flour and in the air, all ready to start doing their thing.  Ever the scientist, I decided to give it a try.

Day 1. A boring paste of flour and water. IMG_1336
Day 2. Something is happening. Those bubbles are CO2 being formed by yeast. After adding more flour and water to feed the fledgling yeast 

Day 3.  More feeding of flour and water. More magic. Now it’s starting to smell a bit funky, which I hear is a good thing.

  

Day 4 – today. Sour and pungent smell. It is almost ready. 

 
When I got home tonight I decided it was time to try out some bread making. Now the dough is rising for the next 12 hours (sourdough) and for the record had I known this would take this long to make one loaf of bread I would have just gone out to the bakery and bought one. 

😉

The Toddler

“Mommy, what’s that?”

“That’s a Death Star cookie jar.”

“I want that! Mommy, what’s that?”

“That’s a Chewbacca pillow.”

“I want that!”

“What’s that?  What’s that? MOMMY!  What’s that?”

“That’s a Boba Fett bobble-head doll.”

“Mommy, I want that! Mommy what’s that?”

“That’s a phone booth toy.”

We were at HMV this morning.  Husband was off looking for some Criterion Collection DVDs and I was on toddler duty. The store was pretty empty as it had just opened so we had the run of the store.  The toddler high-tailed it to the “toy section” and spent the next 10 agonizing minutes of my life with a game of 20 questions.

All this after a half-hour car ride which sounded like this:

“What’s that? Ooooh, treetcar! I want one. Daddy!  Look! A bus! Mommy!!  Mommy!!!!!!!  My boot fell ground! I want muffin! Daddy!! Bird, Daddy, look! What’s that, Mommy? Look, Mommy, a truck! I want one!”

Aren’t toddlers adorable?

I need a Tylenol.

 

 

 

 

Welcoming 2016

On this final evening of 2015, I sit alone in the basement watching The Vampire Diaries and coloring in my new grown up art book.  My kids are tucked into bed and sound asleep. Husband is out with my best friends at our mutual friends’ NYE party. With my dad having been in hosptial for a week (he’s home now), my mom couldn’t come over to stay with the kids. 

This is the first NYE I’ve spent alone. Ever. I think. Wow. Yeah. 

I  am totally okay with that. It’s actually, probably, the best way I could think of to spend this night. I take care of so many people, I am thrilled to be taking care of myself for one night. 

And since I am no longer posting on Instagram, I don’t have any place other than here and FB to show off my new hobby. 

So, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few days.  

  

   
 

Happy New Year!!!

May 2016 be filled with health and happiness to you all. 

 

A Bad Week.

It’s Saturday night, I think. Honestly this week has been a blur. I feel terrible complaining because I know for a fact there are others struggling with a lot more this time of year (a few of them are my own patients), but I have to say this has been one of the crappiest weeks I can remember.

It started off with me getting some kid of flu/GI virus that decimated me for close to 36 hours, then I get the phone call that my dad is going to the ER and after spending 15 hours at the hospital he gets admitted. I missed seeing a theater performance of Cinderella with my daughter and my aunt that day. (I’m still really bummed about that).  When I got home that night, around 1am I found my husband in bed with shaking chills. He spent the vast majority of Wednesday in bed. Despite exhaustion, I took my older kids to an indoor play center to blow off some steam. Later that night my brother, wife, stepdaughter, and my best friend came over for an already-planned Christmas Eve-eve dinner. Husband and I were exhausted but it was wonderful to have family over and they helped out by wrapping all of our kids’ Christmas  presents.

Christmas eve saw husband going out for last minute gifts, still unwell.  I took one of the kids to see Pappou in the hospital. The kids watched Santa on Norad as he made his way from Morocco to Ireland, we set out milk and cookies for him and the kids went to bed with zero fuss.  Husband and I settled in to watch our annual holiday classic, “Die Hard”, and promptly went to bed around 10pm.

Christmas morning the kids were up early, as expected.  Christmas gifts were opened in a frenzy.  I had planned on taking all the kids to see Pappou in hospital, so after breakfast everyone got ready, except husband who was still not feeling great.  Over the course of the morning, my older son, the 4.5-year-old, started complaining of a tummy ache.  He barely touched the apple juice he got from my mom, nor the donut.  He looked pale and complained even more about his tummy so we left the hospital after a short visit.  The entire car ride home the little guy was moaning.   As soon as we arrived home, he was curled up on the couch with his new Star Wars blanket.  Ten minutes later, he’s running to the bathroom calling for me and threw up.

Merry f*&king Christmas.

We were expected at my brother-in-laws house for Christmas dinner later that evening.  I called my mother-in-law and told her everything. I wasn’t sure we should bring my son so I warned her that he and my husband may be staying home.

As it usually is with stomach flu, once you throw up you start feeling better.  My son seemed to make a pretty fast recovery and I spent the afternoon watching him build Star Wars Lego. The 7-year-0ld was happily entertained with her new Nintendo 2DS from Santa.

Later that afternoon, with the two boys (husband and son) feeling better we piled into the car and headed west to my brother-in-law’s house.  We were going to arrive about 2 hours late, but I had called my mother-in-law to explain.  When we were about 10 minutes away I suddenly remembered that we, well I, had forgotten the dessert.  Among the chaos of the week, I had gone out to buy two pies and ice cream as we were expected to bring dessert.  We found an open Shoppers Drug Mart and were saved.  Cheesecakes and eclairs to the rescue.  (Seriously though, could this week end already?)

Christmas dinner was lovely.  Husband and I ate but neither of us were particularly hungry.  For me it was likely due to the stress of the week, my appetite has been shot. For husband, well, he was still recovering from the illness.  An hour after dinner, my older son started turning pale again and complained of his tummy hurting.  With profound apologies, we piled back into the car and drove home.  Thankfully he wasn’t sick in the car but he did fall asleep and didn’t wake until almost 9am the following morning.

Boxing Day.   Another trip to the hospital to see my dad.  A relatively uneventful day and I was beginning to think the worst was over when the 2-year-old started screaming.  Husband went to see him and called out – “He threw up.”

OMFG.

That poor little boy emptied his stomach over the course of the next 5 hours.  I slept on a cushion on the floor of his room and he finally stopped dry heaving at 2am.  He was awake at 6:30am as if nothing happened.  Meanwhile husband is curled up in bed, moaning.

Stomach cramps.

What the actual f&#K?

I’m ready for this week, hell, this year, to be over.

Only one person has been spared so far … my daughter.

Pray for me.

 

About those kids… 

It’s two days before Christmas. We haven’t quite finished getting the kids’ presents and nothing has been wrapped. 

I had a fitful 4 hours of sleep last night while husband lay next to me with the chills. As if things couldn’t get worse he is sick with whatever flu-like illness I had a few days ago. 

The kids have been cooped up so this afternoon I took them to an indoor play center so they could run around and you know, be kids. 

On the way there, I told the older kids that their Pappou (grandfather) is sleeping at the hospital and that I was there very very late last night when they were sound asleep. Of course the older one asked why and I tried to explain. 

My 4.5-year-old son: “Mommy you should have told me you were home. We could have talked and I would have gone back to sleep.”

The 7-year-old daughter: “Wow, mommy that sounds like a long day.”

Sometimes I underestimate my kids. They understand a lot more than I give them credit for. 

Just A Daughter

I’m really trying very hard not to feel like a complete idiot right now.

I attended another appointment with my parents today. It was a follow up with the physician that made a diagnosis last year of minimal cognitive impairment (MCI).  Since we were seen there last year there’s been some worsening of his memory and behavior and we were assessed by a different neurologist to rule out a structural brain disease called Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. It was at that appointment a few weeks ago that the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia was made.

At today’s appointment I sensed a bit of push back from the geriatrician as to why we were seen at a different clinic.  After explaining, I then asked her a few questions about disease progression and whether starting medication last year might have helped. I didn’t think I was being critical but when the physician turned to me and asked, “Well, you’ve read the literature, right?” I felt like she went on the defensive. I said I had, (and I had read about minimal cognitive impairment last year!) she asked me what I remembered.

Um, excuse me? This wasn’t a teaching moment. I’m not her resident. I’m asking as a daughter, not a physician.  I couldn’t believe she was treating me that way, and in front of my parents.  I don’t care if she was pissed off that we went to another hospital and got a diagnosis, she had no right to treat me like that.

I was honest and said I couldn’t recall. She then answered my question. 10-15% of patients with MCI progress. Sadly my father is one of them. And starting medication earlier would not have been indicated. In fact it could have made things worse. As she related the information to me it started to come back. Still, I felt stupid for not remembering it and even more stupid for asking the questions.  All I can see is my dad and his diagnosis. I should have the intellectual capacity to look clinically at the literature and apply it to my dad but you know, I can’t.

I’m just his daughter today.

I debriefed with my colleagues today and they agreed that it really wasn’t appropriate the way the specialist treated me. I have to get over my anger because this is the person who will be caring for my dad. I have to find a way to put it behind me. But right now, I can’t.