2017 – with a vengeance.

2017 came in with a vengeance, for me at least. New Years Eve day started out with my three-year-old up chucking his applesauce then spiking a fever for most of the afternoon. While the older two kids were on their way to my in-laws, it was touch and go whether the baby would be staying home and changing our NYE plans or going to my mom’s for the night. Thankfully with some Advil and Gravol, he perked up enough to be sent there for the night.

As my husband and I prepared to go to our friend’s place for the evening, I had a fleeting thought of “What if I’m the next one to get hit with the stomach flu?”  I forgot to mention that my eldest got hit with the stomach bug two days before.

The evening started out great. We brought all the fixings for a cheese fondue and it turned out great but shortly after starting to eat I felt the distinct uncomfortable rumblings in my lower stomach that signaled something wasn’t right.  Sure enough, an hour before midnight I was hugging the porcelain god and wishing I were dead.  The stomach virus that gently hit my children assaulted me with a vengeance.  Minutes after midnight I was lying in an upstairs spare bedroom shivering with chills. So much for my new year’s eve plans.

Why is it that the holidays bring on such horrible illnesses? This is the second year in a row that my family has been plagued with a stomach virus over the holidays. I myself have had more of these bouts of illness in the last 5 years than I can remember for most of my life. Is it the kids?  Are they the germ factories?

It’s downright awful.

Even after spending almost the entire day in bed yesterday and sleeping close to 14 hours I am still not 100% today and feel like I could be on the verge of intimacy with the porcelain gods again.  As I write this I’m lying in bed with three children arguing for my attention.

Time to sign off …

The Best Post That Never Was.

My three-year-old has this annoying habit of waking up every single night for some reason or another. Usually its for another sippy cup of milk, or to go to the bathroom (we are in the midst of toilet training).  Last night was no exception.  After getting him the milk, helping him with his pull up, he insisted I sleep with him.  It was 4:30 am and rather than fight, I succumbed and crawled into bed with him.

As I was drifting off to sleep, scratching his back, I suddenly had a great idea for a blog post. I had the title and everything. I briefly considered getting up to write it down but thought, “Nah, I’ll remember.”

Dammit.

I don’t remember what the idea was.

It was so brilliant, I swear it was. It was going to mark my comeback to the blogging world.

I thought if I started writing it would come back to me. It hasn’t.

Dammit.

threesecondmemory

I dream of Space.

A few weeks ago, a FB friend posted a link to the Canadian Space Agency. For the first time since 2009, applications are being accepted over the next two months to pick the next 2 Canadian Astronauts.

Instantly, my interest was piqued.

Who hasn’t dreamed of being an Astronaut?

The first time I learned about space travel was probably right after the Challenger disaster in 1986.  I was 11 years old. I can kind of remember the chatter in my grade 6 class at recess about the space shuttle blowing up. We watched the news about it as a family later that evening.  When the Time Magazine issue was released (my parents were subscribers back then), I read over every inch of the article.  I was obsessed.  I would ask my parents to take me to the local library so I could read more about the shuttle missions.  I was obsessed for months about the tragedy.

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A few years later, my father introduced me to Carl Sagan.  He knew I was interested in space exploration and the Universe in general and he brought me a book he’d had on his bookshelf called “Contact“.

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After reading the novel, I started to think about life in the universe and truly wondered if we were alone.  I would look up at the stars at night and wonder what it would be like to meet an alien, or travel through space.  It would be years later that I would start watching science fiction television shows. My brother and father were big Star Trek fans for years. I never liked watching those shows when I was a teenager, I was far more interested in Soap Operas thanks to my mom.  Nevertheless, science fiction was all around me growing up, mostly on the book shelves in my dad’s office.

I became a sci-fi “geek” in University.  I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation after seeing an episode in my first year philosophy course. That episode was “The Measure of a Man“. The episode discussed the idea of whether Data was indeed a sentient being with a conscience. It was fascinating, and I was hooked.

Fast forward 20 years and I’m now sitting at my computer looking at the eligibility requirements to apply to the Canadian Space Agency.  I meet the height and weight requirements; I am a Canadian citizen; I am female; I have several university degrees; I am licensed to practice medicine in Canada.

Holy crap. I qualify to apply!!!!!

And then I started answering some questions on the official application.

“Do you have expertise in Materials Science?”

“Do you have expertise in Orbital Science?”

“Do you have expertise in Spacecraft Design?”

“Do you have expertise in Thermodynamics?”

“Do you have expertise in Space Physics?”

“Do you have expertise in Microgravity?”

“Do you have expertise in Rocket Science?”

“Do you have expertise in Geodesy?”

What the hell is Geodesy?

Hmmm … guess I’m not as qualified as I had originally thought.  Still, I’m going to apply anyway, why the hell not?

Maybe I’ll use this post as my cover letter.

Changes.

It’s been a while!

Hard to believe it’s almost the end of June. There’s been a lot going on in my world, most of it pretty good.

My dad is on the mend from his kidney stone issues and has remained pretty stable with respect to his memory and the Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Two rounds of infection, two general anesthetics, mild delerium and his memory testing was the same!  Unbelievable really. The thing with AD is that the patient kind of remains oblivious to the reality around him.  He recognizes that his memory has declined but he doesn’t understand anymore the impact it has on everyone else, his wife especially.  If there is any blessing with AD it is that the patient loses their higher executive, frontal lobe functioning early.  It is quite the opposite for the family.  My mom is a strong woman though and she is managing pretty well; she goes to her weekly support group, my brother works from their place once a week and she visits the kids when it gets too much.  I wish there was more I could do for her and for my dad.

As for me,  I’ve done two races this month with decent results, given how awful the winter was with my running.  I have another 10K race this weekend and I am not expecting to do any better than 1:15 but that’s okay.  It’s an opportunity to have some fun, run on the highway and get a cool T-shirt and medal!

I’m starting a new part-time job next month in addition to my family practice.  It is an opportunity I sought out and I am excited about. It is an opportunity to grow as a physician, learn about a different model of care and will be a great change of scenery for me.   I’ll be a lot busier, working 5 days a week (instead of 4) but I think I’m up for the challenge.  The future of primary care in my province is looking hazy right now and I am a little worried. We have been without a contract with our Government for over two years and they are planning on implementing change to how primary care is delivered without consulting the front line workers, ie me!  I felt it was time to start looking at other opportunities where my work is actually appreciated.

I’ve missed the blog.  I hope you missed me too.

 

In a Funk.

It’s the middle of January and I’ve run a whopping 18 km.  If I am to meet my goal of running 1000 km this year, I need to be running minimum 20 km per week! I’ve been struggling finding the time and motivation to run. The office has been exceptionally busy thanks to the two weeks off I took over the holidays.  And with the drama the holidays had for me, I didn’t feel particularly rested.  I hardly ran much at all in December (28.5 km) and that inactivity seems to have seeped into this first month of the year.

I acknowledged yesterday that I’m in a running slump. Almost daily I get emails about upcoming races in my area.  I haven’t signed up for anything yet but I think I need to in order to get out of this funk I’m in.  I am also annoyed with my body.  I just can’t seem to go any long stretch of time without an injury, not to mention I feel that after two years of running, I should be able to run more then 3-4 km at a steady pace without walking.  Perhaps that’s too much to ask for?

I also seemed to have lost something when I left Instagram and subsequently deleted my profile.  I lost that connection to other runners (to strangers, really) that I followed on Instagram.  And just saying that makes me angry.  I am angry with how I came to rely on those stupid notifications on my phone that someone liked my latest run photo. 

I wish I could abandon all of it and just go back to that insular quiet little life where no one knows what I’m doing unless they ask or I tell them. This constant need/desire to broadcast one’s life over the Internet and get instant gratification for it is narcissistic and I’m ashamed for allowing myself to get caught up in it. 

So yeah, I’m in a bit of a funk. 

Me, according to FB.

Day 21 – National Blog Posting Month

I did that Facebook most words used app/thingy.  I really had no idea what it would come up with but when I saw the final result I laughed.

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A few years ago, I wouldn’t have ever put “me” and “run” in the same sentence. It’s so funny how things can change. A few years ago I couldn’t run to save my life and a month ago I ran across a half-marathon finish  line.

Hubby and I were out last night. We grabbed some dinner at a local pub and saw a concert.  After the show was over I suggested we try to get in to see a late movie.  We saw the new Bond movie, Spectre. It was a long movie and being the lame parents of three children, we both looked at each other at 1:15 am and said, “Let’s go.” We were both falling asleep, we were so tired.  Though, I gotta say, I was so unimpressed with this latest Bond offering.  Daniel Craig looked bored. He looked like he was just going through the motions and that was disappointing.  Still, he’s easy on the eyes so it wasn’t a complete waste of money.

As I write this, my daughter is texting her uncle on my phone and the boys are playing with Lego on the floor under the dining room table.

I need to live up to my FB reputation – I must sign off now so I can go for a run.

 

Morning.

Day 16 – National Blog Posting Month

Pretty much this.

caffeineloadingKids were up early. Mommy and daddy slept in. Big sister made breakfast for herself and brothers (read: juice box, cheese and yogurt). Only decaffeinated coffee left. Hustled everyone in the car. Late for school drop-off. Drove to shopping center. Ahh …. coffee.

That was my morning.

How was yours?

MInd/Matter

Day 15 – National Blog Posting Month

I haven’t run in a week. After the half-marathon I didn’t take a break, I just kept going. I ran 10 km a week later and my body started tell me to slow down. Of course, I didn’t listen.  The nagging ache in my calves didn’t let up. The nagging ache in my SI joint started nagging me more. The writing was on the wall.  I needed a rest.

So, for the past week I rested.  I laid off the weights and got on the stationary bike once for 35 minutes. Last night, for the first time in 8 days, I did some upper body weights. I plan on a short 3-5 km run this afternoon.  A week off the running may not be enough physically for my body to rest but my mind needs to get back out there.

When I run I think. Sometimes I think about a recent patient and go over the history, physical exam and lab findings and think of other diagnoses that might have eluded me at the time.  Often I just process my day so that I can leave it on the pavement and start fresh tomorrow. More often than not, it’s a chance for me to have quiet time to reflect on everything and nothing. I guess you could say it’s a form of therapy.

Mind over matter.

“Thoughts And Prayers”

Day 14 – National Blog Posting Month.

My FB, twitter and Instagram feeds exploded last night with news of the attacks in Paris.  I visited Paris once, with my brother back in 2000.  We were there for about a day. Having studied French in high school it was pretty rusty, but I think, understandable.  I recall overall that most Parisians were actually pretty rude and annoyed at our attempts to speak the language.  Maybe they thought we were Americans? I’m not sure.  In any event, the food was amazing, the sites were beautiful, we saw the Eiffel tower lit up at night, took the obligatory tourist photos and moved on.

Every other day there is some tragedy in the world that demands our attention. Photos are posted in solidarity, hashtags are born, it’s a “thing” for a few days, then something else happens and the world moves on.  I imagine it would have been pretty terrifying to be in the middle of what occurred last night.  But I’m not sure how posting photos, giving them our “thoughts and prayers” really accomplishes anything.  If the world really wants to be free of “terror” and our governments want to protect us, certain of our freedoms and liberties will have to be forsaken.  Could you live with a government-imposed curfew?  Do you want your government reading your emails and tracking your online presence? Do you really want your country’s borders closed to all foreigners? I think if you really sit down and examine what that all means, most people would in fact, not want that.  I certainly don’t.

In the long run, what happened last night in Paris happens all the time in other countries but doesn’t make the worldwide news.

We have to ask ourselves why not.

A Little Worried.

Day 12 – National Blog Posting Month.

Being a doctor who is also a daughter has its privileges. I can navigate the system on behalf of my parents. I can advocate on their behalf and ask for tests and referrals. I can attend appointments and understand what is being discussed.  I can find out results before they do.

It is fraught with disadvantage as well. With their permission, I am privy to tests results before they are. I understand what their diagnoses mean and if I don’t, I know trusted resources to educate myself.  I understand in general terms what “illness trajectory” means. Specifically, I have seen what illness trajectories look like.  I also know what the end may look like.

I am the one my family looks to for advice and comfort.  I have to be strong and composed. I can’t let them see that I’m worried.