Habit and Breaking It. 

I’m writing this as I sit in a taxi on my way to a conference. My driver is a woman. This is a first for me! I can honestly say I have never had a female cab driver before. My initial instinct after telling her my destination is to take out my phone and snap a photo of her. Why? To post on Instagram of course. 

I stopped myself. 

“You aren’t on Instagram anymore.” 

“Who are you posting that for?”

“Why does anyone care!?”

I admit I got caught up in the desire to photograph my life for others to see, that is, to photograph those things that I wanted people to see. Again I have to ask myself why? What does it prove? Why does anyone care that I’m awake this early on a Saturday attending a conference about the Eye?  The better question is why I feel the need to tell people about it? 

Deep thoughts for a Saturday morning. 

Too soon?

Day 14. National Blog Posting Month.

I ran this morning for the first time in 8 days. Not a good idea. At all. My chest burned the entire time. I felt good for the first kilometer but quickly lost the wind in my sails. I ended up walking more than I had intended. Oh well, at least I made it out, right?

Bleh.

This cough is annoying. I sound like a bloody smoker. At least my gut issues are under control (thank you, Imodium!) which helped me to enjoy a lovely bottle of wine last night with my friends.

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Priorities, yes?

Endless hallways to learning

Day 13. National Blog Posting Month.

Conference centers are like mazes only with poorly designed signage. Seriously this place is so confusing and watching a group of doctors all thinking they know where they are going only to find find out they were supposed to turn left at the fork then right at the double doors then right again is kind of funny.

The morning sessions were pretty good. I got a refresher on the difference between episcleritis and scleritis and learned its never a good idea to prescribe steroid drops for the eye. I also learned that the adolescent brain is very vulnerable to substance use and their neurobiology doesn’t full mature until well into the mid-20s.

I had a very educational 3 hour workshop/course this afternoon. I learned some key tools that I think will go a long way in helping me with some of the more challenging patients I encounter.

Overall it was a great day aside from the ongoing gastro and bronchitis I am still plagued by.

Now to pretend to care about dinner. Honestly, this lack of appetite is getting old.

Doctor Only Me Time.

Day 12 – National Blog Posting Month.

Later today I am leaving the city for a big conference.  Getting on a jet plane, folks. Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Just kidding…

I feel a bit weird leaving my husband and kids.  I know they’ll be fine but it’s a lot of work, three kids and a household.  Two days ago I told husband I felt guilty for leaving him with the kids.  He said not too, that I deserved a break.  I couldn’t help but think, “I need a break?! I get to go to work everyday! He needs the break!” I love him for saying it though. I know if he were in my shoes, he’d be excited to go away for a few days.  I’m sure I will be excited once I’m at the airport but right now I worry about how the grade one parent-teacher interview will go on Thursday and I worry that the baby still isn’t quite over his stomach flu because nor am I.

Last night husband made sure he knew where my life insurance policies were.  You know, just in case.  Oh God, that reminds me that I still haven’t done my will.

I really do need this conference though.  Since having the baby I haven’t really done much in the way of organized course work/self-learning.  I’ve done some online reading around patient issues but not much else.  I really need some time to focus on medicine and what’s new. I am meeting my friends from residency and we’ll be doing some guided self-learning workshops in between the conference sessions.  We’ve booked some restaurants and I pray my stomach is better.  My appetite is returning, very slowly, so I know I shouldn’t overdo it in the eating (or drinking) department.  Le sigh.

I plan on bringing my winter running clothes as the temperatures are about to drop and I’m headed a bit northeast of my current location.  I haven’t run in almost a week because of this stomach virus, so I really really hope I can get a 3-5 km run done.  I really miss it.

I have a morning clinic to work and a few errands to run before the car picks me up for the airport. I’m sure the excitement will set it in at some point but for now I just wish this stupid stomach virus would end.

Family Medicine Forum – Montreal, Day 1

Day 1 of the conference is in the bag.

I’m exhausted.  Mostly because I was out last night with my friends at DNA here in Montreal. We did the tasting menu, with alcohol.  A lot of alcohol.  I’m still a little bit hungover.  Did I mention there was a lot of alcohol?

I just finished a 4 hour session on Men’s Health.  It was great, but it was very biased toward prescribing testosterone.  So much so, that one of the doctors in the group suggested to the facilitator that he disclose his conflicts of interest at the beginning next time.  Ouch.  It’s not like he was promoting one brand of testosterone over another.  There’s one or two kinds of injectibles, one kind of oral and two kinds of topicals.  There ain’t a lot to choose from!  And the main topic was symptomatic hypogonadism.  How else is one to treat it? Seemed like a no-brainer to me.   I was always afraid of testosterone replacement therapy because of hearing all about how it caused prostate cancer, or rather, increased a man’s risk of prostate cancer, when in fact, that is just a myth.  I learned today that testosterone will increase a man’s small, shriveled up prostate to the size it would have been had he had normal testosterone in the first place.  If there was a teeny nidus of cancer in that shriveled up prostate, then testosterone treatment would, in fact, unmask it, hence bringing it to attention earlier.  Good, right?

Bottom line is that I am now a little bit more comfortable in how I’ll approach the next middle-aged guy who comes into my office complaining of decreased mood, exercise tolerance, low libido, sexual dysfunction, etc.  And I will likely consider Testim, since that’s what’s in the sample cupboard, thanks to the drug rep who came by last month with lunch. 😉

And the best part was getting a preview copy of the PAACT guidelines of Men’s Health Topics for the Family Doctor.  Boo ya! I love getting free stuff at these things.

Peer review – drat!

Where to begin?  It’s the end of my second week back to work. I am exhausted, yet exhilarated to be back doing what I love.  My patients are wonderful.  Everyone is asking how the family is, all are eager to see pictures of the little one, and I am happy to oblige as I can’t stop looking at their beautiful faces.  I really am quite fortunate to have such a lovely, healthy, happy family and a career I love.  I am truly blessed.

Then I got the dreaded letter from the College of Physicians and Surgeons informing me that I am up for a “peer assessment”.  For the non-medical folks in the audience, this means that another physician will be coming to my office and reviewing my patient files.  “Peer assesement is intended to be an instructive and collegial interacting that assists physicians in identifying opportunities for growth in their medical practice”.  So, in other words, someone is going to make sure I’m not making it up as I go along.  I know I don’t have anything to worry about, I follow the recommended guidelines and when I don’t know something, I usually ask a specialist for help.  I take good notes that are pretty legible and for that alone, I should pass with flying colours!

Still, it’s awfully nerve-wracking.  But then I found out that my colleague is also being reviewed and she’s been in practice for 20 years and is one of the finest family physicians I have ever known.  I’ll go so far as to call her a mentor.  She’s taught me a lot in the last few years, so if she does well, I’ll certainly end up with a passing grade.  Right?

Anyway, so that was the big news this past week.  Peer assessment.  Greaaat.  Sigh.  I’ll keep you all posted.

In other exciting news, I am headed to Montreal at the beginning of November for the annual Family Medicine conference.  I am going with three friends/colleagues, and we are planning wonderful dinners and an afternoon at the spa.  And yes, of course, the conference as well.  What’s even more exciting is that I will be solo for an entire 4 days.  No husband, no kids.  Just me, my credit card and Montreal!! Can’t wait!