Long Run – Week 2

Yesterday’s long run almost didn’t happen.

After a wonderful evening with my best friend and her partner, after eating prime rib and Yorkshire pudding and 3.5 bottles of wine among us, I woke up Sunday morning with a slight hangover and a tummy that was not happy about all the food. I hate to get graphic but I had a very upset tummy that morning, well actually, more like in the middle of the night, reminiscent of the stomach flu but thankfully no vomiting.

Remember, hubby and I have been on a healthy eating kick.  We have small dinners of protein and veggies, no dessert and no booze.  My system clearly didn’t appreciate the high fat and alcohol all at the same time.  So Sunday morning came and I was like, “Long run? Not a chance.”

Instead we took the kids out and ended up at an aquarium store. A couple of hours later, we came home with a companion for our mama crayfish, a new aquarium for the two and a fire eel!!!!

img_2507

Mama crayfish is the red/orange one. Royal blue crayfish is her new companion.  The rainbow pebbles were chosen by our daughter. 

img_2516

We found the eel hiding under this rock a few hours after putting him in the tank. He is a bottom dweller and likes to hide.  I think his little snout sticking out is super cute.

So it was around 5:30pm when we were done setting up the homes of our new family members and I decided it was now or never to run. So I suited up and forced myself to go out. I’m so glad I did. Though it was super slow, it felt great to be back out there pounding the pavement.  I didn’t increase the distance too much, I had planned 6.7 km (10% increase from last week), but finished at 6.5 km due to general fatigue.  Still, it’s in the books and I feel good about it overall.

img_2504

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

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.

 

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”

 

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. 

😉

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. 

Waiting. 

Waiting in the ER as a family member is boring and nerve-wracking. Waiting as a family member and a physician, watching your parent wince in pain is excruciating.  

When I arrived he was seated in a wheelchair in the “Green Zone”, where the sprains and strains are waiting. He looked pale and sweaty and his heartrate was about 110. (Normal is 60-80). I found the nurse, explained who I was (daughter, not doctor) told her in medical terms what I had found when I saw him.  She did an ECG (normal except for the fast rate) and moved him into the main ER. And two hours later we are still waiting to see a doctor. He is triaged as “back pain” and so we wait. 

I finally couldn’t take it anymore watching him wince in pain and asked a nurse if we could get him something for pain and moved to a bed.  About twenty minutes later the doctor shows up and my dad is lying down in a bed. He’s still sweaty and in pain. He also says he’s a bit winded and has a bit of chest discomfort. 

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. 

Percocet on board and labs drawn. 

More waiting. 

And the worst of it? I was supposed to be with my daughter and Aunt watching a live production of Cinderella. 

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.