Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Insulinoma Shminsulinoma

Some know it all chick, an elective student from McGill, tried to pimp me out 3 times in clinic this morning. I am not a habitual pimper (in fact I really frown upon it), and I understand the pressure she is under to make a good impression, but shnoot, I only had so many cheeks to turn.

After the third pimping, I opted for a short course of revenge therapy with a quick dose of “what you are saying makes no sense, even at the most basic physiologic level”. Of course I worded this in the form of a sweet naïve-sounding passive aggressive question. She had nowhere to go after that. The natural order of fair play was restored, and the remainder of our time together was much more pleasant.

Oh the human animal.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Last night Bobcat and I went out for a run. We were cruising through one of my favourite neighbourhoods when we came across a little kitty. He was super cute, so I stopped to say hello, and we had a moment. He had the cutest tabby-like stripes on his belly, pristine white booties, shiny curious eyes, and fabulous whiskers. Plus, he wasn’t wearing a collar.

He was very talkative, and told me his name was Theo. I was in love at first sight.

Well, after a few minutes of mutual affectionation, I finally tore myself away. It was everything I could do not to scoop him under my arm and take him home. But Bobcat insisted that Theo belonged to someone, and I figured it was probably true. How could I be responsible for breaking some little kid’s heart by stealing the family cat?

I almost didn’t have to steal him because he followed me for a long time, and then eventually watched me leave from behind a parked car when we got onto a very busy street. He would’ve come with me if I’d asked, I’m positive.

Sometimes it’s really hard to do the right thing.

This morning I joined a 90-year old British radiologist for 3 hours in a dark room. We looked at x-rays together, talked medical politics, and joked around about grammar gafaws. It was probably the most fun I have ever had sitting in a dark room playing magic-eye. As a general rule, I despise radiology.

Right now I am dying for a good cappuccino, but all we have here at the house is narsty Folgers coffee. When I finish school, after my victory trip to Viet Nam and Temagami, I swear to God the first thing I am buying is a gourmet coffee machine and 200 pods.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lazy Cat Vittles

Hello Friends,

Sorry. There has been a paucity of posting lately. I’ve been doing a lot of this:

...and not enough studying or writing. I will try and post some premium material soon. I might even put the story of Vince into writing, finally.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Mole Story !

Today was my first day of dermatology. It also marked my return to adult medicine, which I should say I was not looking forward to.

In a move reminiscent of elementary school “snow day shenanigans,” I phoned the clinic this morning before leaving, just to make sure that it was not cancelled. The woman on the other end of the phoned sounded somewhat dismayed by my questions, probably because I was wearing my early-morning bedroom voice. I had brought the phone number up to bed with me last night, so that I wouldn’t have to even get out of bed if the clinic was cancelled. Well, it was not cancelled, unfortunately! I had to get up.

Anyway, there was a fair bit of entertainment value to my morning, so I really can’t complain. I was working with the army dermatologist, so I had to go to the military hospital and get signed in etc…

Interestingly, I went to the wrong door the first time around and the officers asked me if I was there for the “sick parade.” I said no, and followed their directions to the front door, all the while thinking to myself “what in God’s name is a sick parade, and why would anyone want to participate in such a twisted event?” I had visions of T.V.-style sick people in faulty wheelchairs, with bandaged limbs, and body casts, or people in traction with cervical collars, getting paraded around outdoors by a bunch of orderlies. The was music playing in my mind. Pretty nuts eh?

Shoot, I’ve gotten off track. Okay, so I’d been warned about the guy I was working with. Apparently he had chided one of my classmates for her bad posture and told another that she would need to have an offending mole removed from her face in order to lead a productive life. So I had my guard up a little. Well, this guy was a total riot. He was a mid 60s French Canadian guy with a chip on his shoulder the size of Quebec.

Everytime a patient came in, he ranted on a different topic. These ranging from the military’s poor handling of dermatologic services, to the poor quality of medical school training these days, to his ex-wife’s mishandling of affairs pertaining to their youngest son. I had no choice but to endure the insanity, but the poor patients….oh God, I will never forget the looks on their faces. Sheer horror.

It took me about 30 minutes to figure out that he wasn’t actually engaging in conversation during these tirades. In fact, he was totally indifferent to any comments coming from myself or patients x, y, or z. We all just sat quietly while he bestowed his wisdom upon us. Dude was also fanatical about moles, and had me freaking out about all of the precancerous lesions which are apparently coating my entire body.

Midway through the morning, we went for a coffee break. He suggested that he would pick up the coffee, but that I should bring my wallet because apparently theft is a major issue in our Canadian forces. In any event, he put it in his lab coat for me, which was nice. As luck would have it, a short time later, I was able to spot him 10 bucks to pay for some stamps he wanted to buy. How fortunate.

After the post office, we went to the caf, where this doc generously bought me a coffee. We then went to sit outside so he could have a smoke. What happened next was a very interesting social process: he lit up his smoke and started sucking away on it (obviously). I was totally minding my own business. First of all, like I give a shit if he smokes. Second of all, like I give a shit if he smokes!

Then, out of the blue, he looks over at me and says “I bet you will go home and write all about this in your diary tonight.”

I say “what are you talking about?” I’m thinking to myself, how on earth does he know?

He says “you will go home and write about how this doctor was smoking and what a hypocrite blah blah…”

I said “dude, we all have our poison. I really could not care less if you choose to smoke”

He then went on for about 10 minutes with justifications for why he smokes. All of the stress, how he wants to just ‘bang one off’ and die suddenly rather than go slowly….it was cognitive dissonance theory in complete action.

Then he says “so now you can go home and write an even longer entry about all of the excuses I’ve made for smoking.” I felt like replying "brother, this session is going to cost you at least 150 bucks."

Instead I said “perhaps I will do that. It certainly is an interesting psychological phenomenon, but dude, I really don’t give a shit about your smoking.”

Then we went inside. He tortured a couple more patients, keeping them in his office during his 20 minute tirades, looking at their moles for about 27 seconds, and then sending them away. Then he complained incessantly about how far behind he was in his day, but that his brain was full and he could not work quickly as he needed to clear it between patients (I swear to God I am not making that up). I felt like saying, maybe you should stop whining like a baby and do your job Smokey….

He also told me all about the past women in his life. I had a brief syncopal episode while he told me about his ex-girlfriend’s ectopic pregnancy, and how he would secretly watch her analysing every aspect of her scar in the mirror. WTF guy?

He also told me to forget about the possibility of being a good mom if I become a doctor. Essentially, he stated that I will never see my children and will be perpetually plagued with guilt. He nearly got a punch in the face for that one…

So there you have it. At noon he asked if I’d like to stay for the rest of the day. I politely declined, citing that I had several errands to run. Truth is, I could not have stayed one extra minute enduring his brand of negativity training.

have a million things I could say about him. Such a fascinating specimen. Despite his brash exterior, I found him to be a wide open book. Also, I think he is somewhat good guy, who works hard... Just needs the company of a little lady i figure. In fact, that is exactly what he said himself.

i have to go to sleep right now!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cool as a Cucumber Tonight

Here is a photo of the path leading down the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. In July, this path descends into what feels like the fuckin’ centre of the earth on a hot day. It's unbelievably hot down there!

When I stepped out of the hospital this afternoon and was nearly incinerated by a wall of heat, it occurred to me that I had experienced this sensation before. Where though? Today was definitely one of the hottest days I can remember in O-town. South East Asia is also terribly hot, but the fit wasn’t quite right in my mind’s eye. Then it occurred to me - the basement of the Grand Canyon is where I had experienced this crippling heat in my past. I had not felt it again since - until today.

Henceforth, I am using tonight as one of the 2-3 luxury nights of air conditioning I take per summer. I know in terms of energy consumption, I am not doing anything to help the grid. But I figure if everyone only turned on their air con for 2 nights every summer, we would sure save a boat load of energy. Also, I am making a very concerted effort to bike to work, even though it means I look like kaka all day. Have I rationalized this glorious night of cool, quiet, sleep enough? Probably not, but I will savour every sweat-free moment.

I hope you are feeling well and happy,

Love Tabby