Thursday, April 9, 2015

Welcome to an Adult Relationship

The girlfriend and I had a fight recently.

We don't fight often.  We have good communication skills, and we get along very well with each other, so our fights are few and far between.  When we do fight, it's usually about trivial things - our first big argument, for example, was over whose recipe we were going to use to make paneer.


This time, however, it was a legitimate fight, as is bound to happen in any long-term relationship.  While I won't go into details about the argument, I will say that it resulted from me bottling up my feelings for a very long time and then dumping all of those feelings out on her in a span of about ten minutes.  Perhaps not the best way of dealing with things.  

The whole experience made me realize that I'm really bad at this whole relationship thing.  My earlier relationships were so dysfunctional, and I was so emotionally unattached to the people I was dating, that I never bothered to learn how to communicate with a partner.  Now that I'm very emotionally attached to the person I'm dating, I'm discovering how hard it is to talk about difficult things with someone you love.  I want so badly for things to always be good between us that I ignore anything that isn't good, up until the point that I can no longer contain it.  Which doesn't work very well.

I'm lucky that the girlfriend is understanding and that she is much better at communicating with me than I am with her.  It's almost like she's an adult or something.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Long Weekend Plans

Thanks to everyone who responded to my recent question about how to respect my girlfriend's privacy when blogging.  As I read each comment, I thought "Yes!  That's it!", despite the fact that each response was very different from the others.  I guess there are multiple ways of handling this issue...I'll let you know when I figure out which one I'm going to use.

But now, time to look forward to my four days off with no pager and few responsibilities!  What am I planning to do, you wonder?

1)  Haircut:  Not glamorous, but so necessary.  My previous hairstylist, whom I loved, moved away almost a year ago, and I've been trying to find a good new one ever since.  The last one I tried definitely wasn't a good one, and I'm really looking forward to someone undoing the damage she did to my hair.  Here's hoping tonight's stylist is better.

2)  Cooking:  The girlfriend and I both love to cook and bake, and we have some epic plans for the weekend.  Wareniki with schmaunfat, scalloped potatoes, and no-knead bread top the list.

What is wareniki with shmaunfat, you ask?

Mmmmm.  They will take forever to make, but it will be worth it.

3)  Family:  Tomorrow night is dinner with the girlfriend's family, and Sunday night is dinner with mine.  I felt very cut off from family while I was away on elective, so it will be nice to have some extended time to get caught up with them and reconnect.

4)  Read:  I stopped at the library on the way home from work today and picked up two new books, which I am looking forward to reading in my pajamas (probably while cuddling a cat or two).  The first is Adult Onset, by Canadian author Ann-Marie MacDonald.  This novel tells the story of a gay woman who tries to come to terms with her difficult childhood while caring for her own young children.  I started reading it a few months ago, but gave up because I had reached the due date.  It's a bit on the heavy and depressing side, but I'm willing to plod through to the end because Ann-Marie MacDonald is a good writer and because there just isn't that much good LGBTQ writing out there.  (Or is there?  Anyone have any good suggestions for me?)

The second book, which I may or may not get to this weekend, is Complications by Atul Gawande.  I don't know much about it, other than that it's written by a surgeon, but I'm hoping it'll tide me over until the book of his that I really want to read (Being Mortal) is available.

5)  Rest:  I took two days off sick with a cold this week, and I am still hacking up a lung, so I am hoping that in the midst of baking and celebrating and being busy that there will be some time to sleep and recover.  Wishful thinking?

What are you planning for your weekend?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I started to write a post about the ups and downs of living with someone, but as I started to write the back story, I realized that I was sharing a lot of information about my girlfriend that she might not want the world to know.  I then tried to remove anything that she might consider sensitive, but it left me with a very vague, watered-down version of a blog post.  Which I hate.  When I read someone else's blog, it's the details that make it interesting and bring the stories to life.

I don't want those details to be missing from my blog.

Clearly, this is something I need to think more about (and probably discuss with the girlfriend).  For those of you with significant others, how do you share what's going on in your life without violating your partner's privacy?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shopping Woes

Earlier this week, the girlfriend and I were watching a documentary about people who are transgendered, and we got to discussing whether either of us had ever wanted to be male.  While neither of us has ever felt any particular desire to be a man, we both recognized that being part of the opposite sex would bring a few advantages.  For me, I would love to never, ever again be mistaken for a nurse.  Not having periods would be awesome.  And today, as I was wriggling into and out of ill-fitting work clothes at the mall, I was reminded of how much easier men have it when it comes to clothing.

Men's work clothes are simple:  dress pants, dress shirt, tie (if a bit formal), and jacket (if more formal).  Done.  My male colleagues can spend 20 minutes in a store and walk out with enough clothing for a year. 

Not so much for women. 

Instead of a classic suit that fits everyone, women get to contend with multiple styles of pants, skirts, and dresses, none of which seem to have been designed to look good on a real live woman who actually consumes food.  And then there are the ridiculous tops, which are one or more of too see-through, too low-cut, too gaudy, or too difficult and time-consuming to wash to be worn in a professional setting.  Seriously - what resident wants to spend their limited time off hand washing their work clothes?

Not this resident.

Can we just agree to let all doctors wear scrubs?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Night Reflections

Sometimes I'm an idiot.

I know from almost 38 years of living as myself that I don't enjoy being overly busy.  I can handle a lot of busy - I've survived four years of medical school and five years of residency - but my preference is always for a slower, more manageable pace.  Which is why it was idiotic of me to 1) arrive home after being away for five weeks at 8 PM the night before I had to go back to work; 2) agree to do call the weekend after I returned; and 3) agree to adjudicate an exam all Saturday while also on call.  Add to this the fact that I have three presentations to give over three weeks, and life has been too busy lately.  And I've been a miserable grouch of a person as I've struggled to do too many things in too little time.

All of these things could've been avoided.  I could've (and should've) taken a stat day off after returning from holidays to unpack the car and wash the massive amounts of laundry.  I could've switched my weekend of call.  I could've said that, no, it isn't worth giving up a weekend day to earn a little bit of money when I'll be a full-blown attending in a few months.  But I'm an idiot.

I need to remember this when I start working as an attending this summer.  I need to remember that I need sleep, and time to clean my apartment, and quality time with my girlfriend.  And all of these things are more important than earning a bit more money, no matter how big my line of credit may still be*.

Remind me of this when I'm tempted to say yes to an extra weekend of attending call.

*I've got a post brewing about the massive line of credit from hell.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


The past month has been a difficult one.  I've been away from home on an elective rotation, meaning that, not only have I been dealing with the stress of a new place, new people, and new medicine, I've been doing so without the benefit of my usual support people.  Although the work has been interesting and the medical staff very supportive of me, it has felt like a very long and hard month.

Thankfully, the end of the month brought with it a conference in the Rocky Mountains, which is pretty much my favourite place in the world.  The girlfriend was able to join me for the conference, so she had a few days to enjoy Banff while I listened to talks and shmoozed with other liver specialists.  And now that the conference is over, we have six days (four left) to explore Japser and to visit some family in rural Canada.

The drive from Banff to Jasper was absolutely spectacular.  I've done the drive at least seven times now, and it never ceases to amaze me.  Every time I make the drive, I pull over multiple times to take the same photos that I've taken before, because I can't resist the views.

One of many photos I've taken of Castle Mountain from the same viewpoint.  
I also have this photo in summer!  And fall!

Since our arrival in Jasper, we've been doing a lot of relaxing and a lot of eating.  We tried unsuccessfully to go on hikes to Mount Edith Cavell (road closed for winter) and Maligne Canyon (paths were deadly skating rinks due to recent melting), and then resigned ourselves to staring at the mountains through our hotel window while lounging in front of the fireplace.  It's a hard life.

 The glacier at Lake Louise.

People who have trouble following signs.

The breathtaking Columbia Icefields.  
Someday I'll have time to actually take a tour out onto the glacier.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Who Are You Reading?

It seems like there has been a big decrease in both the number of medical people blogging and the frequency with which they're posting. Which I understand (Medicine! Life! Busy!), but still find disappointing, as I love to hear other people's thoughts on this crazy field in which I work. So help me out - leave me a comment to let me know which medical blogs you're reading that I might have missed.  And if you're a blog writer (even better), let me know that too!

Real posts to come soon. I have six days of vacation starting on Tuesday, so hopefully I'll have some time to share some of the many thoughts that have been swirling around in my head (and sometimes preventing me from sleeping) as of late.