Stitches and Sutures

I'm a 25-year-old second-year medical student living in Ontario, Canada. I'm pretty sure that the only way to stay sane in medical school is to have a life outside of medical school, and knitting is one of my chosen diversions.

Location: Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


My friend Robert's body was found in the North Saskatchewan River today.

The police don't suspect foul play. It would appear that, as we feared, he had some sort of accident and ended up in the river.

I'm a "fixer" by nature and don't quite know how to feel or what to do tonight. This isn't fixable. My heart just aches.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A missing friend

Wow. I've been quite the unreliable blogger these days. I've also been quite the unreliable knitter (not very productive at all). Both of these predicaments are directly related to the fact that I am spending somewhere around 90-100 hours per week at the hospital these days.

My surgery rotation is tolerable, and actually quite a bit better than I had feared it might be. And I do actually get to sleep once in a while on call, so while I'm tired, it could definitely be worse. That said, if there was any doubt in my mind about the fact that I do not want to be a surgeon (and there wasn't), it has been eliminated. Surgery is NOT FOR ME. Blech.

I've seen some very sad patient stories this week - young people, coming to the ER with some vague complaint (a bit of belly pain, say) and finding out that they are full of cancer. Swift referrals to oncology, but the prognosis looks grim. I've seen this story more than once this week, and it breaks my heart. Folks, for goodness' sake, get a regular physical done, mmkay? Annually is good...but at least try to avoid 12 years without a pap smear (if you're a woman, of course). That gives scary cancers a long time to grow.

The upside to sugery is that I've been spending time with a classmate who I've known and liked all along, but hadn't spent much time with until now. Turns out she is a very fun person who likes crafts just as much as I do. We've both been spending a lot of time musing about why we didn't just open craft businesses instead of getting into this medicine nonsense. I'm hoping these thoughts are a normal consequence of a surgery rotation. If nothing else, knowing that someone else is wondering the same thing is comforting.

Despite the depressing tone so far, I've actually had a pretty good summer. I did electives in ophthalmology (eyes) and otolaryngology (ears, noses and throats) back in my hometown for a few weeks and found them interesting. I certainly wouldn't want to work in those fields, but it was great learning for an aspiring family doctor. While I was there, I got to spend lots of time with my mom, and we did lots of wedding-planning, which was definitely a weight off my shoulders. Almost all the "months in advance" planning is done - so now I get to put the wedding out of my mind for a few months.

I have also had some rough times since you heard from me last - my dad was quite ill (but is now recovering) and my cousin was in a horrific helicopter accident and is lucky to be alive. One of my closest friends just moved across the country and although I'm thrilled for her because she is moving for an opportunity that she's been hoping for for a long time, I'm awfully sad to see her go.

The latest "tough situation" is that a friend of mine from my days at the University of Toronto vanished without a trace last Sunday and not been seen or heard from since. Robert was a first-year student who lived in the residence where I was a don. He is a gentle, kind, innocent guy and simply isn't the type to take off. Unfortunately, the longer he is gone, the worse things look - he hasn't used his cell phone or his bank card since he disappeared. I don't really expect anyone in blogland to know anything about his disappearance, but if you have a few minutes to check out the website his family has created, please do. And if you're into prayer or meditation or the power of positive thought, please direct some of that his way

Things like this certainly give me some perspective when school seems a little rough.