Ah, here we go. Back to the world of not enough sleep. Of anxious nights anticipating what the next day of clinical will bring. Of that nervous I’m going to throw up but this is so amazing feeling. My eyes are heavy but my head is racing. I went for a walk to get a coffee and ran into a friend that bought me a beer. So there I sat, listening to a surprisingly good musician on stage at the Weathervane double fisting a tall PBR and a cup of coffee. I couldn’t stay though, I had to come home and plow through more of my text books. 

I spent yesterday in the O.R. and it felt almost like home with the sight of blood and the smell of burning flesh. While rock and roll played on the stereo, the anesthesiologist remembered that the Superbowl was on Sunday and made a call to place a last minute bet. When the Doctor came in, I was actually introduced to him, like I was a normal person, not a peon of a student. As he was about to say “nice to meet you” I told him that we already knew each other. He paused and stared at me. Unable to recognize me in the light blue OR scrubs, cap, gloves and mask. Apparently my eyes were not enough to reveal my identity, so he pulled my mask down off my face and smiled. “Oh hello! We used to take Tae Kwon Do together”. I noticed that his nails were slightly red, it looked like he had painted them and then tried removing the polish without nail polish remover. Hmm I wondered…  Earlier that day, I was with a patient in radiology. As she sat still for a very long time we took what seemed to be hundreds of X-Rays of her breast. Every time she was repositioned the Tech, the Doc (different one) and me ran and hid for our safety behind the screen while the machine spat out harmful rays. I squished up closer to the Doctor than I needed to because he was cute and smelled really good.

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reconnected

January 21, 2009

I parked my car in the Coop parking lot this morning, grabbed a coffee and a bagel and hopped back in my car. Planning to drive back to the hotel and take a shower, change my clothes then go to class. However, when I turned the key, my car wouldn’t start.  Usually this problem generates a bit of anger, urgency and frustration. This morning, it didn’t. Maybe because I was sleep deprived, maybe because I’m just getting used to things ‘not working’, or that I’m finding the regularity of my recent bout of ‘bad luck’ comforting. I popped the hood, not because I know what’s going on with the engine, but because it’s a signal for help. Eventually, a nice man in a pick-up asked if I needed help. He tried jumping me, but to no avail. I drank my coffee, we chatted. Eventually I called AAA, and when they arrived, I climbed in and turned the key to show him the sound my car was making. Miraculously, it simply started up! 

I’ve felt more connected with the human race lately. When disastrous things happen, people either suffer alone or seek help in others. Ever since the huge fire in my apartment building, I’ve met and talked to more of my neighbors than I ever did when we all lived under the same roof. Now we sit under the chandelier in the hotel lobby and drink bad coffee together, I’ve been invited over for pork chops cooked on a hot plate in room 207, we say hello to each other in town rather than just walk by. This may be why when things ‘go wrong’ sometimes I secretly like it. Because it knocks us all down a notch or two and puts everyone on the same level. It gets us out of our heads and makes us focus on the immediate and the basic. So today when my car didn’t start, I took it as an opportunity to talk to a stranger, to switch up my plans.

I feel oddly calm today. Sort of detached and fuzzy in a good way. At least a month’s worth of activity and emotion have been packed into this past week. Today is slow and easy. It’s so cold out, that it literally hurts to be outside, I’m very happy to be warm right now, with no urge to face the bitter cold again until maybe tomorrow. Swimming in the heated pool actually sounds like a fine thing to do this evening. Just got my social fix for the day; Spent a long time in the coffee shop sucking down caffeine and talking to people while trying to read about electrolytes and acid base balances, ate lunch at the pub and hung out with some friends. Tonight I’ll stay in and drink tea and read, maybe watch a movie. I spent last night watching bad T.V. movies and eating take-out Panda North with a certain fun someone. We make each other sleep deprived and that’s okay. I don’t know what to call us and I’ve decided that that isn’t important right now. I’ll just take it for what it is.

lives interrupted

January 13, 2009

Well, the move back in date has been pushed to at least two weeks- months.  Housekeeping banged on my door this morning despite my “Do Not Disturb” sign hung in plain sight on the door handle.  I was in the middle of a phone interview with Dartmouth and just flashed her some ‘don’t bother me again’ hand signals and slammed the door.  Apparently, she came to tell me that the Red Cross is no longer footing our bill so I needed to check out or talk to some other organization.  A heavy sigh as I looked around my room, I didn’t want to pack up shit again, and go where?..  Uncertainty 

After a meeting that lasted hours with the Dept. of Human Services, I’ve been granted another week here at the Red Roof.  This is a huge relief.  However, I’ve been getting very mixed messages about when I can move back in and I find that unsettling.  I’m pretty good with dealing with the unknown as long as I know the parameters.  So, I looked at an apartment today, just in case my place isn’t livable by the end of the month.  No messing around, I need my home base back.

Last night I attempted to gather supplies from my apartment.  The sun had already set as I made my way into the building, inside it was dark.  With no electricity, I felt my way upstairs and after what seemed to take a very long time, I reached my door.  Inside my place, I could see no better and my flashlight was god knows where.  It smelled so bad, like burnt chemicals and was incredibly spooky.  It just felt bad, and I was scared, so I shoved a clean pair of underpants in my pocket and left in a hurry.  

Today, I went there in the daylight and it was sad.  I walked by apartments with the doors wide open or bashed in.  Pots and pans on the stove, kids toys on the floor, trash that needed to be taken out.  People’s lives abruptly interrupted.  I thought there was a lot I needed from my place, but once inside I couldn’t figure it out.  Everything in my fridge and freezer was rotting, there was a fine layer of ash on everything.  It seemed very depressing all of a sudden and I got the intense urge to just leave quickly again.  I ended up grabbing some vitamins, my scrubs, and salvaged the beer from my fridge before it got skunked.  I wandered around the rest of the building and found myself walking on charcoaled floors, burnt insulation scattered about, and splintered wood all over the place.  I soon realized how incredibly close the blaze was to reaching my apartment.

fire!

January 11, 2009

I stepped outside this afternoon into a sunny, snowy world after what was the best night (or morning actually) of sleep I’d had in a long time.  Giddy and happy I made my way into town, I was famished, but wanted some coffee first.  While in the coffee shop I got a phone call from a friend; he said “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all night! Have you been home yet?” my response was “No, I’m going there now.  I was on a date, I shut my phone off.”  He sounded more worked up than usual, then told me “You’re apartment building burned down last night…” First disbelief set in, then slow, slow panic.  I didn’t want to face this, I wanted to savour that good feeling I had been having, so I stood still and sipped my coffee, not wanting to turn the corner onto my street.  Afraid of what I’d see.  In my head I went over all of the things that owned; $700 worth of brand new text books, my computer, clothes, camera, passport, shoes, camping gear, etc, etc, etc.  What I was most worried about though was my school stuff.  My final semester starts tomorrow and I would be off to a bad start without my books or computer.  Fuck fuck fuck I thought as I walked up my hill.  Then I saw my neighbor that lives across the hall, he looked disheveled and was holding his cats in a kitty carrier.  “You  haven’t been home yet, have you?” he asked me.  (I wondered if he thought this because I had a rumpled dress on from the night before and my hair was messy)  I said no and he told me what happened.  Fortunately our apartments were spared.  No one was injured but half of the building was burnt to a crisp.  The parking lot was a busy frantic mess, I rushed up to my apartment through the smokey hallways and found my door bashed in.  The firemen cut it open with an axe and kicked in the door, hard.  My kitchen table was turned over, chairs thrown into the other room, my blender and toaster just pieces on the floor, spices and oils spilled everywhere, broken dishes and shards of glass, chunks of the wooden door all over the place.  I laughed and shook my head.  I grabbed a few things that I didn’t want stolen because my door wasn’t able to shut, and left.  My mood returned right back to where it was before, maybe I even feel better now.  Even though I can’t stay there for a few days because my door will be boarded up and there is no electricity, water, or heat, I’m relieved that it wasn’t worse.  I feel safe that the firemen really checked to make sure I wasn’t in my apartment during the fire. Whew, so the American Red Cross is putting us all up at the Red Roof Inn, so I’m living large with a King size bed and cable T.V.

Just more shocking proof that you never know what to expect….

merging of worlds

January 8, 2009

Wearing only a bathrobe for the majority of the day, I’ve been consumed by Augusten Burrough’s book Running With Scissors.  I can’t put it down and since I don’t have to, I plan on reading it through to the last page.  What has been really hilarious is the phone calls and text messages I’ve gotten throughout the day.  These conversations seamlessly blend into the stories told in his memoir.  I was just about to jot some of them down here, but I wrote them in another place instead.  I need to save them for my book.

baguette

January 7, 2009

 Today has been a day of leisure.  I woke up to what sounded like hail hitting the side of the house.  After peering out the window at the cold gray and white world, I snuggled back down under the covers.  Taking advantage of this rare opportunity to go back to sleep.  Finally emerging out of bed around noon, I still wasn’t fully ready to face the day.  I took a bath rather than a shower, piling my hair on top of my head because I didn’t feel like washing it or even getting it wet.  I soaked in the hot water while reading Memoirs of a Medico by Dr. E. Martinez Alonso (a fascinating tale of a surgeon’s life during the Spanish Civil War).  It’s a book that I shut frequently while reading because I like to close my eyes and dream up scenarios that may occur in the future…. (insert feverishly exciting adventures in which I’m the heroine here)

I phoned a friend and we met for coffee.  He shared with me his portfolio filled with gorgeous drawings of nude women.  A few other friends and accquantances filtered through.  A local artist that speaks Spanish gave me a drawing he created, it’s an outline and I feel if I color it in, it will bring me good luck.

Wandering about town on the crunchy ice, forced into the street often because the sidewalks are a slushy mess.  Most of the downtown shops were closing early due to the weather.  I love it when this happens, when there is flexibility in the rigid schedules.  I especially like when the bakery closes early and leaves a big bag of bread outside.  Free for the taking since they won’t be able to sell it tomorrow.  I grabbed a baguette and wandered some more.  There is something about walking around and holding onto a fresh baguette without a wrapper that makes me so very happy.  Maybe because it reminds me of when I was in France.  Of how we’d drive through the countryside, me in the passengers seat tearing off hunks of bread and alternating bites with soft, creamy cheese and salty olives.  Stopping often to slug some wine or drink coffee in a smokey bar.