Thursday, November 27, 2014

A university student again…..

So, as I leave supper on the stove and wrap the shredded wheat bread for the shore captain…I shall update this blog. The shore captain title is actually a misnomer at least for the first day of the lobster season as he has been press ganged (due to a serious illness of one of the local fishermen requiring immediate and long term treatment in the city) onto a boat. The plan is that he will get the traps set and then have to be ashore buying lobsters at the closer to home buying station (all green staff there this year). I think cloning himself is the only option but what would I do with two of him? I have enough trouble handling one most times. The season has been postponed five days at this point , there is still debate about tomorrow or Saturday being the first day and a conference call for LFA reps is scheduled for 4 pm. I do feel slightly guilty to be leaving him with the busy schedule as I usually keep the home fires burning and really do want to be close with both the boy Captain (and now the senior version) on the water, especially as it is very rough after the past few days of wind. I have warned them both to "BE CAREFUL" and reminded myself this is the way they make their living, whether I am across the pond or not.

The final wrap up in Nunavut was as per the usual routine. I did a handover to a male nurse (farmer up from Saskatchewan) who was learning to be a CHN. While we were getting the STI program sorted out - with all the attendant social dysfunction that unearths he frequently said "wow". Am sure he'll say that a few more times before his contract is over. He'll do just fine. This is the first time in two years that I've left the north without a return date for the next contact as I've been holding out for a health centre with an attached apartment. I have been persistent in my pursuit of the other two regions (at the moment of this writing, still unsuccessful) for such a spot and have ignored the Kitikmeot HR email asking if I want to return to Kugluktuk for Jan/Feb. Not because I have anything agains this placement but I'm not a fan of dressing up in parka, wind pants, mitts, hats, scarf, boots, unplugging the vehicle, warming it up, driving in -55c temperatures to the health centre, unlocking the door, getting out of the winter gear and….on exit, a reverse repeat performance. If I can't find a spot which suits by the end of January, I'll look at NWT as I've paid my $917 RN registration which will allow me to work in either territory.  I have decided I am too old to do things I don't want to, especially if it's just for the money, so will think positively and wait. It actually feels pretty good to say "I'm going to take some time off". 

It was -35c on the afternoon I left and so I'm finding the 'down south' climate very balmy. I flew out with several elders and the premier of the territory Peter Taptuna who had been in the community doing a meet n greet. He nodded but didn't waste energy on me as I clearly wasn't a voter. The flight to Yellowknife was uneventful but the second leg was more of a struggle. Several delays at the gate, over an hour for de-icing and we weren't in to Edmonton until after 10 pm. The baby daughter met me at the terminal (nice to not have to struggle with the shuttle) but most of the meal planning sites had closed by that hour. We had a late supper, short sleepover and she put she back on the plane in the early am. Nice to even have the short visit though. The Air Canada gate clerk was really not nice as I checked in (I'm thinking she didn't pass her customer service exam) and insisted I pay $105 for the third bag so I smiled anyway, put my oversize totes through the baggage and off through security. Uneventful trip to Toronto, short layover there spent in the Maple Leaf Lounge with all the executives heading home on Friday pm and off to Halifax. The flight was actually on time and my booked taxi was waiting but….I arrived with only one action packer and the duffle bag. NOT impressed. Had to file a claim for the bag - did you know that Air Canada has outsourced its call centre to India? Not an easy procedure. Nice visit with my nursing school classmate (who stores my car) and I headed out late for home, arriving by 1:30 am. 

Spent the weekend getting caught up on the news, visiting with friends, running errands and settling in. The Cloud Nine Shuttle arrived with my missing action packer on Saturday pm and was I ever glad to see the other BOGS boot - having one just makes you really cranky when you look at it. So, it's been a busy few days of appointments, lunching with friends, and the Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band concert in the city which was amazing!!!!

So, no photos this posting as I'm out of time due to trying to handle the logistics of an interview with a 7 hr time zone difference…. more on that next update. I am very excited to be a university student again, got good feedback on my pre-course assignment and am looking forward to travelling/studying with my buddy. I am all set to go and have my textbooks in my carry on knapsack because…..I'm flying Air Canada tonight. Updates to follow from Liverpool, UK. A link for you to educate yourselves with:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bed head packing shirt hair

I often end a blog posting with the quote of the day, so instead I'm leading with quotes, 60 of them to put you in a positive frame of mind:

I am in a very positive frame of mind as I hit send on my 16 page pre- course assignment last night and I'm not sure who decided that it was 18 hours of study but I found that a very conservative estimate. I had to go to the clinic last evening and use the computer in the office as I don't have Word on my Mac, just a Text Edit program. Needless to say the alignment was all messed up between the two so I picked at it until 9 pm.  As I walked home in what felt like milder weather as it had moderated from -35 to about -13 c, I noticed that the northern lights (aurora borealis) were putting on a wonderful show for me as the green lights danced over my left shoulder all the way to the apartment. My excuse for not continuing with the readings this evening is that I am first call and don't want to have to leave them and come back. 

And mostly that there's no point in trying to retain anything after a full day of call. We had the usual busy day back after being closed yesterday, drew bloods first thing and there was a full list of regular appointments in the middle of the waiting room of lab patients. I had a few calls, then a few more when people got up just before noontime. The afternoon was well child immunization with its usual screaming plus we do walk in flu shots from 3 - 4:30 pm from now until the vaccine is gone. Planning on getting mine tomorrow so I'll be protected when I go across the pond.  In between this I kept busy with walk ins and calls - a lady called for husband who got tired and took a nap…..okay, thanks for letting me know. One of the flights (Canadian North) flew over  here this afternoon leaving a number of patients booked with medical travel so that was a bit of scrambling. One of my roommates headed home to BC today and was fortunate to be on First Air which did land and take off before the ice fog struck. Just think that'll be catching a First Air flight a week from tomorrow. Ah, tis time. 

The latest smiles on the local front go a bit like this…..the very cute one year old who belongs to the
travel clerk came with her mother to work and even knew how to take a handful of papers and tap the bottom on the desk to line them up. She's a smiley girl and when I patted the back of her head with some frizzy hair, her Mom explained that it was "packing shirt bed head" as she wears her on her back and Emilia naps as she works or the six month old baby with a full head of black hair or "millions of hairs" as one of the clerks referred to it or an overhead page is heard at least once a day saying "sewings for sale, sewings for sale in the lobby" and if you investigate you find someone displaying slippers, wall hangings, decorative zipper pulls, kamiks etc. or the request to "have my tubal out" was a bit disconcerting at first, thinking that someone had written 'informed consent' when the procedure was done and obviously the permanency of the situation had not registered but….when I realized that the slow patient requesting it, surely needed it for that very reason - it made sense or the very cute sixteen month old who came in with a parent and was very taken with one of the class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
 'babies' in the waiting room. There is a black one (Femi the Nigerian mental health worker says it's his) and a white one in a display to discourage fetal alcohol syndrome. She insisted on bringing the dolly with her to the office and very carefully picked it up when I made a move towards it. What a good momma she is. Another full day tomorrow and then I'm on call Friday again. Getting into the countdown with only two more first call days left this time around. Almost there. And to close off the work related quotes, here is a link to something we already knew, although it's not an issue here, I'm sure we can all identify at one point in our lives:

The days are certainly getting shorter here as we head into the 24 hours of darkness. Sunrise is at 9:45 am and sunset at 3 pm tomorrow. It feels as if it is time to go home from work as the dusk appears. Some of the more northerly communities are already into the 'no sun' days now. By the time I'm outta here we'll be having only a few hours of light. One more week, one more week.