Sunday, May 28, 2017

Would you like a T4 with that? explain the title of this post, I offer this anecdote... The setting is one afternoon this week as we two nurses were filling our day with routine tasks such as sorting stock and making out the barge order (heavier products such as casting material, jugs of saline etc. are not routinely ordered as air freight because of the shipping costs). Due to the government takeover of the shipping company, the barge will be coming through earlier this year in August so the mundane logistics task must be approached earlier. While I took a phone call (part health information and part social interaction as in "which hockey team are you rooting for this evening?") the Nurse in Charge aka my job share partner proceeds to pick some papers off the fax machine and shows me first a sharpie lettered flyer advertising that salt n vinegar and ketchup chips are for sale at a local government office and secondly the T4 of one of their employees. Wow, just wow! I extricate myself from the phone call and my colleague phones the sender stating that if we have received the information, likely the entire hamlet has because it looks like a group fax. The reply is "oops, must've stuck to the poster" and "you better rip that up". The T4 is quickly shredded and we comment on how much trouble we'd be in pulling a stunt like that - at the very least we'd have to take a faxing course and have every transmission cosigned. The following morning my coworker answers the phone and it's a clerk from the above mentioned office telling her that she should call the bank who faxed the T4 to us. She educates the clerk to the fact that we were an innocent recipient and have no plans to call anyone, that the document came from HER office. When the caller realizes that whoever sent it is fingering her as the culprit...she quickly says "oh, that wasn't me" and hangs up, apparently the concern being who got blamed for it, not the disclosure of sensitive information.... my nerves.

The community remains fairly quiet with the majority of folks out on the rivers, having moved their camps north from the lakes, following the geese who are nesting so there is egg gathering and shooting in progress now. Occasional trips back for provisions or poor weather hampering hunting has made for a few visits, mostly due to aches and pains of pounding over rough terrain by skidoo or ATV. Both nights this weekend my colleague and I have had middle of the night callouts (a rare occurrence here) and earned overtime awaiting a medevac which was in Yellowknife with another case (thankfully the fog lifted for a few hours), which we have both decided we would trade for sleep. In my honeymoon stage of returning to work, I had forgotten how unfun it is to be screamed and sworn at by a non coping individual at 2 am. over a minor situation with their family member. When the circus comes to town like this you're not even able to say 'not my circus, not my monkeys' because they both are.  I see there are job postings for short term assignments of four weeks to four months for TB nurses in Nunavut. I was discussing my qualifications for this area with my coworker as in...infection control education and experience, public health background, community health nurse with a degree and she said "a nurse with a pulse" which we both acknowledge is the real requirement. No call back though so tempting... hmmmm.

This continues to be a hunting paradise for the shore captain as 'pinch me I'm dreaming' moments are becoming a daily reality. For example, he was hunting with one of the RCMP members posted here (a fellow Nova Scotian but a farmer not a fisherman so requiring some tutoring) and after shooting one goose, went out across the tundra to retrieve it and came back with four. Apparently it is a good idea to take your gun and shells when 'picking up' a local told me. Earlier this week one of the hunter/trappers asked to meet my husband (his marksmanship not going unnoticed) as they both had the same tally - so he most certainly is holding his own. They traded hunting info and it was a great male bonding exercise. Journeying out on the 4wheeler to local hills which are now covered with snow geese, the great white hunter is at about 35 and counting today. He has decided to shoot only a few as the opportunities vastly exceed his luggage allowance and pluck at least one in the field because plucking is becoming an issue. Although there is some carryover of roles (as in women do shoot) the northern culture designates males as hunters, women as sewing the clothing and preparing the food. There are lots of geese around and anyone who would pluck I could post photos of geese here know what snow geese look like by now....

The only setback the in-house hunter has experienced is a bout of snowblindness, which you might expect from someone who has never lived north but...a few years in Labrador in the 70s apparently have faded from his memory. Last weekend with an overcast sky he had his sunglasses off on Sunday "for a little while" and I cautioned him about it as in "up here is more stark, no trees to buffer, more snow and more direct UV rays" which I'm sure he heard as Charlie Brown teacher's voice blah, blah, blah...I mean, what would a northern community health nurse know eh? So, on Monday he arrived home at suppertime (having had his sunglasses off for most of the afternoon)with very red, painful eyes and decreased vision so was in bed by 7 pm with sunglasses on and spent a couple of quiet days with eye gel, cold compresses and advil. Hard way to learn such a lesson but thankfully no lasting effects.

I've been telling folks that my roommate and I have a 'man servant' and I have to say this one must be trying to impress my coworker because after four decades it's not likely that it would work on me. No, that's not entirely true because... he washed my nurses scrubs (first time in the over 40 years we've been together) this week. I was speechless which is an uncommon event. He has been doing the shopping (important to get to the COOP as soon as a shipment of fresh milk/produce arrives and before it closes), cooking of suppers except for the occasional weekend night off, general maintenance and carrying of heavy objects. Retirement is certainly agreeing with him (and thus me) with my only complaint being that I've gained 2 lbs. Some of the excess is due to baking for our little family - we sound like 'sister wives' - with chocolate cookies, cherry squares and scones quickly consumed. 

Have been keeping myself occupied crocheting a small afghan to use up some of my northern stash, sewing soles on my Kugluktuk beaded slippers and finally finishing up my sealskin slippers where I've gotten as far as stitching the liners on the sewing machine which appeared in the apartment during my absence, and sewing the beaver trim on them - I promise photos of the completed projects with a future posting. Got out for a few walks this week, which is nice in the milder temperatures (it's running about 0c) but it is the beginning of mud season (even though there were big snowflakes in the full daylight last night at 3 am) so have to choose the route carefully. 

Off to make pizza for supper and perhaps a walk afterwards if the rain eases up...