Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day 4 Whistler

Sunday 20 December.

Deep slightly wet powder but lots of it. Loving my Mynx skis.
Will's first day and we probably hadn't anticipated how deep the powder would be on his first run of the season, but he did well and we didn't break him. All long bones intact. Dawna my housemate was our local guide which was great.
Much fun had by all. 2 more days of work then Christmas literally has arrived.
Life wouldn't be half as fun if skiing didn't exist.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Extra cream with that?

A busy few days sticking tubes in (literally) every orifice. Suede shoes safely in wardrobe.
Yesterday I put a PEG tube (feeding tube into the stomach from the skin) into a 52 year old man who had had 2 massive strokes resulting in him being unable to speak or move let alone swallow safely without aspirating. His wife was holding it together remarkedly well. What a bum deal to end up with a vegetable of a husband when you should have at least 20 years of good life together still to live. And I guess you aren't meant to leave them as that would seem callous; but at what point does for better or worse really not hold up anymore? It seems like a hell of a commitment to the unknown. Should you have thought about all these possibilities beforehand or is everyone in denial and just winging it and crossing their fingers and hoping they don't have to deal with such issues?
Maybe that is why some women turn into such nagging wives as once committed they don't want their husband getting fat, high cholesterol or hypertension. I'm all for quality rather than quantity and I don't plan to expire at 52, but should I be knocking on the pearly gates with no quality of life, ask them to let me in and carry on enjoying your life (particularly in the deep powder!) on my behalf please.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Small Things

There are so few things that really do actually matter. I'm one to stress about the size of my gluteus maximus as much as the next neurotic female but in reality I control my life and if I don't like it, I can and should do something about it. A recurring theme of the choice thing again I suppose.
I like to think I am good at looking at the bigger picture and the reality is that i/ life is short and ii/ most peoples' existence on this planet is utterly superfluous.
So, I'm not going to win the Nobel prize for medicine or even get a Knighthood for services to radiology (never say never but unlikely); but perhaps the little things can make a difference; in the smallest way to making the world either a better place (and I don't mean that in a nauseating smug moral high ground stand point as I like to think I've never been there and shoot me if I ever do) or just to make someone feel good about themselves (in a genuine way where no one else serves to gain) or make someone smile. And often by doing those actions, you can make yourself feel good about yourself too. Making someone a cup of tea in the morning (next week's ski team please take note) for example.
The Canadians do it well; it may not always come across as well meaning to the cynical Brit writing here but actually they would be deeply offended to think it wasn't received as sweet and genuine. I'm starting to enjoy having random benign chats with Canadian people (ok so most of them are waitresses or servers after a tip as minimum wage is so awful here but that ruins the theme of this blog..)
My mother wrote me an email saying I will be missed at the family get together on Saturday for Christmas turkey (I'm the product of undemanding parents who don't expect physical presence at religious feasts + value independence + a decent carbon footprint thank GOD!) and my sister emailed to say that in the chaos that is our family trying to eat together a plate of food got made up for me by mistake. The small things do count.
All the diamonds in the world (obviously a few are acceptable) can't replace that.
I thought a dear friend had forgotten my birthday and I got home from being on call and flowers had been sent from England.
Friends picked me up and drove me to Whistler and another friend dropped me home yesterday.
Karaoke machine has been purchase for NY festivities to be brought out by Deepa, but now at the mercy of BA..
I ablated a patient's liver metastasis today and he was so thankful in his broken English; whereas actually I felt good because he was so nice about it and he was the one with colorectal metastases and I have no idea what that really must be like.

I hope we are not all being too busy and too hurried in life to either take the time to do them or take the time to appreciate someone doing them for us.

Day 2+3 Whistler

12 + 13 December. It is pretty special having the mountains right on your doorstep. Not something I will tire of easily. On the slopes by 0845 and it had snowed about 20cm on the Blackcomb side so found some fresh tracks under Glacier Express and Crystal and we had the mountain to ourselves. It was turning into one of those perfect ski days where I felt utterly contented and had deep inner calm - where you know that the uncertainty of next year and what is to come will be OK as right now everything is good. It then started to snow and close in but after lunch we headed over to Whistler mountain for clear blue skies and amazingly soft snow. Conditions far exceeded expectations of hard packed snow. Finished off the day with a long run down from the Blackcomb glacier (after a short but very breathless walk up). Whistler is expensive but the pistes are in good condition and there are lots of snow canons lower down. Young attractive Aussies are on hand to put your skis onto the gondolas for you and there is a general high level of service which the French could learn from.. The North Americans don't like my queuing technique however.
In the name of research, we hit the apres ski scene hard and did a thorough reconnaisance of several drinking establishments and hot tubs. Not a toffee vodka in sight but didn't seem to matter! Snowing and low cloud today so more gentle cruising but very pleasurable all the same. Happy Days!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Day 1 Whistler

Sunday 6 December

Got back from Chicago and went straight to bed. Woke at 3am excited (I felt like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve). Got up at 6, on the slopes in Whistler by 8.45.
Yeah Baby Yeah.
The first snow report of the season on this blog! Now I have a use for the people coming out to ski rather than the self absorbant drivel so far! This is why I do weeks of crap on calls, biopsy every normal thyroid going and put in every chest drain in every huge pleural effusion they want on ITU....

Hard packed snow; (base 200cm); hasn't snowed for a week, but found some really lovely snow near 7th Heaven (not sure what happened to 1-6 and where did the phrase 7th Heaven come from anyway? Anything to do with 7 deadly sins?) and the Glacier Express.
Pistes - very well groomed. Empty. No queues.
New skis carve amazingly; they like the softer stuff better and have a feeling they won't disappoint in the powder either.
Cold -20C and v windy, so more like -30C. Frostbite warnings on all lifts. Don't fret equipe Robinson - unusually cold for Whistler.
Clear blue skies and sunny.
Food - average but not awful. Canteen style. Not surprisingly no tartiflette or chocolate fondant but waistline won't mind. Therefore no Russian choppers required to get us home after big lunch from wrong valley. Apres ski report next weekend.
Peak to Peak gondola - amazing. Bit scary. No photos this time as camera battery didn't like the cold.
People in yellow checking you don't speed and take away lift pass if do so.
Lifts shut at 3pm.
The best bit (Grace will like this) so far... They have pretty much thought of everything here...

Tissues at the bottom of a chairlift for your runny nose!!

Number of snow baths - 0.
All long bones intact.

The Windy City

I've just spent the last week in Chicago at the Radiological Society of North America which attracts a world record 60,000 delegates. It is incredibly inspiring (I affirm my love of radiology at every conference I go to and am gradually overcoming my fear of presenting to the big cheeses) but massive - a huge convention centre with an airplane hanger sized industry exhibit hall all with the latest bits of kit to wow potential buyers. Great to catch up with lots of friends and colleagues from London and to make new friends too. Life is a bit uncertain for many of us at the moment with consultant jobs needing to be sort, so it had the potential to be slightly tense (and I did wonder I might get poisoned by my rivals) but all passed very amicably! It is so useful to chat to others about their world including experiences of radiology and to share ideas and values (doctors are not very good at 'networking'); and even better over a drink which a large multi national company wishes to buy for you. Our teleradiology company even got as far as getting a name. We ate well (predominantly oysters and large pieces of moo-ing cow; Sunda, Shaw's crab house, Wildfire, Kenzie chophouse), imbibed some quality martinis and showed the locals some of our finest shapes on the dancefloors, and kept the American economy on the magnificent mile afloat for a few more days. Got on the plane broken; I'm looking forward to a quiet healthy week - Vancouver is well suited to that!

Elisa, myself and Deepa before going into the Field Museum behind us for an evening amongst the dinosaurs.

Very good sushi at Shaw's.