Sunday, 30 January 2011

Einstein (13-07-2009 - 30-01-2011)

My baby died this morning. Not sure what of; his infection seemed to be clearing up. Anyway, I'll miss my crazy boy, and he can trot off to the Rainbow Bridge where he'll never have trouble breathing again.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Not in the mood not in the mood...HEY I'm loving this

Today's run was 7.32km at a pace of 6.28/k. I'm getting really good at running slowly. This is something I was never capable of, actually, and I was pushing myself too much on every run. I always had sore calves. Always. The thing is, my basic cardio fitness level isn't too great. I'm building it up as I am building up my running; and I simply can't run a full 5k at my 'usual' pace of 5'20. I will get there soon enough, and I will get even faster... safely.
For now I'm good with building endurance, even if that happens at a pace of 6'28.

I spent half the afternoon procrastinating my run. It was cold out, and I was not in the mood for it. And yes, it's wildly interesting to read some tips about buying a used car; the deal was that I was going for a long-ish run.

Once I started running with my 'run' playlist in my ears, I started getting in the mood. It was sunny but cold. I started out running against the wind, but had the wind in my back on the way back. At some point, the wintry sun started feeling warm in my face even, and I was far from cold. I was creating my own tiny little summer.

I'm right on schedule for my 10k run.

I also noticed that I'm a midfoot striker. I find this interesting. There is no 'pathological' reason for this, it's just what I do. Apparently it's very Chi or something...

I'm just wondering if this means my shoes need to be replaced sooner.

Dutch Driving

I am in my mid-twenties and I do not have a driver's licence. I am not really ashamed of it: why would I get a licence if I have no foresight of having access to a car? I live in Holland; where public transport is fair and a bicycle gets you to city centres faster anyway. I even had a student travel card (like the one below), allowing me free travel on the entire public transport network in the country. At first during the weekends, later during the week.

Allright, fair enough, I cursed the fact that I had no car quite often. As a busy student I only went to the laundromat once every three weeks. It would have been a lot easier to do that by car. Same goes for weekly groceries. I have carried lots of random things on my bike, including a microwave oven. And a full month's worth of dirty (and then clean) laundry. Or the times where public transport took over an hour on a trip which would take me just as long by bike (20km), or about 20mins by car. The annoying bit was of course that I had to travel that route two times a day, five days a week.

Getting your licence is quite hard here. You're allowed to drive at 18; with a valid licence. Most people need at least 40 driving lessons before they can go for their test. Only about half of them will pass. One of my sisters only passed the 5th time. As did one of my supervisors in the past year. Driving in Holland also is harder than in many other countries. Narrow streets, cars parked everywhere, pedestrians, various public transport vehicles, cyclists, weird roundabouts and lots of traffic are a few aspects of Dutch traffic. This city apparently is notoriously complicated. (seriously, sometimes I don't even know where the bit where I'm supposed to drive is!) My instructor said that if I can get my licence in this city, I can drive anywhere. Manual, of course. An automatic transmission only licence is considered a licence for the handicapped.

I started taking driving lessons in December 2009. I was optimistic, and planned to have my licence by January 2010. The crash course (I had 6 weeks off) crashed and burned before I even got started. I passed the required written test in one go (average is 2 times). I found myself a driving school. I filled out the paperwork. And by truthfully crossing the YES when asked if I ever had eye surgery; I became 'medical'. It feels like almost handicapped.

I had to get a full medical evaluation. I had to find an independent GP to test my eyes, my urine (nope, still not pregnant and still not diabetic), my psych history... etc. That was after paying 23 euros for the single sheet on which she wrote her findings and 30 euros for the check up... 8 weeks later I got the good news that I am fully fit to drive (but still had to have a special examinor). Without the fit-to-drive paperwork I can't take a test. You do the math. The irony? There is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I don't even wear glasses or contacts.

Taking lessons once a week from a 21-year-old instructor didn't go so well. When Michael Jackson came on the radio, he would turn up the volume and tell me that he has liked Michael Jackson since he was a kid (in the 90s). Yes, I was a kid then too, only I was a slightly older kid. I quit, I couldn't take lessons more often while working in another city. I started again when I worked in Maastricht; but then my research project literally drove me to the edge of what I could handle in terms of work-stress... and driving didn't go so well. I did my practice test right after practically passing out from sheer exhaustion. Needless to say; that was a very bad idea.

So now I am back in The City and am taking lessons again. I'll probably get close to 70 lessons before my first test, and I really want it to be the first and only test. I feel like I deserve it. My written exam had expired, so I had to take it again, and passed it again this Monday. I had to get the 'fit to drive' paperwork again, but luckily this time it only took 2 weeks, and now I'm set to go. My instructor said it's possible to get there in the time I have left.

I'm an agnostic; but I might actually start praying if that will help me pass the test.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Not Alone.

First things first: I passed my written drivers test. Whoot.

This evening I ran a lap around our neighbourhood. I am horrible at estimating distances, apparently, because what was intended to be a 6k run clocked in at 6.88km. I suppose I will just run 5.2 in my next run to AVERAGE at 6k a run for this week. I'm thrilled. I barely walked. Kept the pace low, but still this work out was a challenge. My nano is fairly accurate at the moment.

Apparently I'm not the only one who runs in this neighbourhood. I always run into other runners. Even in the middle of the day; though then it's typically women (SAHM's?) in a great range of running and non-running clothes. I went running at around 7PM and lapped around part of the neighbourhood. A great part of the route consists of the shell-path next to a canal between the older and newer part of the neighbourhood. The return bit is on a cycle path. On this simple route, in the dark, I ran into 11 other runners. 2 women, 8 men and 1 young boy who ran with his father. (Apparently, running is also a man's business). No kidding. After runner nr 5 I made a sport out of counting them.

As my mum put it:

"Looks like you're not the only nutcase around here then."

My run was also perfect to try out my new Puma 'winter hoodie'.  I love my other running hoodie so much that I can't wait for it to come out of the laundry. (I also hate my very old Nike jacket, it's too pink and not as terrific and I can't put my hands anywhere)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Not always exceptionally easy

I'm in a bit of a slump. I'm not OK with a few things; including my current diet. If your diet is causing you to gain weight, you should change it before you become obese. I know, I've been whining about this before... but that only goes to show that I'm actually struggling with it. And I am not happy about that at all. Note to self: just because you have a history doesn't mean you're immune to physiology. I need new jeans though. And I am really panicking about not fitting in my dress.... the thing is I'm not sure if I could find support for this. Because I'm not overweight and because I'm the doctor I should know what's best... Knowing doesn't make doing easier.
(That, for the record, is not my ass, it's merely an illustration of the problem.)

Another thing that may not be extremely difficult but rather boring: I have to re-take the written driving test tomorrow. I will probably have to devote an entire post to the driving subject... just let me pass the test first. Studying for it is tedious and making me cranky.

Also not smart: If you're known to get asthma attacks during exertion in low temperatures, do remember to use your inhaler BEFORE leaving. Else the supposedly easy 5k run becomes a lot harder and a lot wheezier. I always wonder if running during an asthma attack has the same effect as height training. Scheduled for tomorrow: 6k run WITH inhaler. Maybe I'm also a bit stupid.

Oh well. Back to 'What To Do In Case Of An Accident'. (Call 112?)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

These Boots are made for....

One thing I love about running is that I finally have a good pair of calves. I never had that. I always had thin, skinny calves. And I love shapely calves on a woman. I think mine are perfect now; not too much, but just enough to balance out the fact that I have thighs. The alternative is carrot-legs. But the 401km I ran on these running shoes are showing in my calves.

Having calves also means that I can finally wear boots. I'm not talking about the saggy type that I've been wearing; or ankle boots... I'm talking about the kind of boots I see loads of other women wear. And today I bought myself a pair of boots. See?

(Yes, that's my stethoscope. I used it to listen to Einstein's chest this morning. It sounded clear)

I know it sounds shallow, but to me being able to buy normal boots feels like an accomplishment. 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Run Philosophy

Just returned from my 5k run. I'm already 3.5 mins faster than last week; but I'm still not happy. But then again, it does take 4 weeks for your cardio fitness to improve and the best thing would just be to keep going. This was not a 'good' run. But that's OK. I feel good about going.

And the trail bit of my route is still flooded. The fact that it's raining every other day doesn't really help either, I suppose. It's raining now too, and not just a little bit. It does make me feel a bit smug to know that I beat the rain. It started raining just as I got home.

I skipped my run on Monday. Bad girl, I know. But not really. I was visiting somebody and having a good time and I haven't seen her in a year. I was doing something that was equally important to me. As it is, I am exercising 5 times a week. 4 times won't kill me. (I did go to Zumba last night; it may not be the ideal cross training method but I love it).

I don't live to run. I run for life. There is a difference. I run because I (usually) like it. I run because it makes the rest of my life just so much better. While it is completely true that I can get most of the effects of running from other sports, most of them don't allow me to live through the seasons, get fresh air and impulsively change the entire scenery of my work out. I can run any time, any day, and that appeals to somebody with a future demanding job. I can run alone, and I enjoy the semi-meditative solitude. I can run with friends, and enjoy their company, but usually they don't stick to it.

Running for life means running enhances my life, and doesn't stand in the way of it.

I am looking forward to summer rain runs, and to tanning my legs while getting a work out. I am looking forward to showing off my long, tanned and toned legs in summer. I am looking forward to the race, despite being apprehensive of it at times. I am looking forward to fun, hilly trail runs; but I am nowhere near the fitness level needed for those. I am also nowhere near hills, but that's another matter. (Turns out there are some 'man made hills' around here, which will have to make do).

The 10K. Then 15K. Then maybe half a marathon. I'm not aspiring a full marathon now; at least not for the next few years.

When your pet is sick.

Einstein and I went to the vet today. Einstein has had difficulty breathing ever since I got him. When I was in England he showed some massive improvement in behaviour, but lost weight. In the past week or so his breathing seem to be worse, and he's had a near-suffocation episode caused by snot blocking his nose and drying up while he's asleep. It's not often that you can save a life by removing snot, but I suppose your ABCDE is your ABCDE whether it's a human or an animal. Now I also noticed that whatever is in his nose stinks. But he didn't seem that sick.

So I took him to a new vet today, because I wasn't certain about starting him on Baytril. I miss my old vet, but I moved. The old vet was perfectly fine with guiding me in treating my own pets, and we had mutual respect for each other. Actually, two of the three vets I saw there in the past years were like that; and I remember some interesting conversations with them about medicine. The third one didn't know me that well.

This one was talking down to me and seemed a bit annoyed with me for bringing him in so late. I'm not normally one to throw in the 'I'm a doctor' thing immediately. I am also fully aware of the differences between human and veterinary medicine; and I know that treating your own animals is technically illegal. Like I said; the vet was supportive of me doing what I did because they knew I wouldn't do something stupid. But I didn't have the same feeling with this new one; but maybe she just had poorer communication skills. But, like I suspected, Einstein has a bacterial upper respiratory tract infection of unknown duration and he is really underweight. She also immediately said Einstein's breathing problems are due to allergies and seemed a bit upset that I didn't have him on anything for it and mentioned vaguely considering antihistaminics as a trial.

I wanted to say:
"Look, lady, I'm aware of the fact that this animal should have been started on Baytril earlier. The thing is, to me he is actually acting healthier than he had been in a long time and I found it really hard to differentiate between his 'normal' breathing problem and this because he didn't show the symptoms they normally show. I also wasn't sure if he really was having more trouble breathing, or if it just looked like it because he was so thin. I don't know why he is so thin, I wasn't there. He has continuous access to good quality food. I don't know what his normal new pattern of behaviour is; he changed. It was a good change.
I am also not just some idiot considering antihistaminics. I went to medical school. I wouldn't have given it to him just like that. Your option of giving him dexamethason doesn't sound too lovely either, to be honest.
Einstein has been repeatedly seen by vets in his first year. Allergies are only in the differential diagnosis; we could not find a single factor that made his problems worse, apart form dry air in winter. He actually was doing better after he stopped growing; and I actually have a strong feeling that the problem might be anatomical. This animal isn't being neglected.
And stop calling steroids ´anti-inflammatories'. While Voreen isn't a human drug, dexamethason is."

But regardless: Einstein is going on, doing his thing. He skipped the bath this week and got a bit of cat food with baytril instead. He will be fine, for now, and if he doesn't improve in 3 days I should go back with him to get doxycyclin. I'm supposed to weigh him every week and he should gain 12-20% of his tiny body weight. If he doesn't, she wants to see him again.

The old Einstein wouldn't have had a problem with that; a few months ago he actually was too fat. The new Einstein might find it a bit harder, as the new Einstein actually engages in physical activity.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

When the Doctor gets ill

I remember a conversation with a primary school friend of mine who is living an amazing life that has absolutely nothing to do with medicine. I think I had the flu at the time; or it was when Public Health Services had me quarantined after I phoned them to ask whether or not I could get the repeat MMR jab if I were ill. They had me tested for mumps; it was negative, but I only got well enough to return to work the day before my quarantine was over. 
She: "I always wondered what doctors do when they get sick. It seems though, as if you guys suffer just like the rest of us"
Me: "Well, yes, except nobody feels sorry for us."

Some medical students suffer from hypochondria during medical school. One of my yearmates actually saw a psychologist about it. The thing is; we learn about these horrible diseases, but we only learn to put it into perspective a lot later. Perspective is important (unless you work in the States, then you just test for everything or get sued). Medical student hypochondria tends to reach it's max during psych block; but let's not talk about that. I never was one for medical student hypochondria; I just tend to take things as they are. 

Reminds me of something else. 
In second year/third year I had a group of 'friends' who turned out to be weak and fake because they ditched me when I needed them. Regardless. At some point I had the flu. I actually went home for it, in those days I was still really hardass and refused to go home for anything. 
Her: "So what do you think you have then?"
Me: "Meh, just a bit of influenza" (that was when big words made us feel smart)
Her: "No you don't. Why do you always want everything to be extra special? You just have the flu. Influenza is what kills people, you're not that sick. Stop trying to be special. You don't have influenza, you have the flu. You'll be fine". 
Me: "Influenza IS the flu". 
Her: "No, it's not, stop pretending you know more than me" (she had worked as a nursing assistant for a year). 
While I never doubted that I would be perfectly fine, I surely hope that lady now knows that the flu is caused by one or another strain of the influenza virus. And that the ordinary flu kills people every year. 

And about me 'trying to be extra special'? Life would have been a lot easier if I were 'just normal'. I am not 'just normal'. Almost nothing about me is not 'just normal'; and really most of it is in a good way. There were days I wished I were 'just normal'; because being labelled as 'unusual' is a bit lonely sometimes. 
I just hope being 'unusual' would allow me to do some amazing things later on. You know, like really helping people. 

So what does the doctor do when she gets 'ill'?

I've been noticing an intermittent really tired feeling in the lateral part of my left leg; which felt nothing really like my injury. But because of the experiences with that, I'm a bit freaked out because I do NOT want to have to forfeit my 10k race. Like I said; I have two future physiotherapist sisters who are a lot better with the locomotor system than I am. Or so I think; turns out I'm still the one who had the highest score for neuro in my group. 

After some bickering over my leg and some cluttered physical examination; one of them decided to test my sensibility. Turns out I have diminished sensibility in the area innervated by the n. peroneus communis and the lateral sural nerve. 

And then, I turn to 'UpToDate', only to discover nothing new. 

And then, I sigh, relieved, that I can keep on running as long as my peroneal muscle keeps doing it's thing.

And the, I curse, because redefining tired as numb doesn't make it any less annoying. 

Friday, 14 January 2011

The slow process of being fast.

This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I am shocked at how fast I lost fitness. Today I ran 5k according to my schedule... or, well, tried. The plan is to now work with a 10%/week increase, which allows me to get to 10k with 2 weeks spare.
I'm not going to work with a flashy schedule; I am going to slowly increase and just run to finish during the race. I feel like once I've jumped THAT hurdle, I can work towards running awesomeness. Maybe join a club or a group or something; but I like the solitude of my runs sometimes. A once-a-week group would be cool. At the moment I can't afford the membership of a running club (and I'm nowhere near fast enough); and googling running groups in the area gives me the first hit 'trimclub'. No way I'm going to join a 'trimclub'. I don't 'trim'; I run.

Or at least I try to. I have officially set the record for the slowest 5k in my history. 36minutes and 47 seconds. That is, FYI, about 10 minutes SLOWER than the fastest I recorded. The worst part? My heart rate went up over 180 on several occasions. I wasn't even running. I was trotting. This is really frustrating. My former top swimmer and almost-physiotherapist sister kindly reminded me that it takes 2 weeks for you to lose fitness and 4-6 weeks for you to regain it. I suppose I will just have to simply suck it up, and think of the Interestingly enough, the area around my former injury felt tired after zumba, and felt tired after the tortoise-run... without it being painful in the least. I just need to watch what I'm doing. Sister said it's OK...

I am also pretty convinced that my heart is fine with 180bpm (especially in shorter bouts) and probably has a higher max rate than it should have according to the formula. It goes up quickly without me even noticing much in my breathing, and it drops even quicker. My current resting heart rate is in the high 60's I think (currently 72; yes, I just measured, but I'm obviously not fully resting); I've had it at 54 at some point, years ago, when I was a swimmer. I'm going to do a max heart rate test once I get a bit fitter. It's just too easy for me to push it over 180, and always has been even when I was a lot fitter. I'm not an exercise physiologist, but the quick drop is a good thing.

(I got a heart rate monitor watch for Christmas, and tried it out today. The strap is far too big, but thanks to sports bras I can just wear it tucked into my bra)

Then I did my ballet excercises, or, well, some of them. I'm actually considering, once I've got an actual job, to take up ballet as a counter-act for running. The only sport I actually have potential real talent for is dancing. Maybe if I weren't 5'10 tall. It's a sad story, really. As a kid I had trouble getting along in terms of motor skills. I had eye problems and the resulting glasses made it impossible for me to catch balls and do much of anything that required depth perception: everything shifted as soon as it entered a different part of my glasses' visual field. I also have hypermobile joints and normal muscle tone; kids like that often are a bit slower because it's simply harder to walk on instable legs. I got a lot of crap over me for this; and it really damaged my self esteem: I was in a very competitive school and felt so ashamed of myself. I simply didn't believe I could do it. My parents were rather harsh on me because I didn't do any sports (and once I took up swimming at age 12 they wouldn't let me quit or train less, not even to take free drama classes with my friends once a week. I started feeling left out in my group, and later lost the friends). I asked my mum if I could take dance lessons. You'd think she'd jump at the opportunity to get her 'lazy' daughter to do some exercise, but no. Her response? 'No, you can't dance because you don't have rhythm. You're not a black girl', or something in that line.
After I left home, I discovered that I can, in fact, dance. And I do, in fact, have rhythm. I've done salsa; I've done belly dancing and I've done a course of modern dance (which didn't work out so well because I was the only one with no experience in the group); oh and of course there was the notorious street dance lesson. I did a theatre class; and the teacher insisted on putting me on centre stage in the dancing scene because she said I looked so graceful. Black men on nights out usually approve of my dancing; white men just stand there moving their arms and sometimes their legs. (I'm not a racist; but there is a certain truth to some stereotypes). My friend told me I'm a good dancer after one Zumba class. Yes, I can dance.
But I'm too old to really go anywhere with it. Maybe one day I'll have a daughter, and maybe she will inherit my flexibility and rhythm, and maybe even she'll want to dance and if so maybe she'll be good at it and it will give her what it could have given me. Who knows.
That doesn't make it any less fun.
And I am really fascinated by how much those simple ballet exercises I did improved my leg-posture and with that my butt. But for now, I'm going to have to stick to my work out schedule.

Running is not the only thing that is going to be not as easy as I thought it would be. Getting my body back is going to -surprise surprise- require some hard work too. Luckily a great deal of the hard work overlaps with the running goal; but I am going to have to put in some effort on the nutrition side of the coin as well. I am not going to push my body to unnatural weights; I just want to fit my own jeans again. I just want to feel like my body is mine again (and yes, my poor fitness levels are making me feel worse). The thing is: I believe that the slimmer version (you know, the one who could run a 27min 5k) is my natural weight because that's what I maintained with natural eating. Yet, here I am, not there, and still struggling with the damage from something that happened half a year ago. The problem is that it seems to have influenced my eating habits in a negative way, and it's so hard to get that back to healthy again. The other problem is that living at home makes it really, really hard. There is a lot of food I can't eat (lactose) or won't eat (bread. I just really hate 'normal' bread, and it's been like that since I can remember. I've tried 'getting over it', didn't work). The foods I would like to eat have other purposes than my lunch. Yes, I'm actually 'not allowed' to take them. Breakfast is tolerable. I miss fibre-tasty all-bran; and the sugar-loaded but non-fat yoghurt my mum bought when I asked her to next time bring healthy yoghurt and explained that it's not about the fat, but about the sugar, doesn't really help me with feeling healthy. But I suppose, I'm the only one responsible for my health.

On a brighter note in this too long post: I handed in my last reports yesterday; and I really love the surgeon who is supposed to review its attitude. He just does things instead of moaning about it. I could learn from that, haha, see above.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Those Last Reports

I am sitting here, being a bit unable to actually finish my elective report. I need a kick in the butt.

I've been going on like this for quite a while now, and yesterday my documents were open on my laptop without me actually typing a single word. Horrible, isn't it?

It's just the first one that is hard. The other one is easy and probably will not be procrastinated, as it makes me eligible for my 400 euro refund from the uni. Money IS a motivator.

So this is me, signing off for now, and I will try very hard to finish it tonight!

Saturday, 8 January 2011


Yes, I am excited about it. Today, ladies and gentlemen, was the day of the first run that felt like a real run ever since that lateral collateral ligament decided it didn't like something I did for the second time in a year. I did a slow 4.5k and did short bits of walking in between because for some reason it seemed like the tuna sandwich I had 3 hours earlier had other ideas about where it should go than I did... but that's not the point. Or maybe it was the karma of yesterday's piggies (no, NPodyssey, you don't have to google it.... there was a picture of them right below where I mentioned them). I don't know.

The point is that I went far and long enough to feel like I actually went. These shorter recovery runs don't feel like real running, they feel like physiotherapy exercises. Next time probably with a little less walking. Heh. I didn't even run with music today, it was fairly windy (eh, I live quite near the coast) and listening to music while running in the wind just doesn't work.

So here's what my route was like: I started off from our home, crossed the water (large ditch, not quite a full sized canal) to the cycle path, then ran up the sound wall next to the high way where I do catch all the wind but also feel a bit adventurous, climbed down the sound wall to run on the cycle path next to the high way and followed it to the traffic light, crossed that and passed the kart centre and turned left down a small street, then turned left again to start the way back...passing the gym and the MacDonalds. Running past the MacDonalds made me feel a bit smug, but once the smell hit me smug went over in nausea. Then I headed home following the car road (running on the broad sidewalk) and finally through a bit of Suburbia where a woman smiled approvingly as I passed her. I saw one other runner, a small, slow person of unidentifiable sex. I'm going to assume it was a woman because she was wearing a rather thick white jacket. I noticed that I got closer to her despite going slow and stopping to tuck in a runaway shoelace. She continued on when I turned left.

I came home feeling I could still go for several km's, but I know it's better to build up slowly. Besides, I WAS going slow with my average pace of 7.01/k.

Another fun thing: My Nike+ sensor seems to be finally, and accidentally, perfectly calibrated. My run measured 4.48k on Google Maps, and 4.48k on Nike+.

10k here I come! I'll be happy if I can finish in less than an hour.

The weather was a nice 9 degrees Celcius, and windy but dry. It was just starting to dusk, and for some reason I love running in the sunset. It was cloudy.

The nice weather allowed me to run in my favourite running top for winter; a red one from one of the local home brands. Heh. So soft...and apparently not available any more. The local store brands usually are cheaper (same price as Nike in the UK; apparently Nike in the UK is a different distribution area than here, and colours are different, but Nike is more expensive here). Oh well. I hope they make them again next year.... I'd like to have two of them.



I just signed up for my very first race. I signed up for the City Pier City run in The Hague.

Of course, I said I expect to finish somewhere between 0h55 and 1h20. I really hope it will be faster. But I am going to finish, and the idea is to get fit and start somewhere with racing.

Interesting fact: According to my Nike+ yearly overview, I ran an average of 6k a week in 2010. Not much! 2010 was a year in which I couldn't run for a great deal of the year, and spent a great deal of what was left doing those annoying short recovery runs. (Also, not ALL my runs are actually tracked on Nike+). It started out with really bad weather with snow and ice through the entire February; a bout of illness in March, LCL injury in late May, leading to me not being able to run the race and it only recovered in September.... only to take another (light) blow in November. It's all better now, I am taking it easy and have been completely pain-free for about 3-4 weeks now.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Having Something To Do.

I won't be working full time for the next 2-3 months. I'm happy about it, it's my break. That doesn't mean I tolerate doing nothing at all, just not my thing.

I'm taking driving lessons. Because driving lessons in Final Year was a decidedly bad idea, and didn't work out. Before you get all judgemental: I live in Europe, I use a bicycle and I have access to free public transport on weekdays. So there. I had my first driving lesson in one of Holland's largest cities. It was a bit more challenging than driving in the small historic city where I studied, but it went OK and the instructor is going to prep me for my test. It's long overdue, but still I'm a bit scared about the prospect of driving all by myself.

In terms of road rage randoms: a BP lorry managed to park at the BP petrol station in such a way that it blocked an entire lane of the road next to the petrol station. I'm quite impressed, actually.

I am also quite impressed by one of the Pets. He's a fully grown male, but managed to jump up over half a metre to land on the few-mm-thick wire panel I used to make a free range area for them.

Also, I signed up for a local Zumba class. I'm going with a friend, and it's really just people from the neighbourhood. Would be good to meet people from around here. Yes, I partly grew up here, but in my defence: when we moved here the neighbourhood consisted of 2 blocks and no paved streets. 50% of what stands now wasn't there when I left for uni. I went to a try-out today, it was fun.

I'm still planning to look for a part-time job for the time being. It's just not working so well, haha, I'm busy with all kinds of things!

Agency called me, they had an Emergency Care job in the 'region' for me. I asked them where it was. They said somewhere on the 'closest island'. Yes, but that's still a 2-hour commute, and I haven't had enough turn-downs yet to consider moving further than the big city south of this one.

On the bright side, the cardiologist agreed to be my referent, and I am considering asking that other psychiatrist as well because he really knows me.

There's a run due tomorrow morning. I'm so happy about the snow-free temperatures, but they've predicted rain for tomorrow morning and evening.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I don't really know where to start with this whole job hunting thing.

So I started with updating my CV. And forgetting to return a phone call from an agency. Actually, the agency was my first, impulsive, step. But that was a long time ago.

So I e-mailed the cardiologist I worked with, and phoned the psychiatrist I worked with during final year. I really like the psychiatrist and I sort of miss working with/for him, but he's quite a character. I also worked with another psychiatrist at the same placement, wonder if I can ask him too? What do you think?

*insert sound of fingernails tapping*

I'm nervous about this whole process.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Old City

I talked to a minister today. I used to claim that I don't do religion; but recently I have to admit that I've become a bit of an agnostic. It was an interesting conversation with a really approachable, intelligent man. He reminded me of the 7th Heaven reverend a tiny bit, but then without actually having that many children.

So after that I went to the Old City, where I never actually lived but where I went to secondary school. So many memories of skipping class...haha. They've built a new shopping centre in the meantime, and it took me some time to figure out that the iCentre is actually on this new shopping-centre plain. I bought myself a pair of light pink slippers with pink flamingoes on them. Because they were cheap and my feet are cold. I hate light pink, but the other option was beige with camel flamingoes.... and flamingoes have to be pink.

It was weird walking through the Old City, seeing everything that changed, but especially remembering me as a teen walking there.

The iCentre helpdesk guy (who was cute, and who thought I was cute) managed to get my Nike+ sensor back to life, and I'm really happy about that. He flirted a bit, of course. And I flirted right back, because I'm like that.

Then I went for the same run as two days ago. Next plan is to build up with another 400-500m, but I am allowing for short walk breaks (just enough to get my breath back a bit) as I'm for some reason struggling with the temperature. Or maybe I just lost more running fitness than I thought I did. I'm happy to announce that, while I'm still careful about it, my knee hasn't complained in 2 weeks.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Projects for 2011

First of all: happy 2011.
1-1-11 is almost as cool as 11-11-11

^The lighting of the annual local bonfire. When the thing is actually fully on fire it's 5-6 storeys high and too bright for my camera to capture anything. At 3 in the morning I looked outside and thought it was getting light already, that's how much it lights up the neighbourhood. (Of course, no bonfire without having fireworks thrown into the crown, bunch of idiots).

Once upon a time, when I still was a neurotic wreck, I used to make resolutions and measure progress every month...and so forth. I even had a pretty notebook for it. Then, I changed and grew and learned that I'm quite capable of just living without all that... and in the end those resolutions never made me a better person. What DID make me a 'better person', or at least, what was more effective was to simply start whatever 'resolutions' the minute I thought of them. Even IF it's the 31st of December.

This year, everything changes right around New Years. That somewhat changes the matter. Or, maybe not, but still. This year, I have stuff to do, a new life to build if you like. New city, fresh graduate, and three months to do Things. This year, I still have no 'resolutions' because the word sounds dismal to me. It reminds me of smokers who start smoking again on the 3rd, 'gym bunnies' who turn into couch potatoes on the 7th, fat people who will weigh more on the 31st of December 2011 etc. Resolution isn't strong. Plans are. I have a few projects for 2011, and while I'm not going to bore you with the exact details, here they are:

1) Find and start my first job as a doctor. This includes: studying a bit, fixing my CV, applying, interviews, etc. etc. etc. Plan is to start working in internal medicine or paeds.

2) FINALLY get my driver's licence. I am enrolled at a driving school, am going to re-take the theory test halfway through January, and hopefully I'll be done with the whole shebang by March. I'm a bit ashamed of myself for not having it yet... buut there were 'circumstances' (among other things the fact that I'm 'medical' even though I am perfectly healthy with perfect eye sight).

3) Finally make my way up to at least a 10K and race. I might also continue on to a 15k race, and maybe a half marathon (depending on the time I have available). Have already sort of started on this goal, and am going for a run right after I've finished this (I want to see the aftermath of the bonfire). Immediate side project: get NikePlus thingy to work again. The sensor is NOT flight-proof.

4) Get my diving licence. Because diving is amazing, I love nature, I'm an ample swimmer, and I was a few m away from a tiger shark on my first ever diving experience. I might even train as a diving physician later on.

5) Join a club. A running club, a book club, a dancing thing? Don't know, something to research. Meet new people.

6) Improve my eating habits and lose the few pounds I gained, preferably by March. (that implies doing it slowly). It's about balance, not about weight. My 'goal weight' is my natural weight. My body is just not happy with my recent bad eating habits, and I'll feel a lot better if I fix it.

7) Keep up cross-training and strength-training. I love that swimming trains my upper body, and strength training is very important for me.

8) Learn to cook new dishes. I might as well do something useful with my dinner-chores. And no, I'm not really a kitchen princess.

9) Make time for creativity. I took art and art history in secondary school (sort of a minor, if you wish), I was a childhood artistic talent, but then came along medical school. It's all about balance, once again, and yes, I know it makes me sound like I'm 32. But creativity can be trained.

10) Oh, yeah, and put some more effort in being organised. Because chaos doesn't always help. It is possible to be flexibly organised. Starting with my room....and the mess my phone contact list became after I tried to organise it. (I was too vigorous, it deleted all my contacts and then when I re-synched it (viva Google), it was a mess)

11) Learn new things. I'm considering learning French, reading, and just basically keep on being naturally curious. Curiosity killed the cat, but I am not a cat.