As I have mentioned before, I am a pro-choice feminist. I am also training to be a doctor, and OB/GYN is very high up on the list of possible careers (as in, in my top 3). And I know that I have a fertility problem in the form of PCOS. Which sometimes makes it difficult for me, on a personal level, to understand someone elses decision to have an abortion.

But here’s the thing: it isn’t my choice to make.

Even when I disagree completely with a personal choice someone else makes, this does not give me the right to judge. I have to accept that this is the best decision for the person making it, and I will help them go through it. Even if I would never make that choice. Even when it’s easy for them and hard for me. Even when it’s hard for them. It would be incredibly snotty of me to assume this person couldn’t come to the right conclusion for him or herself.

All this is not to say that when a woman comes into the clinic for her 12th abortion*, I won’t discuss other methods of contraception, because an abortion is still a surgical procedure and has risks involved.

I’m writing this, because I just had my annual “discussion” with my dad on the subject. Guess what, he’s a one-issue voter and couldn’t disagree with me more. This discussion has come up at least once a year since I started med school and is the same every year. It goes something like this: 

  • Dad: Emsy, I want you to promise me you’ll never perform an abortion.
  • Me: I won’t promise you that.
  • Dad: Eeeemmmmmmssssyyyyyyyy! don’t get all snotty-faced femi-lesbo on me now. Now, come on, promise me you’ll never be in the room when an abortion is being performed.
  • Me: Dad, listen. I don’t agree with you on this. I believe a woman, or a couple for that matter, has the right to get pregnant and have a child, or to decide this is not what they want/need in their  lives right now. Even when I would choose differently. And, as a doctor, I don’t plan on denying people that choice.
  • Dad: Abortion is murder. Life starts at conception. It’s Murder!
  • Me: The possibility of life starts at conception. Well, in most heterosexual cases it starts with sex. An embryo in and of itself cannot live. it cannot sustain itself. It isn’t viable.
  • Dad: What, are you stupid? I thought I raised you better. It’s murder and that’s the end of the story.
  • Me: We’re never going to agree, so I’m walking away now!
  • Dad: Grumble.

And then, I have to leave the room. And the venue where this discussion takes place. And I don’t talk to my dad for a week. I love my dad, but we disagree on a fundamental level on a lot of things ethical and political. I haven’t had the heart to tell him that I have assisted in abortions, because although it most likely wouldn’t be my choice, I still want the option to be available to everyone.

*I’ve seen this a good few times now, and it really makes no sense to me.


Quick recap on my first six weeks as an Intern

  • Best compliment: Overhearing one nurse saying to a resident, “Emsy has such steady hands! She doesn’t shake, her head just gets really red when she’s nervous.”
  • Weirdest random fact learned: Some people get hives from vibrations
  • Most surreal moment: A woman getting combative with my resident, while I was taking her blood, over the correct use of grammar.
  • Lowpoint: My granny dying… Halfway through my first rotation I found myself in a country two seas over for a funeral, unsure whether I would see enough patients to make my evaluation quote (I did, thankfully).
  • Most frustrating moment: screwing up a computer quiz. I passed, by just 5 points, but my nerves got the better of me. I am used to a larger margin, folks
  • Most interesting thing I discovered about myself: I am such a perfectionist! I don’t think I’ve ever really seen how much I want to do things the right way…
  • Smelliest person: One of my fellow interns! I really want to hold my breath whenever I’m around them… I have yet to find a way to bring up the subject in a non-threatening manner.
  • Most random evaluation: By a professor who has been on holidays, who judges us to the level of someone who is a trained family physician. I understand his reasons, but the relatively low marks we got were hard to swallow for some of us interns.

I am now on a review/rest week…. My next rotation starts 7 days from today! I am so going shopping this afternoon!

It’s oh so quiet…

I handed in my keys and credentials at the office yesterday. As of now, I’m officially unemployed, folks!

Truth be told, the decision to quit home care before I start interning was made years ago. It’s not realistic to work at both with the shiftwork of interning, even though the interning gig is still without pay here. But I’ve been working a lot lately (to save up) and I have to trust that my savings plus bursary plus government loans will get me through the next few years. My last few work days were better than I’ve had them in months, and I am really going to miss the clients as well as (some of) my colleagues. Really, I couldn’t have wished for a better last week after six years in this job.

Now I have a three week holiday before I start my intern program. Y’all, doing nothing is great! For a day or so that is. I sat on my balcony in the gorgeous sunshine today with my iPod, a book, a notebook, my to-do book, a Killer Sudoku and  a bottle of water I put in the freezer last night. I read the entire book, wrote some poetry, solved the Sudoku and came up with a bunch of fun (and some necessary) things to do in the coming weeks. Some decorating projects, some new biking routes to explore, a major house cleaning mission, a plan to get through my enormous pile of assorted paperwork, ideas for recipes to try out….

One day of peace was plenty for now! Back to Life tomorrow!

It’s supposed to get really, really hot tomorrow. A good bit hotter than today even. Not looking forward to that at all. Another thing is that I’ll be meeting my dad in the evening, to discuss the events that took place on our recent trip to his Homeland. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I feel that unless I address the issues at hand, our relationship will sour fast. When it’s good between us, the balance is already very fine. So the relationship can’t take very many problems before it gets to major crisis point, by which time it can take months to even years to get things right again. I love my dad, but some of his behaviour is utterly unacceptable in my book, just as some of mine is surely just as unacceptable in his.

An issue I’ve been struggling with over the past weeks is also the troubled relationship between my mum and my stepdad (The Prick, TP). It’s gotten to the point where I feel my mum just needs to leave with my brother and sister, but she’s not ready and able to do that yet. But TP’s gone WAY over the line in my book, and also in the book of everyone else who knows about their troubles. But it’s kind of hard to tell my mum that I think it would be better for her (and the kids) to leave, since TP and I have not gotten along in the past 15 years EVER! (sorry, it seems I need the CapsLock key a bit here and there today).

I won’t go into details but leave it at that TP has been very abusive toward my mum IN FRONT OF THE KIDS a number of times in the last month or two. And my mum just keeps making excuses for him, and for the fact she’s not left yet. In short, I can’t seem to convey my concerns and the seriousness of the situation to her. And whenever I’m in the house, TP behaves utterly angelic toward me. Which makes me want to vomit. But getting into a huge fight with him with the kids around (the only time I’m ever there) doesn’t seem like a good idea either. So I use the “Avoid and Ignore” strategy. For now at least. I’m also looking at finding possible shelters or support groups for abused women for my mum in her area. Thankfully, my uncle is helping me out with that, as well as letting me blow off steam about it to him, because I was starting to feel a bit lonely in the situation. OMFG, I hate The Prick.

Any suggestions on how to handle the Parental Situations are most welcome. I’m just trying not to send myself into a downward spiral about the situations.

Dancing away the insecurities

I’m going out dancing tonight with a bunch of people I don’t know. I was invited by my Brazilian temporary roommate, and though I’m really looking forward to a night of dancing, I’m kind of nervous about going with people I don’t know. Part is just my shiness in new groups, but another part is the “OMG, I’M FAT” factor, as I know all of the group to be on the skinny to “average” end of the spectrum.

I know there’s no reason to think I won’t be welcomed into this group, and even if I’m not, I’ll just be dancing. But I have had quite a tough week visiting my relatives abroad, and specifically with my dad being angry at me for refusing to try and lose weight. I have explained to him how I try to eat intuitively, and if I lose weight, fine, if not, fine too. But he essentially demanded I start dieting, and we argued and fought about just about every little other thing too. I know this is his problem, but being yelled at for three days is hardly good for your body image and self confidence.

So I nearly wigged out of going dancing this evening. But you know what? I feel like dancing! I feel like moving, and the fact that it’s a barefoot club makes it even better! So I’m going to have fun, dammit, and go dancing anyway.

All about food

I have a lot of random and unrelated things to say about food, but no one thing actually garners enough matter to warrant an individual post. So here are a few of my food-related points.

1. Berries

I love berries. Really love berries, as in sometimes going to the market just to get berries. And I’m really excited that the first (straw)berries are starting to be sold again at reasonable prices, and that they’re from not too, too distant lands, and I can get as many of them as I want. After that, in June and July, we’ll get raspberries, and in August, there will be blackberries on the bushes along the bike trail to the hospital. What’s better at the end of a long day than taking a break on the way home to fill up your lunchbox with blackberries? Hmm, I can’t wait. And there’s also red berries, cherries, grapes, blueberries, boysenberries, blackcurrants…..

2. Salads

I love salads. I love almost every raw vegetable that can go into a salad. I have since before I can remember. My grandmother loves to tell the story of how slices of bellpepper would disappear from her cutting board whenever I came into the kitchen, and my mom had to hide the cucumber from me until dinner was served, or it would be gone. I would munch on a bag of leaves or baby carrots sooner than on a bag of crisps (unless there’s a party, then I love crisps too).

I can’t stand toppings on my salad though. I don’t particularly like cheese, to me salad dressing is vile 95% of the time and I don’t eat olives. Nuts are okay, but I really prefer my salad to be just veggies. Oh, and I don’t like any kind of vegetable on bread. Ick.

3. Cold sauces

Apart from apple sauce, I can’t think of a single cold sauce I come even remotely close to liking. Mayo is the worst thing anyone could have invented, if you ask me. I can’t eat anything with even a drop of the stuff on it. Yech.

4. Alcohol

I don’t drink any alcohol. Three reasons: I really, REALLY don’t like the taste, I don’t like the sense of losing control, and I have witnessed the misery of quite a lot of alcoholics in my family.

5. Desserts

Yum! Need I say more? Yes! I especially love ice cream, and I don’t particularly like anything with coffee. Or alcohol. Snap, difficult eater here! But, seriously, there are some great meal-finishers out there and I have a definite sweet tooth. That doesn’t mean I have dessert every day, though. Just when I feel like it.


I got what I wanted

Yay! I got my first choice placement in the intern lottery, despite having lot number 14 out of 16….. I guess everyone else wants a longer summer break, when I’m fine with starting on July 21st. And there was a lot of drama… people were actually in tears about the placements they got, and not the happy kind. I have to say, though I felt sorry for the girls who were crying, that I seriously worry about how they’ll get through a surgical rotation for instance.

I, on the other hand, was overjoyed. I get to go to a bunch of peripheral hospitals and only one of them is more than an hour away. So, for the next two years, I’ll still be relatively close to home, most of the hospitals are within cycling distance (<12.5 mi), so I should be getting a good workout buzz without spending a lot of money or free time.

I also got another thing I wanted: company. A friend of mine who now  Brazil is staying with me for a month while she sorts out the last things here in the city before she moves permanently to a small town near Brasilia. It’s great to have a roommate again, even if it’s just for a month. It also makes me really want to  move, because I have a very difficult (because she was traumatized in her home country) neighbour who doesn’t want to hear people around her, and people other than me in our building freak her out.

And yet another thing I wanted: my good bike is fixed. It was unrideable due to a broken brake I didn’t have the money to get fixed before. And the weather is great, even though the forecast said it would be terrible today. Too bad I have to work this afternoon and evening, otherwise it would’ve been a great day for a 50k or something like that.

And, clothes!!!! Here’s a headless fatty shot of me in my new polo shirt and cute skirt.

Doesn’t it totally say “quirky junior doctor” ? Also, the shoez! they’re so comfortable! And pretty too! And flat! I’m working on creating a more professional look for when I start interning, because jeans and tee are not always appreciated. Beside the skirt I also got 2 new pairs of trousers, a wrap dress, a long grey/white striped blouse and  a stack of basic tees. I haven’t bought new tees in about three years, so there was a definite need there, and they were under five bucks each! So I guess I’m set clotheswise for a bit too.

Now I must go out and celebrate all these good things with a new haircut.

Okay, here I am again….

I haven’t blogged anything I promised to blog. Why?

Well, my friend’s mum died. It was very sad. And then, for good measure my computer died. And, not to forget, the funeral was on my birthday.

So, first I didn’t have the time to post and then my computer started eating everything I wrote. I actually wrote a really long post about the birthday/funeral thing and the consequences it would have, and it disappeared. But now, after reinstalling Windows and saving all my files and music onto a portable hard drive, I’m happy to say I’m back at my computer. Only, now, I have to catch up on a million things and I’m throwing a belated birthday party tomorrow and I have to go shopping and visit the library….

Just so ya know!

March 2019
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