Update from the Laundromat

Hi everybody!

Nice to know that mom actually isn’t the only one checking up on us.  I figured I’d respond to the previous post’s comments on here, as well as give everyone a quick update on what’s new.

First of all, if we take a while to get back to your emails/comments sometimes, it’s probably for two main reasons: 1) we don’t have internet at home (technically, although we can usually pick up a weak signal from a certain window in our apartment), and 2) we were never good at keeping in touch with people in the first place  Fortunately, our laundromat has free wireless, so that provides us with a good opportunity to catch up while there’s really nothing better to do… unless you like watching the laundry spin around… which I kind of do.

Being a home support worker has been going well for me so far.  The hours could be better (e.g. more consistent, and just plain more of them), but that may improve with time, as I get a little more established with long-term clients.  I’m totally fine with what most people would consider the gross aspects of the job; asking a client to pop his or her dentures out so I can scrub ’em, washing soiled clothing/toilets/etc., observing the nurse trimming toenails with thick fungal growths….you get the picture.  That stuff is easy.  The hard part, for me, is helping a client with dementia (Alzheimer’s) work his/her way through the confusion and frustration of ADL (activities of daily living); seeing one who is bright and happy, carrying on a pleasant conversation one day, only to become totally confused, anxious, afraid, and frustrated the next day because he/she can’t remember where they are or what they’re doing when they wake up in the morning.  Often this kind of progression occurs throughout the course of a single day, potentially leading the client the caregiver through an emotional roller coaster ride.

Kathryn’s been looking for work every day, checking the job bank and so on, but so far has only had a bit of luck with the local branch of the Welcome Wagon.  They came to our house to give us a map, some coupons, etc. and Kathryn found our that they were hiring, so she may soon be helping to welcome others to Fredericton, despite the fact that we hardly know anything about it!  It’s alright though, because I think she’s got a good personality for that and it’ll be fun.

As a follow up to my med school thoughts, thanks to those of you who encouraged me about it… as I study through the MCAT topics I’ve come to realize that organic chemistry is evil.  Well…maybe not, but that’s been my first impression.  I’ve been going through physics, chem, and biology with relative ease, but I’ve never taken a course in organic chem before.  They say that there is a system to all the nomenclature, but then there are about 4 million exceptions…and they basically all sound the same.  😦

But I do have one other idea for a career too… I know this post is getting long, but bear with me – this is the most exciting part of it!  You see, the other day, on the way to a client’s house, I was driving merrily along the Woodstock Road when suddenly, as I rounded a corner, there was a van – driven by an elderly gentleman – coming straight towards me… in the middle of my lane!  Luckily for me, my superhero instincts kicked in and I immediately swerved around the van, into the opposing lane for a moment, and then back.  *Sigh of relief* Unluckily for the guy behind me, the van was still traveling down the wrong lane, and he was unable to react in time.  In my rear view mirror I just caught a glimpse of the impact, which crushed the car’s front end into a metal pulp (does that make sense?  I figured it was the mechanical equivalent of a bloody pulp),simultaneously turning it sideways across most of the road and sending the busted-up van into the ditch.

Naturally, I immediately pulled my car over and put it in the park, taking a moment to prepare myself for the worst.  When I opened my car door, from a couple of hundred meters up the road, I could immediately hear the shrieking of a child, and I felt my chest tighten, and a lump form in my throat, as I began to run towards the scene.  Fortunately, it was only out of fear and surprise that the young girl was crying in such a distressed tone.  Her dad was already out of the car and holding her in his arms; he too had tears on his face, not surprisingly.  The wife, who had been in the passenger seat, was also fine, although in a minor state of shock.  I helped find her glasses (in the back seat) and gave her my mittens and hat to put on, since it was about -20 that morning and she was standing outside.  From that point on I pretty much stuck around and helped manage the accident scene until the cops showed up, directing traffic, helping to comfort the victims, and so on.  I gave a report to the police and then went on my way, adrenaline still coursing through my veins, although to a lesser extent.  The french cop who took my written report described it as “super bon” to his colleague, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

The incident, although tense and frightening, was also exhilarating.  I actually enjoyed being able to do what I could to help on the scene, and it got me thinking that maybe I should consider being a paramedic.  It’s a lot less school time/money, I’d still get to contribute to community health in a medical environment, and it would be very dynamic!  Anyway, no big decisions made yet, still studying for the MCAT, but it’s another thought… of course, dealing with extremely bloody situations would be entirely different from what I experienced, but I’m not unable to imagine myself doing that.  I think I keep a pretty level head during most emergency situations.

Well, congratulations if you made it to the end of this post.  I’ll have to reward you with some pictures next time!  I would have done so this time, but we haven’t taken any for a while.

Oh yeah, we got to hear our baby’s heartbeat for the first time yesterday… it was pretty amazing, I must say!  She’s around 15 or 16 weeks now, but we don’t know the gender yet…we may or may not find out at our next ultrasound.

So, do keep in touch with us, as always, and all the best to you until next time!