warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)
No, not a reference to Pres. Combover. Was trying to teach a student (a rather small young woman) how to do a certain procedure, namely intralesional injection of Kenalog, with a 3-cc syringe. She was having trouble doing it, and I know T has some trouble especially at the beginning of each syringe. Then it clicked: my hands are bigger, so what it a comfortable grip for me, doesn't work for them. When I took the same syringe, and only loaded it to 1.5 cc, the student had no problem. (You know what they say about men with big hands… big gloves.)

That is the sort of automatic assumption about body sizes that we all make and don't realize until something like this happens. When I was in the Far East, light switches and doorknobs were always 6" lower than I was expecting. We automatically reach for them as being at about a certain height above the floor. Nom, being a tiny Asian woman (well, tiny on the outside), grew up here, so reaches for switches/doorknobs at the expected western height.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Serious snow was reported for today, in fact for starting late tomorrow afternoon, which in fact it did. Very light day at the office yesterday, since some patients apparently thought that might they should cancel their morning appointments. Unfortunately, it seemed all the late afternoon patients came, so even if was a very light day, we ran over. By noontime yesterday enough patients had cancelled for today that I decided to shut the office. No point in the three of us fighting in through the weather to see the less than dozen patients who were actually booked (which would probably equal half-dozen actually showing up).

By this morning, all schools and daycares were announced closed, and even university classes were cancelled. I'm told that there are about the same number of snow days for schools whether you're in the far north of Canada, or the mid-Atlantic region of the US. The difference is how much snow it takes to close things: a few meters in Nunavut, down to a few millimeters in Virginia. I did go to the hospital for my regular clinic in the afternoon. T was supposed to come also (she's updating our database and taking pictures for lymphoma clinic), but she texted me early this morning that she couldn't even get out of her driveway. I ended up taking the metro. I wasn't bad, maybe 45 minutes, but not crowded. Clinic was reasonably full. I suppose partly b/c no one can ever get through by phone to cancel, plus since it's hard to get an appointment, people actually keep them come hell or high water. There were a few no shows & cancellations, but we replaced them with people who showed to book an appointment. I had 6(?) trainees (3 residents and 3 students), so clinic went really quickly, and I got in some good teaching. Definitely worth going in.

Last night, after I got the kids (and Nom) to bed, I wasn't really tired, so I read and played on my computer, and generally relaxed. At one point, I poured a glass of something nourishing, sprawled in an armchair, and looked out the window at the falling snow, our street having a pleasant picture-post-cared glow about it.

Cameras

Jan. 22nd, 2019 11:45 am
warriorsavant: (Time)
Just read some silly meme about Gen Z making Millennials feel old, by not recognizing xxx. Most was extremely stupid pop culture stuff, like "they didn't know my fav band from when I was in college," and a lot of the rest was other pop culture stuff. A few were clever like "why do you say 'hang up' on a phone call?"

That, and some discussions here about taking pictures of the eclipse the other night made me think about photographic apparatus (apparatuses? apparati? thingies to take pix) in general. When I was young, daguerreotypes were just coming into vogue, but they were very combersome... Okay, more seriously, when I was a kid, my father was a bit of a Popular Science / Popular Mechanics / gadget guy. I suppose getting the latest camera was the equivalent of being a tech-gizmo-nerd. Polaroids were a big thing! Before that, we had a Kodak Brownie camera. (Dang, those items would be worth a lot of money as antiques now.)

I'm actually very good at composing shots. (Photos, I mean, although very good with a side arm also.) Partly that is my artistic eye, which I inherited from my mother, partly because with film, every shot you took cost money. Dermatology is very visual, so as Residents (early 1990s) we were encouraged to get a good camera, with a macro lens and ring flash. (That I still have somewhere.) It took really good 35-mm slides, and I had quite a collection. In 2005, I was mobilized to Walter Reed Army Hospital, and was asked to give a talk. I asked the Residents if they had a slide projector anywhere. They nearly died laughing, and claimed they'd have to borrow one from the Smithsonian. A little while after that, I decided to digitalize my whole collection. Even that is barely worth it now, as so much high-quality stuff on-line, but if giving a talk it is cool to have MY picture up there (with copyright notice).

Patients often insist on showing me pictures of their skin conditions. *Sigh.*
First, you are sitting right there in the flesh and full-sized, why would I want to see a tiny image of you?
Second, you stink as a photographer, especially a medical photographer, and the image on your phone is terrible. All that having been said, although I do have a small digital camera in my office, like as not, when I want a picture, I use my phone. (But remember that thing about knowing how to compose shots? It really matters.)

I don't take many pix of generic skin disease, but am getting better about documenting before- and after- for the small amount of cosmetics I do, also we're trying to build up a file for our Cutaneous Lymphoma clinic patients.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Nom sometimes does "science projects" with the kids. We were going to build a nuclear reactor in the basement, but apparently "yellow cake" is not a type of snack food (yeah, stole that one from "Big Bang Theory"). Anyhow, projects age appropriate, like "if you add one drop of red food coloring, and one drop of blue food coloring, what color do you get?" (Spoiler alert: purple.)

Today it was "how can you tell which of two eggs was cooked by spinning them?" (Spoiler alert: the cooked one spins longer than the raw one). Hedgefund tested them, then announced correctly which one had been cooked.
"How did you know?"
"It's warm and the other one is cold."

I always give full marks for correct answers, even if not the one I was looking for.
warriorsavant: (Default)
One is a rank-conscious, hide-bound, tradition-encrusted institution, that rewards and otherwise encourages conformity, group-think, and clichéd-thinking. The other fights wars.

Okay, got that one off my chest. I'm not really that naïve about the Army. I'm just also not that naïve about universities.

Nailed it!

May. 7th, 2018 01:42 pm
warriorsavant: (McGill)
One of my colleagues has started organizing guess speakers for our division at our hospital (JGH). He's very modest and gives all of the credit to our division chief, but he is actually the one doing most of the work, with the chief and I in a support role. Doesn't matter, it's not about getting credit, it's about education. The format we did this time, which seems to have worked really well, is that on Saturday, the visiting fireman expert lectures, then on Sunday we have giant clinic. The university division overall has its Rounds on Thursday, and it would make more sense to have the lectures at Rounds Thursday morning, and the special clinic supersede all regular clinics on Friday, but that would require cooperation of the university division chief (who is also chief of the MUHC), who has a hate-on for our hospital and won't cooperate. We are not going to let the education suffer but not having our program, so this is the compromise plan. We'd like to do this every 2-3 months.

This past weekend we were graced with Dr. Bertrand Richert from Belgium, who is the greatest expert on nails in the world. (Yes, there is such a thing.) He is also the greatest teacher we've ever had visit, both as a lecturer and as a clinical mentor. He did 3 hours of lectures on Saturday which have got to be the best done lectures I've attended for many-a-year, and probably ever. They were clear, to the point, organized, giving useful and precise information, at exactly the right level. In the clinic (we had over 70 patients), he was equally good as a clinical mentor. On Saturday, anyone could attend, and we had most of the residents and a handful of staff. On Sunday, we deliberately limited it to half-dozen residents (those rotating at our hospital or having a special interest in the field), and again a handful of staff. All who troubled to attend got a lot out of it.
warriorsavant: (Chimerae)
Coffee is one of the 4 essential food groups, likely the most essential. Yesterday had lunch at home in between my office and JGH (Jewish General Hospital, where I'm teaching staff). Was going to make a cup of coffee and bring with me in a travel mug, then said to myself, “naw, I’ll just get one at the hospital.” Forgot it was Passover. I really suck at being Jewish. When got there, went into instant withdrawal. Almost decided to chew on one of the resident’s arms to see if there was any caffeine in their bone marrow. Managed not to do so, what with being highly controlled and professional... and one of the techs having a spare cup of coffee she gave me.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Some time ago… hmmm, rather quite some time, just found a draft of this buried somewhere, I mentioned I was putting together my academic CV. Why the CV you ask? Highly belated response to (auto-rhetorical) question. I'd gotten an email that I can apply for academic promotion. Academics are more jealous of their ranks than military folks. Last time it came around, I got promoted from Assistant Prof to Associate Prof. I was surprised when I got that email; since they don’t actually pay me, I never paid much attention or thought about academic promotion.

Regarding the pay issue, I'm CAS (I think that stands for Contract Academic Staff). Rather like the Reserves/Guard in the military, it is part time. Since when I was in the Reserves, I was a fairly senior leader, "part time" was a bad joke; I spent almost as many hours/week on the Army as did most full time Commanders.. As CAS, I mostly do clinical teaching. I get paid for whatever patients I see by the Province (same as if I saw patients in my office). Teaching slows me down, so make less, but I enjoy doing it, so I do it. I get zilch for whatever administrative work I do, but it's part of the game. Within limits.

For whatever reason, I’d done enough “stuff” that they promoted me. As noted, it is really an ego thing to get the promotion, since they aren’t paying me, I do it for the pleasure of teaching and the "glory" of being university faculty. It is way too soon to put in for Full Professor, and frankly, I haven’t done enough stuff to get it, and probably never will. However, I put together my CV in the format they want, and had a meeting with the Chief of Medicine (Derm is a division within the department of Internal Medicine), because I thought it was time to talk to him about my academic “career.” Is there anything for me to move forward and upward into? Is it worth it? When I got out of the Army, I thought I would move up in Academia in a similar fashion. In the Army, I moved up in rank, and also in authority (for doctors, not always the same; most don’t want to Command anything. I did). I thought I’d get more involved in teaching and research, and move up from Undergraduate Training Director (eg medical students) to Residency Director (could have had that 2-3 years ago) to Chief of Dermatology (maybe). Why didn’t I take Residency Director 2-3 years ago and move forward and upward? Something - or rather someone - more important came along. Now 2 someones. In a couple of years, the someones are going to be starting school, and I might want, or be willing, to do more academically-administratively. On the other hand, it’s a pain in the butt, and I’m not sure I care.

Doctor-Professor-Chief of Medicine easy to talk to, and I enjoyed the conversation, although the upshot is that it is very, very unlikely I will ever get selected for full Professor (which would rather like being full Colonel in the Army). As for Residency Director or Chief, he wasn't encouraging about what would be involved: too much work, not enough resources, little-to-no pay. Even disregarding the "I tend to piss people off" part, the small amount of ego gratification is not worth my time commitment when I have more important priorities. I screwed up one marriage (no kids involved) by devoting too much time to an organization; not going to make the same mistake twice. Many years ago, a wise friend said something about not needing to grab any more brass rings; she already had a whole drawerful. Maybe if I'd never done anything else in my life, I would be more tempted., but I what would it add besides lots of aggravation and one more line on my obituary.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Getting back to a few more serious posts that were sketched out, but not cleaned up.

Was talking a few months ago with a colleague. He is newly on staff at McGill. Already had a PhD when he got to us, finished our residency program few years ago, was faculty elsewhere for a bit, and now is back on staff with us. He is interested in research, very hard-working, and also very astute politically/socially, so he'll go far. We had dinner to talk about his taking over some of my administrative teaching duties, and also talking about projects we could work on in common.

Years ago, when I was even more neurotically obsessional than I am now, I had not only a "to do" list, but several of them: (A) to do top priority, (B) to do soon-ish, (C) to do sometime this year, and (D) to do sometime this lifetime. I still keep to do list(s), because you can't be this busy and get stuff done without tracking things, but I'm not that bad. I suppose the 'to do this lifetime" list still exists, but only in the back of my mind. There are things that have already dropped off of it, for example, I'm not really going to go back and take music lessons again (last time was grade school). Still had several things that I was going to do, some starting when this current time crunch (the one that started before Hedgefund was born, and will end when house and office properly set up).

Now, I'm not so sure. One thing that already had faded into the background was intense French lessons (and possible even other languages). I can get by, but nowhere near as good as I'd like. Had always been planning on improving it "when I had time." However, since I am, and have been, good enough, I always had higher priority things to do. At this point, and not going to take weeks-months off for French immersion somewhere, or even devote xxx hours/week to it. (Although reading childrens books to HF & WS might be helping a bit.) I had definitely been thinking that would like to get more involved in teaching and/or research. In fact, am already as involved in teaching as I'm going to get. Research? Right now, it feels like just opening another can of worms, and I've spent so much time the past few years (decades?) herding enough worms. Do I really want to bother? Not sure. Some part of me still does, but after listening to my colleague bubbling with plans, energy, and enthusiasm, I'm thinking going to work, then coming home and biting toes seems about all I want to do. Admittedly, soon enough they'll be too old for toe-biting, but there will be other things. We'll see. There are lots of political games and paperwork involved in research also, and I've had enough of the latter, and was never very good at the former. Right now I'm tired, and thinking that the roads not yet taken will just have to be traveled by other people, not me.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)

Þ I wonder how long until: (a) I run out of synonyms for miscellanea, and (b) I have the time and energy to write a serious post.

Þ We are going to have a White Christmas. Meanwhile, have to find my heavy gloves! Had our first real snow fall 2 days ago, then today the temperature dropped to below zero on that archaic scale used south of the border (i.e. below -17 Celsius/real degrees). Actually there is one aspect of Fahrenheit I appreciate: below freezing (32º F) is cold; below zero is !︎&⚔☔&*#-ing cold.

Þ Montreal urban highway planning strikes again. Was my monthly visit to Ste Anne's (former- and still-partly, veterans hospital), which is in west end of the island. The entrance I usually take was closed, with a detour to the east. Got to the next entrance, which was also closed, with a detour back to the west, via a narrow street, which was having construction.

Þ One of the patients had a problem on her toe. Understand that she, as so many of these patients, was infirm, wheelchair-bound, & rather demented, who didn't have to go outside to see me. The floor staff dressed her in tights.

Þ We've sent out the letters for the change of address (the move will be next month). At least 5 people called Evil Secretary to ask, "so are you moving?" ("Uh, no. We only sent those letters out to patients we don't like, so in future they will go to the wrong address and stop bothering us, but since, darn it, you caught us, you can continue to be seen at the old address.") Over the past 20 years or so that we've been at this address, we've had patients who went to the wrong address blame us because: (a) we gave them the wrong address, and/or (b) we moved the building. ("Uh, yeah, it has wheels on it, but darn it, you caught us.")

Þ Finished reviewing the files for our residency applicants for next year. As promised (to Nom), I've started putting away the last boxes of stuff (with a slight detour to post this).

warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Remembrance Day & Westmount. Remembrance Day was Saturday this year. Apparently Westmount, the municipality where I currently live, has its own ceremony on the Sunday each year,at the Cenotaph in front of city hall. Westmount is a separately little city entirely surrounded by Montreal City. It is traditionally regarded as very WASPy, more-English-than-the-English, old-line English Canadian. Really quite mixed ethnically these days. I think those more-English-than-etc-etc have all died off, and all the other groups, who hate(d) them, but want to be them, moved to Westmount to show that they've "arrived." Despite that, it still has that Olde England feel about it. The having the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph on Sunday feels very Anglican. A lot about the city feels very Anglican/old school England. The architectural style of the city hall and library, the local historical society, the community feeling, etc. Who am I to complain about people moving there so they can claim they moved there? We certainly did. (Well, that and the great house, walking distance to services, small town feel while being 8 minutes walk to the Metro, and a few other things.)

Lawyers. I understand rather a glut on the market in the US now. Starting to be in Canada. Unlike in US, in Canada, lawyers have to spend their first year after law school "articling" (cue Gilbert & Sullivan Ruler of the Queen's Na-vy), which is basically internship. Useful, because professional school is better for learning theory than actual practice. I've read recently that there is a shortage of articling positions, and some of my young patients who are articling tell me they are worried they won't find a job afterwards. Had patient today who is a lawyer. Has offices next to me. Apparently relatively big name criminal lawyer. Very loud voice (expect has to be to talk over his clients who are likely the cream of the scum of the dregs), can often hear him through the wall. Has his own espresso machine. Came by for something today, drinking an espresso. While waiting, he offered to make me one, saying he didn’t have any clients at that moment, and as had to wait a few minutes anyhow, would bring Connie and I espressos. So my Gentle Readers who are tired of the law can always retire from law and be a barrista.

Renos. Somehow even if they are finished, they are not finished. Always some other little thing needs doing on the house, always some last "we're still waiting on xxx to come in so we can install it." Went to hardware store to pick up a few things, as always they had half of what I wanted, and half they didn't. Grrr. No wonder more and more people shop on line. Just don't have the time to be running around trying to get items, never knowing if what you want is available. Renos on office finally moving ahead quickly. Today told my landlord I'd be moving out. He wasn't happy, but business is business, and he'll start looking for another tenant. At the worst, my lease ends not too much later than I was going to move anyhow.

Teaching. Need to entirely revamp the 2nd year Derm teaching, which is due in about 2 weeks. Like I don't have anything else that needs doing. Have someone who is going to take over as Director next year, who is willling to help me now. Good. Time to stop procrastinating blogging, and start course-writing.
warriorsavant: (Computer-steampunk)
Had a patient today who said his first job was in an ink factory. They made the ink for carbon paper and typewriter ribbons. He and I shared a "we're old and we 'member stuff not like these young'uns in the room" look. My students and residents insisted that they knew what carbon paper and typewriters were. Yeah, and I know what papyrus was, doesn't mean I ever actually used it. Did share the story of from a few years back when I was asked to give a presentation to some residents (at Walter Reed, not JGH or McGill) and asked for a slide projector. The residents almost fell on the floor laughing, and suggested maybe they could get one from the Smithsonian. (Actually have 3 typewriters of various ages, one being actually antique, that I'm going to put on display in my office at some point.)
warriorsavant: (McGill)
l've mentioned teaching, and coordinating the teaching for, the Derm part of the medical school curriculum. There are two blocks (well, bits) one each first and second year, as part of those courses.  Got a very touching and personal thank you letter from one of the courses. Well very touching and personal thank you email. Well a mass form email, addressed to "Dear XXX course instructor / site supervisor," thanking me/us for our dedication, hard work, etc, etc. Being well-raised, I told them they were welcome, addressing the email to "Dear XXX course director / administrator." I resisted the urge to tell them just how warm and fuzzy their email made me feel. 

ADQ

Jun. 5th, 2017 07:28 pm
warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)

Last weekend (well, weekend before last by now) was the annual conference of the ADQ (Association des dermatologistes de Québec.) I don't usually go, but it was in Montreal this time, and I was asked to speak. Cool, I'm now an official conference speaker. Even got paid for it. (Could have put in for travel expenses, but not worth filling out paperwork for "two Metro rides.")

Why don't I usually go? Partly because I don't like to be away from home these days, partly because it's rather bush-league (in retrospect yes-and-no), partly because almost all in French. Why did I go? Partly because it was in town, partly because I was asked to speak on Cutaneous Lymphoma and if I'm going to be the local expert I have to act the part, partly because even local conference do get good and more-than-local-level speakers, and partly because I actually do (mostly) understand French. Also, I usually avoid the business meetings for most assemblies, but with all the shake-ups in the reimbursement system by our brilliant Health Minister, I thought I should go to that part also.

There really were some good talks, even if most of the speakers were local/semi-local (eg Ottawa or Quebec City): medical emergencies on airplanes, better use of lab tests, cutaneous lymphoma (*bows theatrically*), update on immunizations, how to teach Generation Y, biofilms, phototherapy.

I think my talk was well received. The informal feedback was good, but since hard to tell if people just being polite, I'll wait for the official feedback. (Unlike the last CME I gave, don't think I'll get a "sacrée vache, c'etait bon!" partly because that just doesn't translate.) I don't do so many of these that I'm blaise about giving talks: I'm not completely comfortable going into them. (Okay, I keep thinking someone is going to jump up and say "are you freakin' kidding us? What kinda junk is that?" or asking questions I can't answer.); and I greatly appreciate positive comments. The full title of my talk was: Cutaneous Lymphoma: What Every Dermatologist Should Know. (Yes, I spoke in English. I speak French, but not well enough to give a formal presentation.) It was geared to exactly what the title says. Cutaneous Lymphomas are a group of rare diseases, and out of the 2-dozen related obscure entities in this group, what are the ones that the average dermatologist will likely see at some time in his/her career, and what to do about them (besides sending to me). I think I really have developed the ability to take a subject and present the essentials clearly.

The admin part of the meeting was tolerable, but actually I knew most of what they had been presenting, because, uh, I've been paying attention to the emails that have been sent out. It was clear from most of the questions that most people weren't paying attention to those emails. This was a major mistake, because they concern our livelihood.

Although I'm not a very social person, the social aspects were good too. I didn't go the evening dinners and receptions (there was that "I want to be home with my family" thing). At the breaks and luncheons, I did catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while: colleagues of long-standing, and former-residents who are now colleagues. Lunch on Friday was at a very good local restaurant (there was a choice of three, most people went to the better known one, but I never liked that as much so went to Club Chasse et Peche which is a restaurant, not a rod and gun club). Lunch on Saturday was catered in the conference center (Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal) and was totally unimpressive (I mean, I'm pretty sure even upscale lobster rolls are supposed to have lobster in them.)

I'm happy with what I learned, with the social aspects, and with my presentation. All told, good conference. Next year it's in Quebec City; will have to see if the family is up for going.

warriorsavant: (McGill)
I mentionned about a month ago that I gave a CME conference to Family Doctors, as part of a series sponsored by McGill. (I spoke on common papulosquamous diseases, if you care). I thought it was well-received at the time, but was waiting for the official feedback, which I just got. Of almost 50 evaluations, I was top-rated by almost everyone in almost everything. Of the dozen comments on each lecture, my favorite was, "Holy mackerel was he good! Really practical. Very clear."

Speaking of Holy Mackerels, I just remembered one from my Med School days. Somewhere we found a large stuff fished, 6-8 feet long. (Have no idea what actual species). We suspended it over the podium in one of the lecture halls. (Some lecturers were freaked out by that, some were amused. We students were amused.) Around that time, the school developed an affiliation with the Catholic Hospital system in NYC, so our fish was thereby dubbed the Holy Mackerel.
warriorsavant: (Time)

The irony is palpable. The other morning had coffee with my friend who moved to Norway. (No, I didn't have coffee in Norway, she was back in town; doesn't entirely trust the doctors in Norway.) She had on a lovely watch, which I complemented her on, then mentionned that despite being raised in the 19th century, like many people today I used my cell phone as for timekeeping. It was also my highly flexible communications center, in that could phone, text, and email from it. (Highly relevant just then, as got a text from Evil Secretary saying the email was not working at the office (since fixed).) She admitted to the good functionality of it, but pointed out that the watch was on her wrist, whereas I risked leaving the phone somewhere.

 

Then went food shopping with the family, then went to teach. I put said phone on the podium so I could keep track of time. And left it there when I went back to my office. *Sigh.* (Addendum: emailed the admin at the Dean's office who went down and found it for me. Picked it up later that day, exclaiming, "my precious, my precious.")

 

BTW, part of why I no longer wear a wrist watch is that I find them uncomfortable, especially in summer when I'm sweaty. I also tend to always manage to snag it on things. You'd think I'd just wear a pocket watch (like we always used to in the 19th century). However, I don't wear a vest every day, and pants no longer have fob pockets. Well, most pants. The only pants that usually do have such a high-end elegant feature, are (one more minor bit of irony) jeans, the lowest-end, least elegant type of pants.

warriorsavant: (Meh)
It is traditional to complain about "the younger generation," who are clearly spoiled, ungrateful wretches ruining the world... and have been, apparently for 2-3 thousand years that we have written records, and no doubt many thousand years longer that we've had speech w/o writing. For the most part I don't share this ire. There's a bit of preciousness about the young'uns, but mostly I like them. Well, more to the point, I don't dislike them more than I dislike anyone else (admittedly that's faint praise).

Okay, now that I got that disclaimer out of the way, the Residents are lazier than when I was a Resident. Admittedly when my late great-uncle was a Resident, he worked 13.5 18-hour days every fortnight, didn't get paid for it, and thought I was the lazy sot of a young Resident. However, I didn't whine this much, nor try to skate out of every honest bit of work. As it is, between Christmas, Stat Holidays, Vacation Days, Conference Days, Study Days, and Personal Days, they are off about 25%(?) of the time. We have a fairly good academic/didactic schedule, which they want, and which does help them. Most of it is Thursday morning, which is protected teaching time - i.e., they have no clinical duties then. There were some 1-hour sessions on Wed & Tue mornings before clinic, which were good sessions, which they want, which we (the Faculty) were fine with, even thought they ended up slightly late for clinic those days. They benefitted from them, they wanted them... and they weren't great about attending them - which didn't seem to mean that they ended up on-time for clinic those days. Recently the Program Directors made the decision to move the semi-sparsely attended Wed sessions to Thu (before all the other sessions), and cancel the very-sparsely attended Tue session. Today one of the Residents suggested that those who wanted to get together and do those sessions be allowed to do so and come late to clinic. When we said no, he whined about interfering with the Residents studying. Uh, no. You want to get together for study sessions, you go right ahead. On your own time. Just like learners have been doing for, oh, thousands of years. ("Hi, Prof. Socrates, is it okay if we are late for the Grove of Academe...") You are here to learn. A good part of what you are here to learn is clinical practice, which means seeing patients (under supervision). The Faculty is at the hospital clinics to teach you. If you aren't going to show up, or show up on time, we don't need to be there either. Any other stuff you want to do should be on your own time.
warriorsavant: (McGill)
The other day I was on both ends of CME.

In the morning was our Montreal Derm Society meeting (have 6-8 per year). Since I don't like to be on the road these days, I'm getting my CME meetings close to home. I don't miss the bigger meetings. They are chaotic and with too many people (I'm not a social butterfly). There are some wonderful speakers, but we get just as good speakers to our local meetings. Mostly they're the same people; if you want to be an international level expert, part of the price is running around the world speaking at meetings. Often someone local who attended an international meeting recommends bringing in someone they'd heard speak, and we arrange to do so. Montreal being the city it is, we get people from across Canada, the US, and Europe, especially France & UK.

This time we'd brought in Richard Weller from Edinburgh. (Apparently, he has a great TED talk that you can find on line.) He was an awesome speaker. His first talk was on whether we should be so rigidly anti-UV as we are. For a Derm, that is practically apostasy. I've been known to threaten patients with death and/or rotting in hell for tanning. His point was that it might prevent skin cancer, but looking at all-cause deaths, it might lower it. UV seems to lower blood pressure, which is the number one killer disease (in terms of total years of lost life) worldwide. I'm still digesting what he had to say, so not making any changes in my recommendations at this point, but he made a powerful point.

Afterwards, we took him out to lunch. Be "we," I mean two of us from the Board of Mtl Derm. It's a matter of courtesy and protocol that if you bring someone in from another country, the least you can do is entertain them a bit, not to mention get to-and-from their hotel and such. At the beginning of the year, when we set the schedule, the Board divies up who takes out the speakers. I'm used to this from the military, where a visiting dignitary is assigned an escort officer. The other doctor (who is female) and I were teasing each other about our new sideline as Escorts, as that was a non-medicare service, and we could charge what we wanted. Anyhow, had lunch with him, then took him sight-seeing a bit before dropping him at the train station. (No silly, there's no train back to the UK, he was going to Quebec City to give a talk the next day.) Weller is a fascinating person: clinician & researcher; grew up as a Army brat; was a rower in University, mountain climber as a hobby; trained in UK, US, Germany, and Australia; voluable and knowledgable on almost any subject. A true internationalist. Even I enjoyed his company.

That night, I was on the other end of CME. McGill has various series of this. Some, like evening one I did, are principally geared to Family Doctors. Although given in a lecture hall, there are only a dozen or so physically in attendance, with most people getting it as a Webinar. I was asked almost a year ago - long enough in advance, that doing it was a commitment at a misty future date that I could put out of my mind and delude myself I wouldn't be as busy then. Wrong. But did manage to put the talks together (I did two back-to-back, both on papulosquamous disease). Parts were recycled from the medical student series that I'd already written, but I ramped up the level and focused more on practicalities. That is, I limited it to three common diseases, for each one I focused on "how do you know it's this thing and not another," and "how do you as a Family Doctor treat it." I also left lots of time for questions. The initial feedback was that it was very well received; that I geared it exactly at the right level. I really would like to see the official feedback, but at worst it's going to be good. 
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
- Winter relapsed with a vengeance this week. Snowed (although didn’t stick) and hit below zero even on that absurd Fahrenheit scale (below -17 for who live in advanced countries). The only thing I find surprising about this is that people seem surprised. Hey people, you live in Canada, it’s only March, it’s supposed to be like this.

- People in our household being sick also relapsed. Seem to have passed it around (so far Normandie missed it). Hit me short but very sharp; I was barely functional yesterday: fevers, weak, dry cough. Wearing 4 layers of clothing indoors and at some point still needed to huddle under a blanket to be warm. *Whine, whine, whine.*

- Have a coupla talks and such to prepare, which I’ve been procrastinating on. Had trouble sleeping last night (that being sick thing), so got about half of the first one done. Actually, not really writing that one so much as compiling it from bits and pieces other talks (so I suppose that could count as a relapse also). McGill does an evening lecture series - CME mostly for family docs, but anyone interested is invited. For some silly reason I agreed to do one. When finished with that, have to do my McGill format CV (that will be the subject of another post), and then put together another talk for April (which I might actually have to write, not just compile). The April talk is for the Assoc Derm Quebec annual meeting, which is in Montreal this year, and I was asked to do a talk on Cutaneous Lymphoma. Also CME. I think I even get paid for that one.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
Long but fruitful day yesterday. For most of the day, had the interviews to pick our Residents. As always, had way more candidates than we have spots, and when reviewing the files, easily 90% are qualified. Nonetheless, of those, we picked 18 to interview for our 3 positions. And as always 17 of those would have done fine. (There's always one at the interviews who causes us to look at each other afterwards and wonder why picked that one to interview.) The poor things come before the whole panel (there were 9 of us this year, including 1 Resident) and get their 20 minutes. We're not vicious at all, but still it must be nerve-wracking for them. We then each rank all the candidates and tally up the scores. That should be the end of it, but some committee members tried to change things at the last minute. I recall 3? years ago, after the scores were tallied, the committee basically ignored them and moved people up and down in the rankings as they liked. Me and some of the others clamped down that, but today there was still some last minute attempts to juggle things. They are so concerned about being fair and transparent, but just don't grasp that that means setting the ground rules before the interviews start, then holding to them. During the day, Nom & her mom had taken the kids to the Temple for Tet (Vietnamese New Year). They are too young to appreciate it, but good for them to have some exposure to that side of their cultural background.

After that, got home just in time to go out again. It was Burns Night, and needed to go sip some scotch and listen to poetry. Nom was feeling a bit under the weather, and her parents were also so they couldn't babysit, so I went solo. After the silliness at the interviews, I got home too late to even change into my kilt, much to my (and other folks) disappointment. My friends don't have that much room, so the party has always been at his father's house. A sad note for the evening was that the old gentleman had died less than a month before. He was the one who always ordered the haggis and made the scotch broth. He had ordered the haggis just before he passed, but in his honor, we specifically did NOT have scotch broth. He was a retired Professor of Biochemistry, and I always enjoyed talking to him. Despite that, people enjoyed themselves, including me, who generally hates parties, although I didn't stay late, feeling guilty about leaving Nom alone with the kids all day.

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