Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yes I totally am a bad person. I apologise. I've got internet at work and in Starbucks (yay for caramel soy lattes!) but I've spent so much time sending emails to friends that I haven't sat and written a post.

I have written a list of things to post about tho... I just need to get round to writing them!

It's been a fantastic, amazing and sad few weeks. I have met some of the most wonderful people - hospice staff, volunteers and patients. The thing that always gets me about Hospice is the laughter and the joy you meet in people everywhere. There is so much love.

One hospice volunteer told me:

'People always ask if its depressing when a client dies. It isn't. It's sad when a client dies, but it isn't depressing.'

That for me is the core of working in palliative care - it's sad when someone dies, but you are there to facilitate that death. You knew that the person was dying when you began the relationship - it was always meant to end. Hospice care is not depressing.

However, when someone dies unexpectedly it can be.

One of the women I have been working with killed herself last week. It was shocking for the whole team, and very distressing. She had suffered from chronic severe depression for many years, but recently had been doing 'better'. I think that she realised how low she had been and made the decision that she would never feel like that again. And this was the only way to be certain of that fact.

I hope she's found peace at last.

ps this is very disjointed - just re-read but can't be bothered to clean it up! sorry guys!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The internet is again playing up and leaving me high and dry. So anyway I am doing this at work (sssshhhh! Don’t tell anyone!). I’m going to try and summarise the last week for you, quickly!

I have finally seen some patients. I went out with a lovely palliative care doctor, who was incredibly compassionate and warm, really inspirational.
I’ve also been appreciating the sights of Toronto – a walk around Cabbagetown, a trip to the Toronto Islands, a ride in the lift to the top of the CN Tower (all 147 floors!). Toronto is a great city, and the people here are very friendly.
I’ve moved into my last set of accommodation, some U of T halls which are really quite plush. Much nicer than our student accommodation!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The wireless is working!

Well, after a week in Toronto (or Torona as the locals say) I have internet access on my laptop!

And so I can tell you everything that has been going on... Except that I don't quite know where to start!

Ok, so maybe with my impressions of Toronto. I like this city. I liked Calgary, but I find Toronto less bleak, less ordered, more lived in. Maybe thats just the weather tho - this is a city that revels in sunshine! Yesterday the sun stuck his head out, and all the good people of Toronto came out to play. Hard! And today, walking through the financial district I was utterly entranced by the glass buildings and the sun and the absolutely searingly blue sky. Beautiful. The lake and harbour front are also particularly lovely, improved immensely by seeing them the first time in a glorious rich sunset. I'm a good-lighting slut, I really am!

I started my placement last Wednesday, and have been made so incredibly welcome. The hospice I am attached to is a community based scheme, not a residential hospice, and very different to my previous placement at home. So far it hasn't been hands on, but I hope that will change this week.

Currently we are staying right downtown in a backpackers place, which has its plus points and some major bad points, but on Wednesday we move to university halls of residence. Which may cause the internet problems to begin again... I do have it at work, but am restricting myself to checking emails (and facebook...) as writing posts is more than five minute jobby!

I can hardly believe that we've only been in Canada a mere two weeks. It feels like a lot longer - mainly because we've packed so much in! Before leaving Calgary, we travelled to Lake Louise, and walked up from the village to the Lake itself. That's 200m up over 5km. It was spectacular. We'd had fresh snowfall overnight, but the sun came out for us under a clear blue sky. The dark pine trees, which had looked black and brooding, huddled against the mountains while we were in Banff, suddenly popped out, standing straight and tall and greener than you would believe. And the snow of course was a clean white blanket. Amazing. Truly truly the most amazing scenery I have ever walked through!

Our flight to Toronto was uneventful. We were all sat separately which I wasn't happy about, but probably worked out quite well, as it proved to me that I can fly alone, should the need ever arise! I do absolutely hate it though. I don't mind cruising, but take off and landing are terrible. I have to grit my teeth and endure it, while feeling sick and faint.

Anyway, I ought to go get some sleep now, ready for another day of work!