Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clean Water

Clean water is an important and increasingly scarce resource. In Canada our fresh water resources are not only our play-grounds, but all too often have also been our dump sites. Here's a sign from the Pangnirtung Airport that illustrates the situation pretty well. Litter in the water supply equals sick kids. Can't get much simpler than that...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time to hit the Beach!

I was back up in Hall Beach this week, doing a community visit. I think this visit was the best of my 3 trips there so far. The clinic ran really smoothly and I got to see quite a few patients in follow-up. The size of the community certainly helps: with only 600 people, there's a good chance I've seen the more complex patients previously. Not only that, I've probably seen several of their relatives as well. If I had some actual free time and giant piece of paper, I could perhaps plot out a chart, and never have to ask anyone for their family history again...

The only downside to this visit was my stay at the hotel. Now let me say that I was very excited to be staying at the hotel this time around (it was full the last time I was there). Mostly I like not having to cook dinner after clinic, because the hotel provides meals for an extra fee.

For those of you who have not travelled in the north, staying at the hotels up here is an "experience". For the low, low price of $199 a night, you too can share a room with a complete stranger (you'd better hope you both like the same tv shows, and that your roommate doesn't snore). Luckily, I haven't had to room share yet, but I've heard some horror stories about random roomies who chain smoke in the room, and come in at all hours of the day and night.

Also included in the $199/night deal is a day in the hotel with no running water. You'd be amazed at how quickly the toilets fill up in a hotel with only 3 occupants. There should be a sign in the bathroom that reads, "Use your one flush wisely."

Despite the showerless joy of staying at the hotel, I really did have a useful and fun trip to the H.B. I wish I had taken more pictures though (the only pictures I managed to take were of some ridiculously large molluscum contagiosum, and of a healing wound post-frostbite).

Instead, here are some pictures I took during my last trip:

A little kamotiq (sled), with an even smaller kamotiq pulled behind it (with what appears to be a figurine of the "Duff Beer" Man sitting beside that what children play with these days? Where is Dora? Diego? Spiderman? It appears they enjoy the finer things in life, and stay at the better hotels with running water)

An adorable little guy riding a polar bear sled

Speaking of polar bears, I didn't see any, but there was one in town last week who just wouldn't leave, despite much noise making and prompting by the locals. Thus, he met an untimely demise. I wish I'd gotten to see one (through a window maybe...they're not "friendly little creatures"...they kill people).

My trip ended on a surprising note...I ended up coming back to Iqaluit not on my scheduled First Air flight, but on a medevac with a patient who came into the health centre this morning. Thank goodness for pacing pads, and thank goodness for you, Lifepak 12.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Free Publicity!

The National Review of Medicine was nice enough to include this blog in their current story about physician bloggers. Check it out here....

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Beside the Chip Aisle

There are a few clues around town that it really is winter. Those outdoor thermometers they sell down south have frozen up on cold days, only registering to -40. When you walk out the door in the morning you get a little bit of bronchospasm that reminds that the lungs prefer heated and humidified air. The days are short, but now getting longer. And most of all my favorite display of the season has appeared at Northmart. The centre aisle of the store, an aisle reserved for the best seasonal merchandise, is now a sales lot for ski-doos. You know it's winter when the ski-doo aisle is next to the chips!

We had a great holiday, and even managed to get a couple of days away from work. My Mom came up for a visit, which was nice (she even made us dinner a few times!). It was a fun, but quiet christmas. We had another couple over to share christmas dinner with us and went to bed early. On New Years we went along with most of our friends down to the Legion to celebrate! It was a fun night and a great experience, and only in a small town is the Legion a centre of socialization!

The New Year marks the half way point of our stay in Iqaluit. It's been a rewarding, challenging and fun experience. It's also been a good lesson for us in the benefit of taking some risks to see new things and meet new people. Since we've arrived we've made many new friends and had lots of interesting experiences. We've been involved in a move to a new hospital and have met and helped many patients here in Iqaluit. Hopefully the new year brings us not only more of the same but also more of the interesting and challenging things that can't be predicted but which make life so interesting.

Happy New Year everyone. We wish all our readers a safe and prosperous 2008.