She may be a doctor, but she ain’t too bright: Part 2, Finding Time
Now that you know a bit about my love of hockey (Part 1), you’ll maybe understand my motivation to find a way to play while in Rankin Inlet, where I’m currently locuming as a Family/Rural ER doc.
I’m on M&T, a team in the Rankin Inlet Senior Men’s League. I got a contact number from a patient, called the guy running the league, walked to his house and froze my ass off, paid my fee, and here I am. First game, 9 players showed up. I was nervous as hell that the Inuk guys wouldn’t want me, but they were gracious. Back home, I don’t mind changing with the guys but I know it is weird for them. I imagine that they feel they can’t burp and drink beer and swear and say vulgar things in a woman’s presence. I knew that being a woman and not being Inuit already made me an outsider, so it was a nice surprise to find that the rink rats let me use their admin room to change in.
I was worried I wouldn’t be fast enough – but I was able to keep up with my skating. They had me play right-wing, unfamiliar territory, and I’ll admit with these guys, some likely probably Junior-A candidates 10 years ago, I felt a little slow on the play-making. I was not living up to the Jordan Tootoo level of play. But it was fun and the guys, although serious about the game, are a great bunch and don’t seem to find my presence inhibiting. The ‘water boy’ insisting on a high-five after the game, or the little girls who as “are you a girl?!,” “were you out there, on the ice, with those guys?!” are a perk and made me smile immensely.
Work here is pretty busy. I missed a game because I was on call and busy. I made the next, and it wasn’t quite as good as the first. I didn’t get to play much as they put our stronger players out to kill the umpteen penalties, and I didn’t get a chance to get into my groove. Actually, it was a bad game for me and I was eager to do better the next time. The next game, I was on call. Decided to try going anyway. I got dressed and was ready to step on the ice. I called the nurse-on-call to tell her I was at the arena, just in case. While talking to her, another call came in. They were calling me to come in as there was a compound fracture to deal with. Oops! I took all my gear off, zipped home, then ran down to the clinic.
After that, I was more nervous about chancing it on-call. I did seem to find myself treating people in the Health Centre when I was scheduled to be on the ice; whoever made the schedule for clinic seemed to know when I’d have a game, and so all of my call shifts in the last week and a half prevented me from getting on the ice. One doctor did not show up this week, so there were only two of us and the schedule had to be rejigged. This has meant being on call 4 times in 6 days (3 of those being ‘double call’ meaning I was consulting and triaging for the whole region as well as being on for local emergencies). Being under the weather, I just didn’t have the energy to try and play knowing that I might have to run when my phone rang.
I was delighted tonight that my team had a game and I was only on “backup” call. This is akin to a day off, unless there is major trauma, too many cases, or a doc needs to ride along on the MedEvac. I planned to keep my cell on the bench, as before, and could play without much fear of having to scramble out of the arena.
But it didn’t exactly go as planned. (See Part 3)