The prairie town not actually on an island

Hey all, coming to you straight from Bow Island!  Population 2025, it’s about the coolest place to work this side of the South Saskatchewan.  Interestingly, according to the Bow Island website, the names of Bow Island and its neighboring town, Grassy Lake, were apparently mixed up.  Huh.

Anyway, been doing some work there during my rural family medicine rotation.  And for those in U of A med considering what to choose in the coming years – this is a great spot to work!  The physicians have all been very welcoming and the family I’m boarding with has really opened up their home (and food stores) to me.  Plus it’s nice to be closer to home; I’m only about 40 minutes from my house!  Free laundry, yeehaw.

I was considering doing the same sort of surprising/unsurprising lists as I did last time… trouble being, Bow Island is awfully small.  As in, even the tiniest little amount of information could probably tell you who somebody is and where they live and what colour their dog is.  Just sayin’.  So I’d like to return to my previously well-received piece of serious literature.  Social skillz: Iy hazen’t gots ’em.  Part two.  Or you could just call this Atalanta Being an Idiot.  Your choice.

I ran a little late on my first day because of fog on the highway and awfully slow drivers.  This did not help my image.

On my second day, my preceptor told me we’d be doing clinic the next morning.  We’d meet up at 7:30 sharp.  No problem, I says.  I can certainly manage that.  See you then.

The next morning: freezing rains.  LOTS of it.  As in, it absolutely covered everything.  Streets, sidewalks, cars, houses… everything frozen shut, frozen over, and frozen solid.  Clinic is only 5 or 6 blocks away so I thought I could manage to walk it.  I realized my mistake very quickly.  The ice made a slick sheet over the lumpy, mismatched sidewalks and the slope at the end of each block was insanely treacherous.  With a grand sense of satisfaction, I got to the door unscathed.  It was locked, but I was a minute or two early.  No bigs.  So I settled in to wait a bit in the still-freezing rain.

10 minutes.  Hands cold.

15 minutes.  Feet numb.  End of Mumford & Sons playlist.

Aw maaaaaaaan…

I started to try and call my preceptor at the clinic, but there was no answer, and I didn’t know his extension at the hospital.  At about 7:50 I decided he’d gone to the hospital for some mysterious reason.  But hospital was another 6 blocks over this nightmarish terrain.  So I figured, probably quicker to walk back and get my car, drive to hospital.  Finally make it without breaking anything… and I can’t get the ice off.  There’s literally a 1/4 inch thick sheet of ice on every square millimeter of my car.  After a solid 5 minutes of scraping, the I’d made a tiny, 2 inch hole.  And my fingers, toes, and nose are numb.  And my hair is frozen and wet.

In a panic, I run inside and ask as nicely as I can for a ride from the lovely lady I’m boarding with.  She’s awfully good to me, let me hitch a ride in her ice-less car to hospital.

As I get through the door in a light jog… there’s my preceptor.  He’s surprised, but bemused to see me.  Wondered where I’d got off to.  As I stand there, wet and bedraggled, I slowly repeat our plan from yesterday.  Clinic at 7:30.  He laughs.  Oh no, it’s hospital rounds at 7:30 with clinic afterwards.  GRARRRRRR.

Needless to say, it took a hot shower at the end of the day to banish the chill from my feet.  And this could have all been avoided if I’d asked for my preceptor’s cell number the day before.

Again, teach your children well.  Tell them not to be morons and wait in the rain for people who aren’t coming.  Tell them to take charge of their own destinies and seize the moment, etc etc.  Lest they end up frozen, annoyed, and feeling stupider than a rock.

 – Atalanta

Photo courtesy of: Suat Eman |



Filed under Medicine, Personal & Blogs

3 responses to “The prairie town not actually on an island

  1. Cheryl

    didn’t realize your first day was so crappy. You sailed through like a pro. That was an ugly day, wasn’t it.

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