Sunday, October 01, 2006

I suggest wine

We had our first exam of the semester last week. I really like toxicology, and the exams are straight out of the notes/book (it helps that Dr. Murphy wrote the book). I'm so far loving the increased number of take-homes and assignments this semester over just having an exam in every single class. We have our first metabolic exam on Tuesday - but it's about 80% take-home and only 5 lectures are actually on the exam. This makes me happy and very stress-free.

I broke down and bought a large animal internal medicine book last week. I was working on a take-home and realized that I actually didn't know enough about anything large animal off the top of my head. I'm excited that the book I ended up getting (which is in the other room or I'd link it) is in outline format and pretty much can be used as a study aid for my large animal GI and multisystemic classes as well. Now that's a good book! And it was relatively inexpensive (~$50), considering it's use (and how that's how I'm planning to pass boards!).

I highly suggest wine as part of a happy and healthy junior year :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Why I'm tracking Small Animal

Yesterday during large animal gastrology lab:

- I put an alfalfa bolus down the throat of a cow
- I put a speculum down the throat of a cow
- I inserted a (more different kind of ) speculum into a cow's mouth
- I heard the bubbles in a cow's rumen while someone else blew into a properly placed esophageal tube
- I learned how to put a speculum into a horse's mouth
- I floated a horse's teeth
- I put a nasogastric tube in a horse.

I'm really glad I had the opportunity to do these things. But overall, this is EXACTLY why I'm tracking small animal.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Where did the summer go?

Where did the summer go, anyways? I swear it was just May... Anyways, someone's been bugging me about not posting all summer, so maybe I'll do a quick summary for y'all.

I did Summer Scholars, a program where I received a stipend to work with a professor on a research project. I chose to look at MRSA (methicillan-resistant staph aureus) in animals that live in a nursing home in Saint Paul. I'm only 8 weeks into a 10 week project right now, and this week is going awfully quickly... I think I have some serious work to do tomorrow (Friday, eep!). As part of summer scholars I got to go to a symposium in Baton Rouge, LA in August. The LSU vet school is absolutely gorgeous and pretty nifty. Our rehab room is better though :-) (Their equine ICU is absolutely amazing.)

School started this week. I'm excited about the semester, and I fell back into school like no time had passed. I'm still working on getting really "organized". My goal is to be prepared by Monday for anything they can throw at me. This involves an intricate plan of what comes home to study and what stays at school so that when they change classes at the last second I still have the notes that I need. Also, I've been biking to and from school, so I'm trying to cut down on how much stuff I haul back and forth.

We sign up for senior year rotations soon, eek! Supposedly it was supposed to be today, but the system won't let us yet, so maybe tomorrow? I think I've got things just about hashed out. I've got 4 externships planned right now: 2 weeks at the Minnesota Department of Health with Dr. Joni Scheftel, 2 weeks at the Golden Valley Humane Society spaying and neutering dogs and cats, 4 weeks in Amherst, probably splitting my time between the Amherst Animal Hospital (where I started working when I was 15 1/2!) and Dr. Margaret's new hospital in Nashua. I also have a 2 week block planned at the end of January for going to prospective employers and doing a week or so with them to make sure that I could work there for at least a year after graduation. I have a couple of vacations planned: 2 weeks in Nova Scotia, 2 weeks dedicated to playing with Seabass (my best friend) and 2 weeks around Christmas to see my family.

Two of my friends are getting married next year! Fortunately, they've carefully planned their weddings "in between" rotations (the last 2 days of rotations). I know that the boy can't make it to one of them due to a business trip, but hopefully we'll both be able to make it back to Vermont for the second one.

I've almost nearly got the rotations themselves worked out. I still have to make some pretty rough decisions (oncology vs s.a. theriogenology, and the like), but I know that I'm going to like whatever schedule I end up with! I'm actually kinda glad that I don't have to decide when each rotation is myself, because I'm going to learn different things on each rotation depending on the experience and expectations with which I enter it - and I don't think I have enough information right now to actually plan the "perfect" schedule myself.

New favorite things: Google Talk's ability to make your away message whatever your music player (iTunes!) is currently playing. Google notebook (which I can't find a link to) is awesome too!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Surgery three

I was the primary surgeon this past week. Our patient was a 6 month old male Australian Shepard crossed with a black lab. This gave the effect of a black lab puppy on the small side for his age, and with a disproportionally small head. He was ridiculously cute. Two of his littermates, one male and one female, accompanied him to be sterilized by us tentative second year vet students.

It was kinda nice to be the surgeon, much less stress than doing anesthesia, and much less need to be a jack of all trades that came with being the assistant. I could concentrate on what I needed to do, and help out as I saw necessary the rest of the time. I was a tiny bit disappointed and a tiny bit relieved when we found out that he was male. I really wanted to do a spay, but at the same time most of the skills necessary are used in both surgeries, and a neuter is faster and simpler.

I had a little difficulty getting the testicles up to my incision, a pre-scrotal approach. This has to do with the fact that they were the size of marbles and the ligament had to be partly broken down before they could be externalized because it was so short. Once I got them out I was relieved that everything looked so familiar. I knew all the anatomy and could see exactly what I wanted to do for each of my sutures. I placed two modified transfixation sutures in two crush marks made by hemostats, and tied them tight. Because things were going so well, I went ahead and did both testicles before calling over a surgeon to check my stumps. I placed two lines of sutures, one subcutaneously with a simple continuous suture, the other cutaneously with three interrupted cruciates and one simple interrupted sutures. The total incision was about 2cm long.

The entire procedure took just over an hour. I left stressing over anesthesia to my trusty anesthesiologist, and I was confident enough in my technique that I wasn't constantly checking the sutures. He got a little swollen and inflamed by the end of the week, but he wasn't messing at them, and the swelling should decrease with time.

The most entertaining quirk that all three of the siblings had was their extreme reluctance to walk, both on a leash and on asphalt. Our dog was very food motivated, so by the second day we were being pretty successful at walking him with constant treats and praise as reinforcements. I think the other groups spent a lot of time right by the door or carrying their dogs.

Oh, and his name was Fabio. We renamed him "Tag" within the first couple of minutes of having met him. He was just lacking the long curly locks that would have made the name even partly appropriate.

No more surgeries until next semester. Hope their fun! Our group will certainly be staying together, as we've been having a lot of fun and being very successful.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

finals week

Finals are "over". I lived. Looking back, it's almost hard to understand why I've been so stressed for the last week. But there's an exhaustion that comes with having exam after exam after exam that is hard to shake.

Left in the semester: 2 surgery exams (lecture and lab), and surgery number 3! Also a week of Avian Core and another of Integrative medicine (and elective). I'm actually pretty excited about all of it.

I'm very glad that I've "learned" to study this year. I've found a method that consistently works and has gotten me grades that I'm thoroughally satisfied with. It's been a slow process to commit information to memory that is so different than I'm used to learning, but it's getting there.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to sort it out and file it this summer, hopefully increasing it's accessibility in future semesters!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Surgery number two!

We found out on Monday at lunch time that we'd been assigned cat number 265418 (I've written that number a lot). We went upstairs to the cat room, looked around and finally found the kitty that matched the number. A beautiful talkative purring cat. Gray tabby, long face, talkative (siamese in there somewhere maybe?). So beautful. We started doing a once-over on the kitty(we had a 1pm class, weren't supposed to play with kitty 'till 2). Very healthy cat, very prominant testicles. Which was the problem.

We aren't supposed to do cat neuters. Especially on babyish cats. It actually doesn't require sutures...

So we went and found a tech, and got assigned number 265419, his littermate. She's a girl, she's all gray, medium length hair, about 5 months old. Also very charismatic. She's adorable, has let us do just about anything to her we could need to do.

We spayed her on Tuesday morning. I was the assistant surgeon, Stacie was the anesthetist and Alina was the primary surgeon. There was a little bit of stress all around, but it went really well :-) I've never helped with a real surgery before, I didn't really know what I was doing and all that jazz, but I learned a lot. It was probably very good for me.

The surgery went well - it took almost three hours, but that's because Alina was being very very careful with her sutures. She wanted to get everything just right. The suture line looks absolutely beautiful today. There were a couple of mishaps here and there, but absolutely nothing life threatening, just things that we had to suture differently, pretty much. A couple of the things that took the longest the surgeons would have us redo. But the outcome is so nice to see that it's hard to complain.

Our only complication this week was the fact that while her temperature was 98 coming out of surgery (pretty typical), within an hour it went up to 104, and peaked at 105. She got some painkillers and some ace (which causes hypothermia, cool). She was down to 102 by 8pm, which is perfectly normal for a cat.

She's done really well for the last couple of days. Today we went to the locker room to explore and have some cuddle time. I really like her :-) She managed to not only send 2 e-mails but also log out of windows. I was rather impressed! She's going back to the humane society with her brother tomorrow, and they should be up for adoption by noon. I have no doubt that she'll go to a wonderful home and everyone who meets her will fall in love with her :-)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

First surgery!

Last Monday afternoon we got to meet our surgery animals for the first time. We were assigned a funny looking little dog named Toggle. His paperwork had him down as 10-11 months old and a Cocker Spaniel/Rottweiler mix. I'd put him at closer to a year and a half and a Chow cross. He certainly had more than two breeds in him. His legs are stubby and his ears hang low on his head, but they're definately not Cocker ears. He's a pretty healthy dog overall, the only exception being the tapeworms he was diagnosed with on Wednesday (we saw a proglottid crawling out... ew).

Tuesday we neutered him. I was the anesthesiologist, Stacie was the primary surgeon and Alina was the assistant surgeon. I had a lot of firsts. First time I'd ever: put in a catheter (only took me 2 tries!), given an IM injection in a dog, intubated a dog, calculated drug doses that were actually used in a real animal, set up an anesthesia machine completely on my own, been primarily responsible for an anesthetized animal, and monitored an animal for a complete surgery. I finally understand a lot of the concepts that we've only talked about. Turns out anesthesia is a VERY hands-on thing. The amount of adreneline that I had in my body was a little bit crazy. I can see why people that like the "rush" would go into anesthesiology as a specialty. The neuter went well, though I admit that I wasn't involved in it hardly at all. I was a tiny bit distracted by the dog that seemed to miraculously be maintaining constant heart and respiratory rates, despite the fact that 1.5% of the air that he was breathing was trying to kill him!

We all had our "duh" moments during the surgery though. The head surgeon dude came up to me while we were just starting and told me that my mask was on backwards. Whoops! I went into prep and changed it. Alina scratched her nose without thinking about it and had to reglove to become sterile again. And halfway through closing the skin incision Stacie realized that she had absolutely no idea how to bury her suture knots. So that was also kinda funny. Everything worked out really well though, and our group has gotten GREAT comments from the instructors - we like that! We got made fun of a lot while actually doing the surgery - we're a very charistmatic group, we were closest to the in/out door, and we were one of the first groups to go for the day. But all of the comments written on the stuff that we have to turn in have been really positive, unlike some people who are getting half-page replies from the professors on how they've messed up!

Toggle did doing very well after surgery. He wore an e-collar until Thursday morning, because when we gave him a couple of hours on Wednesday without it he rewarded us by messing with his incision. As I said above, he's got tapeworms (but an otherwise clear fecal sample!). Tapeworms are best diagnosed by direct visualization - we saw 'em wiggling... The only complication from surgery that he had was some scrotal swelling, probably from some bleeding. Also, the body's not a huge fan of empty pockets, so it tends to fill it with "stuff". Because he was a more mature dog, his scrotum was pretty well developed and he had a fair amount of space to fill once they were gone.

We're were charge of Toggle until he went back to the Humane Society on Friday, and he was probably up for adoption on Saturday morning! The rest of the week was mostly walking him, monitoring his incision and giving him his pain meds.

Next week I'm the assistant surgeon! Probably on a cat spay, but who knows! We'll find out Monday! (I'm not at *all* excited about this, can't you tell!)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

April showers...

Happy April! It's getting beautiful here in Minnesota. Really pretty - over 60 today! It makes me just want to play outside and clean everything instead of studying for everything that I have coming up soon. I'm definatly getting a tiny bit fed up with the semester. Certainly not as bad as last semester, when Pathology ate my life, but still pretty tired of studying all the time. This was a rough semester to take a public health class (espeically one that I fight so much with - social and behavioral science), and there have definately been moments when I've considered how bad a W would look on my transcript. I'm doing okay in everything now. It's certainly not going to be a 4.0 semester, but I'm pretty thrilled with how I've been doing so far.

The coming of spring has staved off most of the impending insanity that February and March brought, and I'm really looking forward to lots of things.

We do our first survival spay/neuters on TUESDAY! We do them in groups of three, and I'm being anesthesiologist first. This is probably the most stressful job, because the anesthesiologists have free reign to quiz you on everything all the time. But I'm really excited, and nervous, and excited, so that's good.

It's hard to keep up with this blog. I wonder if it will ever become easier? Well, I'm certainly keeping busy with school, so that's good. :-)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I'm bad at updating

I guess this is the official "Start of March" post... I'm so bad at updating.

SAVMA Symposium starts for me in just a couple of hours, I'm heading over to the Hilton to pick up my registration stuff and go to the "Taste of Minnesota" event tonight. I'm excited to see some of my friends from other schools, I'll admit.

I do have to admit that I'm a little cranky about how spring break is going so far. Isn't it supposed to be a week of fun and relaxation and catching up on life? How come I've found myself at the library three days out of five so far, and have spend much of the other two studying? It just doesn't seem fair. Not only do we have two midterms (Monday, Tuesday) and a final (Tuesday) when we get back, but Friday-Saturday disappear to the black hole that is Symposium.

In other news, the D-letters came out 2 weeks ago. I'm very lucky in that I didn't get any. This semester seems to be the worst yet for people, in the past semesters I've only had a vague knowledge that they existed, rather than being able to pinpoint the exact day they were distributed.

Reproductive Biology ended. The final was really hard, but I managed to keep a good grade in the class. Thank god for all that studying, I guess. The first surgery exam was really hard, and one of our profs asked questions that somehow seemed a little ridiculous (when was ether first used, for example).

I'm just about as burnt out as I thought possible, coupled with a non-break. So I guess that's all there is to say...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Welcome to Spring Semester

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing. There’s just so much to say that I feel I can’t do it justice unless I sit down and write a super long thoughtful post. Like I have time for that.

We’re done with the first three weeks of the semester. We’ve already taken three exams – two of them were finals. It’s kind of weird to get used to classes rolling on and off the schedule, but at the same time it’s kinda nice to have (and much easier to study for) short classes.

We’re all done with Obstetrics (unless you chose to take the lab – I didn’t) and Neuropharmacology. Obstetrics was pretty, dare I say, basic. I remembered most of it from my large animal work in undergrad. Neuropharm was difficult, but extremely cool. And it’s been very nice to pick up Anesthesia where Neuropharm left off, as I actually have a grasp on most of the drugs and understand why they’re making the choices they do about using what when.

I’m supposed to be studying for reproduction biology right now. I’m sitting in the library, munching on cookies, and contemplating the wonders of X-inactivation. While I understand why it might be good to know in general, I mostly think that it’s cool how tri-colored cats are made. I had an excellent repro class in undergrad, and it’s been a relief to find that this class is primarily review (Thank you Dr Kerr!). Look through the old exams, it was reassuring to know that most of the multiple choice I could do with a combination of having taken it before and having gone to class. The short-answer/diagram questions are going to take a little more work to make sure that I have everything straight though. Fortunately, the exam isn’t until Tuesday.

I’m also taking Social and Behavioral Science for public health this semester. I’m not sure yet how I feel about having ANOTHER class on top of the vet school stuff, especially one that isn’t on our master blue schedule of doom. I’m a little worried about the 4 3-5 page papers, but really, how bad could they be? ;-)

I’ll try to be better about updating, but really, there never seems like much to say. I got to scrub in on a cleft palate surgery last semester during my surgery mini-rotation. That was really neat. I did suction because there weren’t enough students scheduled during that rotation. I’ve e-mailed the local humane society about doing an externship there… it was very very very odd to be scheduling a two week period of time to do something in 2008. Two years from next week. Weird. I’m starting to look for places that I might wanna work when I graduate, I’d really love to do an externship with them so that I know that it’s compatible with me and that I’m going to be comfortable there.

I’ve applied for Minnesota residency. I’m excited about staying in Minnesota after I graduate right now. I’m sure that I can find a good job that I’ll like. I know that the boy has a good job that he’ll be thrilled in for years to come. And someday I’ll find an apartment that lets me get cats, and then I’ll be one happy camper.