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. :-)