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!