Saturday, December 18, 2010

Since I haven't posted about the kitties in awhile...

I just found a home for four of the kittens. The calico pair and the agouti pair are each going to a pair of sister's homes to make some kids very happy for christmas. Now I just need to find homes for Private Peanutbutter Jr, the brown tabby, and Stegosaurous, the momma. Now that her kittens have been weaned for over a month, she's been able to catch up on her weight. The spine that was poking out that earned her name? Gone. She's still a skinny cat, but its nice seeing her at a normal, healthy weight instead of skin and bones (with a belly that was bigger than the rest of her.) I'm really hoping I can find homes for those two before I leave for Colorado on Tuesday.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This is going to take some getting used to

It's actually been kind of chilly here the past few days. I'm a wuss when it comes to being cold, so it being a little drizzly and in the 50's feels cold to me. Until I realized that it's the middle of December, the rosebushes in my back yard are in full bloom, and the neighbor's tree keeps dropping limes in my yard. Meanwhile, back in Colorado, its been snowing off and on the past few days. I'm going to be in for quite the shock here in a few days when I get back to Colorado.

Speaking of quite the shock... I got my grades back from most of my tests last week. That first multiple choice test that I felt pretty good about? Apparently I suck, and I barely passed it. When I went through the test, and looked at my answers, in every single case where I had to guess on a question, I narrowed it down to 2 choices, then promptly picked the wrong one. I plan on doing quite a bit of self-reflection over break, because even though people joke about "Cs get Degrees," I am not happy getting low marks on something that really matters. I'm not sure exactly what, but something's got to change. I know what the problem is, the problem is that I'm used to being able to coast through everything, and I have zero study skills, but I can't get away with that anymore. I need to come up with a viable plan for studying, and stick to it, since I don't want to just be an ok doctor, I want to be a great doctor. If you've got any suggestions, please, post in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion

My site was nominated for Best Animal Blogger!

I was just notified that I was nominated for a blogger's choice award for best animal blogger. If you have a couple minutes, please sign up and vote. I'm totally going to get creamed, since I'm in the same category as icanhascheezburger and cute overload, but can't hurt to try.

Oh, and as of today, I'm 1/8th of the way through vet school!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Almost done with finals!

Its been a long week. Here's how its played out so far:

Tuesday - VBS (veterinary basic sciences) exam 1. This exam covered our first 4 cases, about 140 multiple choice questions. It pretty much covered everything: anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, parasitology , behavior and toxicology. I feel like I did pretty well on it.

Wednesday - Vet issues exam. Relatively stress-free exam.

Thursday - Practical exam. This was 2 hours of parasitology, histology, toxicology, behavior and pathology followed by 2 hours of anatomy and radiology. Unlike midterms, I didn't leave the practical exam feeling like I was going to cry. Always a plus.

Friday - VBS exam 2. Pretty much the same as the first, except covering the last 4 cases of the block. I didn't get to study as much for this one, and left the exam feeling like I had to guess on way too many questions.

Monday - Two exams today. The first was the ACT, or "assessment of critical thinking" exam. Basically, they gave us a case that was similar to some of the cases we had throughout the block, and then we had to pick 2 differentials and write about the pathophysiology of either of the diseases we picked, and how they could be causing the clinical signs and bloodwork values we saw. I was pretty freaked out before this exam, since it's 20% of our grade for the semester, but I left after the exam feeling like I did just fine. A lot of that is thanks to my anatomy tutor, who was wonderful about passing on some great tips for taking it.

After the ACT exam, we had our clinical skills test, which is a series of timed stations that you have to move through. There were drug calculations, epidemiology calculations, and then we had to demonstrate how to do things on stuffed animals or models like blood draws, catheter placement and taping, and a couple other things. Even though it was the easiest test we had all week, it was really nice to get it out of the way.

Tomorrow, I have my Micro/Cellular biology test. If its anything like the midterm, it should be a bunch of multiple choice questions, and a bunch of short answer questions. In theory, it shouldn't be too hard - it tests us over all of the scientific literature we've had to read and summarize all semester. However, its a lot of proteins, hormones and bacteria to keep straight. I'll just have to caffeine up, and power through it.

Speaking of caffeine, after finals, I'm going to try to quit my pepsi habit. Its just too many empty calories, and the caffeine dependence is probably not so good either. So, while I have 2 1/2 weeks of break to wean myself off of getting caffeine withdrawl headaches, I figured I'd give it a go.

And for the heck of it, here's a picture of what I came home to after I finished my clinical skills exam today:

That's right, I have the cutest, weirdest dog in the world.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Is it possible....

That the more I study, the dumber I get? Feels that way.

Two finals down, five exams to go. Tomorrow's our practical exam - 2 hours in the anatomy lab going over physical specimans and radiographs, then 2 hours in the thing lab going over pathology, toxicology, parasitology, and histology. And I can feel my brains leaking out my ears.

Friday, December 3, 2010


The Wall Street Journal can suck it. They published an article a couple days ago called "Women Doctors Flock to Surprising Specialty"

Their "brilliant" conclusion isn't that women are increasing in many medical fields, and comprise the majority of veterinary graduates because there are more opportunities open to women of my generation than any other before us, or that they might enjoy the science behind medicine, or they feel they want to make a difference in the world. Nope, according the the Wall Street Journal, we're coming to fields like veterinary medicine in droves because we want flexible high paying jobs to help us crank out babies.

Yep. They think that the reason somebody would spend 8 years in school, get in around $200k debt from student loans, and go to the lengths of becoming a professional, just because it makes being a breeder and balancing a job easier. I don't know about you, but I would imagine that being a stay-at-home mom, or working part-time in an office would be a hell of a lot easier than spending 8 years, a crapload of money, and blood sweat and tears, to try to balance kids and a professional career.

Not only is they way they stereotype veterinarians and physicians offensive, but the way they pigeonhole all women into the "must-have-kids" category makes my jaw drop. I would imagine that a much larger percentage of my class (or any population with a post-grad education) has a higher rate of child-free individuals than the general population. It's pretty much a given that the more education women have, the fewer babies they produce. But yet, even though many of us who are working our way towards the veterinary career won't have kids, and those that do are much more likely to stick to one or two, apparently women only think with their uterus.

And then, just because the premise of their article wasn't stereotyping enough, or a big enough middle finger to feminism, they had to make it worse with their headline. Not "more females flock to high paying careers..." or "more doctors chose specialties to accomidate work-life balance." Nope. They had to use the phrase "women doctors." Its condescending. You hear it from clients. "Oh, I'm seeing Dr. X? Is that the 'woman doctor?'" You don't see articles written about how more "men doctors" do one thing or another. Its a phrase that doesn't belong in our lexicon, much less in the headlines of national news sources.

Anyway, probably won't post much (or at all) for the next couple weeks. Today was our last day of class, and I've got finals for the next week and a half.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amazing Weekend

I can't believe its almost over. Having 4 days off has been great - I've been able to recharge, and my stress level is basically zero.

I saw Dimmu Borgir last night. They are absolutely wonderful live. One of the opening bands (I never caught their name) was pretty terrible, but Enslaved was great. I hadn't heard of them before, but they're similar to Dimmu - very melodic, basically distorted classical. And they SING. Best of all, they're also from Norway, and the vocalist's accent was so thick. In between songs he'd say something, and I'd expect the next line out of his mouth to be "My lungs unsbuzzle the air from the earth, as I can breathe... it. Period." Which probably makes absolutely no sense to 99% of the people reading this, but the 1% that gets it is going to be thinking the exact same thing when they see them play in Colorado. (Hint - its from the cartoon I named my dog after.) Anyway, Dimmu's show was amazing. Some of the more melodic keyboard parts got drowned out in the mix, but their light show was very impressive, and with the exception of the keys, they almost sound just like the album live. I left the show with a scratchy voice from screaming, a sore neck from headbanging, seeing spots from the light show, and ringing ears. It was so worth it.

I must say, though, it is so bizarre to go to a metal show and not know a single person there. I kind of feel like in Colorado, the metal scene was my second family. If it was a local band playing, I'd probably know at least 50% of the crowd, and for a big show like this, I'd still probably know at least 20 people who showed up. It definitely hit me at the show yesterday, and made me feel really homesick.

I've also been doing "productive" stuff this weekend. On our final exams, in addition to the same written and practical portions we've had before, we have a new part called the ACT, or "Assessment of Critical Thinking." Basically, we're presented with a case (similar to the ones we've had during the block) that describes a scenario, and gives us some clinical values, and we have to decide which two options from a list it's the most likely to be, describe the pathophysiology of those disease processes, and write about which tests we would use to rule in or rule out those diagnoses. I've been spending most of the weekend laying the groundwork to prepare for it. I'm feeling decently confident about it, but at the same time, feel like there's no real way to be completely prepared for it.

One more week of actual classes, then finals. After that, assuming I make it through ok, I'll be 1/8th of the way done with vet school!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Yesterday was amazing. Unlike quite a few of my luckier classmates, I didn't get to go home for Thanksgiving. Instead, I decided to cook a thanksgiving dinner for Tyler and I. I've been pretty busy with classes, and I really haven't been able to really cook all semester. I've pretty much just thrown things together that take under 20 minutes. Actually getting to cook and bake was awesome. And I think this is the first Thanksgiving in the 9 years Tyler and I have been together that we haven't had to deal with guilt trips and hauling ourselves all over town, effictively ruining the holiday. As an aside - have you noticed that the people who lay the heaviest guilt trips, and are the most manipulative and vocal about wanting to see you are the people you least want to spend time with?

I decided to make a couple interesting recipes that I found online, combined with replicating a couple of Tyler's grandma's recipes, and my Mom's pumpkin pie. What we ended up with:

A brined turkey which was then wrapped in bacon before being roasted. (Juciest turkey I have ever had in my life!)

Sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Asparagus cassarole
Some bizarre 'Nilla wafer pineapple dessert thing his grandma always makes
Caramel apple pie
Turtle cheesecake
Pumpkin pie

Since our dining table and chairs didn't fit in our moving pod, and we haven't replaced them yet, Tyler set the coffee table (I know, how classy, right?) and we dug in. There was only one casualty in the food department - I took a bite of the pumpkin pie, and immediately realized that I had forgot to put the sugar into it. Unsweetened pumpkin pie is nasty. However, I had opened a big can of pumpkin and froze what wasn't used in the pie, so I might have to re-make it with ALL the ingredients this time. And even though the pumkin pie sucked, the apple pie was probably the most amazing thing ever. I don't eat cheesecake, but Tyler said that the turtle cheesecake was amazing.

However, we're going to be eating leftovers for the foreseeable future. The smallest turkey I could find was 14 pounds - for only the two of us.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and try not to get trampled in the Black Friday craziness!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Duck, Duck, Duck......

So our bird case this week is turning out to be a bacterial disease of ducks that affects the females and egg hatchability. Since it was a reproduction-related case, it reminded me of an impressive anatomical feature of ducks. Their giant corkscrew penises. I told my group about it when we were discussing the case. They didn't seem impressed. So I told some of my friends from the last group I was in, and they thought it was hilarious. Of course, this is the same group of people that looked at me askance when I told them about iguanas having two penises (hemipenes.) I blame for most of my knowlege of weird animal penises.

And something that totally made my day - we had our vet issues class today, and at the beginning of class, they announced that they had a special guest - Dr. Khuly of Fully Vetted.

When I applied to WesternU, we had these supplemental essay questions we had to write about, and one of them was basically "Who do you admire, and why?" I wrote about Dr. Khuly, and how I love how open and honest she is with the general public in her blog about how the veterinary profession works. Its through her blog that I've learned about some issues in the profession I wouldn't have known about for quite some time otherwise. Her blog is one of the big reasons this blog exists.

She ended up just sitting through the last couple group presentations of ethical issues, and got to see our class dressing up, acting out skits, and being silly. Unfortunately, I guess she talked to the 2nd years, but just sat through our embarassingly lame ethics presentations. I was tempted to go up to her after class got out and go all fangirl on her, but I decided against it. Now I'm wishing I had.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Avian Techniques"

Friday we had something on our schedule that was only labeled "Avian Techniques." I showed up to the anatomy lab first thing in the morning, to find a bunch of chickens laid out for us. We got to practice placing feeding tubes, bandaging wings, flushing nostrils, swabbing crops, and placing emergency breathing tubes into their air sacs. All in all, the lab was pretty awesome except for one thing - the chickens were dead, but their mites weren't. They won't live on people, but they will crawl on you before they lose interest - and after getting a couple mites on my arms, I spent the rest of the day paranoid about it and itchy.

I'm assuming since next week's a short week, and we had the chicken thing that our next case will be a bird. I really don't feel like I know much at all about birds, and I'm down for anything related to them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I don't know why I was thinking about this earlier today, but the geology geek in me is a little bummed out that we've only experienced one (very unimpressive) earthquake since we moved here. Come on, N. American and Pacific Plates, impress me!

Anyway, this week our case centers around a cat with increased appetite and weight gain - and everything seems really straightforward and easy to grasp. Which makes me really suspicious that either they're going to throw us a big curveball on Friday, or that I'm missing something really obvious.

Friday we have a lab on avian techniques. I'm guessing its going to be avian handling. Maybe next week, since its a short week for Thanksgiving, we'll have a bird case? And how is next week Thanksgiving anyway? What happened to November?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What happened to this semester?

I'm not kidding. I remember a long two months before midterms. Somehow, there's only 3 weeks until finals... and it doesn't seem like its been 5 weeks since our last test. I don't know whether to be slightly terrified that it seems like everything's whizzing by so fast, or pleased, because at this rate, 3 1/2 years will pass in what seems like a blink of the eye.

Remember that paleopathology talk I mentioned a couple months ago? I'm kicking myself for not being more proactive. One of my friends emailed the veterinary pathologist afterwards, and is volunteering with her to prepare T-Rex histo slides. My green-eyed monster is making its presence known, and I have nobody to blame but myself.

When I picked Tyler up from work today, I found a fun, albeit slighty evil way of starting a conversation with him. I asked "Guess how many cats we have today?" and the look on his face was priceless, before he asked how many more I dragged in. I actually took the older litter + the one I found under my car into the humane society today. They were all slightly over 2 pounds, and the woman I talked to there said they had a pretty good chance of being adopted. I really hope so, 'cause I was getting pretty attached to those buggers.

My younger litter is getting adorable. I think they're 6 weeks old now. They're running around like psychos, and generally just being trouble. The good kind. So if you or anyone you know is looking for a furry ball of awesome, they should be ready to go home mid-December. Otherwise, I'll have to resort to such tactics as sticking them in classmate's mailboxes, or flying home with them, putting bows on them, and passing them off as christmas presents.

In completely-unrelated-to-school news, I've got two awesome shows to go to in the next few weeks. Dimmu Borgir is playing the Fox theater right next door to campus the last week of November. Every time Dimmu came through when we lived in Colorado, something always happened so Tyler could go, and I couldn't. Either I was working nights, or we were too broke to go, and a friend slipped him an extra ticket. This time, they just released a new album, and I'm going, damnit. The other show I'm excited about is the Dresden Dolls. They broke up a few years ago, then Amanda Palmer did her solo album while she battled Roadrunner Records for owning her life. She finally got out of her contract with the label, the Dresden Dolls are getting back together for a renunion tour, and they just added a show in San Diego at the end of December. This will probably be my one and only chance to see the Dolls live, so I'm jumping on it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kitties galore

At school, we FINALLY have a cat case! I figured since we've been doing kidney and urinary tract cases for the past few weeks once we finally got a cat case it would end up being a blocked male cat, but no go. This week we've got a jaundiced cat, so I'll be delving into the world of biliruben, gallbladders and liver.

Speaking of kitties - I'm becoming convinced that they've planted some sort of homing beacon in my yard. Friday, I heard this pathetic frantic mewing, only to find a filthy little kitten under my car. I'm pretty sure you know where this leads. (And if you guessed that I now have 14 cats under my roof, you'd be correct.)

I'm pretty sure it breaks down like this: 1 or 2 cats, and you're a "cat person." 3-5 cats, and you're a "cat enthusiast." 6+ cats, and you're a crazy cat lady. 14 cats..... well, I'm pretty sure that puts me straight into straight jacket territory.

Tyler gets back into town tomorrow. I'm sure he enjoyed having his band fly him out for a week in Colorado and playing a show. I'm just happy he'll be back - with the exception of when his band went on tour, this is the longest we've been apart. Wednesday he starts his new job. I can't wait until he starts bringing in a paycheck. My student loans are tapped. You get enough in loans to cover your living expenses - if you don't have your roommates back out on you and stick you with twice as much rent as you were expecting, or if you don't end up supporting another person while they take 4 months to find a job. As long as I can figure out how to get us through this month, I shouldn't have to spend half my time figuring out how I'm going to pay bills anymore, and actually direct more of that energy towards studying.

Either the second or third week of classes, I tried to sign up with the LEAD office for tutoring. I never heard back from them until this weekend. They've finally lined me up with a couple tutoring groups - one for anatomy, and one for everything else. Our anatomy group met for the first time today. I don't know what it is about my tutor, but her energy's contageous. Somehow I left the group today actually *excited* about the subject. Hopefully I can keep this up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I probably shouldn't admit to this...

Have you ever heard of the term "food porn?" Don't worry, it's not actually porn. It's basically professionally shot photos of gourmet food, that the foodies refer to as "food porn."

Well, I have my own version of "vet porn". Even a few years ago when I was finishing up my bachelor's degree, I would spend hours on DVM360's hospital design gallery, and its no different now. Sure, all the hospitals showcased are million dollar multi-doctor practices. After paying off my loans, I'll be lucky if I can buy some small one-doctor space with old 70's and 80's technology, if I can own my own clinic at all. One can always dream, right? Even more embarassing than spending time daydreaming about theoretical practices I could one day own, is I also already have multiple blueprints and a logo already designed. I also have plans on how to incorporate said logo into the paint job on a theoretical 1967 ambulance that I also do not own, but plan to restore, and park outside said imaginary clinic instead of normal signage. So, yeah. I'm a dork. But hopefully over the years I'll turn out to be enough of a business savy dork to make it work.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I seem to have stepped on some toes

It has been brought to my attention that I have inadvertently stepped on some toes with the blog.

I'm cynical. I'm bitchy. I'm negative. And that makes me happy. Apparently, I have worded some stuff poorly, so those that don't know me have taken offense. And you know what? I greatly apologize. I've changed some of the posts, so they're a little less extreme, because while it is my intention to present my view of vet school and sometimes ruffle some feathers, it isn't my intention to hurt feelings or raise red flags in the process. If you're one of the people who I've crossed, email me, and I'll see what I can do to make it up to you.

And on that note... apparently my readership is way bigger than I previously thought. I checked my stats, and I've been getting between 50-100 hits per day. *waves* You see at the bottom of each post? There's a "comments" link. You can use it, really. I don't bite.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mish-mash of updates

Oops, I haven't updated in a couple weeks.

My new PBL group is nice. Its scary when I'm the one of the most extroverted people in the group, since I'm sure you know, I'm not. Its a very quiet group, but I like quiet.

Last week we had a case with a congenital problem of a puppy leaking urine, and it looks like this week is another congenital case with a shar-pei and some kidney issues. Last block we had a big clump of leg cases, then a big clump of stomach/rumen/GI cases, so I'm guessing that we'll be stuck in the urinary system for awhile.

I've been reading a thread on the student doctor network forums, where the class of 2014 from all over the country updates how they're doing, and how they're handing it. And I hate to sound like too much of a cheerleader for WesternU, but damn, I'm lucky I'm not at one of the other schools. A common complaint I've been reading is that people feel like they're forced to just memorize tons of random information without understanding the underlying processes, and that they're just learning stuff for a test each week, then purging it while they study for the next week's test in another area. Here, there's no way to cram for tests and come out on the other side, and the way everything's set up, you're behind the curve if you don't actually understand the processes behind each system.

With our urinary system the past two weeks, we've had to learn the basics like the anatomy, physiology and histology of the kidneys, bladder and ureters, but also what's going on at the cellular level, what clinical aspects you can expect to see in similar cases, which genes affect the function, any behavioral issues that tie in, what you can expect to see on radiographs and ultrasound, and how each issue affects other organ systems, or is affected by other organ systems. I can't imagine swallowing all of that information without putting it in context.

I got a nice surprise today when I got home from class. I checked the mail, and I had one of those "your pet is due for their vaccines" postcards from my old work in Colorado, and all of my co-workers had written little messages all over the back of it. It totally brought a smile to my face. I really loved working there, and miss everybody, so it was really nice to hear from them.

And in other news, Tyler (finally) got a job! I've been stressing out like crazy trying to figure out the whole bill situation - my student loans aren't enough to pay for everything, and I was pretty much tapped. Just in the nick of time, he got a call back, and starts working next week. I can stop hyperventilating now and this huge cloud of stress that's been hanging over me is gone.

My kittens are doing really well. The older litter is over their upper respiratory stuff, and they're hyper little balls of trouble. They'll probably be big enough to get adopted out in a week or two. And I need to get them out of the house soon, 'cause Tyler's falling for the 7-toed freak, and we really don't need to gain a kitten permenently. Plus, if we end up keeping a cat, I want to keep Stegosaurous - the mamma kitty. Her litter's a month old now, and its amazing how quickly they went from just barely being able to walk to exploring, climbing, and playing.

Enough procrastinating - I need to get back to learning everything I can shove into my brain about the kidneys.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I was freaking out pretty badly about midterms earlier today. I passed the class I was worried about, and while I didn't ace it, I don't have to freak out anymore. I also know what things I need to change with my studying, so next time around I can totally kick butt on the tests, instead of settling for less. And since I've officially passed midterms, and block 2 is starting, that means I'm 1/16th of the way through vet school!

Tomorrow I get to do a bovine rectal palpation lab, and its in our anatomy lab, so I'm assuming cadaver rectal palpation. That's right, it sounds like I'll be arm deep in dead cow butt,* and I still feel like the profession I'm entering is one of the most glamourous in the world.

Also, tomorrow we start a new case, this time with a completely new PBL group. Everybody in my new group seems super nice, but I think I'll automatically always feel my first PBL group was the best PBL group. I better get over it, 'cause I'm with the new group for the next 8 weeks.

*I feel like it beats a live one having to tolerate students learning on it, and Western's WAVE program assures all cadavers used are ethically sourced.


I get to find out in an hour how I did on my veterinary basic sciences test. That's the huge class that consists of 16 credit hours. Thats the one that if I didn't do well, I'm screwed. I've been up since 7, with my stomach in knots worrying about it. I think I'll be fine, but I never try to underestimate my ability to screw up.

However, I did get my grade back for my molecular and cellular biology class, and I did fine on that, so maybe I'm freaking out for no reason.

This next hour is going to seem so slow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My car got hit by a drunk crossdresser

Now that I've gotten your attention with that awesome headline, here's what happened.

Tyler and I were sitting on the front porch. Our car was parked in front of the house, and there was another car parked in front of the neighbor's yard. Somebody got in the other car, and pulled forward, and parked behind my car, but the way they were driving looked "off," so I whipped out my camera phone. They backed up to their old spot, then started to pull forward again, and it was really jerky. They then decided to pull forward another couple feet into the back of my parked car.

After witnessing this moment of absolute stupidity, I kind of lost my lid, and ran over, and started screaming at the kid that was driving. They got out of their car, which is when I realized that I wasn't yelling at a teenage girl, I was yelling at a teenage guy, who I assumed was an emo kid.

Tyler ran inside to grab the car keys so we could pull our car forward to look at the damage, and I asked guy to stay put. He kept apologizing, and saying he was drunk. He decided to get back in the car and back up, ran over the curb in the process, and stayed in his car. I wasn't sure if he was going to take off, so I called the cops. Before the cops showed up, he gave me his phone number, then wandered back to the party he was at. It was then that I realized that he wasn't an emo kid - he was wearing a mini skirt and cowboy boots. Once I realized he was a crossdresser and not an emo kid, I felt pretty bad about the screaming and calling the cops.

The police showed up, asked what was going on, and drove around the block to break up the party. While they were driving around, he and his friend got back into the car and tried to hide by crouching in the front seat. I told the officer what was going on, and that they were in the car. After asking for more information, which revealed I had a Colorado driver's liscense, she basically was like "As I'm SURE you know, this is a dangerous place to live." I told her that I wasn't out to get a poor little teenager, that I had called them to make sure he wouldn't drive off, since he was pretty sloshed. She asked me something along the lines of "so you basically just want liscense and insurance information then?" and I told her yes. She then asked us to go inside so "people wouldn't know we were the ones that called". Tyler and I really got the vibe that they were annoyed with US for calling them for a the accident, and that they felt like we were risking retribution for calling on something so "minor".

We went inside as requested, and kept peeking at the action through the blinds. They pulled the two kids out of the car, gave them a roadside sobriety test, and put his friend, the one who wasn't driving, into the back of the squad car. A tow truck showed up and towed the car off. I then watched them let the guy who hit my car go, and get picked up by some of his friends. I figured they would get more information from us, or something, or let us know what was going on, but nothing. They just drove off.

So I guess tomorrow I have to call my insurance company. I don't have the guy's name, insurance or anything (since the cops asked us to go inside, then didn't talk to us afterwards,) but I have the video of him hitting the car, and photos that include the liscense plate to what he said was his friend's car.

I'm just kind of weirded out by the way they handled it - I just got this whole "you don't belong here, outsider" vibe. I never got a terrible vibe off of my neighborhood before - its seemed like a poor neighborhood thats been undergoing recent gentrification, but I've never felt at risk here. However, that officer's line about "I'm sure you've noticed this is a dangerous place" is bothering me. Was she trying to scare us? Was she trying to warn us that as naive white outsiders that we were being dumb by calling the cops? Is it actually a bad neighborhood, and we suck at judging these things?

Now I'm torn between feeling bad about making some poor teenage crossdresser's night hell, and hoping that the sobriety test, and 3 cop cars was enough to scare him from ever getting behind the wheel drunk again. Tyler's being all paranoid that we just painted targets on our backs by calling the cops, and I'm kind of weirded out by the whole conversation with the police.

Between this and the constant influx of stray cats, this neighborhood sure has provided me with a lot to write about.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I survived!

4 days of really hard exams are now done with, and all I have tomorrow is my clinical skills exam, which I think should be cake. I'm pretty sure its stuff like "What are the AAHA vaccine guidelines?" and "Demonstrate how to put a halter on this stuffed horse." A nice break after this week. I think I find out on Tuesday how I did on all my exams. I'm not shooting for A's here. I just hope I passed.

The other exam I haven't really mentioned this week is a take-home written exam for my vet issues class. Its basically an essay about the issues facing the profession. Its due tomorrow, and I put off writing it to study for everything else, so I finally got around to writing it earlier this afternoon. It did spawn the best conversation ever between me and Tyler. I'd probably go crazy with school if he wasn't around to make me laugh.

Me: What should I write about for my Vet Issues midterm?

Tyler: What do you have to write about?

Me: Challenges facing veterinary medicine today.

Tyler: What's today?

Me: October 7th.

Tyler: Why don't you write about how all the veterinary practices waited too long to place a new glove order, and now they're worried about if they should go to walgreens and buy a few boxes, or wait for their order to ship.

Me: Why's that a challenge?

Tyler: Because they don't want to have too many gloves, and have to find a place to put all the extras if they drive to walgreens and buy some, but then their order comes in tomorrow, but they don't want to run out if the damn FedEx guy screws them again. 'Cause then they'll have to start getting creative, and start wrapping their hands in saran wrap, or something.

Me: And how would today's students be able to help with that challenge?

Tyler: You could stop pestering me, and go buy some people some gloves or something. Do something actually useful.

Me: Oh, I see. And what challenges are going to face the profession in the future?

Tyler: Well, tomorrow they're going to have to learn how to do surgery with their hands wrapped in saran wrap. (He then smooshes his hands together and starts to do the robot.) That'll be the issue with the vet profession on October 8th!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Big evil test of doom today

I've been taking midterms all week. They're all really rough - Monday's test was almost 1/2 inch thick! Anyway, today's our practical exam for anatomy, histology, parasitology, microbiology, pathology and behavior. I kind of feel like today's exam is where everybody is like "haha, we didn't actually think you were smart enough to be a vet! Joke's on you!" I leave for class in an hour, and I'm reviewing some last minute stuff until then, but there's this sense of impending doom that I can't shake.


(Saturday) This is added after the fact. I'm just editing this post for chronologic continuity.

When I got home from the test mentioned above, a neighbor came over and knocked on the door. I heard something about "your wife's a vet student right?" and "the babies." I threw shoes on, and went outside. She explained that her next door neighbors had found 3 little kittens in the alley behind their house, and didn't know what to do with them. They look like they're about 6 weeks old, so I explained that they could most likely eat solid food, not the cow's milk they were trying to feed them. They told me they couldn't take care of them, so I got suckered into taking them and locking them in my computer room, thinking I'd drop them off at the humane society after my midterms.

Friday after my last test I drove them to the humane society, where I was informed that they'd be immediately euthanized, because they were under 2 pounds. So I asked the lady in receiving if I could foster them until they were two pounds, so they'd at least have a chance. She told me that'd be for the best, while trying to make ME feel bad for bringing them in, and for not trying to stick the neigbor kids who found them with the responsibility of the kittens. I believe her words were "they were probably their kittens, and they have you pegged for a sucker. You should make them deal with them." I was pretty pissed at this point. I not only feel like I was manipulated into fostering them, but also made to feel bad because I was looking out for the kittens' best interest, instead of making other people "take responsibility" for cats that probably weren't even theirs. Our humane society really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So we got home with the box o' kittens in tow, and were sitting out front, when another neighbor kid walked in front of our house holding a little grey kitten that matched the 3 we had. We asked him about it, and he told us that they'd found it and couldn't keep it, but didn't want to leave it out on the street. I offered to re-unite the little guy with the rest of his litter.

Anyway, that puts us at Mamma cat + 5 kittens (one died - I don't remember if I mentioned that on the blog or just on facebook), 4 stray 6-ish week old kittens, and our three cats. I am completely overwhelmed with the sheer number of animals in my house, and having 2 seperate quarentine rooms, and I have no idea how I'm going to find homes for all of them. I'm a bit leary at this point of bringing them to the humane society.

This neighborhood has too many strays, and I'm too much of a softie to ignore all of them, but I'm too much of a broke student to be able to keep this up. I don't really know what to do at this point.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

First exam tomorrow

And I'm kind of excited about it. I should probably be freaking out like everybody else, but I'm pretty confident that I've got this. Either that or I'm hopelessly ignorant, and don't even realize it enough to be freaked out. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bitter Sweet

Tomorrow is the last day of classes this block before midterms. It'll be really nice to take the midterms, and get an idea of how I'm doing, but each 8 week block we get assigned to a new group. I've been really lucky with the people in my original group, and I wish I could just keep them for the next 2 years.

I toured a dairy a few days ago. For the most part, all the cows were really well taken care of, with one glaring problem - the flies. It wasn't the normal amount of flies you'd expect being around farm animals - it was big black clouds of flies. I felt the worst for the calves who were in tiny cages who couldn't get away from the flies. I don't know if I'll be able to get through all my large animal rotations without ending up vegan.

Speaking of dietary choices, Tyler and I have long talked about when I'm out of school, and we're financially stable about raising our own food animals. I don't really have a problem with an animal having to die to become food. I do have a huge problem with an animal suffering before it becomes food. We've thrown around the idea of raising a couple cattle, and paying somebody to come onto our property every year or two and slaughter one. It gets raised in a happy environment with lots of love and attention, it doesn't have to undergo the stress of transportation to a feed lot or slaughter house, and one cow would probably feed us (and whoever we could give beef to) for a year or two. We've thrown around similar ideas for chickens. Either we would end up with the peace of mind knowing that as carnivores, we were making the most ethical decision we could, or we would end up with a whole lot of pet cows and chickens once we got attached. Anyway, after the dairy tour, I think our plan needs to be ammended to either add some dairy cows, or get our dairy products through a co-op where we could inspect and guarentee the wellbeing of the animals involved.

And in kitten news, the kittens are doing great, with one setback. We've named them all: The calicos are Mr. Potato Hands and Mr. Viceroy Fizzlebottom, the tabbies are Private Peanutbutter Jr. and Spaghetti, and the more solid ones are Megahorse and Twinkletoes the Deathdealer. They've gained so much weight in just 5 short days! And despite nursing 6 kittens, Stegosaurous has managed to put on some weight - her pokey vertebrae that she was named for are slowly starting to disappear under a pad of fat. The only setback we've experienced is that today we went to check on them, and these stupid tiny black ants that we have here had come in through the air conditioner, and made an ant highway down the cord, across the floor, and were swarming the food and the pile of kittens. We moved the kittens and Stego to the bathtub temporarily, and spent about an hour vacuuming and re-vacuuming the floor. Once we were satasfied that all the ants had been sucked up, we put an ant bait thing in the window, and drew circles of cinnamon around the windows, a circle around the food, and a (wide) circle around the kittens. Hopefully we can stave off the ants without having to resort to anything poisonous - we can't really move the kittens to another room, as they all get too hot, or can't be seperated from the rest of the pets, and we don't want to fill their environment with toxins.

Next week is probably going to be stressful. I've got a 4-hour exam Monday, two shorter exams Tuesday, a 6-hour anatomy/histology practical exam Wednesday, another 4-hour exam thursday, and a short clinical exam on friday. If I don't update, its probably because I'm curled up in the fetal position with an anatomy book somewhere.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Last week before midterms

So, its week 8, and we're working on our last case before we have our week of solid midterms. This week's case is about a dairy cow, which means that I have to do a bunch of extra research compared to usual, since I don't know a single thing about cattle.

I'm just not feeling motivated to do it. I know I should go to the anatomy lab and spend some extra time in there this week, but I know its going to be slammed with people doing last minute studying. I know I should get this cow research out of the way, and just start reviewing information for the exams, but I just want to go to sleep.

A couple of interesting things are going on in my world though. Tomorrow, we're doing a tour of a dairy farm, so that should be pretty interesting.

Saturday, I participated in a rabies vaccine clinic with the VACS. In 4 hours, we vaccinated almost 60 dogs and cats. And I totally love the veterinarian who was running it. At the beginning of the day, he told his vet techs that all we would be doing were rabies vaccines, and to not let him deviate from that. Within an hour or two, he was asking them to pull up distemper/parvo vaccines for puppies that he knew probably wouldn't get them otherwise. As somebody who has that "well, just this one time" sucker urge to help, it made my day. The only downside of volunteering for the rabies clinic was that it was HOT out on saturday. Those of us who volunteered kept rotating between who had to be outside in the shade, and who got to be inside in the air conditioned VACS, but even with the breif respites of air conditioning, it was still roasting.

Saturday night, the pregnant stray cat I brought in finally had kittens. She was nesting and pacing, that night, so I tried to stay up and watch. About 4 am, I was exhausted, so I decided to sleep on the floor in the kitty's room, figuring that if she went into labor, I'd hear it and wake up. I apparently slept through the first 2 kittens being born, and then the dogs alerted Tyler to the weird mewing noises, and he came into the room and woke me up. (Don't worry - the dogs heard them through the walls. They have no access to the kittens.) We stayed and watched her give birth to 3 more kittens, waited quite a while, thought she was done, and finally went to sleep around 8 am. When I woke up a couple hours later I found out I was wrong - she'd had one more, for a total of 6 kittens. In the course of about a week, I've gone from 3 cats to double digit cats. We're going to keep them until they're at least 8 weeks old, and find homes for all of them, and get Stegosaurous (the mama) spayed.

Anyway, I think my sleep's still all screwed up from staying up so late with the kittens, but I'm having a real hard time waking up and getting anything done. Can I just hide somewhere dark until midterms are over?

Oh, and because gratuitous kitten pictures are necessary:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

World Rabies Day is next week

So I'm going to be spending Saturday volunteering on VACS doing free rabies vaccines for whoever needs them. I'll probably just be helping with setup or patient histories, but it'll still be nice to do something.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week 7

This week in PBL we're doing a horse colic case. Silly me, I kind of figured that colic was like the horse equivelant of bloat (gastric dilation vulvulis) in dogs - just a layman's term for a specific disease. Boy, was I wrong. Apparently its anything that could cause abdominal pain, which is a really freaking long list of things to look into.

This morning, we drove out to Norco for "horse handling skills." It involved putting a halter on, and taking one off of an arab. First off, I didn't realize how tiny arabs are. I guess I'm too used to dad's percheron mix, and the TBs at the barn I used to work for, but it was weird having a horse where I could easily see across its back.

I'm also still waiting for that stray cat I brought inside to have her kittens already. When I brought her in last thursday, she looked like a skeleton that ate a canteloupe. You could see everytime a kitten moved. I honestly thought that she had maybe 2-3 days before popping. Well, its been 5 days, and she doesn't seem to be getting any closer to parturation. Everything I've read says that kittens should be coming within a week of being able to see (and not just feel) fetal movement. I'm wondering if maybe she was so emaciated that I've been able to see more that I would've otherwise. On the plus side, I've had 5 days to spend time with her, and she is a cuddlebug. I'll go in the room with her, and she will just let you scratch her ears and butt non-stop while she purrs like crazy. I've named her Stegosaurous. And Tyler and I are coming up with a list of names for kittens - we figure since we're not keeping them, and people are free to re-name them that we can come up with hilarious, off the wall names. My favorite name so far is "Twinkletoes the Deathbringer."

And on top of that, mid-terms are in a week and a half. We haven't had any tests up until then. Some vet schools have tests every week or two. Ours has a solid week for mid-terms and a solid week for finals. In some ways, I'm not too worried about it, but in other ways, I'm pretty freaked out that I'm going to completely screw up anatomy and histology and fail out. Which probably means I should be studying, not updating the blog, but what's the fun in that?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do I have "sucker" stamped on my forehead?

I was sitting out on the front porch after class today, and one of the "regular" stray cats bolted out from under the bushes. She was HUGE. I figured I'd just picked up a couple flats of wet food from school today, so I'd bring her out a can, and hide inside so she'd eat it. When I peeked my head back out a couple minutes later, she had finished the first can, and when she saw me she bolted. I brought another can out. She came running up as soon as I opened it. This time, I placed it near me and stayed outside. She dove in, then eventually let me pet her, and even seemed to enjoy the attention. From a distance, she looked hugely pregnant, but up close, you can tell that all of her nutrients have gone to the kittens - her spine and hips are jutting out, and her ribs are really easy to feel.

So I did what any other complete sucker would do. I brought her in, and locked her in the empty extra room with a bunch of food, cardboard boxes, pillows, and made as many hiding spots as I could.

She's timid, but sweet. She lets us pet her, but is nervous about being approached initially. And she's going to pop soon. Not only can you feel the kittens moving, but you can see them. Pregnancy is so gross.

I guess I'm fostering a momma cat? I'll look into the resources at my school and see what freebies I can score for getting her and the kittens tested, vaccinated and fixed.

So she doesn't explode, here's a picture:

And I'm pretty sure my mom's going to be pretty angry when she reads this post, or I tell her about this. She's been lecturing me about ignoring the strays in front of my house since I moved here. Well, Mom, you were right. I'm a sucker.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meant to post earlier in the week. Oops.

Anyway, this week's case is about a group of dogs with a highly contagious disease in a shelter environment. Lots of virology, immunology and epidemiology. Tuesday, we had a lab where we had to take and read fecal floats, and tomorrow we have a virology lab, and I think we'll be doing snap tests.

Couple random things - I ordered the virtual anatomy dvd from CSU's vet school, and it's awesome. If you're reading this, and going to, or thinking about going to vet school, buy it. Next on my list of random stuff to buy is the veterinary nerdbook. I've heard it's awesome, but I haven't had a chance to browse through one yet.

Its weird thinking that I'm halfway through week 6. Only 2 1/2 weeks until the midterms of doom - we don't have frequent testing like a lot of schools. We only have tests every 9 weeks, so two giant tests each semester. I should probably be more freaked out by it than I am, but I'm pretty low stress right now.

I also found out after doing last week's case (about nutritional deficiencies in iguanas) that my super crazy cactus tree in my backyard is one of the "ideal" foods for captive herbiverous reptiles, because of the calcium:phosphorus ratio. I tried to tell Tyler that this was a sign we needed a bunch of tortoises. He didn't fall for it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Has it already been a month of classes?

Week 5 started today with a bang. I spent the morning on VACS (Veterinary ambulatory community service), a big RV that works with local shelters to do cheap/free spays, neuters and vaccinations. Got to do a pre-surgical physical exam on a GSD, and got attacked by a satan cat who latched itself deeply into the skin on my hand. I know a lot of people don't like working with cats for precisely that reason - a scared one will figure out how to use all four limbs and its teeth against you. I don't mind - as long as you avoid their teeth, and keep them away from your face, scratches really don't hurt that bad, and who can resist a kitty, no matter how scared it is, and no matter how many pointy things it directs at you?

Of course, this attitude is probably why I adopted the Baby Chicken, my black kitten that was raised by one of my favorite co-workers back in Colorado. She's got an evil streak. When my co-worker was trying to find a home for her when she was 8 weeks old, people would come and look at her, she would claw them, and then they'd quickly change their minds. I felt bad for her, so I took her home. Tyler spent the first few months absolutely terrified of her. I found myself defending her. "She's just a little bitey. But she's sweet. Well, of course she clawed you, you tried to pet her on your terms. Don't move your toes when you're under the blanket, 'cause she'll attack. But she's just trying to play. She's just a kitten!" She's just over a year old now, and something strange has been happening to her over the past month or two. My evil little kitten of doom has been transforming into the most demanding, pushy cuddler. All of a sudden, instead of attacking your feet while you're on the couch, she'll jump on your lap, and headbutt you with maximum force until you pet her. At night, she will barely wait for you to get under the covers before she's lying on your chest purring up a storm. I told Tyler she was a sweet cat. She just had to wait a year until it was obvious to anybody but me.

Speaking of things that I think are adorable, but can easily hurt you, our case this week is an Iguana! Squee! I don't know why I'm so excited about it, but I'm a sucker for exotics.

And since there isn't enough complaining in this post, after anatomy today, we had a lecture called "Stress Management." It involved new-age hippies that rang bells and made us meditate. A classmate calculated that school costs us $200/hr in tuition. Which means that I just spent $400 on a terrible meditation class. You know what reduces my stress? Not making me waste 2 hours that I could have used on more productive things like sleeping or studying. I would rather have had another cat latched to my hand than sit through it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The blow

I live in Pomona, within a few minutes driving distance from the school. I'm pretty sure the majority of my classmates live farther away (in Claremont or Diamond Bar), since Pomona isn't exactly the nicest area. I had a classmate ask me the other day if it bothered me to live in the area I do, and quite honestly, its not that bad.

The majority of the people reading this are either in or from Colorado, and will completely understand what I'm talking about. I live in the blow.

Pueblo (affectionately named "the blow," since it, well, blows,) and Pomona are like long lost twin cities. They have similar population sizes. Pueblo is home to the Colorado State Fair. Pomona is home to the LA County Fair. Pueblo is 44% Latino, Pomona 64%. Pueblo suffered economically in the 70's from the crash of the Steel Mills, while Pomona lost their main industry around the same time. They're both kind of dumpy. Both cities have really similar feels while driving around.

So Tyler has taken it upon himself to crown the city we live in "Blowmona."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And another post before I forget

Last night I was talking to my brother on the phone. He just moved to Tuscon to get his masters in aquaculture or fishery science, or something along those lines (can you tell what good of a sister I am? I can't even remember the name of his degree. Could be worse. I think it was dad that accidentially said my undergrad degree was in orgasmic biology. I wish.)

Anyway, he's two weeks into his program, working part time working with the researchers in the fishery, part time bartending, and taking a full course load. Needless to say, he's freaking out, and he kind of sounds like where I was a few weeks ago.

I was trying to be helpful, and I said something along the lines of "Well, if you can tough it out for two years, you'll be able to do what you love." Long silence. He replies, "I think I love doing nothing." We then had a decently long conversation about if we up and left school, the merits of being a bum vs. being a hunter gatherer. I think all that really divides the two are bums tend to be urban, and hunter gatherers would be more rural. Bums beg for change and eat pigeons -not kidding, I did see a homeless guy eating a pigeon feathers and all once- and hunter gatherers mooch off somebody else's land and eat bigger game.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what higher education does to you. Next time you've got some smelly schitzophrenic bum asking for change, ask yourself, "is this guy the scum of our society, or a really burnt out scientist?"

Hang in there Eric. It gets better. And if you finish your M.S. and still want to be a hunter gatherer, you'll have all the information you need to create a biologically viable fish farm in the center of your tent city. Then you'll be the Jesus of the hobo world, and have fresh sushi. Its win-win.

Sheep Wrassling

So at 7:00 this morning, I donned my ghostbusters uniform, and drove to Cal Poly to go wrassle some sheep and goats. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, so didn't get to wrassle goats (and I have such a soft spot for goats,) but the sheep were fun.

We got to herd the flock into a corner of the paddock, then we'd single one out, grab it, and flip it, so it was up on its hind end. It pretty much had the same effect as flipping a rabbit onto their back, where they suddenly become calm, and you can look them over. So I got to catch and restrain some sheep, listen to their heart, lungs, and ruminant sounds, and practice doing a physical exam on them.

No awesome pictures yet of handling the sheep, since the ones of me weren't taken on my camera, but until I get those emailed to me, here's some pictures of most of my PBL group (minus one. She took off before we gathered for pics.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 4

Today's case is involves an emaciated ewe that's losing her hair. They've already given us a tentive diagnosis, but I think they're going to throw us for a loop on wednesday (and based off the name of the case in one class's grade book, I'm pretty sure where its going.)

I don't know a damn thing about sheep, except that they taste bad (I ordered lamb shanks at the Elephant Bar once. Was not impressed). Thursday I get to actually put my grubby little mitts on real sheep!

And just for fun, one of my classmates posted a link to this video on facebook.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Humane Society crisis averted.

Tyler and I drove down to the Humane society today to iron out the pet's liscenses. I gave them the paperwork I had, showed them when all the critters were fixed, they asked when we moved to Pomona, and done. That was it. No late fees, no hassle about sterilization certificates, a completely painless process. I think poor Tyler just got the short end of the stick with the person who was helping him. I got the helpful, nice CSR, and he got the person who had a little bit of authority, and decided to go on a power trip.

I also spent about 4 hours in the anatomy lab this morning. I think I'm pretty solid on the bones and vessels of the pelvic limb, but I still suck at the muscles. My goal this weekend is to get them straightened out.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Damn horse case

So I figured since today was friday, we'd finally be told what the diagnosis on our horse case was for the week. It gave us some genetic info on his Dam, and then when we asked for a genetic test for the condition we thought we had, the case said "before being able to conclusively diagnose this horse, it was struck by lightning and died." Aargh! So frustrating, but I guess all our cases are based on real animals, so that's what actually happened with the horse in question.

I also went to that paleopathology talk today. It was really awesome. The pathologist who was presenting was talking about how she worked with Sue the T-Rex. I'm jealous.

I also got my required tan coveralls for when we do clinical skills at the ovine and bovine places. Tan coveralls just scream "put a ghostbusters patch on me" in my head. As tempting as it is, I don't think anybody would have a sense of humor about it. But really, why tan coveralls? Whats wrong with blue or green?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Struggles with the inland empire humane society

During the last day of orientation for school, I came home to find a letter hanging on my doorknob from the inland empire humane society (the group that covers Pomona and a bunch of other cities,) basically saying "leave a check and rabies certs for all your pets, for when we come back by tomorrow, or we'll slam you with late fees" So I found the cat's rabies certificates, wrote a check, and left it hanging on the front door. The next day, when I came back from the white coat ceremony, there was an invoice for all the critters, saying they still needed rabies certs for the dogs. About a week later, I got a letter in the mail saying that I owed late fees, plus they wanted to charge me the "unfixed" fee for each of my pets. I also still needed proof of rabies for my dogs.

Well, when I vaccinated my dogs last year, I forgot to print out rabies certificates. No big deal, but I since I didn't print them, I couldn't call work and ask them to print them retroactively. So I made an appointment with school for the first day they were available to get my dogs re-vaccinated.

Today was the first day that they could get me in, that I had a few hours off from class. I got the dogs re-vaccinated, got rabies certificates, and sent Tyler to the humane society to straighten it out while I was in class.

Apparently, the girl he talked to was a complete dick about the whole thing. She kept insisting that she needed spay and neuter certificates for each of the pets to prove they were fixed. Fair enough, except I don't think our clinic even offered such a thing. I didn't have "certificates" of their reproductive status, but I did send him with their freaking MEDICAL RECORDS, that document each of the surgeries. They wouldn't accept the medical records as proof of being sterilized. Then Tyler mentioned that the late fee was bogus - we had complied with their liscensing request, and it was within 30 days of moving here, even though we weren't able to iron everything out until today. The bimbo he talked to gave him the business card of the person to talk to, even though the person was right there in the office, and she could have just let Tyler talk to him then and there. Tyler wasn't sure how to proceed, so he waited to call until I got out of class - and now he's out for the day.

I guess I'm driving down there on Saturday to try to iron it out. But if I strangle somebody there, you all know why.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An unexpected twist

In PBL today, we got our genetic test back for our horse. It turns out that the genetic disease that made sense for his pedegree and symptoms wasn't the problem. *sigh* back to reading.

We also had a "club day" during lunch. All the clubs set up booths, sold random stuff and food, and recruited members. I ended up joining the Zoo, Wildlife, Exotic and Conservation club, the pathology club, and I'll probably end up joining the student chapter of the AVMA and the emergency and critical care clubs as well.

Yesterday, I had my first morning at Banfield. Did a physical exam on a boxer, ran bloodwork, and did a blood differential. Not a whole lot for being there for 4 hours, but it beats sitting through a lecture. I think I have 3 more clinical experiences before midterms: one with VACS, our school's mobile spay/neuter van, one with sheep and ruminants, and one with horses. One of the vets that was teaching us exam skills was telling us how jealous he is of the early exposure we're getting. He said he was super excited when he went to vet school, because he finially got to touch a cat his third year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week 3

Just got home from our first day of week 3. We have a horse case this week. We're dealing with a yearling with muscle spasms and "Impressive" lineage (horse people or Fugly Horse of the Day readers will know exactly what we're dealing with here), a lame limb, worms and cryptorchidism.

I'm trying to get started researching everything I need to. I know what physiology I need to look up, the parasitology, the pharmacology, and everything else - but I don't know what I should read about in anatomy to prepare for anatomy lab tomorrow. Hock? Testicles? A certain muscle group? Aargh.

After I posted this, I just checked my email, and HECK YES!!!!

The study of diseases in ancient animals, like dinosaurs, is complicated by the lack of most clinical tools -- lab values, pathogen culturing, genetic analysis, symptomatology, even soft tissue. Neverless, some diseases are revealed in the fossil record. Their analysis is profoundly affected by modern animals used as comparitive reference models. This is an excelent opportunity to learn about cases of pathology in pelycosaurs and dinosaurs, and the techniques used to arrive at "diagnosis"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Feeling pretty good

Yesterday was pretty awesome.

In the morning, we had a couple hours to practice clinical exams on some of the faculty member's dogs. I got to hear a heart murmer on an older lab mix. I found a skritchy spot on a norwitch terrier that made it try to scratch with both legs at the same time, so it just ended up with its butt bouncing on the table. Best of all was when I went to do an exam on a min-pin mix. I walked up to the table it was on, and said hello to the dog. It ran over to me and licked my face, with its little nubbin wagging like crazy. The vet who owned it said "that's really bizarre. He never warms up to new people that quickly!" He then proceeded to growl at all of the other students that approached him, but would then turn around and give me kisses. Win!

In our PBL group, we had to present what we would tell our client about how we would reccommend proceeding with their dog's back/hip problem. We covered getting further, more in-depth imaging, surgically repairing it, and how to manage it medically, if they didn't want to spring for the more expensive option. Turns out that our group nailed it - our fictional client decided to try to manage it medically, with an MRI and surgery as a last resort. And our reccommendations for managing it medically were spot on!

I did screw up a bit yesterday. After our micro/cellular biology class, I forgot that I was supposed to get my 2nd rabies vaccine. I've emailed people, and hopefully I can schedule something to get it done at another time, but I'm kicking myself for spacing it. And it seems like it'd be so easy to space things. We have some things that happen every week no matter what, but things like working at the clinics, or some of our labs are constantly changing, and I'm always worried that I missed an email, or that I didn't copy something down correctly.

Anyway, I'm going to spend the weekend catching up on anatomy and histology. I also still need to buy rubber boots and coveralls for my large animal clinics, and a pair of paddock boots for my equine clinics. I'm also going to see if I can either download "The Girl who Played with Fire," or if I can get caught up enough, see if I can talk Tyler into driving down to Pasadena to see it in the theater.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hard not to be a bit paranoid...

A few days ago, when I was sitting at my front porch, a neighbor stopped by to chat. He mentioned that while I was in class, somebody in a red car had been at my house, and around back (looking for me?) I don't know. He was telling me this in very broken english, so I kind of brushed it off and didn't think anything about it.

Today when I was out front, a car pulled up behind mine, and a guy with long grey hair got out. He said he was with the neighborhood watch, and wanted to know if the name of the park across the street for me was X park. I said yes. He then asked if my landlord was Ms. X. I said yes. Then he snapped a picture of the front of my house, presumably getting Tyler and I in the frame, then drove off. WTF? It was creepy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 2 begins

After a rocky start, I'm almost halfway through week 2.
This week's case is about a medium-large mix breed dog with hip and lower back soreness. Been doing a lot of research not just into hip displasya, but also other musculoskeletal degenerative diseases, and a bajillion other tangentally related subjects.

One thing I've noticed in our 2 PBL cases so far, is that when it gives us the pet's history, the diet information is skewed towards Hills. When the dog presents and its obese, our case tells us that the owner is feeding Ol Roy, but then at the end of the case, they tell us that we suggested Hills r/d, and now the dog's a healthy weight. This week's case has a dog that's a healthy weight, and other than the hip issues, is in good shape. Of course they mention that the dog is eating Hills science diet. Before I enrolled here, I asked a couple people about the corporate involvement, and they insisted that it was very minimal - 2 4 hour shifts at Banfield per semester, and Hills just had their name on a building. They didn't mention the subtle pro-Hills agenda in our cases. Luckily, our curriculim encourages us to seek out reliable, varied sources for each subject - so I fully plan on getting all my nutrition information from as many sources as possible. I'm not one of the pet food nuts, I don't feed BARF, I don't think there's a commercial pet food conspiracy. But I also don't think that commercial interests have a place in higher education, and it feels like there's this subtle pressure on everybody to feel indebted to them, so after we graduate, we all carry their "prescription" diets.

This is embarassing to admit, but I think I should be honest about it, especially if other vet students are reading this blog. The end of last week, Saturday, Sunday, and yesterday were all one big meltdown on my behalf. I'd stress out, thinking I can never learn all this information in a set time, then I'd cry. Then I'd try to pep-talk myself into thinking I could do it, but since I was so stressed out, I wouldn't remember a damn thing. Then I'd cry again. Its been a terrible cycle of feeling stupid, self-doubt, and thinking that I made the biggest mistake ever by coming here. For some reason, today I woke up feeling ok about everything, which is weird, considering that yesterday, I was contemplating the consequences of breaking my lease, getting a moving truck, and returning to Colorado. It has been one giant mind-fuck moodswing. Why am I even admitting to something so embarassing? Because today, when I was going into the anatomy lab after hours, I ran into a classmate. I asked a generic "hey, how're you?", and he looked at me wide-eyed and said "Not good. I don't know if I'm studying too much, or not enough, and I don't know how to handle everything." So I told him what I've been going through, and he really seemed to appreciate that he wasn't the only one. So If you're reading this, and you're a classmate, or if you're reading this years from when it was written, and maybe experiencing something similar, YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE. Nothing to do but plough through it, do your best, and hope it gets better as you acclimate.

I don't spend any time in the clinics this week, but next week, I do 4 hours in Banfield, and the week after, I get to spend 4 hours at Cal Poly with SHEEP!!! I don't know why I'm so excited about that. I don't know a damn thing about sheep, but I know I'm head over heels for goats, and sheep seem like slightly fluffier, less-cute, dumber goats. Its something to look forward to, at least.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Made it through week 1

Sooo... interesting week. We have PBL sessions 3 times a week, where we talk about our case, and come up with learning issues, then we go home and research those issues. For instance, in our case this week (a dog that was limping on its rear leg), we had to look into the radiology of the leg, why his radiograph was different from normal, different diagnostic tests, the pharmacology of certain drugs, the types of surgery to repair his injury, the histology of the joint, and a bunch of other things. I really enjoy that part, because each piece of information you learn has a "why" attached to it, you can put in in context, and you feel like you're making progress.

We also got to spend some time in the Hill's wellness center this week. We learned how to do physical exams, and just covered some very basic clinical skills. So its nice, while being buried under this avalanche of information that you actually get to do some hands-one work, and get a peek at why you're going through this in the first place.

We did have a couple "lectures" throughout the week. We discussed a journal review on cartilage degridation, had a Q&A session where we reviewed the radiology of our case, and talked about a speech our small groups have to get for a class called "Veterinary Issues."

The part that has me in a sheer panic is anatomy (and a little bit histology.) I SUCK at straight memorization. I went in today, and spent an extra 3 hours in the anatomy lab with my group, and they were kind enough to let me basically dissect a whole leg, but I'm having the hardest time remembering the names of the muscles, and the features on the bone. Its had me in tears at multiple points throughout the week, and I've even thought that its not too late to pack up and go home. I've been giving myself pep talks pretty much all week, and forcing myself to work on remembering everything, but I can pretty much guarentee that this will be a thorn in my side for the next 4 years. I need to talk to the school about getting a tutor, or something.

Oh, as far as anatomy goes - I like how the school handles it. Instead of using purpose-bred dogs for dissection, Western only uses donated animals. So each group has a dog of varying size, age, breed and health. We have the opportunity to stumble across some abnormal features due to illness or injury. Its cool. But, they do try to emphasize that these were once pets. Many dogs still have collars on. Ours doesn't, but her name is written on her ID tag. Its a bit unsettling, but I suppose it would be more unsettling if they tried to completely erase her history.

Anyway, that's week 1. PBL has an amazing way of highlighting just how much you don't know, but its also rewarding when you make big dents, and convert it to what you do know. There's so much information being thrown your way, and the schedule changes on you, and keeps you in this constant state of not knowing what to expect, or what's going on.

I've decided to study until Tyler wakes up (lucky bastard gets to sleep in today,) and then do something fun, just the two of us - I feel like I've been ignoring and neglecting him all week. Then I'll spend Sunday studying, and playing catch-up so I can start Week 2 on the right foot.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First "real" day of vet school

So today, we had our first real PBL case. The way it works, is you're presented with a case, just a little information at a time, and you have to identify what issues you don't know about within the case. You then request diagnostic testing, and get back more information. Each case is spread out over a week (PBL groups Monday, Wednesday and Friday,) and then labs and clinical stuff happens during the rest of the week.

I don't know how much information I can post about the cases, since it sounds like some of them get re-used. I want people considering Western to get an insight into the PBL process, but I don't want somebody to dig up my blog in a few years and know what each case is looking for exactly, so in the interest of academic honesty, I'll keep them very vague.

Today's case involves an overweight, geriatric dog that comes in with a limp. So within this case, we have to identify what the "Learning issues" are. For example, just from what we got today, we need to learn the anatomy of the hind limb, the range of motion (what is normal, and what is abnormal,) how to do an exam of the legs, how to read a radiograph of the stifle, and then there's a nutrition componant (since the dog's obese and the owner is feeding it Ol' Roy,) and a parasitology componant (he's an outdoor dog, so information on the lifecycle of fleas, and common diseases that use fleas as a vector.) Some of this information is broken up and researched seperately within our group, but most of it we each need to find and learn on our own, whether through textbooks, journal articles, websites (no, I'm not going to wiki my way through school), or podcasts. Remember, no lectures, we are responsible for aquiring and learning the information on our own.

After our PBL session, I got my first rabies shot, then ran to the bookstore and bought some anatomy and radiology books. After the walk from the bookstore to my car carrying my laptop and three large textbooks, my arm that I got the vaccine in is really sore. Luckily, the next two shots of the series happen on a friday, so if there's any effects, I should have a weekend to sleep them off. And that pile of books? Between it and my backpack, the stack on my passeger seat coming home was heavy enough to make my car think it was a passenger.

Tomorrow we have our first anatomy lab, and Thursday I'll be in the clinic for the first time. I'm going to go see about buying some furniture we haven't gotten yet, and then I imagine the rest of my afternoon is going to keep me with my nose buried in books.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Last couple days of orientation

Thursday brought another day of rah-rah teambuilding, forced dancing, and more free food. I already ranted enough about wednesday, so I don't need to anymore. I was a bit jealous when I found out that some classmates had been smart enough to play sick through the whole thing.

Friday started with university orientation - us, the dental, pharmacy, PT and master's students were all herded into a room where we sat through various presentations that applied to the whole school for a few hours.

We then had lunch with our big sibs. They gave us all boxes of goodies - a water bottle with the school's name (and purina's) on it, an ethicon kit for practicing tying sutures, an AVMA squishy donkey, and some other loot.

Lunch was followed by another practice PBL session, and we wrapped up the week.

Saturday I woke up early, picked up dad from his hotel, realized I left the tickets for the ceremonies at home, went back up to our house, grabbed tickets, waited in line to park at the convention center, then realized that dad's hotel was only 2 blocks away from the convention center. We were late, so we missed the beginning of the ceremony, but didn't really miss much. Sat through a bunch of speeches, then headed across town to the white coat ceremony.

The white coat ceremony is basically a ceremonial entrance into the profession. It stresses the importance of education, compassion, and the trust placed on you as a health professional. Each student walks across the stage, where a faculty member helps them into their white clinical jacket. After everybody is wearing their white coat, they recite a pledge to basically be the best student they can be. Pictures followed, then we went to the campus to get some bbq.

Tomorrow, I get to hang out in LA with dad, and prepare for Monday, when actual classes start.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Leadership Training," Day One.

So today, the third day of orientation, focused on "leadership training." Instead of wearing business casual, like we've been instructed to do for orientation, we were all supposed to wear our matching teal "DVM 2014" shirts.

For those of you who know me, you can probably see where this is headed: a very unhappy Karin. To be fair, I know I'm starting a new program, and I know I need to not make a shitty first impression, so I did participate, but I definitely was pretty grouchy about the whole thing all day.

I showed up wearing business casual - just in case a decent sized minority decided not to wear their class t-shirts. Unfortunately, everybody did, so I quickly threw my shirt over what I was wearing. Usually, I wouldn't have a problem being the one sticking out like a sore thumb, but first impressions and all, I figured I should cave.

After a welcome speech from the Dean of the college, we were herded back into the same room as the previous days. We were then greeted by a guest speaker from WSU, who runs these "Veterinary Leadership Experience" camps. So yes, he's associated with a school, and he's a DVM, but he's also got that cheeseball professional "inspirational speaker" vibe to him.

So its not going too badly - cheezy powerpoint lectures with "funny" (yes, that's in quotes for a reason) pictures and videos, and lots of talks on personal responsibility, self actualization, how preconceived notions color your perceptions, and responsible leadership. Nothing too bad.

Untill he throws on some terrible music, makes everybody stand up, and start doing some coordinated line dance. It occurs to me at this point, that I can just leave, and go back to Colorado. If it had been at an undergrad college, I probably would have. However, since at this point, this is what I want more than anything, I decide that since I already made it this far, I might as well be a sheeple and join. Yes, I died a little inside.

Then we break up into small groups, and go outside. We form a circle, and have to play a "get to know you" game with a rope, and going around the circle answering questions about ourselves. I'm pretty burnt out on this whole thing by now, and its not even lunchtime.

For lunch, we're packed onto yellow school busses, and shipped to a hotel conference room, where we're fed banquet food provided by the California Veterinary Medical Association. After a free lunch, and a talk about the CVMA, and its insurance arm, we're given dog food scoops, and pens bearing the name of the insurance company.

We're shipped back to the school, more dancing insues, there's a speech about imposter syndrome (which is actually a pretty interesting subject I've read tons about) was touched on, then more leadership crap, and meyer's briggs personality tests were touched on.

Outside again to do a "teamwork exercise," that is just like this computer game, only with us standing on paper plates, and we had to use teamwork to solve it. Whee! Can you just hear the fun meters going off? Seriously, at this point, I'm wishing that cyanide capsules were part of the required school supplies.

Inside again more more pop psychology brainwashing. Out again for another game (where people have to form a circle, and play a bizarre form of tag where groups of three have to act out animals.) This was supposed to teach us empathy for the person who was "it." Apparently, we were supposed to feel bad they were "it." I didn't. I was insanely glad that somebody other than me was "it," and was using my best "fuck off and die" vibes to keep anybody from tagging me while yelling "ELEPHANT!"

Back inside one last time to hear the Hills rep say something to our class, and try to buy our loyalty with free backpacks and planners.

Ok, this is a bitchy and cynical post. Anytime something is billed to be "fun" when its not actually fun, I'm going to be annoyed. Especially if said activities are pretty much forced down your throat. Last time I checked, I was entering proffessional school, not elementary school. Enough with the juvinile games. And I get annoyed when information that could be delivered in a couple articles that could be read in less than an hour, is stretched out over 8 hours, then made worse by forced "fun."

And I've complained already about how we're given so much stuff from all these different companies (and I'm only 3 days in and haven't officially started classes). Its worth checking out the No Free Lunch website. Its geared towards how all the free stuff piled on med students influences their decisions as a physician, but there's no reason why the same wouldn't hold true for dogfood companies and vet students. Basically, when you're given something for free, like a pen, or lunch, or whatever, it makes you feel indebted towards x company. Then when you're practicing, instead of looking for the company or product that's most appropriate, you tend to lean towards the one you feel indebted to. No free lunch advocates turning down all freebies to avoid this. I figure, that just saves the companies money on students that won't be profitable for them later, since they're resisting the manipulation. My plan is to cost them money in freebies, then as a practitioner, ignore the hype and do the right thing. Maybe by taking their stuff from them (and then re-homing it,) it will raise the costs of "buying" students, and hit them in their wallets. Like that hills laptop backpack I got today? Its going to goodwill, or a school supply drive.

Anyway, tomorrow's another 10 hour day of leadership/teamwork bullshit, and then back to more informational, less "inspirational" stuff. After today, I really can't wait for classes to start - I'm done with orientation. And when classes get bad, I can always think "well, I'm completely overwhelmed with what I have to learn, and I always feel like I'm behind, but at least they're not coercing me into dancing again."

And just an image to sum up how I feel about today:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vet school orientation

I just finished day 2 of vet school orientation.

Day 1, we showed up, picked up our orientation packets, which included our parking passes and white coat ceremony tickets. Then we had to go through several stations, which included ironing out any admissions issues, setting up our laptops (basically setting up our email clients to get the pop3 western mail,) and photos. The photos were funny. Basically, we took one for our IDs, and then they through a gown/robe on us, then had us take our graduation pictures. Taking my grad pictures before classes even started cracked me up a bit. I also picked up my white coat and nametag, and got a "Western U CVM 2014" t-shirt.

After that, we sat through a series of introductions, had Chipoltle brought in by Purina (They apparently try to start buying our loyalty early,) then 3 more hours of speeches of what to expect.

Day 2, they had the financial aid office talk to us, then talked about the cirriculum for awhile. Then Schering-Plough supplied pizza (once again - jumping in early to buy our loyalty), then we did a practice PBL session about a dog brought in for a wellness check, more lectures about the school, then an "expert meeting," where we circulated around and met with different faculty, talked about their areas of expertise, and they reccommended which books they prefer.

There are some things that are a little disorienting about the way Western's set up. They don't have any required books - they just tell you to test books out from the library, then only buy the ones you like. I did, however, enjoy the practice PBL session. Its going to be hard for the next 4 years, but it'd be hard at any school - at least this way I don't have to sit through lectures.

We got a list of required supplies, which I suppose I should start trying to accumulate - surgical tools, stethescope, scrubs, coveralls, boots, otoscope, and a couple other things.

We also got our schedule. It looks like mondays we'll be in class in the morning, then have the afternoons off. Tuesdays and thursdays have us in clinics in the mornings, then in the lab in the evenings. Wednesdays and Fridays are more classes. I'll probably scan my copy of my schedule later in the week.

Tomorrow and thursday sound pretty unpleasant. The schedule says "leadership training," but the 2013 students make it sound like forced teambuilding. Nobody will tell us what it involves, just to wear comfy clothes that we won't mind getting dirty. Now, I'm sure some people like the teambuilding crap - but I'm not one of them. Hopefully its not too bad, and hopefully its over soon. I think one of the days is almost 12 hours. I'm definitely to the point to where I'll be happy when this week is over, and real classes start.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Can't Sleep

Orientation starts tomorrow. Its 12:30, and I should probably be asleep right now, but I'm more nervous than tired. I wish the tired would kick in. I've got butterflies in my stomach, but I am so excited. In 7 1/2 hours I will officially be a vet student!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bonfire at the beach

Last night about 40 people from Western's DVM class of 2014 got together to meet before classes started. It was a little overwhelming to try and remember so many names - and its only a small fraction of the 105 people actually in our class. However, it was really nice to meet people ahead of time, and it looks like I'm going to have a bunch of kick-ass classmates. 2 more days off, then orientation starts.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Less than a week until classes start

and I think I'm ready. Thursday, a bunch of the vet students are getting together for a bonfire on the beach, so I'm excited to meet my new classmates, and I've got a couple of loose ends to tie up, but I think I'm ready for this.

Hopefully, soon this blog will be more of what it was originally planned to be: an in-depth look at a student's journey through vet school. During the application process, I got rather addicted to a couple vet student's blogs, but I couldn't find one that corresponded with Western U and their PBL curriculum. I'm going to try really hard to keep up with posting, so hopefully in 4 years, somebody who's curious about the whole process can read from beginning to end what to expect.

In other news, Skwissgaar is feeling a million times better than last week. The first couple days he was home, he mostly slept a lot, and would only eat a couple bites of wet food, if you really tempted him. Now he's running around like crazy, eating normally, drinking, and generally annoying the crap out of me. I've never been happier to be annoyed.

I also finally got my car tags taken care of, and now officially have a California car. I bought the car in June, and didn't want to have to transfer the tags, so I decided to drive it here on temp tags, and register it here when I could. Bad idea. It took forever for my bank to get the title from Colorado, and when I showed up at the DMV, nobody knew how to deal with an out-of-state car that had not previously been registered. It took 3 hours, and having to get the teller at the DMV to consult with her manager, but its taken care of. And to make me smile, my new liscense plates have a "TA2" in them. Stupid textspeek? Sure, but this tattooed freak appreciated it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A week of scares, close calls and thrills.

This week, Chelsea and Gentry flew out to visit us. The original plans were to spend the week having fun and hanging out with our friends: visit the beach, ride roller coasters, and generally just goof off.

We went to LA, walked hollywood blvd, visited the wax museum and ripleys, then boogie boarded at Santa Monica beach. The week was off to a good start.

The second day, Skwissgaar, my dobe, started puking. The he started having diarrhea. I took him into the banfield that's attached to my school, they put him on antiemetics, and all was looking well. He was still running around, saying hi to everybody in the clinic, and for the most part, being his hyper self.

Later that night, he started puking again. Then around 2, he started shitting bloody liquid. It was seriously like he had some sort of super soaker spraying out of his butt. The whole time I worked at my old job, I never saw diarrhea that severe. Imagine the movie the exorcist. It was worse than the pea soup vomit. We rushed him to the emergency clinic. By the time we got there, he was refusing to stand up to get out of the car. Tyler had to drag him out. We were rushed into a room, and told that the doctor was finishing a surgery, and there'd be a tiny wait. In the less than 1/2 hour that we were sitting in the exam room, Skwissgaar basically crashed. He laid down on the floor, and when the doctor came in, he wouldn't even raise his head to look at her. I think if we had waited another hour, or if the doctor had been farther into the surgery, he would have died. Luckily, they were able to pump him full of fluids, and he started to get better. They diagnosed him with hemmorhagic gastroenteritis, with no idea what caused it.

It took less than 8 hours from the first vet visit, where he was acting normally, and feeling well enough that the vet didn't think it was a big deal, to crashing out on the floor of the emergency vet.

The next day, our out-of-town guests were stuck hanging out at the house, because I didn't want to be too far away from my pup. We went to visit him, and he was slowly, but steadily getting better.

The day after, I talked to the doctor, and she wanted to keep him an extra day, even though he was probably ok to go home, just to be on the safe side. We decided to take advantage of him feeling better, but being supervised somewhere else, and went to Six Flags Magic Mountain.

The only roller coasters I've ridden have been at Lakeside and Elitches. Let me tell you, those don't come close to the thrill that is Magic Mountain. The first one we rode was the Goliath. 85 mph, and a 255 foot 61 degree drop. Then we rode scream and Batman. Then came the Riddler's Revenge. Its a standing coaster, and was pretty amazing. Later in the day, we hit up the Terminator coaster, which by wooden coaster standards was really fast. Probably my favorite wooden coaster I've ridden so far. We then wrapped up the day with what ended up being the two best coasters at the park. First, was Tatsu. When you get on Tatsu, you sit normally like you would in any foot-dangling coaster, but your feet are clamped into these mechanical stocks. Then the ride rotates you, so instead of sitting, you're facing the ground head-first, as if you were standing on your hands and knees. It was this thrilling, almost freeing sensation of gliding through the air. The last coaster of the day was the X2. Its billed as the world's first "fourth dimensional" coaster. There are speakers embedded in the headrests. There are fireballs that shoot at you. And best of all, the seats rotate independently of the track. You start out going up a steep incline, then the seats rotate you so the first dive, you go over the edge head first and backwards. Then throughout the ride, the seats do flips and spin as you're doing loops and rolls on the track.

On the way home from six flags, I got the best news. Skwissgaar would be ready to go home the next day, and was most likely in the clear.

We picked him up, and even though he's sluggish, and obviously not feeling well, he's keeping his food down, he's no longer spewing liquid out both ends, he's lost about 10 pounds, but he's better! He's wagging his tail, eating small amounts of food, and occasionally playing with Izzy before passing out for a couple hours. My puppy's going to be ok!!!