Sunday, January 30, 2011

Productive weekend


Wake up, go to tutoring for 3 hours. (I absolutely adore my tutor, if I haven't mentioned that before. She's one of those people who's always so enthusiastic about everything that you can't help but have it wear off on you.)

Finish tutoring, meet up with some friends, review spinal and cranial nerves for 2 hours.

Get home, read 260 pages of neuro pathology. Convince a friend to go get Nicaraguan food. Eat amazing food. Go meet up with half the class at a bar celebrating a classmate's birthday, and hang out with a friend from SDN who interviewed earlier in the morning.


Wake up to a text from the same friend and her roommate wanting to get lunch and study. Eat amazing food somewhere in chino hills. (Crab and lobster artichoke dip, strawberry martini and weird gourmet awesome cheeziness.) Study cranial nerves and their corresponding foramana, plus review the last week's case for 4 hours. Get home. Realize I haven't done laundry or dishes in awhile. Say screw it, and put it off for another day. Take a formative quiz over the previous week's case, and complete the GRIP. Decide that oatmeal sounds like a perfectly decent dinner, mostly due to only having clean bowls and spoons. Panic, because a new week and a new case starts tomorrow, and even though most of the weekend was spent studying, feel like not enough was done. Convince husband to watch silly tv shows. Go to bed way too late, considering that I have to wake up at 7 am tomorrow.

Good times.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I feel so behind in classes. There is so much anatomy to learn with the facial nerves - all the facial muscles, all the bones and foramana of the skull... I kind of want to just curl up in the fetal position and hope it goes away.

I've also been dealing with the aftermath of the drunk driver that hit my car in October. I've been fielding calls from the defense attorney of the guy they arrested (who wasn't the guy who was driving,) and the DA. I still haven't gotten reimbursed by the owner of the car's insurance company, since they want me to get my car fixed first, then reimburse me, and I don't have the time to take off from school to deal with it, or the money to drop on a repair that I don't trust they'll reimburse me for.

But in better news, my sister-in-law finally decided to log into her facebook page - she just changed her profile picture, but that's all I need to know she's ok.

And I decided not to run for office for ZWEACC, our zoo and wildlife club (partially because I'm not sure its smart to add more to my plate, but mostly because they wanted us to make a speech in front of the club, and that was the deal breaker for me.) But I did get elected to be the webmaster of our pathology club, so I'm not a total slacker.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I < 3 Mondays

No. Really.

Mondays are our short days at school. We have "grand rounds" from 8-9, which is when we kind of wrap up the last week's case, and look at another case that presents with similar signs.

Then from 9-11 we have PBL, and we get the first disclosures for our new case. This week's case, by the way, is a horse with a unilateral facial paralysis.

Mondays are when I can spend a huge chunk of time researching the basic anatomy and physiology of the case we're on. And since it's such a short day, I can also sneak in a nap somewhere, since I'm never smart enough to get to sleep at a decent hour. Last week we had Monday off, and it threw me off all week.

On a completely different note, I'm a little bit annoyed. My sister-in-law is in Tunisia teaching English. If you watch the news, Tunisia just had a bit of a revolution, and she's living in the thick of it. She's also stubborn (in a good way,) and didn't leave when the American Embassy suggested it. I understand not wanting to abandon you're new family in a place where you feel you belong. But when there's rioting and violence, it'd be nice if she updated her facebook page to let the people here know she's ok. (To be fair, she did. But she hasn't since Wednesday. Grrr.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

That's not the point!

Me: "I wish somebody would write the book neurology for dummies."

Tyler: "Wouldn't that be like rocket science for dummies? I think it'd say 'If you're a dummy, you have no business reading this book.'"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Awesome day today

Today was pretty cool. I spent this morning in lab learning how to suture. Way easier than I thought it would be.

In PBL today, we got our neuro case. We haven't touched neuro before, so every single piece of information on the disclosure was pretty foreign to me. As I was reading, I was trying to remember snippets of information of information from undergrad physiology, without much luck. There's so incredibly much I need to learn this week, and I've only been out of class for 20 minutes, and I already feel behind. Welcome to my life.

In Vet Issues today, we had a speaker from Sorry Works, an orginization that talks to physicians about how apologizing and being transparent about mistakes can prevent expensive malpractice suits. Maybe this is because I'm (probably) the only one of my classmates that has, (almost) taken a vet to court, that it has seemed pretty intuitive to me.

Long story short, a few years ago I adopted a dog from the Humane Society, and they required that he be neutered before he could go home. They wouldn't let my normal vet do it, so I picked a practice that had a good reputation that was on their list. The doctor that did the neuter didn't ligate the testicular arteries correctly, and the single ligature on BOTH sides came off, causing my dog to hemmorhage, and racked up a VERY expensive emergency vet bill. He then tried to blame the outcome first on me (telling my I must've let my dog jump up on me or something - even though he was still groggy from anesthesia, and was very sedate until I noticed the swelling from the hemmorhage,) then tried to blame his suture company, saying that he'd had a "couple" ligatures come loose recently. The vets at the emergency clinic told me that the knots weren't tied tightly enough, and that they were shocked that there were still vets that only did one ligature per side. He promised to reimburse me for my emergency vet bills AFTER the suture company reimbursed him. He then proceeded to blow me off for the next month or so. Eventually, it got to the point to where I had all the paperwork filled out to take him to small claims court, and was going to have him served the next day. I decided to try one last thing before bringing him to court - I called Tom Martino the Troubleshooter, who has a radio show that concentrates on consumer protection. He called the vet who botched my dog's neuter, and half an hour later, I got a call from the vet saying my check would be at the front desk for me to pick up, then proceeded to yell at me and insult me for calling the radio show. Had he just apologized, admitted his mistake instead of blame shifting, and covered the bill for his mistake, I wouldn't have been as angry about the situation. But instead, here it is years later, and his name still makes me bristle. So yes, "sorry" does work. So does not being a grade-A asshole.

Anyway, that incident happened, and I was convinced at the time if I ever became a vet, that I would never act like that guy if (or when) I made a mistake. That experience taught me the value of saying "Medicine is both art, and science. I messed up on the art end. Unfortunately, I'm only human. How can I fix it for you?" It made me verry happy to have that same message officially be part of our curriculum.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Either excited or nervous, but can't decide.

Last week we finished up the last of our repro cases, and this week we move onto a block of neurology cases. I'm incredibly excited to learn about it, but completely intimidated at the same time. Since it's a short week, I don't really find out what our case is until tomorrow, so I'm kind of stumbling around tonight trying to guess at what is a good idea to study.

I had some friends come out and visit us last week, which was awesome. One of them is thinking about moving out here, so we may have a roommate soon.

We also went to Magic Mountain this weekend with one of my friends from school. We've decided that we need to schedule something awesome every couple weeks to keep from going crazy from not having lives outside of vet school. Ideas we came up with were the LA and San Diego Zoos, Sea World, and the LA museum. Disney, Universal and Knotts are also possibilities. Anybody have any other ideas for day-long distractions in the LA area?

Monday, January 10, 2011

At the start of a new semester

Classes started last week. I was being bright and optimistic about starting with better study habits right away. Then I got sick. Last week was a combination of sleep deprived haziness, and trying to study through a cold-induced fog brain. And it was a horse repro case that focused heavily on embryology. Not a good time to get sick. But my new group is really awesome, and not just my classmates - my facilitator is one of my favorite faculty members to listen to his lectures, and he's just as great in a small group setting as he in in lectures. And he brought us bagels, so extra points there. :)

This week is looking up, though. Another reproduction case, this time an English bulldog with heavy vaginal discharge. Which means I can call Mom on the phone and ask her the differences between how veterinary and human medicine would handle the same problems, then she'll get all grossed out that I'm talking about dog vaginal discharge, I'll get grossed out when she mentions the same on a human, and then we probably won't talk about class stuff again for a few days.

I went to the bookstore today to buy some WesternU gear. None of the hoodies were really something that I'd want to wear. They had some that looked decent, but they were too thin to be warm. I ended up getting a grey one, in an XL. I'm swimming in it, it's ugly, and it looks ridiculous, but it is so comfy.

And I'm debating if I want to run for an officer position for ZWEACC (zoo, wildlife, exotics, aquatics and conservation club.) Exotics and wildlife are where my heart lie, but I really don't know if adding stuff to my plate is a good idea or not. I don't have much time to decide.

Monday, January 3, 2011

One disaster of a dinner

I decided that since this was my last day of break before classes started, that I'd make a really good dinner, as I won't really have time for cooking again any time soon. You ever have one of those days where everything that can go wrong does? Yeah, it was one of those.

I had a pretty decent menu planned out. A standing rib roast, artichokes, bread, potatoes and key lime pie.

While the roast was in the oven, and the bread was rising on the counter, I got started on the pie. When it came time to get the limes, I went outside to the lime tree, jumped up to grab a lime off of a high branch, and stabbed the branch through my thumb. No biggie. I get the rest of the limes, and finish squeezing them, while trying to avoid getting lime juice in my new cut. Then I stepped out of the kitchen for a minute. When I came back, my dog jumped down from the counter with a guilty look on her face. A quick look around showed my bread dough was gone. I spent about 20 minutes feeding her peroxide and waiting for her to puke up the bread dough, before deciding to take her to the emergency vet for more powerful emetics. After about an hour at the e-vet, I came home and tried to finish up dinner.

I steamed the artichokes, and pulled the roast out of the oven. At this point I realize that the potatoes have been in there for way too long, thanks to the trip to the vet, and are now bricks. I baked the pie, topped it with meringue, then put it back in to broil for a couple minutes for the meringue to brown. I was carving the roast when I noticed a burning smell. I pull a burnt pie out of the oven, and into the freezer to cool (as the recipe instructed.) We eat dinner, which at this point consists of only the prime rib and artichokes (which were both fine.) I go to serve the pie, thinking that I could just peel the burnt meringue off. Even though I followed the recipe exactly, its soggy, curdled and inedible.

At this point, I can only laugh. How many things can get screwed up for one meal? I can understand burning one thing, but that was just pathetic. I'm not even dealing with the gigantic pile of dishes that resulted from this disaster until tomorrow.

I can only hope that this isn't a hint of things to come for the new year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My husband has the patience of a saint

Earlier today, I was driving home, and I had a pitbull run out in front of me. I managed to slam my breaks on just in time, but it reminded me of why I have the best husband ever.

One night a few years back, we were driving home pretty late at night, through a not-so-good neighborhood. I felt a bit of a thump, and pulled over, because while I didn't see anything run out in front of me, it sure didn't feel like I hit a rock, or something really solid.

So I pull over, and see a cat sprawled out in the middle of the street. I don't see any blood, but it's not moving. I start to take my jacket off, so I can wrap it up and scoop it up, when it pops up, and goes tearing off into somebody's yard. In a bad neighborhood (actually, a neighborhood that had recently been in the news for having a fair amount of meth houses). At 2 in the morning. In the winter.

Somehow, I convinced Tyler that the two of us HAD to find this cat to make sure it was ok. We're stumbling through yards with cars on cinderblocks, using our cell phones as flashlights, trying to find this damned cat. The whole time Tyler's mumbling something about "if we get shot over a stray cat, I'm going to be mad." We spent about an hour and a half looking. We called animal control, and they helped us look. We got yelled at by some people who were not happy to have people tromping around so late at night. And we never found the cat. I ended up assuring myself that if it could run, and must have jumped a 6 foot fence to get away from us, it couldn't have been too badly injured - I'm pretty sure it ran into the side of my tire, so it may have just been stunned. And somehow, despite a little grumbling, Tyler never argued with me about why nobody in their right mind would go to the lengths we did to find what was probably a stray cat. And that's why he's a keeper.

Back to the grind

I had a great trip to Colorado over Christmas. Not only did I get to see everybody I was missing like crazy, but I also missed the snow by about 12 hours (woo hoo!). I got to play my harp quite a bit, and since I was so excited to be going to the Dresden Dolls show, I figured out quite a few of their songs on it. I really need to figure out how to get that thing out here. I sold a lot of my stuff before coming out here - the only instruments I have are my bass guitars, but I sold my amp and my cello. I miss having something to play. I found a store in Pasadena that specializes in upright basses that I would love to go check out, but that seems like it could be a bit dangerous. I don't think I could go there and "just look."

The Dresden Doll's show was fun. It's not a genre of music that I've been to a show of before, and it took quite a bit of getting used to the audience singing along to every song and all of the screaming, but Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione are amazing performers.