Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 4!

At school, we've got our new case for the week.  It's another horse case, but it looks like we're finally moving from bone to muscle. 
I've been trying to be good, and keep up with making a study guide as I go.  I was putting one together for muscle physiology, and googled a couple things, especially pictures, so I could be lazy, and not have to scan pictures out of my physiology and histology books. 

Then I took a brief break, and read some cracked articles.  Apparently, since I had cookies on my computer from sites that mentioned muscles, google ads threw THIS ad at the bottom of the article I was reading. 

Oh, my god.  Kill it with fire!  Since there's no such thing as brain bleach, and it cannot be unseen, I figured I'd share it, and everybody can be creeped out by captain testosterone.  

This was going to be a serious post, but I cannot figure out any way to segue from that picture to any other topic.  Balls. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yay beefs!

Today we had our large animal rotation, and ended up working with beefs.  (I stole that phrase from a classmate.  I like it much better than "cattle," and at least it has a gender-neutral singular form.) 

First, we did a breeding soundness exam on a bull.  It involved a breif physical exam, examining, palpating and measuring the testicles, rectally palpating for the vesicular glands, ampullae, and prostate.  We then inserted an electroejaculator, and collected a semen sample.  It was really cool to get to see everything, instead of just reading about it.  I don't know if I'm the only person who sort of supplies their life with a soundtrack of songs that get stuck in my head, but the whole time we were doing the BSE, I had this song stuck in my head (warning, probably NSFW).  Stupid brain. 

After doing the BSE, we lead a bunch of calves through the shoot, and the vets vaccinated them, and then tagged and tattooed their ears.  While the brucella vaccine they were giving was required to be given by a liscensed DVM, they did let me tattoo and tag the calves.  It was pretty awesome.  And after working in tattoo studios for over 5 or 6 years, who would have thunk that the first tattoo I've done would be on a cow?

After that was all over, we had the opportunity to go back to school and watch a necropsy on a ram, which I really wanted to do, but after being out in the sun for 2 hours, and turning beet red, I was done for the day. 

It was probably one of my favorite rotations so far, and that's a lot, considering that I started vet school pretty cattle-phobic.  They still freak me out a little.  When I was a kid, we were out checking the fences at a relative's farm in Kansas, and all of the cows formed a circle around all of the calves, and looked like they were going to charge us.  Which is the same behavior that Triceratopses are thought to have done.  So I kind of grew up associating cattle with angry triceratopses. Laugh all you want. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 3 begins...

And it looks like it's going to be themed towards large animals. 
Our case this week is a horse hindlimb lameness case.  I'm a little baffled by all the hind limb stuff we're getting this year.  Last week we had 3 weeks of hind limb cases, and no front limb cases, so I kind of assumed that this year would be all front and no rear.  So far it's been 1 front limb case and 2 hind limb cases.  Weird. 
Tomorrow afternoon, I've got a large animal rotation.  I'm not sure what we're doing.  We're meeting up at a local community college's swine unit for 2 hours.  From what I understand, we could be looking at any of their animals that need to be checked over, so I don't know if we're going to be looking at swine, cattle, sheep or goats. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Apparently I'm a klutz.

I set up my blog so I'm able to post via email, either from my PC or from my phone.  Apparently a few days ago I accidentially forwarded a completely random email to my blogspot email.  Oops.  Sorry if you saw that and was wondering WTF was up. 

Classes are going well.  I don't have any rotations this week, so it'll be a little more laid back than the weeks where I do have rotations.  This week's case deals with bone repair and some common parasites. (So far.  Maybe they'll throw us a twist later in the week?)  I'm trying to be more organized with my notes and studying this year, so I'm forcing myself to use OneNote to keep everything together.  It seems to be working so far, but I have a feeling that there are a bunch of cool features I haven't discovered yet. 

We also had a pathology club officer's meeting today, and one of the things we were talking about was fundraising.  I suggested that we try to set up a day where people can pay to get decent, professional-quality portraits of their pets taken.  Partly, because I think it's a novel way to make money, and partly because whenever people post their professional portraits of their dogs on the forums, I get a little bit jealous.

And on the subject of doberman pictures, I have the show breeder I got one of my rescue dobes from as a friend on facebook.  Her dobe just had a litter, and she's always posting pictures of the pups.  They're finally out of the larval puppy stage, and into the freakin' adorable stage.  I'm glad she's all the way in Kansas, so there's zero temptation to even go look at them. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1st Banfield rotation of 2nd year

Only 2 days in, and I already had my first rotation.  I spent 4 hours in banfield today, doing physical exams, helping with a foreign body removal surgery, taking radiographs, and generally enjoying it.  The banfield rotation is definitely are a lot more fun this year than last.  I still can never remember how to use their practice management/medical records software, since it seems to have been designed by somebody in the 90's who had never used a computer before. 

The practice management software issue is one I put a lot of time into.  I make no secret of the fact that I plan on owning my own clinic within 10 years of graduating from school, and I've been doing a lot of research into the different software platforms.  The clinic I used to work at had avimark, which wasn't impressive, even though it's one of the most common in the industry.  Numerous threads on VIN, and even many of the software company's own sites fail to live up to what my expectations of good software should be.  If I knew any languages other than HTML and java, I would totally fix that.  But on the off chance that somebody who does reads this, here's my list:
  • Should be intuitive to regular computer users.  Keyboard shortcuts should mimic those we're already used to.  A search function should be ctrl-F (or command-F for mac users,) not one of the f-keys. This is one of the big areas most software I've looked at fails.
  • Should seamlessly integrate scheduling, billing, estimates, records, and patient reminders. 
  • Should automatically take care of inventory - drug quantities (and keep track of expiration dates,) medical supplies, while cross-referencing them with accounts receivable from suppliers.
  • Should have a quicken-like accounting function, and should take care of clinic accounting and payroll. The accounting software portion of it should let the owner look at their clinic's profits by categories, and run multiple "what if" scenarios.
  • Should have a logical record-keeping system, that's customizable to a clinic's needs, and that backs up medical records to either a hard drive or the cloud on a regular basis.
  • Needs to automatically upload lab results into medical record, straight from in-house lab. (Ditto for radiographs, ECGs, ultrasound images, cytology slides - anything that could be digitally integrated into a more complete medical record.)
I'm sure I'm leaving a lot of my requirements off this list, as I'm just taking a quick break from studying.  I really don't understand why there's not an ideal program yet on the market.  It's 2011.  It's not like I'm asking for something that is technologically impossible.  I honestly think that the market hasn't demanded this product yet, because the main buyers of practice management software aren't really comfortable with computers, so they don't know what to demand, or how to describe their needs.  Maybe there will be something fantastic by the time I can be in a position to have to make that decision. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well, that's a little awkward.

First day of 2nd year!  It was a short day, we just had PBL for 2 hours.  It's looking like I've got a pretty great group this time around. 
The awkward part comes in when our facilitator is asking us all of these questions about synovial fluid, chondrocytes and forelimb anatomy, and all of us have forgotten the details from last year, or in the case of the forelimb, haven't even looked into it yet.  It'll probably only take a week or so until everybody gets back into the swing of things, but it's already got a really good feel to it. 

Anyway, this week's case is a german shepherd mix pup with front limb lameness.  We don't really have enough information yet to know where it's going, but its nice of them to ease us in a little at the beginning of the year. 

Tomorrow I've got 8 am anatomy, a pathology lecture, then a banfield rotation.  This year, they've told us to wear scrubs to banfield, instead of business casual.  I'm not sure if we're going to be monitoring anesthesia, or assisting with surgeries, or if it will be more of the same, but I'm looking forward to finding out. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

2nd year orientation over

I just got home from the 2nd day of 2nd year orientation.  Yesterday, we had an Evelyn Woods reading dynamics class.  It wasn't particularly helpful, but it wasn't too painful to sit through, either.  Today, we had one announcement after the next about changes in our classes, and updates on university policy.  It wasn't bad at all, until the end.  We were scheduled to get out at 4:30, and around 3:30, it was looking like we had very little to go over, and we could wrap things up and get out early. 

Pretty much all we had to cover was a quickie reminder on plagiarism and copywrite issues. Those were partly due to a small chunk of our class that got in trouble last school year, because apparently you can be well on your way to becoming a doctor, and not have figured out that it's a bad idea to copy and paste an assignment you have to turn in. Those were to be followed by an overview of how to put together a CV.  Should have been pretty quick and straightforward. 

But nooo!  It's the anti-grey area part of the class to the rescue!  I'd forgotten about that particular subset of people over the summer.  Instead of using common sense, or realizing that there's not an exact answer to every question, they have to spend as much time as they can coming up with every potential hypothetical situation to see what catagory it falls in. They then proceed to beat whatever subject it is into the ground. 

An example of this group from last year - we were discussing disease onset in a pathology Q&A session.  So they spent about an hour on questions like "so if you hit your shin, and it takes a hour to swell, is that acute, or peracute?" "What if it took 35 minutes?" "What about 26.14728 minutes?" "What if it took an hour and three minutes?"  Aagh! We were held captive by an hour-long stream of questions along those lines. 

So they were back in full form today.  "What if you copy and paste some information for your own notes, is that plagiarism?" "Let me understand this.  It falls under fair use if I share a .pdf I got from the library with my PBL group.  What if I share it with my PBL group and ONE OTHER PERSON?" "What if I put together an outline of my notes to study off of.  Do I have to put a citation under any pictures I use?"  "You said to put any and all previous research on our CV.  Does that include undergrad?" 

After about 45 minutes of sitting through questions like that, your jaw starts to hurt from grinding your teeth.  It's baffling how people get so worked up over things.  Of course, nobody's going to look at your notes and cite you for plagiarism. If you're not turning it in, nobody's going to care. If you are turning it in, don't be stupid and copy/paste from a paper the instructor wrote (yes, somebody did this.) There's no legal definition of the exact amount of people who can utilize a resource before it stops being "fair use." It's like Potter Stewart's view of obscenity - "I'll know it when I see it."  And apparently, it's hard to grasp that the word "all" in regards to previous research encompasses undergrad, as the modifier "since undergrad" was not in that sentence. 

Umm... I guess the point of that, is that we didn't get out until about 5 minutes before we were scheduled to get out.  Thanks, askers of a million useless questions. 

Anyway, minor rant aside, orientation was good.  I got to have lunch with my awesome little sib, got to talk to my mentor for a bit this morning, bumped into my favorite 2013er.  And best of all, I didn't have to sit through any motivational speakers, nor was I coerced into dancing, or having group "fun" activities. 

I'm so excited for monday to start.  I'm pathetically giddy, considering the pile of stress that begins next week.  But it's the good kind, where you're doing what you love.  Last year, I was excited, but so overwhelmed with everything, so I ended up getting off to a rocky start, and not ever fully recovering.  This year, I'm pretty optimistic that things will go much more smoothly, and I can't wait to get started.  Come on, Monday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Last day of summer

I can't believe today's the last day of summer.  Tomorrow and Friday, we have a short orientation (looks like a speed reading class, and a bunch of announcements,) then real classes start monday.  This summer felt freakishly long, since much of it was spent at home, since I was pretty broke, and couldn't spend any money to actually DO something.  I'm excited to be going back, but somehow it managed to sneak up on me.  I'm pretty much looking forward to everything involved with school except one thing.  This year, anatomy lab starts at 8 am.  I am going to be a zombie.  I think I got a little spoiled last year not having to be in until 1 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, unless it was one of the rare days I had a rotation. 

I spent today up in the mountains with Tyler and some of his friends target shooting.  Even though I kept spraying myself with SPF 100, I seem to have picked up some extra freckles.  Damnit. 

If you're a first year reading this - good luck once classes start, and hopefully you're not finding orientation as painful as I did.  Luckily, the week is over pretty quickly, and you can pretend it never happened.  Once real classes start monday, you get pretty wrapped up in everything, and time passes freakishly fast.  Enjoy it while you can. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Get up and do something.

I don't care if you're a vet student, pre-vet, a grad student, faculty, or just value higher education.

Call or write your congressman or senators NOW. Our country undervalues education enough as it is. If subsidized loans are pulled from grad students, we're either going to end up with grads too broke to survive, or a bunch of smart people opting out of a graduate degree because it just became that much harder to afford.

Please take the 5 minutes to call or write, so much of our future's at stake.