Monday, September 26, 2011

1 week until mid-terms!

We're in the final stretch of week 8 - one more case, then a solid week of tests. 

I like to try to guess what type of case our upcoming cases will be.  I'm very often wrong, but it's a fun momentary distraction.  I was thinking that this week's case was going to be a large animal infectious disease (because we've gotten those alot right before exams,) but instead, it's a dog emergency case.  Talk about being pleasantly surprised.  I was just going to be happy if it wasn't another horse case.  I'm starting to feel like this about horses:

So far there's not a lot of NEW information on this case, but it does review a lot of old information and physiology from all over the place from last year.  While it should take some time to get caught up, it shouldn't be hard to remember with a little bit of review. 

My friend's out of the hospital, and doing well.  Unfortunately, she missed so much school, that she's going to either have to start her 2nd year over next year, or try to do next semester with our class, and fall semester with the class of 2015.  I'm really bummed out about not having her around, but incredibly thrilled that she's doing alright, and that she kicked the butt of sepsis and pneumonia. 

I need to kick my butt into high gear this week to prepare for exams.  I've got a rotation tomorrow, which hopefully won't cut into my study time too much.  I'd much rather be right in the middle of midterms, then have them a week away and looming over everything.  Hopefully time will fly. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

I am too easily distracted

It's Friday, which means that various people in my neighborhood are partying, and my poorly insulated 1920's house doesn't exactly keep out the noise.  I had the brilliant idea of putting on some instrumental music to drown it out so I could study.  Apparently, I cannot study and listen to Vivaldi at the same time - too many countermelodies to just get lost in.  I think an hour just disappeared sitting on the couch with earbuds in. 
And this is embarassing, but there was a part in one of the concertos I wanted to see what was going on in - so I downloaded the score, and apparently I can no longer read treble cleff.  It appears as if you don't use it for 10 years, you have to resort back to cheezy mnemonics to read it.  At least bass cleff is permanently seared into my brain.  (Now that would be embarassing if I forgot it.) 

The whole music thing really gets to me sometimes out here.  Playing music's always been a huge stress reliever, and I pretty much left everything at home.  Sure, I have my bass guitars out here, but I didn't have room in the moving pod for my amp.  And yes, I have the ukulele I just got, but that's a joke - I have a hard time even regarding it as a real instrument.  I really wish my harp wasn't sitting in my mom's living room back in Colorado, and I wish I still had my upright bass.  Selling my cello right before I moved probably wasn't the brightest move either, but once again, there was no space for it in the pod.  I just feel like I left a huge chunk of myself in Colorado, and it's honestly one of the things that makes me the most homesick at times.  I have to keep reminding myself that I chose science over music, and watching Tyler's attempt at a career in music definitely makes me realize I made the right choice, but damnit, I wish I could have both right now. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever

Gamers Unlock Protein Mystery that Baffled AIDS Researchers for Years

Basically, the University of Washington has a website,, where you can play competetive puzzle games, that aren't exactly games at all - you're figuring out protein structures, electron density, and actually helping science at the same time.  I'm not even going to download the program until after midterms, since it seems like it could be an addictive time suck, but damn, that's cool. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I hate my next door neighbors

I have houses on either side of mine.  On one side is a pair of DO students that also go to WesternU.  They're awesome.  They're not the problem.  On the north side of my house, are the most inconsiderate assholes ever.  I don't know if they run a chop shop, a repair business, or what, but they're always bringing different cars to their back yard, and working on them.  I don't mind the power tools so much, but what I do mind are the car stereos.  Whenever they get a car with a decent stereo, they play it as loud as it will go, less than 10 feet from my side windows.  It shakes my entire house, I can't concentrate, and their taste in music is godawful.  It ranges from mariachi to rap to buttrock.  I swear, there's a rule somewhere that the worse your music is, the more you have to force it on other people, as loudly as possible. 

Since Tyler's non-confrontational, he's pretty much talked me out of every solution I've come up with to the problem.  Call the cops?  Nope, he doesn't think it's fair without talking to them first.  Talk to them first?  They don't speak english, and he doesn't want to be the one to try to talk to them.  Use the plans I found online to build a homemade EMP gun out of an old microwave, and fry their electronics?  Probably illegal.  Launch dog poop over the fence until they turn it down?  He doesn't want to make enemies.  Re-name our wireless network to "the people at X address are horrible neighbors with shitty taste in music?  They're probably too ghetto to have a computer.  Hook up the ukulele to the amp outside, and play it non-stop until they turn down their crap?  Don't want to annoy the good neighbors.  Sit here and seethe while being unable to think due to the bass vibrations?  Sure, that's a good solution.  Aargh!

Update:  Tyler finally waited outside until there was a break in a song.  As soon as there was a quiet moment, he started chewing the neighbor out.  There's blissful quiet now (and they actually apologized.  I don't believe it was a sincere apology, but whatever).  We also talked to the good neighbors on the other side.  They're trying to study for a cardiology test, and they're less patient than us.  Apparently, they called the cops 4 times today because of the music.  Guess who never even showed up once?  Apparently in Pomona, having Colorado plates is a good reason for police to pull you over, you'll get chewed out for calling the police on a drunk driver that's trying to drive away after hitting your car, and 3 hours of over 120 decibles is A-OK.  And California natives wonder why those of us who moved from other parts of the country don't like it here.  It's because living in Pomona is barely a step up from living in Walmart.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Time to catch up

I am so behind this weekend.  I barely got any reading done at all last week, since my schedule has pretty much been: Wake up.  Go to class.  Go visit S in the hospital, until visiting hours are over.  Get home.  Remember I haven't eaten anything all day.  Eat something quickly.  Read a review paper about the case.  Take a shower.  Go to sleep.  Repeat. 

So now that I've got the weekend, I need to do a week's worth of reading ASAP, and then start reviewing for mid-terms in two weeks.  And make it to the hospital whenever I have my car.  And catch up on sleep.  Aargh! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bite me, Fusobacterium.

My best friend out here has been really sick since last thursday, and has landed herself in the hospital (once on Sunday, and again Tuesday through today.)  She'll probably be there for awhile longer.  It's bad when the infectious disease specialist comes in the room, and says that they isolated the cause of her sepsis, and that he can count on one hand the number of times he's seen somebody with Fusobacterium in a blood culture in the whole 20 years of his career.  I've been at the hospital the past 2 days with her, and haven't really gotten any studying done.  I'm just freaked out, my friend's sick, the hospital she's at seems ghetto, the nurses are ignoring her pages, and I really hope when her dad flies out tomorrow that he can convince her to insist on a transfer to a better facility. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Looks like a light week

So far this week, it looks like our case covers one of the differentials we covered during neuro block last year.  Nothing new (yet) to study.  Anatomy consists of the sinuses, larynx and pharynx, there's some microbiology, and radiographic anatomy of the horse noggin.  It's nice to have a light workload leading up to midterms. 

VACS last week was awesome.  I monitored anesthesia for a rabbit neuter, and watched a couple more rabbit neuters, a rabbit OVH, and two guinea pig neuters.  Out of all the rotations we do, VACS is the one I really look forward to getting to do, instead of seeing it as an inconvenience in the middle of a busy week. 

I have two more rotations this week.  Thursday I have an equine rotation, and in two weeks I have a rotation at Hills (which pretty much consists of wellness care and behavioral consults.)

Just in case anybody wanted to know why I play bass/harp, and don't sing, here's proof to you that I may be slightly tone deaf.  Did I mention that I got a freakin' ukulele this weekend?  I may not have any of the instruments I like here with me in California, but I now have a really high pitched instrument with a terrible tone. 

I was going to wait until just before midterms to post this, but I should probably be studying then, not uploading videos to youtube.  May I present what should be Western U's school spirit song? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Sorry, I'm probably a little too excited.  We have a turtle case this week.  Judging just from the picture we were given online on Monday (since we didn't have class,) I'm going to assume that the turtle our case was based off of has been subsisting on a diet of iceburg and ground beef. The poor guy's in terrible shape.  I did quite a bit into different nutrient deficiencies yesterday, as well as common viral and bacterial infections, and I should probably look into it even more today, just to be prepared.

Instead, I am completely side-tracked by random turtle stuff that is never going to find it's way onto the test, but is driving me batty.  Apparently, turtles (along with most reptiles, amphibians fish, and some birds) have one or more lymph hearts.  It's in such a wide variety of species, so it should be easy to find more information on, right?  No such luck.  Depending on which source I find, it either consists of smooth muscle, or skeletal muscle that resembles cardiac muscle in some ways (aargh, way to be completely non-specific, while covering all your bases!)  Nothing really describes the appearance - is it just constricted musclature around a lumen, or are there some forms of chambers? I found studies talking about the end diastolic volume in the lymph heart, so is that possible to have without chambers?  It seems pretty important - some studies I found showed that up to 20% of a turtle's plasma is contained in the lymph heart, and if it's disrupted or removed, it quickly leads to fatal edema - so why isn't there more information about this?  The most frustrating thing is many of the papers I'm finding were either written between 1880-1920, or cite papers that were that old.  I really need to just let it drop - I've already spent about 3 hours looking into it, and it's not going to help my grade in any way, but there's something about not being able to find a good answer that makes me reluctant to give up. 

Other than me wasting hours on something insignificant that I could have been using to do something useful, like review limb anatomy, this week's looking to be pretty freakin' fantastic.  I've got my VACS rotation on Thursday, which is hands down my favorite rotation - and this year, depending on how convincing we are that we know the surgical anatomy and procedures, we'll be able actually do parts of the spay/neuter surgeries.  This time we'll just be monitoring anesthesia and observing, but if all goes well, I should be able to get some decent hands-on experience during the last 3 rotations. 

We also have a reptile handling lab on Friday morning.  Last year's handling lab was kind of dissapointing, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this year's will be a little better. 

Anyway, since I'm on a reptile streak this week, this guy has been showing up on my porch for the last few days.  Anybody know what he is?  I'm thinking some sort of skink, but I'm too lazy to look it up.