Monday, October 31, 2011

My poor baby girl

So Izzy had surgery today.  First, I have to say how abso-fucking-lutely amazing Dr. Bossong is.  He worked through his lunch break to do the cystotomy.  If I can be half the vet he is when I graduate, I'll be lucky.  I watched all but the last few minutes through the windows of the surgery suite.  If I didn't have to run to PBL, I would have stayed for all of it.  First, I have never seen a bladder that red and angry before.  I've only watched 3 or 4 other cystotomies, but the bladders on those were still pretty much normal pink.  Izzy's was bright red, and thick.  At first, Dr. Bossong couldn't find any of the stones, but when they flushed the urethra, they found that they had all pretty much settled in there (I cannot imagine how badly that hurt). Here's a small amount of what was taken out of her (the rest either went down the drain, or were sent to the lab.)

Anyway, Izzy's drugged up like crazy right now, and even though she just had abdominal surgery, she seems more comfortable tonight than she has since this all started on Wednesday.
Out of our two dogs, Izzy's Tyler's spoiled baby girl, and Skwissgaar's my spoiled boy.  I was worried about Skwissgaar annoying the heck out of Izmere, but I think he realizes something's going on.  For once in his life, he's actually being calm, and not pestering the poor girl.  He's been hanging out in his crate, and letting me hang out next to Izmere without getting jealous of the attention he's not getting.

Anyway, I need to get started studying for this week before the trick-or-treaters start ringing my doorbell every 5 minutes.  Our case this week is a runty mini schnauzer.  I'm relieved that we seem to be off of this whole cow GI kick we've had going the past 2 weeks.  On to the liver! (I think.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Poor Izzy

So Izmere's been a pain in the butt this weekend.  Last night, she managed to get out of her e-collar, chew through her ridiculous getup, and chew out her catheter, while unsupervised for maybe 20 minutes. I swear, she was just waiting for the first opportunity she wasn't being watched like a hawk.

Since she was still dribbling some pee, and didn't seem to be completely blocked, we elected to just take a "wait and watch" strategy, instead of having another catheter placed.  So today, she was lying on the couch, and started breathing heavily.  I walked over to check on her, and I swear, I heard a cartoonish "pop" noise.  All of a sudden, an entire bladder full of urine starts pouring out (luckily my couch cushion covers are removable.) After getting her outside, I went to clean up the accident, and found this.

I cannot imagine how badly it would have to hurt to pass something like that, but I feel so bad for my baby girl.  At least now she's sleeping, and acting more comfortable.  Less than 24 hours until surgery, and we can hopefully get this behind us.

I've spent all week worrying about her, taking her to vets, and I haven't gotten a whole lot of studying done.  I'm frantically trying to catch up on this week's case today, so I can start tomorrow's case with a clean slate.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Have I mentioned how amazing everybody here is?

So last night, Izmere blocked again last night.  Tyler took her to the e-clinic that we've been to before all of this started happening with Izzy and the bladder stones, and they had to put in a catheter yet again, and take another set of radiographs.  Luckily, the vet there was yet another Western U grad, and they didn't charge for the radiographs, and they gave Tyler their "professional discount," so it only ended up costing about $80. Without that bit of help, the bill would have been $275.

I went back into Banfield today to let them know what was going on, and Dr. Togneri placed a more permanent catheter to get us through the weekend, and Dr. Bossong agreed to do the surgery for me, knowing I can't pay for it.  The willingness of everybody I've talked to this past week to give us a bit of a break when we really need it, and help our dog has been pretty overwhelming.  I'm so lucky to have so many amazing people on faculty, and I definitely am going to pay forward as much of that good karma as I can, when I can.

Izzy's doing pretty good right now.  Her nose is a bit too long for her e-collar, and she looked like she wanted to lick the catheter, so I tried putting shorts on her.  She promptly wiggled out of them.  So I tried putting undies on her, and she wriggled out of those.  So I put a t-shirt on her, and rubber-banded the undies to those.  She hasn't gotten around that system yet, but she sure is giving me dirty looks about it.


(And yes, I know her e-collar is wonky.  I was in a hurry putting it together so I wouldn't be late to class, and made it "inside out."  It's been fixed since that picture was taken.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I am so exhausted.

Last night, my lovely dog decided to get a urinary blockage. Of course, our dogs never manage to get sick during the day, they always wait until around midnight.  After waiting about an hour, we decided to take her into the ER.  The first ER told us they were about to do an emergency surgery, and steered us towards another one in Upland.  The ER vet in Upland didn't feel comfortable un-blocking her (and was not the most pleasant vet I've come across, so I really didn't mind going elsewhere), so sent us to their other location in El Monte, about 25 minutes away.  So around 2 am, we finally got her seen, and unblocked.  We lucked out, since it happened to be a clinic that a classmate worked at before coming to school, and the vet was a 2007 Western grad. He treated Izzy for free, under the condition that I "gave my classmate a hard time."  Finally got home at 4:30, got to sleep around 5:30, and my alarm went off for class at 7.  I then dropped Izzy off at Banfield for a urinanalysis, and I'm going to try to manage her bladder stones medically, but she's probably going to need a cystotomy at some point.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can put it off until January, since I am flat broke, out of funds, and relying on my parents to help pay my bills until the next disbursement of student loans.  I managed to take a 1 1/2 hour nap after class, but I'm running on fumes, trying to get a bunch of studying done before tomorrow.  It's not quite as productive as I had hoped.

I'm tired, and stressed about money, and I just want this week to be over.

Speaking of money, surprisingly, that is probably the most stressful aspect of vet school.  We moved into the cheapest house we could find that would let us have our dobermans, which costs almost twice what our house in Colorado did, and it's a much worse value. At least my old house was in a good neighborhood, unlike my Pomona ghetto neighborhood here where I get to see homeless people sleeping in the park across the street, and hear hookers yelling at their johns.  When I budgeted what we could afford before we moved, I made the mistake of thinking I would cover half, and my husband would cover half of our bills.  It has not turned out that way at all.  He's only managed to find a low paying job that gives him around 35 hours per week, and barely covers gas and his own bills, with next to nothing left towards shared bills.  So around halfway through each semester, I find myself flat broke, and mooching off my parents' generosity, and it stresses me out like no other to have to ask them to pay my rent, when I should be a self-sufficient adult by now.  The resentment tends to build up towards my husband for not carrying his own weight, and I just get overwhelmed.  And then on top of all of that, I have to figure out how to get my dog surgery.  This is the 3rd ER visit with one of our dogs since moving here, and it seems like they're just financial time bombs.  They're already the reason why we have to live in a more expensive house, instead of a studio apartment.  Stupid cute, furry money pits.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I had a pretty amazing revelation this week.

A couple weeks ago, before midterms, I was threatening to drop out of school and run away with the circus.  Not because I have anything against school, it's just that tests were looming, and it seemed like a good idea.

I've had this idea floating around in the back of my head for years.  Once or twice a year, I look up Coney Island's sideshow school and wish that I could afford blowing $800 to learn to swallow swords and breath fire.  I've got a mild obsession with the Jim Rose Circus and Cirque Berzerk.  10 years ago, my biggest heroes were Erik Sprague and the Enigma.

Anyway.  Over the weekend, I was looking for summer internships.  I found a Ringling Brother's internship, that unfortunately, I cannot do, since it starts in February.  But for some reason, looking into the circus never occurred to me.  I figured if I wanted to work with exotics, my choices were private practice on exotic pets (most likely), working at a zoo (less likely, and I could never afford to pay off my student loans with a zoo vet salary), or finding a conservation/wildlife organization to work with (once again, probably doesn't pay well enough to handle 200k in student loans.)  I don't know why I never considered running away with the circus and being a vet at the same time.  Hmm.

Anyway, in school, we've got a cow case this week.  Similar to last week's case, but this one's an adult, compared to last week's calf case.  We don't have near enough information for me to even narrow down my list of what the cow has, so I guess in the meantime, I can finish making my study guide for rumen anatomy and physiology.

I also have a Hill's rotation tomorrow.  I made sure to wash and iron my white coat for tomorrow, but I'm noticing it looks kind of dingy.  Now I'm torn.  Do I bleach it again, and turn the embroidery that was once black an even weirder shade of brown, or do I just let it not be quite perfectly white?  I completely understand the rational behind the white coat - studies show that people unconsciously respect doctors wearing them more than other outfits.  The school needs a "uniform" to easily delineate students.  But it's white.  We work with animals.  Every time I wear it, it gets muddy paw prints, or blood or feces on it (no kidding, I actually had a chihuahua I was holding poop IN THE POCKET once.)  Maybe they should make our white coats out of some sort of awesome 70's shiny polyester so nothing stains, and we don't need to worry about bleaching out the apparently non-color-fast embroidery.  I don't think there's really a good solution to the problem.

Later in the week, we have some Halloween stuff going on at school.  Friday is the Spayghetti Dinner, a dinner with performances, costume contests, and a silent auction to raise money for local shelters. We also have a contest to decorate our PBL rooms for Halloween.  Last year, I was too stressed out to really think about doing either thing, but this year I'm pretty excited about both.  I've been searching through my house for decorations, and kicking myself for giving away so many boxes of Halloween stuff when I moved out here.  I'm also looking around at the stuff I do have, and I'm kind of paranoid about bringing it to school.  I pretty much kept my most valuable stuff, and I don't know how safe it is in our PBL rooms, and how much I trust the housekeeping staff.  Even if I leave the most awesome stuff at home, I think if I disassemble my living room decorations, I've got enough stuff to totally win a Halloween decorating contest.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Awesome therio lab today

We had a clinical skills lab scheduled for today that said nothing but "bovine therio" on the calendar.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  Last year, when we had a therio lab, we basically palpated a cow uterus through a curtain, and tried to find the ovaries, and practiced AI techniques.  I thought this might be similar.  

This time, we had a bunch of stillborn calves from a local dairy, and they were in model cows (basically a wooden frame with a plastic uterus and vagina.)  They had us practice palpating to find the position of the calves, then we had to place chains around their legs, so we could safely "deliver" them.  We also had fetotomy tools that we could practice using, in case you had a cow that couldn't deliver a dead calf.  It was disgusting and fascinating at the same time.  

It makes me look forward to when I graduate, and can afford some land, and can get some cattle of my own.  Still not interested enough by the cow stuff to consider food animal practice, but I do want my own herd.  And a goat.  And chickens.  And a large aquaponics greenhouse.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Those are cute shoes. I wonder why I never wear them?

I wish I had answered that question before the day started.  I grabbed this forgotten pair of mossimo ballet flats out of my closet this morning and threw them on.  I then drove to class, and realized that all the parking lots were full, except the one 4 blocks away.  Walking to class quickly answered my question from earlier in the morning.  I don't wear these shoes because they're evil, not broken in, and completely lacerated the backs of my heels. 

I enrolled in this business certificate program through the VBMA, which has a bunch of required lunch talks.  Today's talk was supposed to be about personality differences in the workplace.  It ended up being a 30 minute talk about Meyers Briggs personality types, and then another 20 minute digression into why the speaker's husband's personality traits infuriate her.  Awkward.  Not sure what exactly that had to do with business skills.  :)  

After lunch, I limped up to PBL, where we found out that our case is a calf with diarrhea.  So after I'm done procrastinating on here, I need to start looking into rumen anatomy and physiology, a bunch of microbiology, and fluids and acid/base balance stuff.  I know it's only the 2nd week of this block, but I'm way more in love with the internal medicine cases than the musculoskeletal cases.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New block started today!

Oof, long day.  Anatomy at 8.  Review test scores from 2 of last week's tests (the rest of the scores will slowly dribble in over the next few weeks.)  Meet Sarah for lunch before she moves back to New Hampshire on Thursday.  Palpate cows for pregnancy (eee!  I actually could feel membrane slip and amniotic vesicles!)  After palpating cows, completely forget all answers to questions we're asked about the estrous cycle (since it's been almost a year since I studied it.)  Get stuck in traffic on the way home.  Get a text from Sarah that her landlord isn't letting her keep her apartment while she's gone, and she now has about 36 hours to pack.  Help her pack.  Haul a carload of boxes full of textbooks back to my house for storage.  Sit down to study for this week's case, and realize that I'm too tired to even pay attention to what I'm reading.  Post on blog instead of doing anything useful.

Friday, October 7, 2011

And.... DONE. Hello, 3 day weekend!

I am so glad this week is over.  Nothing like 7 tests in 5 days to make you wonder if you actually retained anything you learned.  And nothing like leaving a test, double checking your answers, and realizing that you just mixed two disease processes into one.  (I'm looking at you, ACT.)  At least I have 8 more weeks before I have to go through that again. 

I've got 3 days, no studying.  I'm going to actually get my house clean, because it's a complete wreck right now.  Tyler and my anniversary was last saturday, but I kind of blew it off, so I'll try to do something fun to make up for it.  Plus, I should be able to watch 2 episodes of Dexter this weekend, and the season finale of Breaking Bad.  Whee!  (Ok, I realize I have no life.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

5 down, 2 to go.

And tomorrow cannot end soon enough.  I've got the worst tests out of the way, and I've already gotten a grade back on my molecular and cellular test (which I felt like I bombed, but I got my highest score ever on - there must have been a wicked curve, because I don't feel like I did that well.)  Tomorrow are two of the easiest tests of the week - clinical skills, where we do stuff like suture, put halters on animatronic horses, calculate drug dosages - all the relatively simple stuff that should theoretically be a breeze.  My brain is fried from this week, and for some reason, my hands always start shaking during that test, so things that I do well when I don't have somebody looking over my shoulder looking for ways to dock points go to shit. Try using surgical tools to put a nut on a bolt when your hands are shaking.  No bueno.   

My "studying" for that test is not going well so far.  We had some models available in the banfield to practice orthopedic maneuvers, that I was going to practice on this afternoon - apparently they took them away yesterday, so I get to go to the test without being able to practice them.  I tried practicing on the dogs, but they're only so patient for so long, and after a full orthopedic exam, and eye exam, Izzy tried to bite my face off when I went to use the otoscope on her ears.)  If I had known the models would be gone, I would've taken an hour out of studying for today's test to go do it yesterday.  Whatever, it is what it is.  

After clinical skills, we have the ACT - it's my favorite test, since instead of filling in bubbles for a couple hours, you actually get to write what you know, and use problem solving instead of just regurgitating information.  The best part about the ACT?  After I finish writing it, I have a three day weekend ahead of me!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dear Brain

Hey you, yeah, you squishy useless lump of grey stuff in my skull.  I don't know what is up with you this week, but blanking the names of things that you knew weeks ago, and definitely knew last night when I reviewed is not cool.  Also, pulling up random songs from my childhood that I haven't heard in over 20 years, and I didn't even know I knew the lyrics to until you got them stuck in my head is just wrong.  Did you use that to overwrite the data I need to use on my tests?  Shape up, brain, or I will start holding your non-functioning neurons hostage with a lobotomy pick.

The rest of the body.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Commence the fetal position

Midterms start tomorrow.  Amazing how yesterday, when I was reviewing, everything was serene, and I felt like I knew what I was doing.  Today, the opposite is true.  There's so many more things I need to review!  My pets are sensing that I'm stressed, so they're being extra clingy, then when they're pushed away, they decide that they just need to be more pushy and try even harder.  Aargh. 

I don't know if I updated on here or not, but my friend who was hospitalized is out and doing well.  The school's having her drop down into the class of 2015, and re-start her 2nd year, since she missed so much class.  I'm pretty bummed out about not having my best friend in my class with me anymore, but here's how awesome she is - yesterday, she thought I'd need a study break, and took me to get burgers. She told me today that even though she missed the last 4 cases, she'd do everything she could to quiz me and help me study.  She's such a badass, I'm going to miss having her around so much. 

About 5 years ago, I was considering going to dental school, instead of vet school.  When I was talking to my dentist about it, he said something along the lines of "You have to be a sadomasochist to go to dental school.  A sadist to do this to people all day, and a masochist to get through school."  While I ultimately chose vet med (because I wanted to have a career where I looked forward to going into work every day,) I was thinking about his quote earlier today.  Since there's really no sadism in vet med, I guess that just confirms that I'm a straight up masochist.  (Thanks, midterms for pointing that out!) 

At school we constantly get bombarded with hundreds of emails per week.  Some of them actually apply to us, or are important papers from classmates, or veterinary related clubs.  Others just clog up your inbox, and make you have to sort through and delete 20 spammy messages every day.  This week, we've been getting emails from the alternative medicine club (which I assume is associated with the DO school.)  It's a reminder for a lunch talk on homeopathic medicine, and they're providing a "free, non-pizza lunch."  Every time they send a reminder, I keep picturing them dropping a piece of pepperoni into a big bucket of water, diluting it over and over, then using that to feed the people coming to the lecture.  "Well, it's technically not pizza, and hopefully the placebo effect will make you feel full for an hour or so."

The new season of Dexter starts today, and I'm too broke to get showtime.  If anybody knows of a good place to download episodes, please let me know.  I'd rather not have to wait almost a year until it comes out on DVD.