Thursday, May 31, 2012

Job hunting sucks

Aargh.  I just want to find a summer job.  So far I've had two interviews, with the promise of calling back in "a few weeks" for a second interview, a bunch of resumes have been black-holed, I've had two "thanks, but we want to hire somebody permanent, not just over the summer" replies, and one "we don't really hire techs over the summer, but apply with us again once you're a vet" replies.  Stupid depressed economy.  I did, however manage to get 5 of my pets a job over the weekend.  They're getting volunteered for an ultrasound CE lab, I get some cash (about time those mooches started paying their own way,) and I also get to listen to a couple bonus ultrasound lectures, which should be really helpful.

I also got to do my surgery for the spay study yesterday.  Besides a few hiccups before the surgery already started (the whole schedule was running late, plus I kind of missed that my shelter dog had a spay scar hidden under her fur, so we had to scramble to find a new dog,) everything went really well.  It was really great practice, and I learned that just because I can do buried intradermal sutures really quickly on a practice board doesn't mean that I can do them quickly on a real dog for the first time.  For it only being 2nd year, I've already gotten to do most of two (OVH) spays (with the exception of closing the incision,) a neuter, and now a complete OVE spay from start to finish.  Not too shabby.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Excited for tomorrow

Tomorrow I get to do my ovariectomy for the spay study.  Today I have to go in, do a physical exam on my dog, walk her, and name her.  Since she's a shelter dog, she'll be getting adopted after I do the surgery.  Here's to hoping that not only does the surgery go well (which I'm sure it will, since I'll be assisted by a board-certified surgeon the whole time,) but also that she finds her forever home soon.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

A photo that accidentally turned into a bit of a soapboxing

People who know me know I used to work as a piercer for years before coming to vet school.  My next door med school neighbor decided that she needed some piercings before she left for her 3rd year rotations in Washington. Here's what she decided to do:

That's three 7/8" titanium surface bars - one vertical, and two diagonal.

When it comes to "professionalism" and body modifications, I've always felts like I have to be an ambassador for countering negative stereotypes.  I've always felt like because I have piercings and tattoos (and sometimes fun hair colors,) that as a result, I have to be "more" than everybody else.  I have to be more polite to strangers - holding doors, smiling for no freaking reason, and more tolerant of the stupids.  I have to be more successful than other 27-year-olds.  Basically, I feel as if by having my sleeve or piercings visible, I have to give off a positive impression to the public at large, in order to make body modifications more acceptable for the next generation.

We're getting there.  At the veterinary hospital I worked at, every employee had at least one tattoo (including the owner/veterinarian,) some of us had sleeves, and I pierced most of my co-workers, (once again, even the owner.)  Clients never had a problem with it, or if they did, they never said anything.

My next door neighbor will be a physician in two years - a physician with a pretty massive surface piercing project.  That's a big step up from some of the physicians I've come in contact over the years who have been completely ignorant of anything related to body modifications.

When I worked as a body piercer, I personally pierced police officers, doctors, lawyers, judges, nurses, coroners, a nun, you name it.  Last time I looked at the statistics, I think about 13% of americans overall had at least one tattoo, and in some age ranges, the numbers are as high as 40%.  Strangely, I've never seen similar statistics for body piercings.

It's kind of nice, thinking that probably within my lifetime that the taboo surrounding body modifications may be completely lifted, especially in professional settings.  I can guarantee that it's not that professionals of all stripes aren't modified - in fact, those with better jobs can afford amazing full-body tattoos that are conveniently hidden under their suit and tie.  It will just be nice when we feel that we don't have to hide under long sleeves or dermablend.  We're getting there.  As older generations die off, the power and perception is shifting.

One thing I've always tossed around is the possibility of specifically advertising your business to the body modification community.  You know how there's tow truck companies, or dry cleaners, or whatever that have the christian fish in their ads?  (Which, incidentally works on some people.  Tyler's mom apparently will chose a Xian company over a non-Xian company with lower prices or better service.)  I wonder if restaurants, or retail stores, or doctors, or vets advertised, or let it be known that they were mod-friendly (to their staff and their customers/clients,) if it would gain them an advantage by targeting a previously ignored demographic.  If it'd be possible, I have some pretty awesome ideas for hiring Erik Sprague and Dennis Avner for a business card/billboard photoshoot.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I should BBQ more often

Last night we had a BBQ.  Somehow, even though we only provided homemade ice cream and a couple sides, we now have a fridge full of leftovers.  I should seriously just start having barbeques instead of buying groceries, since every single time I've had one, I've ended up with more food than I started with.  Oh, and if you have an ice cream maker, you should make this ice cream recipe.  It sounds like a bizarre flavor combination, but it was so amazingly good.

I got some really good news yesterday.  For our third year rotations, our only zoo option was the LA zoo.  From talking to a bunch of current 3rd years, I gathered that it wasn't the best zoo to go to (not that I've heard the zoo itself was bad, but that it didn't have as glowing reviews as the others), but when we signed up for our rotations, it was the only option.  About a week or two ago, we found out that the Wildlife Safari in Oregon was accepting 6 students for next year, and I managed to be one of the lucky 6!  Now I don't have to battle traffic driving to LA every day for 2 weeks, and from what I hear through the grapevine, will get much more hands-on experience than I would at LA.  Finding that out seriously just made my week.

I'm also sending in applications like crazy trying to find a job.  I have one house call vet that wants me to interview with them, but they're throwing up all sorts of red flags, and the whole situation makes me nervous.
1. After googling their email address, I was taken to a poorly designed website that doesn't list the veterinarian's name, but does mention that they do accupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Two strikes there.
2. They want to 1099 me, instead of hiring me on as an employee.
3. Their advertisement said they were paying between $25-30/hour.  Who pays techs that amount?  Will they pull a bait-and-switch on pay? Are they able to pay that amount since they're not paying all the taxes they would on an employee?  Are they just not a very shrewd business person?
4.  They asked me to swing by the clinic they work at to interview on their lunch break, but not to call there, because their boss doesn't know they're setting up a house call business.
5.  They were more worried about whether I could lift 75 pounds, assist with euthanasia and had my own health insurance than any of the other information on my resume.
So, what do you think?  Scam?  Start-up business that just isn't run very smoothly?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Looks like I tried to drop off the face of the earth for a bit there

Last week was kind of crazy - the 2nd VBS test, Molecular and cellular biology, and the PAVE.  Basically, took all three of them while fighting the burnout of two weeks of straight testing.  (And from talking to classmates, I certainly wasn't the only one.)  The PAVE was pretty brutal.  Since I'm so great at making bad decisions, I stayed up until 4:30 the night before hanging out with my neighbors, then took the test on about 2 hours of sleep, and slightly hung over.  Everybody at school said not to study for it, but I think I accidentally took that to a whole new level.  I'm pretty sure there's a difference between "don't study" and "actively sabotage yourself."  I guess that's one of the great things about not being interested in an internship or residency - I can pull a stupid move like that and still feel pretty freakin' zen about it.

Anyway, I left immediately after finals to go to my Grandma's funeral, and just now got back into California.  I'm going a little bit stir crazy - not only do I not have anything I have to do right now (it's so HARD to shake the feeling I should be studying!), but I also quit smoking immediately after finals were over.  I haven't had a cigarette since Thursday night, and I'm not entirely sure what to do with myself.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And then there was one

I'm pretty much done with finals.  I have tomorrow off, and then I take the PAVE on Thursday.

I had my molecular and cellular biology test this morning at 9, and for some stupid reason, I stayed up until 4 yesterday talking to the neighbors, so I took it in a very sleep deprived state.  After taking the test, I went home and took a nap for a few hours, and I have been in the best mood since waking up.  I don't have anything stressing me out, and this is probably the calmest I've been in a month.  It's pretty great.

Friday, I fly out to Colorado for Grandma's funeral.  Tyler has to drop me off at LAX probably 5 hours before my flight so he can get to work on time.  Which means I should bring my kindle.  Which means I GET TO READ FOR FUN!  Fiction, not physiology!  Wheeee!   That makes me way happier than it should.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This is either going to be epic or unwatchable

What do you think?  Does it have potential, or will it suck?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Week 1 of finals down.

3 more tests next week to go.

This week hasn't been too bad for finals.  I actually felt good about our first VBS test after taking it Tuesday, and I didn't screw up too badly on the practical.  I know I mis-labeled a tonsil as a lymph node, but that's a hell of a lot better than a few blocks ago when I labeled a lymph node as a testicle.  At least they were remotely similar this time.  Oh, and we had a case on our first VBS test that wasn't very anatomy-heavy, so they told us to review the liver for it.  Then on the test, there were only a couple liver questions, but a buttload of ruminant GI questions, which I haven't reviewed in about 6 months.  That was fun.  But who knows, I felt awful after last block's VBS tests, and I did ok on them, so maybe it's a bad sign to feel good about them afterwards.

We had our clinical skills test today.  I'll be honest, I didn't really study for it.  I looked at the suture patterns we had to do, realized they were all ones I could do well, and I peeked at some ECG abnormalities.  The one thing I decided to practice - hand ties using suture - was the one thing I effed up.  I've got tons of chains of perfect little hand ties here at home (haha, attached to the arm of my couch), but the two hand ties I had to do during the test?  Shaky hands, kept losing my grip on the suture, and I couldn't do anything gracefully.  *facepalm.*

In slightly interesting news, one of my friends here got an email that was bcc'ed to 11 other students saying that their titer levels on their rabies vaccines came back low, and they'd have to get boosted.  12 students out of a class of 105 seems like a really high number of vaccine failures.  Especially considering This study of vet students that showed only 2% didn't have high enough titers 2 years post-vaccination.  Hmm.  Statistical anomaly?  Something on the manufacturer's end?  Mis-handling of the vaccines on the school's vaccine clinic's end?  Lab error with the titer testing?  The world may never know.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Grandma passed today.  The selfish half of me is feeling sorry for myself, and feeling like the world is just that much emptier, now that it's missing somebody as unfailingly kind as she was.  The other half of me is relieved that she's no longer suffering.

Grandma was one of those people that never had a bad word to say about anybody, no matter how much of a jerk they were.  She always exuded kindness, love and acceptance.  The first time she met Tyler, she gave him a giant hug, and automatically accepted him into the fold.  When I was a little kid, and we would spend a week up at her house, I would bring my pet rats with me.  Now, I'm pretty sure Grandma was not a rat person, especially having grown up on a farm, they were a pest species to her.  But she would pretend to ooh and aah over them, because she knew they were important to me.

She was pragmatic.  She and Grandpa had the greenest thumbs of anybody I've ever met, and when I was a kid, their backyard was a lush wonderland that would put Martha Stewart to shame.   She'd send us grandkids into her perfectly manicured garden with clippers, and encourage us to bring back big bouquets to display, even if some of her gorgeous flowers would get mangled by 8-year-olds with gardening tools.

She was compassionate.  One summer when I was a teenager, I was taking a walk behind their house, and chased a magpie off from eating a live bat.  I wrapped the bat in my jacket, and took it back to her house, where she helped me put together a box to keep in in, and brought me first aid supplies (and heavy work gloves) to tend it's wounds, while grandpa built a bat box in his garage for when we released him.   I remember her crying, and genuinely feeling guilty about the one time she accidentally ran over a garter snake with the riding lawnmower.  She would help me roll back yards to find the garter snakes in her yard, and always emphasized how they always tried to provide safe places for them to coexist in their yard.

I'm going to miss her like crazy.  But there will always be a piece of her in my heart.  As much as it hurts to lose her, my life is that much richer for having known her for the past 27 years.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Next week is going to suck.

We finished our very last class today (now we just have finals to worry about).  I managed to sleep through my alarm until 3 minutes before I was supposed to be to class.  Somehow, I was only 7 minutes late.  

After class, those of us who are doing that spay study met up to watch an ovariectomy.

I left after the spay, to find a message on my phone from my mom.  My grandma's been going downhill for awhile, and today she's been non-responsive, her BP's non-measurable, and her breathing's really shallow.  So I've been trying to brace myself for the inevitable, while simultaneously trying to just focus on school.  It's really hard to study for finals when the computer screen is too blurry through tears to be able to read.  I got to see her over spring break, before she really started to decompensate, and I've gotten to speak with her on the phone a few times in the past couple weeks.  So no regrets there.  Just that she's always been one of my absolutely favorite people in the world, and I am in no way prepared to lose her.  I'm also pretty angry about how her medical care the past few months has gone, because human medicine really fails at end-of-life care.  She's been in hospice for the past few weeks, but I really think that vet med offers its patients more dignity than we offer our elderly.  So I'm in this weird place, where I'm kind of relieved she's passing, because it's an end to suffering, but I'm feeling really selfishly sad for myself.  It's going to be a rough week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Today was our last day (EVER!) of PBL.  We still have classes tomorrow and friday before finals (anatomy, and a clinical skills lecture,) but no more sitting around in small groups brainstorming over cases.  Except for when we're on rotations, and brainstorming over cases with other students and DVMs.  Or when we're in practice and consulting with colleagues over cases. But ignoring the "PBL" we'll be doing the rest of our lives, this was our last structured PBL session of vet school.  

The class of 2015 was doing a fundraiser selling finals survival gift baskets, and our facilitator bought one for our group.  It had a bunch of goodies in it, but the best part was a squeezy stress ball piggy.  

Bwahahaha!  I love him! 

Speaking of pigs, there was another fundraiser the class of 2015 did today.  They were charging people to vote for a faculty member to have to kiss a pig.  The local potbelly pig rescue showed up with not one, but THREE pigs.  One 2 year old potbelly, a 7 month old, and one that was only a couple weeks old.  Cuteness overload!  I got to give the babies skritches, and the oldest one would "shake" on command.  Sorry, I didn't think to take pictures of baby piggy goodness, and I don't want to rip of other people's pictures off of facebook.  

After filling up on piglet cuteness, I went with my friend Christine to the Banfield, where she's boarding her 
3.5 week old kitten she's bottle feeding while she's in class.  Not only did I get to hold her adorable munchkin, but there were 3 other kittens in there I got to say "hi" to through their cages.  It was a little too much adorableness crammed into one lunch hour.  

But yeah.  I made it through 2 years of PBL.  8 separate groups of 6-8 students + 1 faculty member.  And I managed to get 8 great groups, never hitting the "dud" mix of classmates or a bad facilitator.  I lucked out. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You know what I'm not going to miss about being in class?

Formaldehyde.  We were looking at some horse lungs in class today, that were particularly pungent.  I kept leaning over them to look at different structures, so I got quite a mouthful of fumes.  I can still taste the formaldehyde.  At least when I worked as an embalmer, we used a lower index arterial fluid, and I'm pretty sure it was scented - it smelled like Sprite Remix tasted.

Here's something that's absolutely disgusting that nobody wants to know about - I kept forgetting to bring my lab coat home from anatomy lab to wash it, so around December, I just brought another one to school.  I keep bumping the sleeves into specimens, and they're both absolutely disgusting, but I keep forgetting to wash them. So now, I'm looking forward to the end of the year, when I'm going to burn them.  Because they're that bad.