Friday, August 31, 2012

Interesting study session earlier today

We had today off, (hooray 3 day weekend!) and decided to go study somewhere other than our hotel room, since each hotel room has one chair/desk and two people.

First try - Ceres public library.  Closed on Fridays.  Second try - Modesto library.  Also closed on Fridays.  Ok, Starbucks it is.  We get drinks and pick a table.  There are 3 of us, and 4 chairs at our table.  At some point while we're typing, it got really busy, all the tables filled up, and this guy decided to randomly sit at our table.

Now, this wasn't just any guy.  This guy was definitely on something.  I don't think he was drunk, he wasn't wobbly, just incoherent and idiotic.  The three of us would be talking about something, and he would butt in with some moronic comment.  We were discussing the treatment and surgery of a cow we saw on Monday with a displaced abomasum, and this guy raises his voice, leans in, and yells "Maybe he has shingles!" and starts laughing hysterically.  We roll our eyes and continue to ignore him.   A couple times I glance over, and he's slumped over in his chair, passed out.  Then he'll startle awake, drink his coffee, and pretend to look at his ipad, even though the screen's not on.

At some point, his friend showed up, and even though at this point, all the other tables were empty, pulled up a chair and sat next to us.  Guy's fried says something about my tattoo.  I look at him, say "hmm," and go back to my laptop.  Drugged guy then starts saying "I'm getting a tattoo.  I'm getting a whale on my arm, for my mom.  She loves whales.  She's going to be so mad, since her religion doesn't allow tattoos." (Except not that coherent.) I look up at him and say "Well, then it's not really for your mom, then is it?" He doesn't get the hint that I'm poking fun at him and keeps talking.  Then falls asleep mid-sentence.  We leave while he's slumped over the table.

For some reason, we didn't quite get as much studying done today as hoped.  Stupid libraries being closed on Fridays.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I am not having a good week.

Modesto's sketchy.  One of my roommates went outside to talk on the phone, and some creepers pulled up and just stared at her, so she went inside the hotel, and finished her phone call in the laundry room.  Apparently, they followed her in there, so she's kind of unnerved out about the place.

I caught the cold people were passing around the last week in Nebraska.  I can't breath through my nose, and my face is raw from using the hotel's sandpaper-grade kleenex.

We had a call yesterday to work on some pet bulls, and did surgery on them for 2 hours in full sun.  I'm sunburned, and it took me hours after finishing yesterday to feel like I wasn't dying of heat stroke.

Dairy work involves early mornings.  Most days have been around 6-ish, but tomorrow I have to be there at 4:20.  That's earlier than I would go to sleep if left to my own devices.

Since dairy cows are packed so tightly compared to beef cattle, and fed high-energy diets, their shit is liquid, it's everywhere, and I've ended every day with conversations between me and my roommates about who got the worst shit splash that day.

I'm really trying to stay positive about this rotation.  I really like the vet I've been driving with.  He really cares about the welfare of the cows, and he likes to pepper me with tons of questions about cattle diseases.  It feels great when I can actually answer them, and I feel bad for frustrating him when I either don't know the answer, or am completely missing the point of the questions he's asking.  I'm just sleep deprived, and sick, and sick of poo, and I'm actually looking forward to equine at this point.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hmm, so this is an interesting way to start our next rotation

Today is one of those days where nothing goes right.  At the beginning of our 6 hour drive, as I was lifting my brand-new backpack into the car, the strap broke.  We pulled off the highway in Kingsburg, CA, only to find out that the entire town is apparently closed on Sundays.  We stopped at a rest stop that advertised wine/cheese tastings, kettle corn, and a petting zoo, only to find out that a "petting zoo" consists of a tiny pony and a donkey in a field with an old 50's pickup truck.  It's just been an "off" day.

Then we get to Modesto for our rotation.  Modesto is kind of.... sketchy.  When we were looking for our hotel (because the Garmin sent us on a wild goose chase, it took forever), we drove by a motel a few blocks away that had a very obvious hooker walking into one of the rooms.  Pomona feels safer than here.  But anyway.  We get to our hotel to find out that our super classy hotel rooms have an entire mirrored wall, and all the decorations are that 80's rusty-rose pink shade.  It's entertaining, to say the least.

Here's to hoping we've gotten all of the hiccups out of the way, and the next two weeks will go smoothly.  If not, we'll just have to have a sense of humor about all the potential things that can go wrong.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


There's only 3 days left in Nebraska, and I realized I haven't updated recently.  For those who are curious, here's how the rotation's been working:

We rotate between classes, and scheduled field activities like practicing physical exams, blood draws, etc.  In between those, groups of us get pulled to go on calls and see sick or injured animals.  Since some cattle are calving, many groups have gotten to help deliver calves, or deal with the complications arising from delivery.  We also rotate between our groups doing necropsies, which has been an amazing experience (even though today we had a last-minute necropsy that was rank enough to overpower my gag reflex.)

Last week there was a field trip to a swine slaughterhouse/packing plant, and I was fully expecting it to be a rather traumatic experience, but I was pleasantly surprised at how little stress the pigs seemed to experience before, and how little they suffered during the actual slaughter procedure.  It's still not impressive enough to make me break my ban on eating pork, but it made me feel a little better about those that do.

In "town," about 5 miles away, there's a small bar run by the local legion hall.  They're willing to pick us up and drop us off at the end of the night, so we've been able to get away from the dorms and play a few games of pool, and chat up the locals.

Sooo, yeah, that's about it for this rotation.  Mix in some studying and finishing assignments, and getting to bond with classmates, and it's been pretty spectacular.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This is the best way to start the year ever!

I'm only 2 days into my Nebraska rotation, and it's absolutely fantastic.  

Day 1: Classroom instruction, and get to do a necropsy all by myself.  Watched the Perseid meteor shower.  Find a cute little toad hopping around the grass.  

Day 2: Wake up early, throw on coveralls. Drive to a small cattle facility on the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center grounds.  Do physical exam on heifers, get to draw blood, auscultate, and do a rectal palpation.  From there, get to drive around visiting other sick cattle, including a sick baby calf that went around sucking everybody's thumbs, and watched classmates deliver a calf in a breech birth.  Get back to the dorms, than go wander down lonely country roads, and not encounter anything for miles. 

It's been fantastic, even though it has been such a short amount of time.  I'm missing Tyler and my critters like crazy, but I'll have to get used to it, since I have quite a few rotations away from home. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thinking a year in advance

One of the things we learned this week was that we have to pick the specialties we want to visit in 4th year ASAP.  We have to pick the location of core internal medicine and core surgery from a list, then we have to pick 8 other subjects, only 6 which we'll actually get to visit, to make up our remaining 4th year rotations.

It's really hard to feel like everything's covered in just 6/8 rotations.  Especially when you don't know exactly what you want to do with your life.  If I didn't have to worry about money, I would probably just work in a zoo, or just do wildlife rehab, or work on curing white nose syndrome in bats.  But since my education is putting me 300k in the hole, and I need to pay that off somehow, while not having to eat nothing but ramen, I'm eyeing small animal practice.  Emergency work sounds amazing, frantic, and has the perk of lining up with my natural circadian rhythm.  Small animal/exotics sounds like a decent compromise, especially if I could buy Dr. G's practice from her, and still get to do a decent amount of wildlife rehab and exotics.  But when we have to pick 6 rotations + 2 alternates, I just feel like one side or the other is going to suffer.  I ended up choosing the following 8: radiology, dentistry, surgery, anesthesia, emergency, zoo, wildlife and exotics.  2 of those won't happen, and I'm a little panicked that cardiology, dermatology and neuro aren't on that list, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my wildlife/exotics spots for them.  Eek!  I suppose that's why people choose to do internships, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up that extra year.  Too many things to worry about, but I have my list turned in and signed, so there's no going back.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Another earthquake this morning.  It was 4.5, and we had to evacuate class for about half an hour.  The security guards kept making us move farther from the building, so it was entertaining watching over 100 people move from one shaded spot to another.

Today, I got my plane tickets for my food animal rotation in Nebraska.  I leave at the crack of dawn Sunday, and spend 2 weeks out there with a quarter of the class.  But I have tickets in my hot little hand!  It's actually happening!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It only took 2 years of living here

But I finally noticed an earthquake (a 4.4 quickie).  Since I've been in Cali, there were 2 others close enough to feel, but I slept through one, and didn't notice the other until people at the restaurant we were at pointed out the ceiling lights were swinging.  Whee!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

If you live in a good neighborhood, you're missing out.

Not on anything good.  But on hooker screaming matches across the street.  Ahh, Pomona.

Classes started today.  Pretty much just talked about what to expect from third year and fourth year.  Apparently we don't even get to settle into 3rd before 4th starts stressing us out.  I did find out some good info about 4th year, though.  I knew we'd have two core classes (surgery and internal medicine) that are required.  I assumed they'd all be in SoCal.  Apparently, we can choose our geographic area a little.  The options are LA area, the surrounding counties, San Diego, SF bay area, or Arizona.  Never thought I'd be excited at the prospect of potentially getting to spend 2 months in Arizona, but I bet they don't have a problem with hooker fights in residential neighborhoods.

Oh, and know what cracked me up today?  Remember the huge rant a few months ago about our classmate, "Ginny Forest," who spent the last year constantly being late, skipping classes, and screwing half the class out of valuable time in the anatomy lab?  Guess who sauntered into class today, 30 minutes into class?  Somehow the other 100 people in our class managed to show up at the early hour of 1 pm, but not Ms. Forest.  I hope to all hell once our 3rd year rotations start, that our clinical preceptors call her on that shit.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer's winding down

Only 2 more days of summer, then classes start.  It's been a good couple days.  Sarah's back!  I got to hang out with her for a little bit Wednesday.  Tyler, a classmate and I went to Universal Studios yesterday.  A couple classmates and I met up today to make large animal and equine study sheets, so we don't sound like dummies on rotations.  And I'm almost comfortable enough driving my new car at night, with Tyler in the car, to where I think I'll be ok driving it in traffic.  Did I mention I bought a stick shift when I don't drive stick?  I've always meant to learn, so I figured I'd give myself a reason to.

I'm not 100% sure what the blog will look like this year.  Since our rotations are private practice, and not university owned, I don't feel like I can speak as freely about what will go on there.  I sure won't be able to talk about any specific cases, without anonymizing the hell out of them, changing details. At that point, I'm not sure how much it will be worth the time and effort to do that.  I'll play it by ear, but if things start to get vague, that's why.