20 December 2011

10,000 page views!

Totally unrelated to vet school, but I'd just like to thank everyone who visits my blog. I'm so touched by how it's helped some of you with applying to the RVC, or deciding if it's right for you.

I don't know if I'll be updating much during the winter holiday, so if I don't:

Happy Chanukah!

Merry Christmas!

And a Happy New Year!!

13 December 2011

Christmas Ball

RVC Student Union sure knows how to throw a party.

Last night we had the school's Christmas Ball. It was pretty epic. The food was fabulous, we had a never ending supply of wine and beer at our disposal, we had a STAGE to dance on, there were dancers, acrobatics during dinner, gambling (fake, of course) after dinner, there was 'snow' (soap bubbles, I'm guessing), it was just really beautiful. Here's a peek at what the ceiling looked like:

It was a really fabulous night. The end got a little hectic when we tried to retrieve our coats, but we made it home ok in the end, coats and all.

And tomorrow, I'm flying home. I'm missing a few days of lecture, but RVC records lectures through a system called Echo360, so I'll be listening to those that I miss at home.

GAH I can't wait to see everyone back home in RI!

08 December 2011

Homemade Chicken Soup time.

I've been coming down with a cold this week, and today it hit me full force. Yesterday I was just sniffly, had a scratchy throat and a major migraine. Today, it's the sinus pain, stuffed nose, scratchy throat, cough, etc etc ad nauseum. So, I went to the local butcher and got carrots, celery, leek, and two chicken legs to make chicken soup. I still believe that this is the cure-all for colds, mostly because it makes me feel better emotionally than physically. It just screams home for me, which is what I desperately need when I'm sick. I'm a miserable...insert word here...when I'm sick, and chicken soup makes me not miserable.

It's currently simmering on the stove, while I eat gluten-free chocolate chip muffins that my friend B. gave me randomly. He's such a super thoughtful person! They're really yummy.

By the way: I watched turkey slaughter yesterday...forgot to mention that. It was really interesting how it's done. The birds are stunned first to make them insensible, then bled in order to knock them unconscious before the stun wears off (it's so they don't feel pain). And then we got to pluck some of them, another interesting thing, since I've never plucked anything before. Had a really good talk to a fellow 3rd year about random stuff. It was a great day.

07 December 2011

And it's done.

Handed in my AHEMS report today. It is such a relief, but now I feel like I've got nothing to do. I mean, I have plenty of work to do since I'm about 6 weeks behind in lectures...

But it feels very very good to be finished. It turned out pretty well, I think. I had a few people read it over for grammatical errors and such (my sister and my friend S., who works in research and has been published in scientific journals before), and they all really enjoyed it.

Good sign? I hope so.

And now, I have one week until I (hopefully) fly home. So excited! Can't wait to see my house decked in Christmas gear.

02 December 2011

Just a regular day at the *ahem* Royal Vet College...

We had a very special visitor today come to the RVC Hawkshead campus: HRH Princess Anne.

I mean, we are called the "Royal" Vet College for a reason...

(Image shamelessly stolen from my friend J. She was in the perfect position, and I was in the library...studying.)

In less sparkly awesome news, my paper is almost complete. If I can just wrap my head around how to conclude the essay, I'll be golden. Also, I got some lovely surgical instrument posters for my walls (courtesy of, again, my friend J. without whom I would probably not pass vet school). They were free from a company here in the UK.

Pardon my post-nap appearance...it's finally become proper winter here in the UK, which means the frequency of my naps will increase until the sun stays in the sky for decent periods of time instead of this dark at 4:15pm crap.

30 November 2011

Whoops...I did that.

Today, in lieu of going to my Veterinary Ethics lectures, I went in to London to shop. So much to buy, so little time. I figured, maybe if I go early, I'll have time to come back and write some of my paper.

Nope. That did not happen.

Basically, I left my house at 20 past nine in the morning and got back just after 4pm. So pretty much a full day of shopping/traveling back and forth. From where I am now, I'm only about a 40 minute train ride into the city, but today I opted to get off at Finsbury Park and take the Victoria line into Oxford Street, where all the best shops are. The Christmas decorations are up to, although it was day so it wasn't quite as spectacular.

Unfortunately, I didn't really get that much shopping done. I mean, I managed to buy a dress for Christmas Ball, and get some costume stuff for a friend's fancy dress (costume) party on Friday, and some gifts for family, and my Secret Santa gift...

Ok...maybe I did get a lot of shopping done. But I still have so much to buy! And I still need to make a trip to Borough Market before I leave. Absolute necessity to visit it during the Christmas season.

As for my paper? Well, I pretty much got home at 4, had a snack, tried to take a nap, showed my dress and shoes off to my roommate, tried to take a nap, and then kicked myself out of bed so I could go to dinner with a bunch of friends for one of their birthdays. Delicious delicious dinner. Complete with wine and creme brulee as dessert.

Speaking of school...we've started our Principles of Surgery thread? module? whatever. I've started to look at videos of sutures and suture handling, how to hold a needle, different suture techniques, mayo versus metzenbaum scissors (who knew there were different kinds?), etc etc. Kind of exciting, but a bit overwhelming. There is a lot to learn. I'm going to have to do a lot of catching up over Christmas break, or else I'll be screwed when May rolls around.

And on that note...time to go do some work before bed.

23 November 2011

Sweet Anatomy

Recently the RVC had a baking competition called Sweet Anatomy, which I sadly did not participate in (beacause my baking is less than stellar). It was really fun to see how people shaped cakes and things to form histology slides, whole animals, a dog undergoing GI surgery, etc etc. Even vets can be creative in the kitchen! Maybe next year I'll participate. If you want to read a snippet the BVA wrote about it, you can click here.

22 November 2011

Feeling official.

3rd years got name badges today. It's strange getting an official "you're a clinical vet student" when I'm really only in my second year of vet school. But here it is. Be jealous:

I feel so official!! And I can't wait to wear it on my first clinical placement in March.

20 November 2011

Just keep writing, just keep writing...

Still hitting walls with this AHEMS report that I should be writing instead of writing this post. I have so much to write about I can't seem to get it organized in my head.

I should mention that I'm writing about horse slaughter in the US. It's a really delicate topic, and people on either side of the debate are vicious about their opinions. I'm trying not to get invested in either side with this paper, but when it the debate comes down to the welfare of these horses well...I have to say that it clears up a lot of things. But the reason I bring it up is the fact that the topic has been in the news recently, since Congress reversed the ag appropriations bill and reinstated the ability of the USDA to use funds to inspect horse slaughter facilities. This is a big deal, since this bill essentially is what stopped slaughter of horses intended for human consumption in the US. And to be honest, it's going to help improve the welfare of the horse intended for slaughter since this allows more money to be used to inspect shipments of horses for slaughter to Canada and Mexico. BIG deal.

Anyway, I guess my real point of this post was to say that it's really cool to be writing an evaluative essay on such a relevant topic. Except I keep having to tweak it to make it accurate...

In other news, Turkey Day this week! Very excited. I've made glög, which is the Scandinavian version of mulled wine, for the occasion. It's delicious (I had to drink some since I ran out of space in the bottles I used for storage). I'm also going to make myself some gluten-free friendly sausage stuffing, and probably eat it all of it on Thursday. Can't wait for Thursday!!

08 November 2011

Quizlet is my friend.

Seriously, though. It is. I've been making flashcards online through Quizlet and importing them onto my iPad with the Flashcardlet app. It's ah-may-zing. It's also available for iPhones. I'm hoping the fact that I've got flashcards made up already will help me when I start to study for exams (which aren't until the beginning of May).

In the meantime, we got our results last week for the DOPS (animal handling) exam I took at the end of September. It was mixed across the class, but I'm very thankful that I passed all 5 stations and I don't need to re-sit any of them. Some of my friends weren't so lucky and my heart goes out to them. I know they'll pass second time around...it just really stinks to have to redo any exam.

Looking forward to tomorrow! Half-day Wednesday.

06 November 2011

Paper of DOOM

Haha, just kidding. Sort of.

Our last act of our AHEMS is writing a research report. I had three options to choose from: enterprise evaluation (no way), an investigative report (another no, since that involved statistics, something that I have no joy or skill in), or an evaluative essay (which essentially is a literature review). I chose the evaluative essay, since I didn't have the time or the forethought to do any research on farms, or to find some raw data to work with. So essay it is.

It's been much harder than I thought (or wanted) it to be, writing this paper. The last time I actually sat down to write something of a similar scale, I was probably 20. Or 19. Which basically means it's been 5-6 years since I've written something like this. And all skill that I used to have has left me.

I've tried various methods to start writing this paper. Yesterday, I ended up writing 2 or 3 really awesome but disjointed sentences, so I started re-reading and highlighting all my sources on my iPad, hoping that would help. Today, I tried to type some things out, and ended up with a pen and notebook free-handing it. That seemed to help for a little while, but has now ceased to do much of anything.

Where, oh where, have my writing skills gone?

If you find them, please let me know. I'm lost without them.

27 October 2011

Dentistry is not for me.

We 3rd years finished our Alimentary module this week (scary how fast this year is going already), and our last action for it was a tooth extraction. We've had a few lectures on small animal dentistry (and one on equine), but nothing can really prepare you for actually going into a dog's mouth (don't worry, we practiced on ones that were no longer alive) and pulling out a tooth. Of course, it's not that simple. We had about 15 minutes to take one tooth out and I just about managed with the help of the lecturer.

All in all, I'm set with small animal dentistry. I'm sure I'll have to, at some point in my clinical years, have to perform a dental on an animal, and I will do that with enthusiasm, but there is no possibility of me specializing in small animal dentistry. Just not my cup of tea.

I prefer the teeth that I work on to be larger, hypsodont, and inside a horse's mouth. But that's just me.

16 October 2011

My new toy, the iPad.

I bought myself an iPad in July as a "congratulations, you passed first year!" present to myself. At first, I was worried that it would just be an expensive toy that I could play Angry Birds on. I also didn't really use it for the first few weeks of school because I just couldn't find any apps that seemed helpful (or useful, or convenient).

Then a couple of friends (former G&T's as well) got their own iPads and managed to find an amazing app called iAnnotate pdf, which let's you add notes and sound bytes and other things to pdfs that you download from the internet. Brilliant, because most of our notes are pdf files! So lately, I've been googling other cool apps that might be helpful. I've found a few really amazing ones.

1. Equine Advances : These developers create apps for equine vets and veterinary students. So far, they have three; Equine Drugs, Equine Techniques, and Equine Lab. Haven't bought any of these yet, but I might just have to.

2. A Vet Tool : This one's pretty neat; it has common drugs and their uses, a calculator for conversions, x-ray comparisons, and more all rolled into one app.

3. Saunders Vet Terminology Flashcards : Must-have for reviewing terms. I haven't bought this one yet, but I'm sorely tempted to.

4. Veterinary Board Exam Review : Bought this last year after a friend recommended it. I seriously love this one. The questions are designed to help prepare you for the NAVLE, but I use it as a little review whenever I have a few minutes to spare.

5. Last but not least, Kindle. Get it. There are a bunch of veterinary textbooks available through the Kindle store, and they're cheaper than buying the hard copy (and easier on your back). It has a highlighting tool, a bookmark tool, etc etc. I've already started buying textbooks on it, and it's so nice to have them at hand whenever I want.

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I've really had time to find/search for. At least now I feel like I've bought a real educational tool and not just a really expensive toy.

04 October 2011

All in a day's work.

9-11am: Lectures.

11am-4pm: Boatload of nuthin.

4-5pm: Directed learning session.


While I do appreciate having time to do things during long breaks like this, I tend to want to fall asleep about 3 hours in due to complete boredom. The cloudy and cool weather isn't exactly helping things, either.

I have gotten a leg-up on my AHEMs evaluative essay (fancy name for a research report). But really, that means I managed to print off some of the relevant articles I've found and highlighting the important bits. So really, I've done a whole load of nothing today.

01 October 2011

Heat Wave

It is currently a whopping 81 degrees Fahrenheit in London right now (technically I'm not in London...but it's still hella hot here in Welham Green), which is the hottest it has ever been in October here. Needless to say, my brain is not in my work.

Sundress? Check.

Flip flops? Check.

Beer and Cider festival in St. Albans? Check.

School work? ...maybe later.

25 September 2011

Playing with animals

First week of classes went pretty well. We had a lot of clinic based stuff for lectures, and we started diagnostic imaging (so cool!). I ended up missing one day to wait for my beautiful, wonderful, memory foam mattress to arrive. It was worth it. I have never slept better in my life. And it's a major improvement over my mattress in College Grove.

Stuff to look forward to this week: hematology, vomiting and regurgitation in small animals, and an animal handling exam.

Yup, that's right. Second week of classes and I already have an exam. I did know about it since last year, and I did a bit of studying over summer break, but not really. It's really 5 stations of different animal handling scenarios and we need to show that we are proficient at each. Shouldn't be too hard, hopefully.

14 September 2011

Leaving on a jet plane

Well, the summer is officially over. My flight to Heathrow is tonight, so I'll be back and in my new house in about oh...15 or so hours? School starts on the 19th. That means I have 4 days to acclimate to UK time, arrange my room, order a mattress, and have homework-free fun.

It's been a good summer, minus the whole mess with Tropical Storm Irene and being without power for 3 and a half days. I visited my best friend S. and her husband, spent time with my grandparents, hung out with friends in Providence...couldn't have had a better time.

And now, back to reality.

11 September 2011

10 years.

By this time last year, I was already getting settled into my room at that place my brain has blocked the name of (it was pretty bad) in London. I was tired, dirty, and probably asleep (I stupidly took a nap). Maybe I was eating dinner.

But 10 years ago, I was just getting out of school, still in shock about the events of the day. I was probably waiting for my sister to walk down with me to her car. We were all zombies, in a way, since our innocence was taken from us so swiftly that day.

I've been watching bits and pieces of the memorial that is happening at Ground Zero today. I can't watch all of it, since it's making me too emotional. Has it really been 10 years? Was I really only a teenager when all this happened? I was in Chemistry class when we heard about the first tower being hit, and by lunchtime it was all over school. Terrorist attack, the towers have fallen, etc etc. It didn't really sink in until they replayed the footage of the South Tower collapsing. All I could think was, "I have family that works near that site. Did they get out? Are they still alive?"

I keep hoping that this immense tragedy will keep this country together, that our shared grief and shock will somehow help remind us that we are all Americans and are working towards the same goal: a better future for us and our children. I think we've lost sight of that in the past few years.

15 August 2011

Time's almost up!

In a month, I'll be recovering from jet lag in my new place near the Hawkshead campus. And preparing to go to Oktoberfest (possibly).

It's strange how a whole month has gone by and it doesn't feel like I've really been here all that long. Visiting family and hanging out with friends has basically been the bulk of my activities since I've gotten back, with placements sprinkled in the mix (started the last one today!) This next month is sure to pass by quickly as well. The next two weeks I'll be working with lab animals for my last placement, going down to NJ to celebrate my roommate J's birthday, before I then go visit my best friend at the end of the month, followed by visiting another friend before going to her wedding at the beginning of September.

Phew. Busy last month in the states. I better fit in finishing my AHEMS write-up stuff in there too.

02 August 2011


You never really know what loud is until you have a screaming piglet near your face because you're trying to inject them with anthelmintics. I don't think my ears will EVER stop ringing.

But the little piglets are so adorable! And the mamas are surprisingly sweet as well. Except when you try to take their babies away from them to treat them.

5 more days of pigs, then a week off for friends/family fun, then doing lab animal work for 2 weeks. After that, I'm done with AHEMS.

Just 6 weeks left until I go back to London!

22 July 2011

Off to the pig farm I go!

On Saturday, I'm taking a ferry over to Long Island to start my pig placement. While I'm not the biggest fan of pigs, there is a giant perk to this placement: it's situated about 10 minutes from my grandparents' house on LI. Free accommodation, home cooking every night, and extra time with my grandparents? Yes, please.

If you couldn't tell from my previous post, I passed my G year! I ended up with Merit, which is kinda like a B. So yay! On to 3rd year I go.

13 July 2011

Back in the USA!

I'm home! I have my dogs around me. I'm an extremely happy camper. I managed to stay awake on the flight, even though I got into Boston at 3am UK time. When I walked into the main part of the airport, I saw my dad almost immediately, got a little too excited and I almost ran some poor guy over.And then we walked to the car and discovered that my sister and my father had brought my sweet girl Bailey to the airport with them. What a homecoming! It was great.

If you reading and sort of confused, it's ok. I decided to only do one week at Wimbledon and fly home early to spend more time before going to my pig placement in NY. That means more time with my sister, more time with my friends, and more time to recover from jet lag.

Exam results come out in about 45 minutes, so today will either be a very good day...or a very bad day. We'll see.


It is a VERY good day. :D

05 July 2011

End of Year One.

Well, it's done. My last exam is finished and I'm free as a bird, as long as I passed exams and don't have to re-sit. I spent yesterday celebrating the end of the term AND America's independence in the country that it gained it's independence from. Awkward, but it's surprising how many Americans are in the UK. There were July 4th celebrations all over London, including one at the local pub that touted "American-style favorites with a British twist." I didn't end up going there, but we did have a party with all the G&Ts, where we drank and ate barbecue (and I made buffalo chicken dip that didn't really last very long), and then set off fireworks and almost got in trouble with security...whoops.

All in all, it was a great end-of-year celebration. Taking a look back on what my expectations were last year on the 4th, I'm not sure what my feelings are. I'm sad that I'm not home and spending the holiday weekend with friends and family. I missed the firework displays that I've seen almost every year of my life. I missed being near the ocean. But I had a good time here celebrating it with friends who were having the same nostalgic feelings as I was, and glad that we were all on the same page.

So now, I've got one day off before I start my placement, at Wimbledon! I'm excited to go back and spend a couple more weeks with them. And I move into my new place this week. I ended up deciding to move in with my current flatmate J. and two friends, since one of our other friends (who was going to live with them) is going to enter the UF class of 2014 next year (woohoo! SO happy for her). After some hemming and hawing, I decided that I just couldn't turn down the opportunity to save 300 quid a month on housing. So we move in this weekend, which means that I might be able to fly home a few days early and get to spend more time with my family before I begin my pig placement in NY.

Only two more weeks until I'm back in the place I love! <3

21 June 2011

This is IT

Day one of finals. Commencing in just over 4 hours. My intestines feel like they are looping into knots at the moment. I'm ready to get this over with.

See you at the other side!

16 June 2011

Home Stretch.

The final lap of revision has commenced. Only 4 days until exams start, and 17 days until the last exam of the year; freedom, in a way, and coincidentally also happens to be US Independence Day. Gotta love the irony there.

After 4 weeks straight of studying (technically more), my brain is starting to melt. But it's in there. All the information that I've accumulated throughout the year is definitely in there. I know this, because when doing group review, I'm actually able to make sense of things without my notes (most of the time). It's just a matter of pulling it out when required and making sense of it.

I've got two slogans getting me through this exam period: 'Don't panic.' -Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; and 'Do, or do not. There is no try.' -Yoda

Oh, and just keep swimming.

01 June 2011

3 weeks...

Well, less than 3 weeks until final exams. Yikes.

I found a flat, though, despite my anxious and furious studying. I'll be living in Potters Bar next year, instead of my original plan of staying in London. It's cheaper, and I can have a car if necessary. One bedroom place all to myself, with a gas stove and a bath tub! I'll be living in luxury for sure.

Anyway, just wanted to drop a note saying that yes, I'm still alive and no, I won't be fully functional until after July 4th.

17 May 2011

T-minus 5 weeks and counting.

I've got 5 weeks until final exams. Yikes.

They're 90% of my grade for the year. Yikes x2.

I started revising for exams this past weekend, and I can't believe how much I don't remember. Well, that's sort of a lie. I remember a lot, but not details. In the Graduate handbook, you get a list of all the objectives for each subject that the lecturers expect you to know for the exams. I'm just now going through them all. The objectives are super helpful in condensing what you need to know and helping you figure out how to say what you want in a concise manner. But it just takes FOREVER. Probably not the smartest idea to leave them until now, but what can I say? I was too wrapped up in AHEMS for 7 weeks and slept because I needed to sleep. Can't beat myself up about that.

Plus, 5 weeks is not THAT short a time. This is doable. Totally and completely doable.

I'm debating blocking my free movie site for a few weeks so I have less distractions. Can't block youtube because I've been watching videos about renal physiology and such as well as dissections. It's amazing what you find on youtube nowadays.

Oh yeah...I'm also going to look at flats during the next 5 weeks. I've decided to get my own flat and live near Hawkshead campus in Potters Bar. Fingers crossed I find a good one that's a decent price.

01 May 2011

Lambs galore!

Got back from 2 and a half weeks in Somerset. Can I just say...WOW.

Forget the animals. The scenery was fantastic. I mean, I've watched all the Jane Austen-y movies that feature the beautiful landscapes of Britain. But I never imagined that it still (mostly) looks like that! If you ever have a chance to, GO. It's amazing. Here's a sneak peek at what you're missing:

We passed through Bath on the train there and back, and I've put that on my list of places to go before I graduate.

But also, the animals. Oh man, lambs are adorable. Ewes...not so much. But still really sweet animals. Except when they've got a lamb's tail sticking out their vulva and they don't really feel like letting you catch them. But that's a story for another day. I did end up having a favorite lamb, though. She was the smallest of a set of triplets, which happened to already be pretty small. I called them the "Teacup Triplets", and I ended up calling her Teacup, since she was almost small enough to fit in one. She'll be a delicious lamb chop someday!!

Anyway, in the end I completed 7 weeks of AHEMS during the holiday, which means I only have 5 to do this summer. More time to spend with family and friends! Tomorrow I have the day off, which will be spent in the University College Hospital A&E figuring out what happened to my shoulder (again, story for another day) and Tuesday starts the last 5 weeks of classes before final exams. Crunch time, people!

09 April 2011

Cows, cows, everywhere.

Got back to London from my dairy placement yesterday afternoon. I was with a herd of around 500 cows in Berkshire. I milked, I got peed on, power-washed a shit scraper (literally a tractor with a scraper attachment for scraping up shit), mended fences, got sunburned, drove a tractor, herded cows...you know. Dairy farming stuff. For 12 days.

I was skeptical at first, because I wasn't really sure what to expect from the placement. I've been on the edge of re-thinking what I'd like to do as a vet, whether it be just equine or maybe large animal, and I was hoping that spending two week with cows would help me make a decision. Not that I really need to make the decision now, since I still have 3 years to go to do that, but to start acquainting myself to the idea of possibly expanding what I want to do.

To be honest, I think I fell in love. I mean, I don't like dairy farming. It's hard, long hours, you get kicked in the face sometimes (thankfully I avoided that one), you get pissed on, shit on, etc etc ad nauseum. But the cows. Oh, the cows. They are such curious creatures, with such expressive eyes. My favorite part of the placement was when I would go to check on the heifers that were in calf for the first time (they were out on grass 24/7). They'd surround me, and sniff, and look at me as if to say "So what do you have for me?" and GOD it was adorable. I got licked in the face a few times, I had a cow's head on my shoulder...I mean, they are just too cute. Once, when I was out checking them with M. (who works there), they surrounded the Kubota we drove in on while we were out of it checking their feet, udders, etc. He turned to me and said, "You know, give them a wrench and a couple of screwdrivers and I bet they could take that thing apart." I'm inclined to agree with him.

Anyway, to say I had a great time on placement is an understatement. I was miserable the first few days because I was out of my comfort zone, but after that, it really was a great placement. And I had the BEST weather for it; sunny and in the teens (in Celsius) for most of the 12 days I was there.

So now, I've got a few days off to recuperate, wash clothes, clean, eat real food (I relied on microwave meals while I was there), and prepare for my lambing placement. This holiday is just flying by!

26 March 2011

A Quarter Century

So yesterday was my last day at Wimbledon, and also my 25th birthday. My friend there, T., asked me how it felt and I said, "No different from yesterday." Her response? "Good girl."

But it was a great last day at the yard. I went out on a ride, it was a sunny, warm, beautiful day, and for lunch we ate the Haagen-Dazs ice cream I brought to celebrate my birthday. It was a good ending to a good placement. I don't know if I lucked out or what, but I will definitely be going back to visit and maybe take lessons (though it is a bit far from here).

Tonight, I'll be celebrating my birthday with friends that are coming back from their respective lambing placements. Tomorrow, I'll be taking a train to Reading to start my dairy placement.

2 weeks down, 4 more to go!

21 March 2011


With horses, colic is probably the most prevalent disease that occurs (or at least that's what I seem to hear all the time from trainers I've worked with, friends with horses, etc etc). But really, colic is just a blanket term for so many problems that occur with the equine digestive tract. So when one of the horses at my equine placement became colicky, a wide array of ideas went skittering through my head. So many things can go wrong with the GIT (gastro-intestinal tract) of a horse. Impaction, torsion, intussusception, etc ad nauseam.

Anyway, Trilly (the horse) was acting off all day yesterday. Stretching her head down, pacing in her stall, and the big important: not eating and not passing any feces. BIG problems. So vet comes down, I become his shadow. White mucous membranes, slow capillary refill time, little to no gut sounds...all bad signs. He was nice enough to let me borrow his stethoscope so I could take a listen to the gut and see if anything was happening (which really, there was nothing to hear). I got a load of good information from him, which I have to say I probably won't forget. Too bad the practice he works at doesn't take veterinary students!

Good news: Trilly is doing much better. Diagnosis was probable impaction. She was tubed and given a mixture of electrolytes, probiotics, epsom salts, and a human medicine that aids with constipation (hint: it works). Main problem that probably caused the impaction was the fact that she's been on stall rest for 10 days due to an abscess (poor thing).

Lesson to take away from this: it's really cool to have some validation in what I've learned thus far, and to actually KNOW what he was talking about!

18 March 2011

Day Five at Equine Placement: rain.

Today was the first day at the stable yard that has rained THE WHOLE DAY. Pissing rain, really. Not even a good hard pour, but enough to soak you to the bone. I'm truly glad I thought to pack a second coat because I needed to switch halfway through.

Best thing about today, though: I got to ride for the first time in 5 years. The last time I rode a horse was just after selling mine in 2006 (heartbreaking, I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary). Since then, I've just not been able to ride because of school commitments, work commitments, etc etc blah blah excuses excuses. Getting back in the saddle (literally) was the easiest thing I've done in my entire life. But now, I won't be able to go so long without riding because I just can't give it up. It was such a wonderful feeling being able to do a nice long hack on a great horse and just enjoy the outdoors (even with the rain).

7 more glorious days of this placement. I'll be disappointed when I leave.

14 March 2011

Day Two at the Equine Placement: ouch.

This week and next I'm at my equine placement in Wimbledon Village. I've been getting up at 5:30am for the past two days to hop onto a train at King's Cross by 6:30ish. It takes about an hour to an hour and 15 to get to my placement. My body hurts. A lot. I'm getting calluses in places that haven't had calluses in about...5 years? I smell like poop when I get home and I have to take a shower immediately. And I've been falling asleep around 9:30pm because I'm so damn exhausted.


This is the best damn time I've had in ages. I've tacked up, I've 'skipped' stalls (which to me is mucking, but just getting the poo out of all the stalls). Today, I cleaned 10 saddles. I sweep, I feed, and I'm loving it all. I forgot how much fun it is to spend the ENTIRE day outside, especially since it's been so beautiful in London for the past few days (fingers crossed it stays that way).

And now, dinner, movie, bed by 9.

11 March 2011

End Scene.

My second term here has just ended today. Exam is done and over with (thank god) and I have 7 blissful, school-free weeks ahead of me.

First stop: equine placement for 2 weeks starting this Monday. I get to stay at my flat (yay!) and commute daily (boo...).

Second stop: dairy placement at the University of Reading for 2 weeks. I get to venture out of London!

Third stop: Somerset for 2 weeks of lambing. I have to say, I'm really excited for this...but I'm sure I'll get over that excitement after being there for a few days.

As for this weekend, I'm relaxing and hanging out with my college roommate and one of my best friends, C. I can't wait!

06 March 2011

Hell Week.

For those of you who have ever been in theatre, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

We had our last lectures on Friday, which I skipped in lieu of enjoying the sunny day we had. Also, we aren't getting tested on them. I had a date with the Regent's Canal walkway, and I took it. It's really beautiful over there, if you can avoid looking into the canal and seeing all the trash there. But the willows are starting to bud, and I was in heaven. Spring is definitely my favorite season.

Today, I'm at Yumchaa with my friend D. who has just admitted to being a caffeine addict. Yesterdays's total: 2 red bulls, 2 Lucozades (a UK energy drink) and 2 large coffees. D. is having a mochaccino, I'm having a tea (no drugs for me!).

Just 6 more days and then I'm free for 7 weeks!!

Well, free if you don't count the 6 weeks of placements I have...

26 February 2011

2 weeks and counting

Only two weeks until the exam for Term 2. I'm so behind on revision, but strangely I feel that I'm in a better position than I was in last term. Doing 4 to 5 hours of studying a day really makes a difference, even if it's split up into a couple of study sessions. It's obvious, really, but it took me a whole term to get that into my head. I find that my retention is a smidgen better than it was last term.

The term 2 exam is going to include some heavy hitters: Parisitology, Pathology, Virology, Bacteriology (lots of -ologies), Nervous System, and Reproduction. My brain is already beginning to melt. This weekend, I've got to get the entire Reproduction unit done. I haven't had a chance to review any of it (health concerns among other things taking up my brain space). It'll be tough, but if I can't finish it, at least I can take a big dent out of it.

And...only one more week of lectures! Phew. Thank God for that.

20 February 2011

ISF = intentional study failure.

So the ISF mock happened on Friday of this past week. After going through the 15 minutes of being grilled about what I know about a particular structure or organ, I now know what happens when you get tunnel vision in revision.

Ok, grilled is a bit harsh. The lecturers I had my ISF with were actually quite nice, and tried to help as much as possible while I was answering. It was reassuring to realize that yes, they actually DO want you to pass and do well. One question I completely blanked on (aced anatomy, failed on the histology part of it) and did fairly well on the second (I somehow managed to remember the information I learned last term).

As for the tunnel vision...

I focused SO hard on trying to remember the muscles and bones and innervation of things that I got stuck on the first page of the Level 1 ISF questions. I'm so behind now on studying that I don't know if I'll be able to catch up by the end of the term. Silly of me, really. Now that the ISF panic is over, I can get back to being productive and studying what I'm supposed to be studying for the end of term exam.

But now, I'm going to go see Ben Folds in concert! It's been a concert filled weekend, with Maroon 5 and Sara Bareilles on Friday night and Ben Folds tonight. My last weekend of bliss before I bury myself with school work until end of term (3 weeks! Time flies...).

16 February 2011

Cute overload.

How? Lambs. Are. Too. Cute.

Seriously. We had our Lambing practical at Hawkshead campus yesterday and it was amazing. I mean, I enjoyed the piggies (as a person who had never touched a pig before that day, it was pretty cool), but lambs? I mean, seriously. What little kid didn't dream of playing with lambs at some point in their life?

Ok, maybe I'm one of a few dozen. Anyway.

So first part of the practical involved us learning how the normal birthing process happened in a ewe (sans hormones and positive feedback loops and such) and how the lamb is placed, what can happen, what things to remember, etc etc. After that talk, we got our hands dirty in some artificial ewes (big boxes with warm water, a plastic bag and a ewe pelvis to simulate the birth canal) and...well, some lambs that hadn't quite made it (mostly stillborn). It was weird at first, but so unbelievably helpful to get a feel for what will happen on a farm.

After that process was over, we went out and observed some ewes, moved the new moms and their lambs to separate pens, and learned how to ear-tag, tail-dock, and castrate the lambs. Not my best moment. Or theirs, for that matter. Towards the end, we watched a few ewes in the progress of giving birth, but alas. Unable to actually see it happen. Guess I'll just have to wait til April for that.

07 February 2011

Windy City = London?

For the past week, the wind has been out of control here. Not a day goes by without my hair whipping in my face (painfully, sometimes) at some point. Also, I can count the number of days we've had sun (for maybe 10 minutes) since coming back on one hand. My body really misses the sun.

On a school note: we've got our mock oral ISF (integrated structure and function) exam coming up soon. Thankfully RVC has sent us a list of the Level One questions the examiners will be pulling from, so at least we can prepare for those, but we're on our own for the Level Two and Three questions. At least when you reach a Level Three question in an exam, you know you have at least a 70% (which is AMAZING considering a passing grade is a 50%).

Also, I just realized this: I'm halfway through my second term here. In 4 weeks I start my AHEMs placements. Eek.

Oh, and tomorrow? I play with pigs. This should be interesting.

27 January 2011

Husbandry (hint: not the practice of getting husbands)

For the next couple of weeks, focus for lectures has shifted to husbandry and behavior and the like. Why? We've all got placements coming up during the spring holiday and we need to know our stuff. At placements, we have to take notes on how the farms run things, what they could improve, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Today was Animal Housing, Ruminant Care, and Animal Behavior. Now, I've taken Animal Nutrition, Equine Care and Handling, and 2 semesters worth of Animal Behavior. So needless to say, some of this is a review.

Cue me playing Angry Birds for 3 lectures in a row. Whoops.

Good news, though: I've gotten my 3 placements for the spring holiday approved! 6 weeks down, 6 weeks to go.

23 January 2011

Reason I love London: #2934

Ok...I made up that number, but I've lost count of the reasons I love London.

Friday, I had finally had the chance to go see The King's Speech with a few friends (I'd been waiting to see it forEVER). Went to the Odeon Camden (smallest theatre ever, but it was nice). Don't think I'll ever get used to assigned seats at the movie theatre, though...but I digress. Go see the movie. It's fabulous and a must-see. As if I needed another reason to fall in love with Colin Firth...

The point of the above paragraph is this:

It's hard to see, but the gist of the plaque is that the RVC building, Hobday, (which is the place I practically LIVE I'm in there so often) was opened by King George the VI, and his wife Queen Elizabeth was there. I walk by this thing EVERY DAY and (of course) never noticed it. I just get such a kick out of seeing it there.

16 January 2011

Concentration station.

I have to say, after one term of vet school, I'm much more in the groove of studying.

Well, not yesterday. Yesterday was a day spent watching movies and recovering from a hangover. Whoops.

But overall, I've gotten a lot of work done during the week. Last term, I was having trouble concentrating on anything. Now, I think I'm starting to get the hang of things again.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled studying session.

08 January 2011

Back to the grind.

Flying back to London today. Pretty sure I'm not quite ready to leave. Classes start up again on Monday, and again...pretty sure I'm not ready for those yet. I wish there was just one more week of break, so I could have at least had more than 3 weeks here instead of 2 and a half weeks. It's just not long enough. And because of AHEMS placements, I'm not going to be back until July at the earliest.

Did you hear that? That was my gigantic sigh. I miss home already.