27 December 2013

Happy Christmas/Boxing Day/New Year!!

Home a week and a half and I've already been to New York and back, had lots o' food, spent time with family, and I had a great time doing it.

I also managed to sneak up to Saratoga last week and secure an apartment for next year. It's on the expensive side, but it includes so much stuff (fitness center, cable and internet, water, waste disposal...basically everything except heat and electric). Also, it's conveniently located very close to the practice, so I'll be spending less on driving back and forth. The first place I looked at was 14 miles/20 minutes away, so not ideal. I'm still not feeling the excitement fully, but I think that's probably because I still have so much left to do before I get there.

This weekend I'll be visiting a bunch of old college friends in New Hampshire, something that is long overdue. Can't wait!

But for now, I'll go back to my marathon of Supernatural (I'm on season 6, finally!). And cuddling with my family cats Wanda and Dante.

16 December 2013

Post-NAVLE shenanigans.

Well...I have completed the NAVLE. I really hope I don't have to take it again. And my Equine Diagnostics rotation, my last tracking rotation, is also done. 

Officially one more rotation block left, 5 more weeks of EMS, and then my rotation year is over. Yikes.

I spent the weekend at my sister's in Bromley. We went Christmas shopping together, wandered around some museums in London, and went to see War Horse (which was fantastic, thank you for asking). 

And now, home for the holidays! I can't wait to see my family and friends. It'll be nice to re-charge a bit after the past few months. 

01 December 2013

Counting the days.

I've got a few big things coming up in the next month.

First up: the dreaded NAVLE. 10 more days before that nightmare happens. A lot of my friends have already done it and basically feel shellshocked. I'm not excited. I've still got a ways to go with my VetPrep review, but I'm trying to stay as stress-free as possible.

One of those times that having a cat was great for: stress relief. I'm still a bit weepy over Rory, but I (and friends) keep telling myself that I'm allowed to be sad for a while.

Next up: last tracking rotation ever starts tomorrow. Equine Diagnostic Imaging, which I'm half excited about, half dreading it. It's a very laid-back rotation, but I still feel shaky about my imaging interpretation (which is why I'm tracking in it). Also, NAVLE. Doing the exam in the middle of a rotation was not an ideal situation, but I'll have time in the evenings to do VetPrep, and time during lunch to study. I just feel anxious that I won't be prepared. But then, who actually feels completely prepared for the NAVLE?

Not me.

Anyway, Wales rotation was good. I was a bit frustrated with the teaching methods, and being out in the cold, but all in all it was ok. Socially it was amazing; I made Thanksgiving for 12 people with the help of my fellow American rotation member A. Turkey was delicious, stuffings were delicious....and there was a full 5 minute silence at the table. Best compliment I could ever get.

Now, back to NAVLE prep and my sister's Thanksgiving (number 4 for me, I feel like I've gained about an entire turkey in weight).

17 November 2013

What a week.

Last week was a tumultuous week for me.

I haven't posted it here, mostly because it was really depressing and partly because I didn't really want to say anything. I put my lovely little ginger man, Rory, to sleep on Monday. He started to get sick mid-way through October and as the weeks wore on, it was clear that he had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). My heart is a bit broken still, but I'm glad he's at rest. He was very ill towards the end and euthanasia was the kindest thing. I did stay with him until the end, because I couldn't stand leaving him. He knew my love in his last moments, and for that I'm forever grateful.

Tuesday was pretty rough; I was on rotation at Beaumont (small animal first opinion practice run by the RVC) and thankfully, everyone was very understanding. I managed to get through the day, get home, have a good cry over Rory's blanket, and sleep.

Wednesdays, it seems, have always been one of those days for me. I got my invitation to interview at RVC on a Wednesday, got a promotion at my old job on a Wednesday, and I got accepted to RVC on a Wednesday. This Wednesday, it seems, was no different. I woke up early, mostly because my body was still used to getting up early to fix Rory something to tempt him to eat. I took a glance at my phone and saw that I had an email from Dr W at Rood and Riddle offering me an internship position at the Saratoga NY practice.

Pretty much the second I read that I was awake. And freaking out. I think I said "holy sh*t, oh my God" about a dozen times over. Because this is exactly what I wanted. I loved my visit to Rood and Riddle last month, and was mentally praying that I would get a position there, either at the Lexington or Saratoga hospital (secretly hoping the Saratoga one, because it's closer to home and lots of friends).

So on the heels of great sadness came this amazing news that I am one step closer to realizing my goal to be an equine surgeon. It took me a few days to process this, and it still doesn't feel real. I'm still overwhelmingly sad over my loss of my sweet cat, but so happy and thrilled that I've got a plan set for after graduation.

My good friend S (from my rotation group) said that maybe this is Rory taking care of me because I took such good care of him. Silly, I know, but the sentiment was touching.

Anyway, that's been my last few weeks. Emotionally exhausting. Next up, I'm in Wales for two weeks with my rotation group, and I really couldn't be more excited. I'm very blessed to have a wonderful core rotation and sister rotation group, and we've got so many crazy and fun things planned for the next two weeks. And after the last few weeks, it will be a balm to be out of the house for a little bit.

If I don't update before I get back, I hope everyone has a wonderful and family-filled Thanksgiving!

PS: this is my 200th post! Cray cray.

20 October 2013

KY Visit

I got back from KY this past Friday, and I have to say I had a great time. It was beautiful, warm, almost like a vacation. Even got to do some touristy stuff with a friend! It was amazing. Much better than my last visit to KY.

Oh, and the equine hospitals I visited were pretty awesome too. I saw lots of surgeries, which was nice after not seeing many while here in the UK. And if I'm offered an internship at either of the hospitals I visited, I think I'd probably accept with no qualms.

Of course, I really hope that I'll get time off to attend graduation, since they both start by the end of June.

Also, RP2 first draft is complete and sent off to my advisor! That's a big weight off my back. Now it's just the waiting game until she sends it back with edits. Hopefully it's not too many.

05 October 2013

Last Day in the QMH

I have officially completed my last rotation in the QMHA.

Feels weird. And wonderful. And inextricably terrifying.

I mean, maybe it's not that terrifying. I'm blowing it out of proportion. BUT. This means that I've only got 5 more rotations to go: Beaumont Animal Hospital, Wales (PMVPH), Equine out of hours, Equine Medicine, and Pathology.

Holy mother of potato chips. I'm almost done with rotations.

So yeah. This is terrifying.

I remember the countdown to STARTING school. Now I'm starting to experience the countdown to FINISHING school. Which, in my opinion, is kah-ray-zee.

Tomorrow I leave for KY for 11 days to check out two places I'm applying to for internships, and hopefully I will make a good impression and not look like a total tool. Tiredness makes my brain have the dumb.

Then, I'm coming back here to finish writing my research project. I'm planning on writing the majority of it while on the plane tomorrow (what else would I do with my close to 9 hour flight? Watch movies? Psh. Amateurs.)

And oh goodness. My poor kitten is already snuggling extra long this morning because I think he knows that when the suitcase comes out, I disappear for a little while. At least it's only a week and a half this time and not close to 8 weeks!

03 October 2013

Beer-drinking (and other things as well)

The last event of Fresher's Week at the RVC is called Beer-drinking. Suffice it to say, it's about drinking beer. And other more amusing things that only us RVCers have the privilege to know about.

Because, you know, it's an RVC thing.

I participated, and it was such a rush. I had a great time. And I think I'll leave it at that.

Two more days left on Small Animal Diagnostics. It's been pretty good, and it's encouraging to be told that we have the knowledge, it's just applying it to see what's relevant and deducing from there. Which, to be honest, should be a big "DUH" but us vet students need to be reminded of it every now and again.

I'm still struggling with letters of intent for my internship applications, but I have quite a few hours during my flights on Saturday to get some cracked out. Especially since I'll be visiting to of the places I'm applying!

29 September 2013

Prep time.

I've finally signed up for a day to take the NAVLE. So now my revision with VetPrep is becoming a little more frantic.

My problem with revision is that I don't really know how to organize myself in it. I've got one notebook for the random stuff that I'm not quite familiar with/need to go over in more detail. I pulled out my 3rd and 4th year revision notebooks the other day (which scares me a little) so I can go over those as well.

Also, VetPrep makes me nervous because you're given a percentage of time left before the subscription expires, how far along you are in the revision AND how far along others are in their revision. I've never been very good at comparing myself to others when I study. Everyone studies differently, so usually I try to avoid measuring myself up to others.

Anyway. I've now finished ECC and Large Animal Diagnostic Imaging. Both were really great rotations, and I'm glad that I'll be tracking in diagnostic imaging in December.

Also, the new roommates are finally mostly settled in, which is one less stress for me.

And I need to write my letter of intent. Yikes. Still having a hard time writing good things about myself. It just sounds so fake when I try.


One more week until I'm in KY for a week and a half. Busy busy!

18 September 2013

Have I got a bone to pick.

So I came across this beauty of an article while browsing my twitter feed this fine evening/morning (yay for crazy sleep schedules on ECC). And I have a MASSIVE bone to pick with this one.

It states, and I quote: "With a median pay range in the top 20% of the 2013 Jobs Rated report, veterinarians can be well compensated for rewarding work. People love their pets, and as a result the demand for veterinarians is expected to increase 36% over the next seven years per Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. Combine that with low stress, and veterinarian is a promising career option."

Now, I'm not going to argue with the fact that the job is rewarding. Getting to hang out with animals as a job, helping them and sometimes saving their lives is an amazing feeling. I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Here's the list of problems I have with this article: 

1. Being a vet is the opposite of low stress. 
Dealing with irritable cats, horses that are trying to kick you, and trying to explain to clients that yearly check-ups are necessary to renew a prescription is NOT low stress. Which brings me to my second problem with this article.

2. People may love their pets, but they love their money more.
I'm not saying that some people won't do everything in their power (and wallet) to save the family pet. But when it's perceived that we've not done our job (when we have) or that we're trying to squeeze money (when in reality we just want to make sure our diagnosis is correct or that medication is effective), we're accused of being in it for only the money. I've seen it while out on practice, and I've had vets tell me about it time and again. There's a lovely blog out there called Vets Behaving Badly that posted a very well-written explanation about this (aptly entitled "You only do _Blank_ for the money!").

3. An expected job growth of 36% is bullshit. 
Yeah, I said it. Bullshit. We're all grown ups here. With veterinary class sizes increasing and loads of new vets flooding the market, logic (and my sophomore economics course) tells me that the laws of supply and demand mean more vets equals more competition which means lower salaries and fewer jobs. Again, I don't think I can find a way to express this bullshit any better than the lovely vets over at Vets Behaving Badly. 

4. The pay may be good, but the debt is overwhelming.
I think I remember reading a NYTimes article to this effect in the past year. Something about the average veterinary graduate getting out of school with an average of over $180,000 in debt? (Oh yeah, I think I mean this one.)

I mean, that's not even close to what I've taken out in order to achieve my dream. And it's not just veterinary students suffering from massive amounts of debt. My generation is coming to terms with the fact that we will most likely never be as prosperous as the previous generation (click here to read the wonderfully articulated frustration we all feel by blogger Adam Weinstein). 

I'm trying to decide whether to specialize in something that I've wanted to do for YEARS, and the ONLY THING keeping me back is the fact that most internships and residencies pay what should be below poverty line (especially considering that my loan payment each month will probably be twice my parent's mortgage). And I don't get a break from paying back loans while an intern or resident just because I'm only making enough to live in my parent's house/a crappy studio apartment and eat practically nothing. I'd like to someday be able to afford to get married. Maybe even have a few kids. Buy a house. This all feels impossible when I think about how much I'll end up paying back by the end of things. 

So pardon me if I've ranted and raved a little bit, but when is the constant sugar coating of this whole situation going to stop? 

15 September 2013


This past week I was on rotation in Dermatology, aka self-proclaimed (by the head of Dermatology) as 'dermaholiday.'

Seriously, though. That's what they call it. Because you don't have to be in until 10am and you leave around 3pm. And it's very laid back. And they're all really nice.


After my manic weekend at Bell Equine (we had 3 colics in a day) and a lot of not sleeping, having a week of dermaholiday was exactly what I needed. And I actually really enjoyed it as well.

Next up: Emergency and Critical Care. Mostly doing 4p-4a shifts, which will screw with the good ol' sleep schedule, but it should be interesting nonetheless.

06 September 2013

Taking exhaustion to a whole new level.

Rotation at Bell Equine has been amazing and exhausting. The people here are awesome and I'm SO glad that RVC has the option to come here for 2 weeks.

I've seen a couple of colic surgeries and scrubbed into 2 orthopedic surgeries. It's been AWESOME.

Being here helps in making some big decisions. There is something about equine surgery that I can't walk away from, even though I'll probably end up penniless and sleep deprived for the rest of my life. While I love farm work, I have a feeling I might get bored after a while.

A girl I'm on rotation with here at Bell said that she could see me doing surgery, working at a referral practice; in her honest opinion (and I love when people can give me an honest opinion), I'd get bored doing anything less.

And when I sit and think about it, she's 100% right. And I'm grateful to her for it.

I probably won't go straight from an internship to a residency. I might take a few years to work in the field to get some extra experience under my belt, but eventually I'll get there.

29 August 2013

So I'm really getting bad at this whole update thing.

I'm halfway through rotations and I'm exhausted/happy/disgruntled/grumpy/etc. Many different emotions. 

To be truthful, I probably just need a break.

Scotland was fab. Loved it, could totally see myself settling there in the long run. Scary thought, but eh. What can I say? It was gorgeous, there was plenty of hiking, everyone was super friendly (AND HAD SCOTTISH ACCENTS), and I saw myself working as a farm/equine vet at this practice. If there is a job opening at this place when I graduate, I'm definitely applying and seeing where it takes me. 

On the other hand, I'm having existential crises more and more now because I really REALLY liked farm animal work. More than I expected. And while I still love the equine side of things, recently it seems like I've been discouraged left and right from doing equine surgery. Which is really frustrating. 

I mean, I know it's 4 more years. If I'm lucky and go straight to an internship post graduation and immediately after that a residency, I'll be 32. Even if there's a couple of years in between, I'll be entering the field in my mid-30s. 

But it's 4 more years of hard work. I know I CAN do it, but do I actually WANT to do it? 

Also, where do I go for internship? US, UK, Australia? 

Or do I just go for a mixed animal job somewhere in the UK or US and figure out a few things for a few years?



Ok, I'm done now. 

Suffice it to say Scotland has made me very happy and very anxious at the same time. 

Right now, I'm at Bell Equine in Kent as part of my tracking rotations. Exhaustion is here to stay for the next week and a half, but I'm loving every minute of it (which just makes my decision EVEN HARDER). 

I promise I'll try to update more often. After this I'll be on Dermatology then Emergency and Critical Care, so I'll be more apt to have a little bit of time on my hands.  

10 August 2013

Been a while...

Kinda forgot about this thing for a bit. Rotations definitely get in the way sometimes!

Speaking of them, they've been pretty good. SA surgery was great and went really quickly. Farm animal rotation has been great, minus the fact that I've had gastritis for the past week which has made functioning/eating/everything difficult. But I made it!

Next stop: Scotland. Mixed animal practice. Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Good times.

24 July 2013

On surgery, final year, and other matters.

I officially have less than a year to go until graduation. Of course, I need to pass all my rotations and final exams before that happens...but let's just say for the hell of it I pass.


Less than ONE YEAR.

Even typing that out makes me go into a mini-panic attack. Am I ready for this? Does anyone ever really feel ready for it?

It doesn't feel like I've been here for 3 years. It certainly doesn't feel like I'm knowledgeable enough to be a veterinarian in my own right making decisions. Except that I probably won't be a primary on any case because I'm planning on internships.

Which reminds me. Internships. God, those application deadlines are coming up fast.

Anyway, past two weeks have been fun. I've been on Small Animal Surgery in the QMH and, while smallies are not my thing, I've had a great time with the surgery department. The clinicians are laid back, the residents are laid back...and we've had a slew of new interns come in this July and they're (mostly) really great. I've scrubbed into a few surgeries and have managed not to pass out in the way-too-hot theatre.

Seriously, though. It's boiling in the UK right now. We've had hardly any rain in the past 4 weeks and it's been HOT. Unseasonably warm. It hit 90F the other day and I rebelled against the weather by wearing a skirt. Within about 2 hours of being at the QMH, a very friendly boxer slimed me all over my knee and the lower part of my skirt. Yum.

So...yeah. I'm gonna go back to reading about tarsal luxation in dogs and pray to the vet gods that someone is able to scribe for me tomorrow because I'm never going to be able to remember the steps to a distal fibular fracture (possibly avulsion) repair and a tarsal collateral ligament repair. With an external skeletal fixator placement.

07 July 2013

On track, and internship talk.

Equine Orthopedics tracking week 1 is complete. Can't say that it was truly any different from my core rotation week, although I've got limited responsibilities. Which is weird.

Since tracking students don't take any patients on unless all the core students have at least one patient, there really isn't much else to do other than watch and listen. Hands on work is limited. To say that it's a bit frustrating is an understatement. But it's been a good week. I'm putting more effort into learning nerve and joint blocks in the horse, and the anatomy is getting easier to remember. So maybe that's the real purpose behind doing the tracking: it solidifies what you breezed over during your core rotation.

Also, I've started to consolidate my internship applications (which basically means I've come to a decision about what I'll be applying for). The plan is this: apply for the US internships I've set my eyes on. If none of those are successful or I change my mind about where I want to be, I'll apply to the UK and Australian internships.

In reality, I really have no idea where I'm going to end up. And that's a bit frightening.

So for now, I'm applying to the US internships with the hopes that I get into one of them. Two of the ones I'm going for are ├╝ber competitive, which decreases my chances of getting in there (also, I've not gone there yet so I don't really know if I'll fit in). The other two I'm going for are comfortable and safe, which isn't bad, but there is no guarantee that I'll get those either.

I've spiffied up my CV to include all my experience thus far, which is much more than I thought at first. My next step is the letter of intent (should be interesting).

Oh yeah. And 3 letters of recommendation. Not easy. I've got some idea of which clinicians I should ask, but I've never been one to be very confident about selling myself or asking for favors. But then...this is my career. And if I can't ask for what I want, then what the hell am I doing with myself?

30 June 2013

I love this place.

I don't think I've talked about how much I love being in the UK in a while, probably because I haven't really had time to do anything other than study while on rotations.

Well, I'm saying it. I love this place.

Yesterday I met my sister and S in Borough Market. I ended up getting there early, so I wandered around between all the food stalls and was tempted to get all the fresh produce I could get my hands on. Unfortunately my sensible side stepped in and reminded me that I'm on a student budget and I should be frugal. I settled for buying 2 punnets of strawberries from Kent and some chorizo from Spain.

Oh, and camel burgers.

Seriously, though. Not kidding. We had camel burgers and grilled sweet potato and zucchini for dinner last night.


I bought my friend L a horse steak.

Now, before you go all "OH MY GOD YOU ATE HORSE WHATAERSF:DLSDKJF>WER", I didn't actually eat the horse, but I'm not exactly opposed to it. There are places in the world that raise horses for meat, and I'm ok with it. It wasn't long ago that the US had horse meat in supermarkets (I think it stopped being a regular shelf product in the early 1950s). And after the whole Tesco horse meat in burgers scandal, I think some kind of taboo has been lifted because hey: chances are you've actually already eaten it. You just didn't know it. So...buy it on purpose and give it a try.

I haven't really had the courage to do it yet, but soon. And Borough Market has a lovely exotic meat stall that carries basically any meat you desire. Ostrich steak? Yup. Springbok jerky? You betcha. I think they were frying up kangaroo burgers yesterday for lunch as well. I mean, seriously.

To think that I was once a stalwart vegetarian. Lulz.

25 June 2013

NAVLE application: check.

I have taken the plunge and applied for the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Exam). The exam itself costs a whopping $570, and for those of us lucky enough to have to take it outside of North America, there is another $275 fee tacked on. Oh, and the NAVLE application for the good state of RI cost an additional $50.

As if paying over a quarter of a million dollars to get this degree wasn't enough of a slap in the face.

Is this what being an adult feels like? I mean, I have panic attacks about money. It doesn't make me feel better when I'm on EMS and clients complain about how expensive treating their pet is. Well, that's all well and good, but you haven't been saddled with a crippling amount of debt. That you VOLUNTARILY agreed to. I think that's the worst part. I feel like I've signed a deal with the devil to become a vet. Except the devil is the US government (are you reading this, NSA?).

Ah, well. Now that I have that out of my system...

My sister has officially moved in with me for the summer to help cover rent until the new girls move in September. It'll be nice to have her around (to cook and clean! And also to provide support and love). Her boyfriend S will also be around on weekends so we can have mini dinner parties and watch Swedish crime dramas and drink delicious wine (on those days that I'm not freaking out over studying for the NAVLE; have I mentioned how expensive it is and how much I don't want to have to take it twice?).

AND I've only got 3 days left of EMS with the small animal clinic. I'll be going back in the winter to get more experience, and I'm actually super excited. It may be slow, but they're so laid back and helpful and just fun to be around.

Oh yeah. And in 367 days, I'll be done with my final finals. I'm just going to go grab a brown paper bag and hyperventilate into it.

23 June 2013

First Village in England

Yesterday I drove to Norwich to finish collecting data on my research project, which (surprisingly) went really quickly. The drive there, however, was not.

There's this section of road on the way to Norwich that has been under construction for about a year and half now (and it won't be done until winter 2014), so at certain times in the day (all the time) it's super busy. It's about a 10 mile stretch of traffic that takes about an hour to get through. Ugh. Not my idea of a good drive. So instead of sitting in traffic for an hour, I took an alternate route that my TomTom app calculated for me. I drove through England's first village, West Stow, which was pretty cool. And the rest was beautiful woodland driving. I was tempted to stop and take pictures, but alas. I had a time restraint.

Anyway, my research project data is complete. Although I couldn't do an entirely random assortment of the horses at Redwings, I did get to look at 25 horses and take a few pictures for reference, and one picture just because some of the horses were being cute.

So now, it's all about the write-up. My advisor is only allowed to read it once, so I'll probably enlist my friend S. who is in research (and did my stats, she's such a star) to read it through for style and other things.

19 June 2013

Still alive.

I realize it's been a while since my last post. My bad. I don't really have any great excuses. I was just too preoccupied with Equine Surgery (which, by the way, was a really slow two weeks for my rotation group).

I'm now on small animal EMS for the next week and a half (started on Monday), so it's like being on vacation. The practice I'm at is pretty cool; they're very laid back and have let me help out with a few things already (yay scaling teeth!). After this, I go back to the Equine Referral Hospital for some more Equine Orthopedics! Very exciting.

And now, I'm going to watch an episode of Borgia before going to bed. It's scandalous and I love it.

03 June 2013

And on to the next.

Small Animal Medicine is over!

Well, technically it was over on Saturday. It was super difficult, but I'm very pleased with my grade. I worked my butt off to get it, and I'm glad that it matched the effort I put into the rotation.

Anyway, I've started Equine Surgery today. My rotation group is on Orthopedics this week, and our sister group is on Soft Tissue. It's been a bit slow on our side of things, but hopefully it picks up. Considering this is one of the rotations I'm looking most forward to, I'll be pretty disappointed if it's not busy. Soft Tissue had a bunch of cases today, so I ended up hanging out with them instead of sitting in the student tea room twiddling my thumbs. Also, it was way too gorgeous outside today to spend ANY time inside. I'm probably a bit sunburnt, but eh. It was worth it.

We'll see what happens with the rest of this week on Ortho, and next week on Soft Tissue. Fingers crossed I get to see some cool cases and surgeries!

25 May 2013

Barely surviving.

I'd like to say that I'm nailing small animal medicine. It would be awesome if I could actually function, too, on medicine. But neither of those things seem to be happening.

The only thing I've got going for me is my practical skills (thank you, VCA, for helping me gain those prior to vet school. Being able to get a catheter in first try and being able to jugular stick a cat are two of my coveted skills) and my professionalism. And maybe my pretty face, but that's pushing it.

I just feel like every step I take in this rotation is a misstep. I swear, I know things. I really do. But when I try to open my mouth and say it, it comes out in a garbled mess and I look (and feel) like a complete doofus. Seriously. I know plasma lactate elevations occur with hypoxemia and endotoxemia. I really do (although I didn't know that you can get false elevations with ethylene glycol toxicity, which is a good fact to know).

I'd like to be able to demonstrate the knowledge I've got swirling around in my brain. But the combination of 13-16 hour days and not enough water and never enough caffeine (there is not enough caffeine in the world) are making my brain has the dumb.

Next week, we've all been told to up our game on the knowledge front. So basically, I need to know all the things.

Excuse me while I go attempt to (physically) cram the entirety of Small Animal Internal Medicine by Ettinger into my brain.

20 May 2013

Back in the QMH.

Today was my first day back in the QMH since February, and also my first day on Small Animal Medicine. Only 13 more days on SAM to go.

Honestly, I'm just not cut out for small animal work. The jugular veins are too small, the patients wriggle out of your arms, and I am way better at predicting the behavior of a horse than that of a beagle. Also, my brain has been stuck on equine medicine for the past 12 weeks (pretty much) and it's taking me a little longer than I'd like to get back into the swing of small animal work. 

Ah, well. It's only for a short while. It's only 2 weeks in the QMH before I'm back working with the big ponies for Equine Surgery. 

13 May 2013

Something to brighten your day.

Thank you, Cornell University class of 2012. You made my day a little brighter.

I was browsing the Student Doctor Network vet forums and came across a post that had this link in it. I laughed hysterically. I hope it improves your day just a little bit too.

I'm officially on my last week of my first research block. After meeting with my advisor earlier today, I am very relieved and happy with what I've got. I'll be going back in June to do one last thing, but I don't have to go to any more places!! I'm pretty much done with all my data collection. And I've got most of my stats done as well, thanks to my lovely science friend S. who is doing a masters in stats. She's a star. So now, it's all about the write-up.

Next week, Small Animal Med starts. I'm glad to be getting back into the hospital after being stuck at home for 3 weeks. Nervous, because small animal med is not a strength of mine, but hey. What else are clinics for?

07 May 2013

When Research Strikes.

So I've been back in the UK a week now, and I'm currently hanging out in Norwich. I've started to collect data for my project, but unfortunately the data I'm getting isn't quite complete. We'll see what happens.

Word to the wise: try not to create your own retrospective project. Unless you know what you're doing (which I don't), it's much easier to discuss a topic and have a lecturer or clinician guide you in the right direction.

In other news, British Summertime has arrived! It's beautifully sunny outside, warm(ish), and the sky stays light until 9pm. Ah. I love it. I went to the local pub's garden party with my rotation group and had a great time catching up on everyone's Easter EMS and research project problems (I'm not the only one! Thank GOD). I've been making excuses to go outside (mowing the lawn, attempting to garden with my very un-green thumb), and trying to make sure that I enjoy as much of this weather as I can before it leaves. The only downside to British Summertime is that the sun starts to rise a hell of a lot earlier than one expects. In June, it'll rise around 4:30am.

Anyway, I'll update more frequently now that the sun rises earlier. You know, more time for activities!

22 April 2013

One Last Week

I've got one more week left before I head back the UK. It's been a bit surreal, but I'm glad to be going back soon. I miss my kitty and I miss my normal routine.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love being home. But after living by myself and cooking for myself, it's difficult readjusting to having my mother cook for me. Since becoming gluten-free in 2011, it's been difficult to have other people cook for me. Gluten is a fickle thing that likes to stick around in the most random places, like wooden spoons and frying pans. But I digress.

All three of my placements have been wonderful. I'm having second thoughts about doing just equine medicine, even though I love it. I've heard over and over about the need for farm animal vets in the RI/MA area, and I'm tempted to try and find an internship that includes farm animal. Maybe even stay in the UK for a few extra years to gain more large animal experience. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess.

15 April 2013

Thoughts are with Boston

My thoughts and prayers are with all the people affected by the explosions at the Boston Marathon earlier today. I'm still in shock about it.

12 April 2013

Don't get sick.

Seriously. Don't get sick on EMS. It sucks, you have to make up the time, and if you get the flu, you want to die.

I've spent the last 4 days holed up in my house trying to get rid of a persistent fever that just wouldn't quit. Thankfully, it seems to have broken at last and I'm feeling a little more myself (minus my voice). At least my placement is more than happy to accomodate me making up these days on the week that I took for myself to see family. Although it stinks that I won't be able to spend more time with my LI family.

Also, on a completely different note, doing a tax disc for a car while you're outside the country is a completely stressful event. Unless you're smart and go straight to calling the automated line, which is the opposite of what I did. I had a roommate of mine search for days, fruitlessly, to find my vehicle registration document (which is not where it is supposed to be, sneaky bugger got misplaced somehow), and freaking out that I was going to incur a HUGE fine (because that's what they say on the reminder the DVLA mails out). But no. All I had to do was do it by phone, and it took less than 5 minutes. Ugh. Next time, I will try all options they give before freaking out about it.

Now, I'm going to go back to watching bad US TV and hopefully spending my last day on the couch. Because I'm seriously so done with it. It's boring. I'd rather be out and about looking at horses. Hell, I'd rather be washing sheaths like I did half of Monday afternoon than be holed up in my parent's house on the couch moaning in agony because I can't get rid of a bloody migraine (it's gone now, thank goodness).

06 April 2013

2 out of 3 Complete

I finished up my second placement of the spring break yesterday, and I had a fabulous time. Got to see a lot of stuff and do a lot of stuff, which is always fun! Had great conversations with the vets there and felt right at home. I've got another 2 weeks to go of placement and then on to Research.

I've also managed to go see my family on LI, which was amazing. Did Easter eggs with my dad's side of the family and had Easter dinner with my Mom's side. There's nothing like a little family time to recharge your batteries. I'll be back there in a couple of weeks to spend more time with my grandparents, since I don't get to see them often enough.

Wow. I've been home for 4 weeks already, and I've finished 5 out of the 16 remaining clinical placement weeks for my final year. Time, stop going so fast. Seriously.

25 March 2013

27 Reasons to like Monday

1. Placement #2 has started, and I had fun today.

2. I'm tired, but it's a good tired.

3. I can snuggle with my puppy.

4. I get to watch live American TV.

5. Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee.

6. Home-made avocado hummus (courtesy of my dad)

7. Lizzie Bennett Diaries (don't give me that look.)

8. Warm showers.

9. Hot water.

10. It's not snowing.

11. ...

Ok, I don't have 27 reasons to like Monday. Mondays generally suck. But I am officially 27 years old now, so...yeah. That about sums up the rest of my 27 reasons.

19 March 2013

Everything comes in threes.

So this weekend was a little bit of a nightmare. And by weekend, I mean Monday also, because the horribleness extended into last night as well.

Saturday night, a really painful impaction colic with displacement of the colon comes in. Owner can't really pay for surgery even though it's necessary, so the attending and intern agree that medical management can be tried overnight. Well, that night this horse proceeded to kink it's IV catheter and pull out the fluid line (there goes 20 litres of LRS) because he was rolling in pain. Let me say first that this horse was on a substantial amount of pain medication and sedation to try and make him comfortable. At 4am, I was the first one down to check on this horse. Fluid line was wrapped around his front leg and was pretty much destroyed, another 20 liters of LRS in the shavings. Not my happiest moment. We manage to salvage the IV catheter, but have to replace the fluids and the IV fluid line. Put him on more pain medication. Next morning (Sunday), things are as bad as the night before and the owner decides to call it (after a thorough explanation about how he might not make it through surgery even if we decide that is the path, etc). Really sad.

Sunday night, as the other extern and I are getting ready to go downstairs for midnight treatments and we see a trailer drive by our bedroom window. Didn't get any heads up from the intern on call, so we wander downstairs to see what's up. Unexpected colic case walks through the door. Come to find out that their referring vet had called another emergency clinic and expected them to go there even though they said they were coming to us. Frustrating, but obviously not going to turn them away because of it. Another horrible no good colic which, after an hour of workup, the owner decides to euthanize because surgery isn't an option. Another sad ending.

Monday goes well, lots of appointments to see and lots to do. Get told around 4pm about an emergency colic coming in around 6:30-7pm. 2500lb+ Belgian with a colon torsion. Sigh. Surgery not an option, due to the size of the animal and all the complications that can occur. Also, high possibility that the colon will rupture as it's being moved onto the table. Ok.

6:30pm rolls around and this giant horse walks through the door, full of sweat and obviously in a lot of pain. Two nice guys from Maine are handling him and explain what the deal is. Intern on call starts the work-up while the attending vet is handling some important paperwork. One of the vet techs stays to help (superstar). Intern gives him some sedation and pain meds, but they don't have an effect. Really super bad sign. Also, this horse is huge and in a lot of pain and not really paying a whole lot of attention to anything (not surprisingly) so being around him alone is scary as sh*t. I won't sugarcoat this. Working up an animal this large and this unaware is terrifying. The intern (also a superstar) did her best. Attending comes in and takes one look at the horse and is basically telling the handlers (the owner wasn't present) that the horse is dying. Because he is. I saw this horse's gums - they were white as a sheet. As the attending goes to try to place a catheter for the third time, the horse starts to collapse.

Now, when a horse like this collapses, it doesn't get up. Period. That is the awful truth. And it was awful. I've never seen an animal die like this in front of me, but everything is a learning experience. Thankfully everyone there was smart and stayed safe when he started to go down, but it was really scary to see it.

For all those people who are thinking "why didn't they do more?"

Well. I have to say that it was handled in the best way it possibly could be handled. These situations are never easy, and it's very hard to make sure everything goes smoothly. Unfortunately, the horse should probably have been euthanized instead of traveling 3 or 4 hours to get to this referral clinic. But he wasn't. He also should have gotten an IV catheter placed by the referring vet and gotten a bolus of fluids and pain meds before traveling, but he didn't. By the time he got to us, he was so dehydrated that an IV catheter was impossible to place. It was an upsetting situation that no one could really have changed that late in the game.

I'm just happy this horse's suffering didn't go on for too long after he arrived. The whole thing was over in about 20 minutes, even though it felt like much longer.

Anyway, these things happen in threes, right? So fingers crossed the next emergency colic cases that come in have happier endings.

Here's a picture of my kitten to make this post less depressing.

12 March 2013

Sleepless in NH.

I'm fairly certain that sleep deprivation has the same effects as excessive drinking. Because I feel drunk even though I've not had a drop of alcohol in about 3 days, but I've had about 3 hours sleep since arriving at my placement yesterday afternoon.

So in the past 48 hours, I've had a whopping total of 7 hours sleep thanks to jet lag and a surgical colic. Suffice it to say that I'm not only tired, but in that giddy, silly phase of overtired. There are 2 other externs here with me, and basically we're all in the same boat, so it's been a fun time.

And now, to bed. Because I'm on call tonight for emergencies and I have a funny feeling the horses won't let me sleep.

10 March 2013

Back in the USA

So glad to be back in the US! Just flew in this afternoon (US time). Had a great time at Abattoir (and passed it), and had a wonderful week up north in Lancashire. Even did part of a caesarian section on a sheep!!

And now, I'm so jet-lagged and all I want to do is sleep. Except I can't, because then I'll just wake up super early.

Tomorrow, I'm off to New Hampshire to start my next clinical placement. Can't wait!

24 February 2013

First Rotation: check.

I finished my Anesthesia rotation on Friday. I'm still in shock that my first rotation is over. It still feels like if I pinch myself too hard I'll be back in year one sitting in a lecture hall in Camden. How am I in my 'final' year at RVC?

Anyway, Anesthesia was pretty amazing. Really difficult, but really rewarding. Everyone in that department is great, super helpful, and tries to make every moment into a learning opportunity. My first week was great, but I realized how much of the knowledge I was missing within the first couple of days. But if anyone asks me again about the systemic effects of medetomidine, I will be able to answer it fully instead of just muttering "sedation, analgesia, bradycardia?".

I'm second on call tonight, so I suppose I'm not 100% done with the rotation. We'll see if it's a crazy night.

This week, I'm off to Bristol to do my Abattoir rotation. Since we don't have one here, the RVC sends us to University of Bristol to complete our one week requirement. Short days, near the ocean...I don't think I'll complain too much!

I'm also a week out from going back up to Lancashire for a week, and then jetting back here to pack up to leave on March 9 for Boston. I'm not really giving myself any time to sleep for the next couple of weeks...

19 February 2013

Anesthesia is pretty awesome.

I'm exhausted and having so much fun.

Rotations are hard, but really rewarding. I really love being in an animal hospital again and actually interacting with animals on a daily basis.

Now, back to reading up about anesthetic agents.

08 February 2013

3 Days til R-Day

Rotations start on Monday. I've been doing the frantic "Do I have everything?" dance for the past two days now. This morning I got out all of my business casual clothing to make sure I had enough. Really, I could use a couple of 3/4 sleeve sweaters. And maybe a pair of comfy shoes. And a thermometer.

Also, I've been worrying over what I'll have time to cook at night. Now that the house has a new freezer (courtesy of my endless searching and emailing on gumtree), I can freeze more stuff to take in as lunches instead of eating peanut butter and an apple for lunch. Trust me. It's a lovely snack, but as lunch? Not so much.

And my kitty. I adopted a kitten (practically an adult) over the Christmas holiday and I've named him Rory. He's adorable, slightly destructive (slowly getting him out of that habit), and he's been completely spoiled since I've been home 24/7 for the past two weeks.

Hell, I'VE been completely spoiled. Getting up on Monday is going to SUCK. And simultaneously be awesome.

03 February 2013

Research research research.

I had my wonderful holiday in Tenerife with my friend A last week (got back last Sunday). It was paradise, it was lovely, and we had a really great time hanging out and relaxing in the sunshine (and getting sun-burnt in the process).

But now I'm back to the reality that yes, rotations start next week and yes, I need to get a good portion of the prep work on my research project done this week. And I also need to start getting up earlier than 10am and going to bed earlier than 2am.

For now, I'm going to enjoy the rest of this time off as much as possible. Because after this, there's not a whole lot of time before real life has to start.

20 January 2013

And the snow must go on...

Most areas in the south of England are not all that used to getting snow during the winter. Generally, there's about one 'big' snowfall of under 3 inches during the winter and the rest of the time it's just cold and rainy.

This year, however, must be the beginning of the apocalypse, because not only has it been snowing on and off for 3 days where I live, there's been quite a lot of accumulation. Now, I'm a New England girl. I'm used to snow and ice. I've woken up an hour earlier than usual so I can dig myself out of the giant snow wall that the plows have built overnight while plowing the roads. I can deal with snowy winters. In south England? They freak out over a snowfall of 1 inch. Rightly so; they don't have the kind of equipment on hand to clear the amount of snow that New England gets. 

And right now, the UK is FLIPPING out over the snow. They've even got twitter hashtags to commemorate the occasion (#UKsnow, #Europeansnow). Granted, I don't blame them.

Anyway, hopefully the snow will stop falling overnight. Unfortunately, even if I wanted to go into school tomorrow I can't, as they've cancelled lectures and have told all non-essential personnel to not come in. Sigh. So much for getting a day of research in before vacation. 

16 January 2013

Getting closer!

So Friday is the last day of Pre-Rotational Taught Tracking (basically refreshers based on what we're tracking in). Last week was more of the basics that everyone needs to know (research project related stuff as well as lectures on how to approach clinical cases), and this week and next are geared towards what you're tracking in. Since I've only got Equine tracking, I've only got one week's worth of lectures to attend.

What will I do with my spare time? Oh, I'm only going to Tenerife for 5 days. For my FIRST EVER warm weather vacation.

Seriously. I've never been on a warm weather trip in the winter time, and I've never traveled to a beach resort for vacation. I lived a sheltered life as a child, where we did more museum trips and went to colder places during the summer (Nova Scotia can be surprisingly cold in late summer).

So yeah. I'm a bit excited about my little trip to a Tenerife resort with my friend A.

After that, cold hard reality of research project 2 closely followed by my first rotation: Anesthesia. Apparently it's a good one to get out of the way early, or so I've been told. It's only 2 weeks of my life, so it couldn't be too bad, right?


02 January 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Wow. Is it really 2013 already?

Am I really starting clinical rotations next month?

Is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel?

Anyway, I hope your New Year's celebrations were as awesome as mine.

My NYE 2013 celebration consisted of spinach and artichoke dip (self-made), chicken parmigiana and fried eggplant (also self-made), red wine, most of a bottle of champagne, and a Harry Potter movie marathon. I only got through the first 5 before the fireworks at midnight, so I finished the rest yesterday. I feel very much recharged and ready to get this year going.

As for my resolution; last year, I resolved to get healthy. I can safely say that I accomplished that goal; I'm 14 lb. lighter than I was at this time last year and I have more energy (even with the sun being mostly absent at this time of year). I think I'll just keep this resolution going for another year and see what it brings.

I should probably also resolve to survive clinical rotations.