Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recap of a Busy Summer

Over the past couple days in between long hot dog walks, appointments and packing I have been reflecting on my last summer as a vet student. It absolutely flew right past me. I did not get to hang out with friends as much as I had liked to, but unfortunately that's part of life as people spend more time with their significant other and job and summer vacation plans.

In terms of veterinary experience, I feel well-rounded, but my brain feels rusty. I wish I had time to review some anatomy and pharmacology, but don't we always have that wish, yet somehow it never comes to fruition.

I feel confident with my clinical skills and look forward to surgery class this fall, after performing numerous spays and neuters and mice vasectomies.

In terms of quality time with the hubby, well is there ever enough time? While work consumed me during June and beginning of July, I found my balance between the gym, Matt and work and it started to feel very nice. We had a month where we biked every weekend, which was great. We jogged around monuments and tested outdoor trail courses in our area. Our trip to the Outer Banks was a true highlight and one I hope we take again sometime.

It has been over the last week, however, that I really can look back at this summer and smile at how much I accomplished and managed to have some fun sandwiched in between.

I am anxious to return to school with my large obligation, my new dog Spokane, and how she + 3 cats will fit into my vet school life. She seems to need a minimum of 2 long walks per day and she can still get puppy crazy. On the other hand I am taking the least amount of credits this semester and some of the classes are very little work/pressure.

As I was packing my closet today, that old feeling came back. The feeling that our life up here is so rich and complete (more complete than ever with dog) and how I do not want to give that up or be without Matt again. While I haven't been the best wife this summer in terms of cooking and cleaning he continues to be supportive of all my daily trials and tribulations. I will miss having him during the week and can only hope I adjust to it a lot quicker this time.

I am also ready to get on with it, put pieces together and get to 4th year. I hope I can make it through this fall semester sanely and successfully.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Fulfilling Experience Afterall

Today was the long-awaited NIH Summer Student Poster Day. While I would probably rather be back in on the coast in Washington state working on my clinical techniques some more with the RAVS group, today's poster session went pretty well.

Last summer only 2-3 people came to talk to me about my poster and most of the time I stood there bored or chatting with my neighbors. My poster didn't have cool photos or much direct clinical veterinary relevance compared to some others.

This year, while I was forced to exclude many pictures and incorporate a lot more words than I would have liked to, I got the chance to speak to a lot more people than last year. Some were friends or family, which is always comforting, and others were students who were curious and walking by. The most fulfilling experience was speaking with National Cancer Institute and other principal NIH investigators on analgesia in post-op mice. Many of them were shocked that bupivicaine at the time of surgery was the only pain relief given and were eager to include post-op analgesics in their future studies.

Speaker with researchers, who have budget constraints and can sometimes be insensitive to animal pain, felt very rewarding. While I only spoke to around 10 people, the issue was raised with direct stakeholders, who can help change the standard of analgesia in mice models and lab animal medicine.

While some better results would have been great and less time watching mice all summer more fun, it was amazing to know I made a small difference in lab animal welfare that could be a small step toward better pain management in mice.

In summary, all hard work is usually not without purpose.

Puppy Update: Spokane's second training session on Tuesday went well. She impressed me and made me proud except for 5 minutes after the UPS man knocked on the door. Yesterday, however, she was extremely mouthy to me and Matt. It also seems that each day it is harder to get her into the crate. This morning she thought it was a game and wanted us to chase her. We continue to give her praise, treats, special toys and bones while she's in there, but luring her in is quite the challenge. Once she is inside she lays down and chews on her bones/toys. We have been spending more time with her in the crate as well, not only leaving each time.

It may take more time for her to like it or she might not be a "crate dog", in which case hopefully she becomes trust worthy sooner rather than later.

In the meantime were working on down, her name, leash walking, and come.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

RAVS Recap

Well I am back from Washington state and I would highly recommend this experience to all vet students. It was more hands on and more intense than most of the training we get in school. I did in fact pass my surgery exam and lucked out with 2 surgery days (many only get 1 day). I started trying to find my way through many a physical exam, had some varied anesthesia cases, and performed 10-11 spays/neuters on dosg and cats. I also saw a limb amputation and helped that dog, who was hit by a car 3 weeks prior recover miraculously.

The days were draining though and at times I wondered how I would get it through it. The reservation was in a beautiful area with mountains, lakes, Coulee Dam (quite a site) and pine trees everywhere.

It was fun to get advice and help from the doctors that were there. I have to say I absolutely loved surgery.

On a surprising note, I brought home a living souvenir. Her name is Spokane (it was Apache) and she was one of the Reservation's Animal Control Officer's dogs who only had a few more days before she would be euthanized if no one adopted her. Another girl on the trip and myself really took a liking to her and did not want to see that happen. Nether one of us was quite ready for a dog, but in what was my most spontaneous decision possibly ever, I got her on my flight and now I have a crash course in dog training 101. She is a lot of work for me and Matt, but for only 2 days she is doing really well. Although I wish she liked the crate more.

I hope I made the right decision and that she can be trained asap! I am very nervous about having her and the 3 cats during school, but hopefully I can make it work.