Monday, May 31, 2010

1 Block Down 16 more to go

It is hard to believe that block 1 is over. It was one of my most feared blocks and turned out to be very enjoyable. I started to love head catching cattle in the chute. I became more comfortable injecting and drawing blood from larger animals. I fell in love with goats as both production and pet animals. I spent some time driving around various parts of the beautiful state of Virginia and enjoyed some lovely spring weather. I rose early and went to bed early.

The block started off bumpy and ended smoothly. I wish I had seen more medicine cases, but that is the luck of the draw. I still had a good time doing herd health and reproductive medicine with some pretty amazing farmers in some pretty nice facilities. I truly wish I had had some clinical experience with production management sooner because I may have consider being a mixed animal tracker. While I did not always like learning about production animal medicine, doing it was much more fun than I would have imagined. The clinicians made it fun as well.

The block ended with a Memorial Day weekend cookout at Dr. Schramm's new abode, complete with a relaxing dip in a hot tub and a locally grown steak for the husband. It doesn't get much more American than that.

Next block is radiology, also known as radiation vacation. I hope to learn a lot and significantly improve in my radiographic interpretation skills. I will also be sneaking in to get some ultrasound experience if possible.

Here's to block 2!

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Illusion to Lost

Since Lost was with me before vet school and during vet school I thought it apropos to address the series finale in relation to my life as a vet student. Over the past few years, I have struggled with the concept of relationships throughout life. More specifically, it is difficult for me to let close relationships fade or die. My sister and others have indicated that life is full of relationships. Many of them are very important to shaping who you are as a person and/or helping you through a crisis or situation. Unfortunately, most relationships are temporary; some are shorter than we'd like them to be, while others may last a lifetime.

Crazy as it may seem, this episode of Lost may not have answered all of my Lost questions, but it reminded me of a more important concept. This reminder could not have come at a better time. As I begin my final year in vet school, some of my close friends have started graduating and moving on. It has been difficult for me. The long distance relationship with Matt and now my dog has also started bothering me again. The series finale of Lost reminded me to allow relationships to change and let go as I have to. The bright side is to try to remember all of those people who had an impact on who I am, who I have become and who I will become. It is okay to let go. It does not mean anything is wrong with me if relationships fail, it is just a part of life.

Remember and let go.

Another veterinary lesson I have recently experienced is that some times we try to make animals feel better, yet we make them worse. This very sweet Jersey cow (#4453) at the VT dairy had severe diarrhea due to to indigestion. We decided to drench her, but Jersey's hate to be drenched. While my partner and I thought she was swallowing, she ended up spitting out and aspirating most of the drench. We cured her diarrhea, but gave her aspiration pneumonia. Luckily, I saw her today and she is doing much better. I felt solely responsible for making her very ill. I was assured by several DVM's that Jersey's do this, and it's not my fault. Well, it sure felt like my fault. This will happen time and again. While we do our best to make animals better, we will fail. Like Jack Shepard learned we cannot fix everything and sometimes we make it worse unintentionally. Remember, forgive and let go.

In summary, Lost fans do not dwell on what was not revealed over 6 seasons. Take away life lessons and just let it go.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Week 2

As of my birthday I officially started to like PMM. I absolutely love goats, they are like dog-ruminants. Curious and friendly and not much bigger than me. I am still officially scared of cattle, despite my instructors doing a good job and pushing me and making me feel safe.

I performed my first skin biopsy, have gotten pretty good at hitting the bovine jugular vein, and know a lot about cattle feet and reproduction. It truly is some hard work.

Today, I put in my first set of ear tags and worked the chute catch for the first time. It was a little bumpy, but I made it through. I also palpated my first fetus today, which was very exciting.

In my spare time, I have learned more about my upcoming trip to China and I am resetting my expectations - more on this in another entry to come.

I got to spend my birthday evening with 9 great friends at a fun Mexican restaurant. The margaritas, however, made me ill and as I was finally falling asleep last night some new neighbors underneath my apartment decided 12:30 am was an excellent time to hang pictures on their walls. I had to half asleep remind them of the time. Oh well, there are far worse birthday endings to a great day than that. Being tired is just part of 4th year anyway.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

4th Year Begins Bittersweet

My 11 days of summer started off amazing (see previous post), however it ended on a disappointing note. My trip to New England was to see my nephew Paul, have Matt visit New England for the first time, and see my best friend Petra, currently living in the UK, for her baby shower. Due to residual volcanic ash, Petra's flight from the UK never took off that day and she arrived after we had to depart back to Washington, DC. I really wanted my week off to involve being around people who know me well, appreciate me and understand me as a source of rejuvenation before beginning 4th year, which I am considering a new chapter. Petra was supposed to be a large part of that rejuvenation, and we were both so sad that the opportunity was missed.

Of course the 1 week break was also not as restful as I needed it to be. The townhouse was a construction site, and everyday was packed. One day I did have a wonderful facial, massage and dental cleaning. I drove back to Blacksburg on Mother's Day with my 3 cats, but without Miss Spokane.

In just 1 week of 4th year, I missed her terribly. The reality of why she canot be here, however proved to be true. I had 2 mornings when I had to be up between 4:45 am and 5 am and 1 overnight stay in Jarratt, VA.

The first 2 days of PMM (Farm management) were a little rough around the edges. I was bruised by mishandling of beef cattle in the chute, tired, and covered in poop each day. Wednesday through Friday were a little more fun. We received a pet goat in renal failure who we got to treat more like a companion animal than a production animal. The trip to Jarratt to breed cows via artificial insemination was actually very fun. I learned to thaw semen, and we drove a pick up truck to closely look at the different herds. We rated their body condition and overall health. I also met an adorable bottle-fed calf named Phyllis who will need a home eventually, as she is not "beef material."

On Friday I was on ambulatory with Dr. Becvar. We spent the day hoof trimming at a pretty dairy farm in Dublin, VA. It was hard work, but we were well rewarded with a scenic drive and chocolate milkshakes.

This week I face another overnight trip and some quality time with sheep and the infamous Dr. Pelzer. I think I will get more sleep than last week and compared to some classmates in other rotations, I may just have a great block to start 4th year.

A few close friends graduated this weekend, and as usual I am emotional. I love my community here and it was a glimpse at how hard it will be to leave Blacksburg and say goodbye to a difficult, albeit fun chapter.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Break off to a Terrific Busy Start

I have only been on "summer break" for 48 hours, and I have been on the go the entire time, but it has been fabulously rejuvenating. Friday evening Matt and I met up with a friend of mine who was my PhD mentor my first summer of vet school for drinks and dinner. We had some great laughs, and we got a chance to celebrate her graduation this spring.

Saturday I completed the Helen challenge at Crossfit for a charity called NRV Cares with a vet school friend (who kicked my butt and won a free 1 month membership). Then Matt and I joined 2 of our friends for the wine festival. We soaked up the sun and some refreshing wines. After that we headed to Roanoke with a different amazing couple for superb Mexican, martinis, and the best jazz concert ever featuring Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman. It was absolutely amazing.

While I need to relax, I also need to be around people that appreciate me for who I am and so far it has been amazing to spend time with great friends. Luckily it's only beginning, as my week of freedom ends by seeing my best friend and my nephew in Boston. As a classmate of mine likes to say, "What could be better?"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Unofficially Official

Well, it's unofficially official I have finished the classroom portion of veterinary school. It is still hard to believe that I will be wearing a 4th year blue coat or coveralls shortly. I wish we had more than 11 days of break between the semesters, I could use some real down time. My break will be busy. I will be getting my visa to China, seeing some friends and family, and going to Boston for my best friend's baby shower.

I am starting to get a little scared of 4th year, but I know it will be fun once we know what we're doing. My first rotation is PMM production management. It will be farm calls, not my finest subject. I just have to show up with a good attitude, hope I don't get cryptococcus, or stung by a wasp nest in the chute poles and all will be okay I hope.

Today is a jam packed day of fun, not sure if I have the energy for it, but here goes nothing. Charity workout at cross fit called Helen, which is 3 rounds of
400m Run
21 Kettle Bell Swings
12 Pullups

Then a quick shower before the Fork and Cork Blacksburg wine and food festival. Followed up by Alejandro's in Roanoke for dinner and a Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman jazz concert.

Whew, tomorrow will be a day of rest and organizing my notes for PMM. Fun times.