Tuesday, December 27, 2005

tragedy and an ode to my family

it's been 2 weeks as of today. and i'm still not strong enough to write or talk about the things that i want to talk about. this post will have to suffice until i think i'm ready to write. first, i must preface this by saying that my family is the center of my life. my mother has 4 siblings. and both her parents (my nanny and papa) are still alive. we are a closeknit family. we spend all the major holidays together -as well as many minor ones. we vacation together every summer in florida for a week. we look for any excuse to be together. though 3 of my mom's siblings (her brothers) and her parents live in florida, we see them frequently. and my nanny and papa drive up to tennessee (or we drive down) often. though they're 650 miles away, my family always feels really close. there are no divorces, no split families, no children shuffled between houses during the holidays. though we argue, we love each other fiercely. i have no doubt that if i ever needed something - ANYONE in my family would be there to give it to me. there are 13 grandchildren. i love my family intensely - and i'm very protective of them. all of my life, we have seemed charmed. death hasn't touched anyone. even my grandmother's mother, hazel - is still alive and fiesty at the age of 101 (102 in february). i knew that eventually, tragedy would strike our family, but i never expected it to come in the form it has.

2 weeks ago, as of today, i was studying at school for my pharmacology final. it was just after 9:30. for it being finals week, i was feeling pretty good. my cell phone rang, and i saw that it was my mother. never for a moment did i think anything bad had happened. it wasn't like those odd 3am calls, where your heart stops, because you're sure that something terrible has happened. i thought she was calling to check on my finals, see how i was doing. when i answered, i couldn't understand my mother, her voice was so choked with tears. i finally understood that she was telling me that crosby, the 21 month old son of her brother - my uncle lief - had drowned in their pool.

i don't want to go into the details too much, it's still too awful to talk about. i called the dean and told him that i would be missing my last 2 finals (path and pharm). i went home to greeneville. by the time i had arrived at around midnight, mom and my aunt mel had decided they were driving through the night to florida. crosby had been resuscitated - and had a heartbeat. he was flown to st josephs children's hospital in tampa. he was on a respirator and unconscious. at the time, i had hope. i thought that it would be like drownings in the movies. it seemed bad, but in the end, the doctors would save him.

we drove through the night (i slept, attempting to recuperate from the brutality of no sleep for 3 days) and arrived in tampa at about 1:30 the next afternoon. we went up to the pediatric ICU. again, i don't want to go into details. suffice to say that i sat in crosby's room with my uncle lief and aunt mel for the rest of the day. there is so much to say about those 8 hours, but i can't. later in the evening, we decided to leave for the night and return in the morning. about 10 minutes after we left, crosby went into cardiac arrest and could not be stabilized. he died on wednesday evening, dec 14. the funeral was held on saturday. my uncle went through an ordeal with the department of children and families (DCF) - mainly because they're incompetent. but it's over.

we came home to our new house. my brother -home from iraq - couldn't get to lakeland in time for the funeral, so he occupied himself by moving us into our new house. i unpacked frantically for 2.5 days - ran errands, did all the stuff i needed to do for the move - and then we turned around friday night and drove back to florida. and here i am. with my family.

if this all seems dry and emotionless, then i'm sorry. i can't bear to write about the things that hurt yet. like sitting in the hospital with that beautiful, sweet little boy, with all the tubes sticking out of him. seeing his sweet little face - and that horrible feeling when i first saw him in the hospital bed- still and pale. wanting to help my uncle lief and aunt sally, to do anything i could to for one minute alleviate their suffering - and being able to do nothing but clean their house, do dishes, and watch nate and adeline so that lief and sally could attempt to sleep. all those things, while helpful, don't do anything to dull the pain that i see on their faces. and everytime i lie down to sleep or stop doing stuff for 5 minutes, i see my beautiful little cousin's sweet face and head of curly golden-red hair and my heart breaks all over again. he was a little angel. i know that sounds generic, aren't all children 'angels'? but crosby really was - he was the happiest, sweetest little boy i ever met. when i get home, i will post some pictures of him.

and my grandfather. his heart is broken, truly. he loves all his grandchildren, but he's so gifted with little children, they naturally love him. and crosby most of all. i've seen them together so often - and there are so many pictures where the love my grandfather had for that little boy just radiates from him. and i love my grandfather so much -and there's nothing i can do to help him. there's nothing i can do to help anyone. except clean and cook and try to make sure people are fed and comfortable, at least.

this post is for them, the family that i have that i wish everyone could have. for nanny and papa, dara, cheryl, antoinette, jake, mel, tony, little tony, ashley, mom, dad, andrew, rhiannon, john, james, phillip, minter, andrea, evan, sarah, lief, sally, nate, adeline, and tiny little crosby. they are all my heart - beating within me - and if they were gone, i'd be gone too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

finals suck

god, that doesn't even do it justice. hematology was massively difficult, as i expected. i am frightened to find out my grade.

the test was over at 10:45. myself and 2 friends proceeded to the BC library again, where we holed up till 4pm (after breakfast bar at shoneys). i came home after that and attempted to nap for a couple of hours, unsuccessfully. the damn dogs kept yapping, and i was too fidgety and uptight to really ever get to sleep. so i got up at 8ish, put the birds away, and here i've been - at my desk, diligently trying to hammer in a plethora of surgery notes. it's awful. i don't know enough to take this test yet. and it's cumulative. of course. it's 2am, and i haven't even reviewed the old material yet. and of course, wednesday is our pharmacology final -which is going to be awful! and thursday is pathology. so, it's not like i'm going to be getting any sleep anytime soon. i feel like crap. and i feel like my grades on the next 3 finals are going to successively plummet. how can anyone keep up enough stamina to take 5 difficult finals in a row? i mean - we don't even have one screw off class this semester - not one where we can kick back and relax a teeny tiny bit the night before the final.

and as soon as school gets out, i have to start packing up our stuff, cleaning the new house, and selecting couches. so much to do. so little time to get it all done. and finish my christmas shopping. i forgot that.

one happy piece of news: andrew is back in the US! his unit came back today from kuwait, permanently. i'm really happy that's he home and safe. he gets to embark on the ever interesting road of marriage. it's really really hard for me to believe that my brother is married. i know it's been almost a year -- but hey -- he was in another country all that time, so i haven't seen him 'being married' yet. i'm sure i'll have lots of sisterly advice to give.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

the fun has begun

and oh what fun. i spent my saturday (and might i add that it was a beautiful saturday!) at the blount co library again. god. i looooove that library. it's so perfect in every way for studying. now, if only people could be as flawless as buildings. i mean, seriously. how is one supposed to act in a library? don't you typically use a low tone of voice (called a WHISPER in some circles) when talking to other people? and don't you refrain from sitting next to someone who is obviously embroiled in their studies - and talking on your cell phone? and aren't children supposed to be SEEN and not HEARD? loudly heard? people are such idiots.

anyway, overall, it was a very productive 5 hour stretch for me. i'm taking a momentary break to feed my animals - and maybe nap for an hour - then it's back to the grind.

my first final (actually my 4th - but first of official finals week) went well. NOT. my alarm failed to wake me for some reason. my 2nd alarm (jim) forgot to call me when he was supposed to. i was 20 mins late to my final. i got to school and realized that i drove there in an almost total sleep fog. i wasn't even fully awake when i took the test. i didn't do as well as i wanted to - i'm pretty sure. which absolutely sucks, because i needed an A (a 90) to get an A in that class. my grade is hovering at the 89.5 mark.

at any rate, monday is my hardest final - by far - hematology. and it's worth a whopping 60% of my grade. i really enjoy the subject, so let's hope my enjoyment translates to knowledge.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

not to be trite

but i'm stuck on this side of hell again. otherwise called finals week. it seems like this semester has gone by faster than anything i've ever experienced before. how can i already be halfway through my second year of vet school? ugh. makes me feel like i'm circling the drain sometimes. at any rate, i'm at the stage where there just doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done that i need to get done. i feel a tad panicky. i'm trying to quash it though. i spent the day at the blount county library studying a variety of subject. it's a GREAT library. tons of natural light, perfect height tables and chairs. not to mention every table has 2 nice, adjustable brightness lamps + recessed plugs (for my ipod!). i love going there. i'm very productive and happy and feel a sense of calm and general well-being. it's a FANTASTIC library. my favorite ever. too bad it takes 15 mins to get there. otherwise, it would be perfect.

friday is my first final - urinary. my average in that class is an 89.5. so close. it's a 4 hour class too - so pulling it up to an A would be fantastic for my GPA. professors always say that grades don't change much come finals. i've found that to be very true. it's hard to believe that though - when some of my finals are worth in excess of 50% of my grade (ahem...hematology). but come on - one half of one measly point? at any rate...i'm feeling overwhelmed but not stressed. is that possible? i guess i know that it'll get done. or it won't. whatever happens...happens. i'll just do my best and muddle on through it. i feel a great deal more peace regarding vet school this semester. it started out really really bad. but i've equilibrated some. i guess my neuroses about social interactions just overthrew me mentally for a bit - and when i calmed down and came around to it - i realized that i have everything i need in my life. why am i going and letting my chattery brain screw things up for me?

monday is my hematology exam. i expect it to be frightfully hard. the nature of the course is entirely cumulative...so it'll be fun (read: fun like gouging out your eyes with a dull spoon). tuesday is my written surgery final. wednesday is pharmacology, and thursday is the final day for tests - pathology. i have an A in that class, currently. it's my other 4 hour class... i would love to maintain that grade. but i dunno.

i have 10 classes next semester ! ! ! ! 10 (not counting ABLEs and CE weeks). isn't that preposterous? i'm taking 2 electives on top of my 'required' courses. clinical immunology and introduction to poultry. yes. i'm going to study chickens for a semester. yay! i'm actually excited about it. if i decide that i want to pursue money when i get out of vet school, i could be a chicken inspecting vet. they make $$$$$$ basically cause nobody wants that job (just pure speculation here).

umm. not much else to report in this sector. we're moving soon after school gets out. things here are tolerable. it's still not my house - and it's still too messy for my tastes. but currently, i don't care enough or have time enough to do anything about it.

Monday, December 5, 2005

i heart surgery

WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!! my first surgery is completed!!!! i am now a 'surgeon' (without the doctorate to go along with it). those are the ovaries and uterine horns i'm holding up there, btw. not my best picture.

it was great. i did a cat spay on a 4 lb young female cat. it went very, very well. i felt confident - and not even a tiny bit of nerves. my hands didn't shake - and it was just so exhilirating. i felt a huge rush when i started - which subsided - as the more practical side of me came out (the side that said, 'calm down...you actually have do something here besides be excited'...). i set to work and finished my spay in an hour and a half. granted, a proficient, practiced vet can do it in about 20 mins. but the average for a first time spay is in the neighborhood of an hour and a half to two, so i was pleased with my performance. my closing sutures were too lumpy - and i think the linea alba closure was too tight. but other than that (and a little difficulty locating the left ovary once i'd removed the right)...everything went great.

i can't express how exciting it was. the pictures above don't do it justice. it was surgery-tastic!

Saturday, December 3, 2005


yesterday was a thoroughly enjoyable day - low key christmas shopping for others, the purchase of a pair of low-key black boots for moi (see above), and a late movie. and what a movie! myself, J, A, and D all went and saw the new pride and prejudice last night. i LOVED it. i can say that in all exuberance. i do love the book very much - and the BBC miniseries with colin yummy firth and jennifer ehle. i had very low expectations for this movie, considering that it comes after many, many other adaptations. but it was great. the cinematography was beautiful, the music was incredible, matthew mcfadyen was HOT as mr darcy. it was great. we did much swooning after it was over. i want to see it again already.

in other news - school is going well. monday and tuesday are the last, short days of class. and then 2 days to study - and then finals. i have my first on friday (in urinary systems) - then monday through thursday are the rest of them. three of my classes are finished - only 5 left! i made an A on my last urinary exam (eeked out a 90) - i'm glad to say.

the exciting news is that monday - i get to do my surgery!!!! i'm not nervous yet, though i know i will be by the time 12:30 rolls around. i'll either do a spay or a neuter, depending on animal availability and if i get there early enough to snag what i want. i think i want to do a spay - because it's more difficult. but i guess we'll see.

we signed a lease today for our new house. i'm excited to be moving. i'm not even dreading the grind of packing up and shipping out. i'm ready --- so VERY ready to be back in our own place. and of course - our moving heralds the return of my brother from overseas. so that's good.

minor birdie drama today. epi was unsupervised - and climbed up on titus' cage. he bit a hole through her wing. she's been to school already to be examined - and there's no bone damage. she's on TMS (trimethsulfa antibiotics) and meloxicam (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) - and she's going to live:) and i only got charged $10. so, i'm happy about that.