it's over. another semester of hell. and when i say hell, for once - i actually mean it. besides school, i had to deal with all of my emotional stuff that was unrelated to school. it was a hard, hard semester. i know - wah. feel sorry for me.
my final grades aren't all reported. i don't know (for sure) what i made in respiratory and behavior, everything else is what i thought it would be - 3As, 1B+, 1B. i'm fairly sure i made a B in respiratory. behavior -- who knows? i had a 90 average. i'm not sure how i did on the final, so i can't say if i went up or down (or stayed the same). but - despite the emotional turmoil in my life - i managed to maintain good grades. i have to say i'm glad for that. i was worried there for a while.
yesterday was exhausting. i had to fly to memphis to meet my brother and ride back to knoxville with him the same night. it was a spur of the moment trip, and i was very tired. then i went christmas shopping today. considering that i have 4 siblings and jim has 4 siblings, we spent a ton of money. even with a relatively small budget, we spent too much. i think i've lost the christmas spirit, it's way more stressful than it should be.
i guess that's all to report here. i'm sure i have something interesting to say, but i can't think of anything. we're leaving for new york city in a mere 9 days. and we'll be in greeneville come wednesday. it's exhausting to think about. when i come back home (jan 1st), i'll have a few short (9) days before school starts back - and then - nothing for another year. after spring semester, we go straight into clinics and work for the next year, as fake doctors. i can't believe it's so close. such a scary thought. i'm that close to being done...that close...! and i am so ready for it.
i've decided (at this moment) that i'm going to skip the whole internship and residency thing. i'm going straight into private practice. i'm tired of being broke, of always worrying about how we're going to make ends meet come december and january. if i do a residency/internship route, we'll have ANOTHER 4 years of never having any money or stability. i'm ready for a real life, a life that includes decent furniture, cars that don't tear up every month or so, children and motherhood, and a 9-5 (or thereabouts) job. i'm so ready for children! jim and i have been together for almost 11 years now -- married for 7.5 years. i'm ready for a family!!!
ok, phew. glad to have that off the old shoulders. i must go and recover from the exhaustion of mindless consumerism.
see, i thought today was december 8th. i don't know why. time has somehow side-slipped me. AGAIN. finding out it was the 12th was quite a shock. yes, it's finals week. i have finished my radiology exam (friday), respiratory exam (monday), and reproductive medicine (today). the 3 Rs. i have two more to go- exotics in 8.5 hours and behavior on thursday. and then it's over. cardio was a couple of weeks ago, ultrasound didn't have a final. woohoo.
i've had a great deal of personal drama and emotional upset in the past few days. i'll only hint at why here. nope, i won't even do that. it's so strange to keep a blog. there's a whole part of my life in the past 6 months that i have said virtually nothing about here - in the place where i'll pour out most anything. mainly because it's deeply, deeply personal, something not appropriate to a published public forum. not even MY forum. and people thought i would spill everything on my blog, eh? suffice to say that the day before my radiology exam, i drank 5 cups of dark roast coffee, BLACK. i'd never had more than a sip of coffee prior to that. it was an interesting experience up until the point i started to jitter all over the place and slur my speech.
my car mysteriously died and refused to restart on the way to my final exam this morning. always a good way to start a long day of studying and test taking. i've spent the last 5 days or so in the library until midnight. i take a final, finish around 11am, take a break till about noon, then hole up there until midnight. but my cut off for studying has been midnight this semester. i made myself a promise. so far, i've adhered to it admirably. it was a struggle to spell admirably just then.
LOST: motivation - wearing a collar marked PROPERTY OF UTCVM VET SCHOOL, quite large and annoying, shaped vaguely like a small, 5 "2 girl. might be wearing really high heels that are ridiculously inappropriate for veterinary work. might be hiding under or in something dark and quiet and secret. if found, there is a reward, please phone me at 800-FAIL-OUT.
no seriously, finals loom next week. actually, not even next week. we have radiology on friday. and my motivation is negative. how can you have negative motivation? wouldn't that imply unstudying deliberately? like trying to forget stuff you've learned? or spending so much time doing other stuff that you go backwards in knowledge??
my grades are good right now. not great, but good. i haven't worked nearly as hard as i could have this semester, and i've tried to take time out/off and have a life. it's been successful and my grades don't seem to have suffered too much - though i did do better last semester. as it stands, in no particular order:
Radiology B+ (89 actually) Respiratory B Repro A Exotics A Ultrasound A Behavior B Cardiology B (? - they won't return are ALREADY over 2 weeks ago final until all finals are finished for whatever idiotic reason)
the truly interesting thing about vet school is that i seem to be learning less and less and remembering less and less. today, i likened my brain to an attic (or my grandparents garage, take your pick). you can keep cramming stuff in there, but eventually - there's not room for anything else. and then you have to start throwing stuff out if you want anything else to go in. and it's not even like my brain allows me to CHOOSE what i throw out. i subconsciously pitch stuff.
that memory of how simply calcium homeostasis works in the body?? totally useless -- OUT!! the memory of my first and only pony, prince -- ah screw it, he was a bastard of a pony anyway - OUT!! my wedding day -- oh god, who needs that stress?? OUT!! my password for my bank account -- i can always sell myself on the streets (will neuter cats for food) -- OUT!!!
so, first off - i'm finally going to the big apple. i've wanted to go to New York City for a very long time - but finances and logistics have held me back (plane tickets, where to stay? money? how to get around??). and now, everything has worked out beautifully. we have very close friends with relatives there, and they spontaneously (and genuinely) invited us to visit them over the christmas break. tonight, i bought our tickets on priceline.com - and on dec 26th, jim and i will jet off to NYC for a 6 day adventure. i can't tell you how excited i am to finally see NYC. i've always felt that it's an icon of america - something with which everyone is familiar. i've seen it in movies a thousand times, read about it in books, seen it in TV shows - over and over - yet i've never been there. it must be akin to living in italy and never seeing the vatican. or the sistine chapel - borders on sacrilege, eh? at any rate, we're going - and i couldn't be more thrilled than i am right now.
so, in other news. we're here in florida. we arrived on wednesday night (or thursday morning - depending on what you consider 3am) and had to be up promptly at 9am the next morning to take a picture with crosby's butterfly. lakeland had a fundraiser in which they auctioned off giant aluminum butterflies. they went for $10, 15, and 25,000 each. the point was to purchase one and design it. they were then placed all over lakeland (88 butterflies in all). someone bought one (anonymously) in remembrance of crosby and his short, but full life. my aunt andrea did the design and we all had our picture taken with it on thanksgiving morning. then it was back to the grandparents to fix the turkey feast. the day was full of work and family.
on friday, we spent the day with jeremy and amanda (with whom we're going to NYC) - arguably our two best friends (with the exception of dee and alison). they're wonderful people and i can never overemphasize how much we love and miss them when we're in TN and they're here. at any rate, we spent the day thrifting in orlando and then at a concert at the social (colour revolt, page france, and anathallo all played). i use parentheses too much, i've just realized. at any rate, i LOVED anathallo and page france, i was new to both.
today has been very low key, hanging out with the family, having a big family spaghetti dinner, and watching a ton of football. and i mean a TON. notre dame and USC - currently going on - UF and FSU, UT and KY, Ga and GaTech, etc etc.
it's been a jam packed three days, and we head back to tennessee tomorrow. i'll be sorry to go. it's been entirely too long since i was in my grandparents house. after crosby's funeral, i hadn't been back. i came for uncle buster's funeral, but that was in gainesville. at any rate, as always, coming here feels like coming home. i'm so blessed in my family and friends. i try to remember that every day, even when i'm down about other things.
and school. ah yes, school. my grades are fine. i haven't made anything lower than a B this semester (though there is definitely still time). i work hard, but i've finally caught on to the art of not panicking. i used to stress before tests and study frantically for AT LEAST 4 days before any test. now, i've realized that i can do fine and maintain Bs and As without the fuss. i've finally - now that class is almost over and done with - realized that i'm smart enough to get by without all the drama. i just wish i realized it about -- oh -- a year and a half ago.
it's amazing how i can go from thrilled about my radiology grade to depressed in such a short time. ok, truthfully, i'm not depressed...but i'm down.
i had to do surgery today. i wanted to do a dog spay, since i haven't done one yet. i reviewed the video on how to do it. granted, i didn't spend a huge amount of time reviewing technique, but i felt confident in my abilities, etc. the dog i spayed belonged to one of my radiology professors (not yay!). good size, about 35lbs. her anesthesia was uneventful.
when i started the surgery, i felt relaxed and excited. i found my ovaries without difficulty and ligated them (used suture to tie off the arteries before cutting the ovaries off the body wall). once the ovaries were freed, i did my transfixing and encircling sutures around the uterine body before cutting it out. i checked my stump for bleeding - in case i somehow didn't clamp the artery off properly. everything looked good. i slowly let go of the body - and blood started to leak out of the stump (NOT good - this means i didn't ligate the arteries wholly). then blood started to squirt out. and i'm talking - fountain of blood here. not a huge, thick stream, but a thin little jet squirting straight up into the air like a hose. somehow, my encircling suture around the body of the uterus had come undone. and my arteries were bleeding into the body cavity. the long and short of the story is that one of the attending surgeons had to come over and help me locate and fix the bleeding arteries (this just meant finding them, after they slipped into the body cavity and suturing them again). once that was done - the dog was STILL bleeding profusely. she was in heat - and when in heat, dogs have a TON of extra blood vessels in and around the uterus. we (meaning dr hicks) dug around in the body cavity for a good -- oh -- 25 minutes or so, looking for the source of the bleeding. it turned out to be a vessel in the uterine broad ligament (a soft tissue structure that cushions, protects, and surrounds the uterus, as well as supplies it with blood). he had to ligate it (this wasn't something i did wrong, just happened because the dog had so many vessels). it just didn't go well. i felt bad that my sutures weren't up to par. it's really not that big of a deal - but i wanted it to go off without a hitch.
i'm starting to wonder (and NO, not just based on today's sx) if i'm not one of those people who is really booksmart and not practically smart. it's not just today's surgery, and yes, i concede that i've previously done 3 surgeries without trouble - but other things that happen. when i was working in ophtho - i had a run of bad sticks - jugular blood drawing, giving medicine IV, catheter placement - and today, after my surgery, i was drawing up meds for multiple cats- and i got confused and couldn't remember what drug was in which syringe. it just seems - sometimes - that i can learn the information and do well on tests - but that - when it comes down to it - technically, i'm going to be a horrible vet.
i'm probably being hard on myself. but some people seem so at ease and so competent in lab and in the clinics. i usually feel confident, but i make so many mistakes! and it's not because i don't try. i'm very conscious of my tendency to make stupid mistakes - drawing up the wrong amounts of drug, or the wrong drug, etc - and i try to be very cognizant when i'm working. but i still seem to make so many mistakes. it worries me a great deal.
on top of the surgery problem, another classmate of mine that i like a great deal had her cat die under anesthesia. and when i say HER cat, i mean her personal cat. she brought it in to spay - and the cat went into cardiac arrest during the surgery. it wasn't the surgeon's fault, the surgery went beautifully. the cat just had some sort of reaction or underlying problem that the anesthesia unmasked. it was so sad. my classmate broke down crying and had to leave.
then, on top of that, a classmate of mine informed us that he has to drop out of our class and move back a year. and why, you might ask? bad grades, personal struggles? no - no - the boy has a PHEOCHROMOCYTOMA!!! for those of you who have no idea what the hell that word means - it means a very rare tumor of the adrenal gland. what it boils down to is that this tumor is constantly producing epinephrine (adrenaline) - - so he is chronically stimulated. adrenaline mediates the fight or flight response - the one where your heart rate skyrockets, your palms sweat, your pupils dilate, and you get prepared to RUN away from whatever wants to eat you. well, he has that feeling ALL the time, due to this tumor. his heart rate is never below 130beats per min (normal is around 60). he can't sleep and he's sick all the time. so, he has to drop back to the class below us and have surgery. i feel so bad for him!! to be this far along, this CLOSE to the end, and to have to give up this past semester and go back a year.
people in our class are so chronically ill. we had one girl this year develop lung blood clots, another develop a heart problem called atrial premature contractions, this guy with his rare tumor, etc. i've been having stabbing abdominal pains sporadically after i eat for almost a year - and i'm convinced i have a huge ulcer that's eroding thru my stomach as we speak.
i'm studying for my cardiology final that's at 8am -- a mere 7 hours from now. it's going to be very hard, i fear. but then, aren't they all?? back to ruminating on the heart - and trying to not think about my future screw-ups...and all the sick people in my class.
in case i haven't conveyed the importance of this milestone to you - i'll repeat. RADIOLOGY IS HARD. also, i have xray tourette's - a very rare form of tourette's syndrome that causes me to blurt out totally unrelated diagnosis. an example - i looked at a horse leg once and yelled pneumonia......................... ok - so that's a lie. but you get the gist. so when i saw that 94% on my exam, i almost fainted. i'm being serious here. i saw a bright white light, heard angels singing, all at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
i'm only halfway kidding.
how sad is it that my life can be so significantly brightened by a test grade?? i guess i feel better because i struggled in gross anatomy first year. in the almost 3 years i've been in vet school, i've only made 2 Cs (both C+) - and they were in fall and spring gross anatomy. i worked hard in that class. i didn't break my back, but i did work hard. and i still couldn't get above a C+ (a very new sensation for my over-achieving self...). i expected radiology to pose large problems for me, based on my difficulties with taking anatomy tests (i learned the material, but it didn't translate well for some reason). i've worked diligently at everything since those classes and during those classes - and brought my GPA up to a 3.5. but i thought radiology was going to bring me down again. and i was wrong. i'm doing well in the class. not perfectly, i think my average hovers at the 89% mark. but -- I MADE AN A on my exam!!!!!!!!!
i feel like i need to make a promise. i've been skimming my blog lately, reading old posts - and i think i'm just boring. all i ever talk about is the stress and the tests and my grades and the stress and my lack of sleep and all of that. i guess this blog hasn't been especially interesting lately. the bright, shiny news is that - on april 22nd 2007 - a mere 5 months from now, i will transition from chair/desk/library potato to fake doctor. think of how much more interesting my blog will be when i work in the clinics all day and get to see nifty surgeries and work with sick animals. i can barely stand the excitement. it makes me sad, too - because i realize how close i am to being finished with this phase of my life. and i know how empty it's going to feel. despite the struggles, the pain, the agony, the damage this has inflicted on some aspects of my life, vet school will always be of paramount importance in my life. it's already shaped who i am and who i will be a great deal. and i know - i KNOW - when it's all over and said and done, i'm going to be feel a profound sense of loss and sadness to leave this place. i believe that.
i had a fantastic friday night. despite the fact that my cardiology final looms on wednesday, as well as surgery on tuesday, i spent the night having a great time. i got to see my morning jacket in concert.
they were incredible live. completely incredible. it's been so long since i went to a concert. i can't explain what a fantastic time i had. it was 3.5 hours of pure musical enjoyment. i forgot about school, about all the turmoil in my life, about everything. i just enjoyed the experience. the 3 beers and 1 glass of red wine that i had helped my enjoyment of course. and MMJ is fantastic live. when they played 'o is the one that is real' - i about fainted with joy. i have got to go to more concerts.
i genuinely wish i had something to talk about besides vet school. we had our 2nd radiology exam today. i spent the entire weekend at the school. i actually studied there for a bit on friday night, after tutoring in pharmacology (yech) for 3 hours. i didn't leave the school till 6pm, then turned around and went back. next morning, arrived at 10am, studied till 3pm, walked over to the game with jim, came back, studied till about 10:30, went home, studied more, collapsed around midnight. next day, same deal - only this time i was there 10am till 10pm. no football game to break up the monotony. the exam was today, and i'm so damned grateful it's over. now, i have to start studying for multispecies (friday) and my cardiology final (next wednesday). the fun never ends. BUT BUT this semester is a mere 5 weeks from being over. next semester, our finals are the first week of april and then i'm a FOURTH YEAR VET STUDENT WORKING IN THE CLINICS !!!!!! NO MORE CLASS NO MORE CLASS NO MORE CLASS NO MORE CLASS NO MORE CLASS.
did i mention NO MORE CLASS????!??!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!??!!
speaking of football, what a sad game saturday was. unbelievably thrilling, but ultimately, disappointing!! lost in the last 14 secs of the game !!! we were up by 10 points, at some point. we lost our starting quarterback in the 3rd offensive series, our 2nd string guy did well but not well enough. our seats were stellar. we were in the student section, on the 20 yard line, 30 rows up. do you have any concept of what 108,000 screaming fans sounds like? especially from the student section, where about 20,000 of them sit? it's unreal. i've been going to home games since 1997, and it still amazes me. when our team goes on defense, the noise is unbelievable. my ears haven't started to spontaneously bleed yet, but i know it's coming. i love football. we're 6 -2 so far this season. i think we'll end on 9-2 personally. could be wishful thinking, but i have faith. hope we get our starting QB back, though.
jim seriously damaged his back standing the entire 3.5 hours (and jumping up and down on concrete, cheering). i'm hoping nothing permanent, but he's still lame today. so, he may have to visit el docteur soon. i hope not, but we'll see.
alright, off to snooze. i'm taking the night off, since i had NO weekend at all.
this was, hands down, my best CE experience. i thoroughly enjoyed the 4th years i worked with, the intern, the resident, and the clinician - plus an exchange student named mel. it was just a great week. it made me yearn to be a 4th year sooner than i will be. i realize that, in about 6 months, i'll be in the clinics, working my rear end off, finished with the hours and hours and hours of class for good. it doesn't seem soon enough. i jokingly told my fellow rotation mates that instead of going back to class on monday morning, i was just going to show up in a white coat with a stethoscope and pretend i'm a 4th year.
it was incredibly invigorating to take clients, to sit and talk face to face with owners, hear about their pets' problems, and work on figuring out what caused it. i also realized that, despite how i feel, i have learned a great deal in the last 2.5 years, and that i'm actually going to be SOMEWHAT capable when i'm finished here. i'm going to do an internship, of course - to hone my skills.
i guess i'm just excited -- thrilled -- that i'm really going to be a doctor in less than 2 years. it's not the white coat, it's not the respect of being a doctor, it's not the fact that i'll have dr in front of my name. it's that i'll be fixing animals and fixing people, too. i felt profoundly settled and happy this week. the week was hard, the hours demanding, but i felt great. i wish i could keep that before me - to help me through these next 6 months. i know i'll lose these feelings rapidly - because that's what happens in vet school. but now - now i'm so close to really being there, in the clinics, working and learning. maybe i can hang onto it until i get to the clinics. i hope so. it might propel me and motivate me through this next semester and a half.
vet school has been hard, it's taken it's toll on my happiness, my stability, and my marriage - but i think, in the end, it's going to have been worth most of the struggle. not all of it, i don't think - there are some things that can never be made up for, but enough of it that i can be happy with my life and vocation. i - ME - i am going to be a doctor. i did what i really wanted to do - took the pre-reqs, applied, and went to vet school. and i'm so close.
i'm on CE this week (clinical experience). my assignment is ophthalmology. it's been a decent first two days. i watched a phacoemulsificati0n today (cataract surgery). i also got to look at a variety of eyes - calf, llama, and dog. to top it off, we practiced our different eye surgeries on dead pig eyes. i did much better at the eye surgery than i expected. i struggled the first time. i lack the meticulous nature required for surgery, i think.
at any rate, i should be using this week to catch up. i'll leave that statement with the obvious implications it bears.
we're on emergency duty tomorrow night - so we'll be at school until 11pm or later. supposedly midnight. i hope that isn't the case, but it probably will be.
god, i love football. love it love it love it. the sport, the fans, the excitement, the athleticism, the close calls, the near wins, the near losses, the disappointments...it's all too much for me sometimes. yesterday was one of the biggest rivalry games in the country. we won by a mere 3 points. it was an incredible game. and we are now, i believe, ranked in the national top 10. as we should be. ah... it was so intense. toward the end, i was weak with excitement. my knees actually felt watery. our seats were pretty damned good, a measly 13 rows up from the field. we were in the student section, which doesn't (literally) sit down for the entire 3.5 hours.
i had an odd feeling while i was sitting in the stadium, amidst the 100,00+ people. i felt fully what it must have been like to be alive in the time of the gladiators, in the coliseum, watching that spectacle. we, as humans, have changed so little, really. i mean - our stadium even looks like the coliseum - albeit ours has the large chunk that the coliseum is missing. it was a gorgeous day, a perfectly flawless blue sky, not a cloud in sight, a fall breeze, and football. i love football!! and i love that our team is doing so well this season.
totally unrelated, but nada surf has a song called fruit fly. it's about a swarm of fruit flies taking over a guy's kitchen because he leaves a bag of food on the table. the guy takes the bag to the trash, and when he comes back - the fruit flies are all confused - flying "geometric patterns, smearing out of control." i know it sounds silly, but the song is an EXCELLENT metaphor for life. essentially the song questions what one does when the purpose has been taken from life. and the answer? you go on. it's a rather sad take on things, but no less true for its melancholy.
at any rate, i love metaphorical ramblings (i love lots of things tonight). especially in song form. i also particularly enjoy the guitar solo at the end. nada surf is a truly underrated band. everyone heard that one song they had that was wildly popular (haha, the song was called popular) - and it sounds nothing like their true sound. check them out, if you haven't - especially fruit fly, blonde on blonde, paper boats, and inside of love.
what sleeps till 1:30pm on sunday, goes to bed at 9:30p sunday night, comes home from 7 hrs of class on monday only to nap until 8pm?
that was funnier in my head.
what has the attention span of a chipmunk and the motivation of a sloth - but is neither?
in case i'm not getting my point across, i'm having some major motivational and time management issues. as in, i don't want to study and i have plenty of time this week to do so. for once, i am not whining about the insane time crunch that defines my daily existence. i only have a radiology quiz on friday, covering a mere 20 pages of material. and a behavior midterm a week from today, covering 100 or so pages of laughably easy material. then i'm on clinical exposure for a week, working in ophtho - so no exams then either. so yes, for once - vet school has lightened up a tad. and as soon as it does, i flake out and want to sleep all the time and mope around the house.
in other news, someone in our class actually complained about rude people making noises during exams. and when i say noise, i mean coughing, sneezing, and sniffling as a result of being sick. i mean - COME ON - complaining about noisy people who have 1) strep 2) a cold 3) strep and a cold or 4) sinus infections is just ridiculous. i sent out a scathing classwide email about learning some sympathy, as a result. yup, that's me - winning friends and influencing people everywhere i go.
to the fact that - at this precise moment - i am choosing NOT to study. instead, i am going to read a book. i want to write this down so that in a week or two, when i'm panicking and crying and hysterical because i'm so behind, i'll be able to come here, read my blog, and remember this sunday night when i chose to be utterly worthless instead of accomplishing anything. i could study the mass of cardiology notes i'm completely behind on, read my behavior lectures (since the midterm is a week from tomorrow), or catch up in repro or respiratory or multispecies medicine.
but no - i refuse. this has been a relaxing, if not entirely happy, fall break. i got to spend my hard earned tutoring money on new clothes, hang out with my closest friend that i haven't really been able to see much this semester, go home and spend a day with my mom, and have dinner with my inlaws (all except bon). it was great. and i'm going to savor it for just a few more hours.
so take that - you life-sucking troll of a vet school. (of course, i realize the only person i'm actually punishing is myself...but ah well)
from lack of sleep. we had an exam yesterday and a radiology quiz today. the quiz is only worth 10 points, and i guess - normally - in this situation - i would have blown it off. but the next quiz is going to be THE 'blow off' quiz due to the fact that we have a respiratory exam the same day (next wednesday). so i was up till 3am cramming frantically. i didn't make it to my classes this morning either. i've been skipping an obscene amount of lecture lately.
then it's fall break. YEAH. it can't get here fast enough.
in non-test related news, i am tutoring now. i only get paid a wee $12/hr. but it's money. previously, i was receiving $0/hour - just for my good looks. it's turning out to be good for me, because i get to review stuff from last year that i've totally forgotten. pharmacology, hematology, pathology, etc. i'm not sure how the time issue is going to work out, because every time i schedule to meet with my tutoree, i want to change it - due to this test, or that quiz - or whatever. so, the time crunch will be interesting. i'm also a bit apprehensive about my skills as a tutor in general. i want to teach (EVENTUALLY YES!) so i want to be a good tutor.
um. other non-school related news...thinking...................thinking.............................still thinking. ok, i have nothing to say. i give up. vet school has eaten my brain. i don't read, watch the news, sleep, eat properly, or exercise anymore. i am officially consumed by the madness. MADNESS I TELL YOU.
ok, 4 hours of sleep definitely not enough. nor is 15 hours in 3 days.
some of you know about the intense emotional turmoil in my life this past summer, and some of you don't. regardless of whether or not you know about it, i had a very hard summer. it has translated into a very hard year. i'm trying to stay positive. ok. that's a total lie. right now, i'm just trying to get through the days one at a time. but i've been pretty down all semester, and it's making it very hard for me to study. normally, i'm a very dedicated student. i try to keep up with my classes, and i work pretty hard. i'm not (in school) a procrastinator, and i take pride in my work ethic (if not much else). but this semester, i just can't find the willpower to really apply myself. perhaps it's not merely my internal emotional upset, but also simple burn-outed-ness. expected, at this point in the curriculum. however, our classes are very difficult this semester - respiratory, radiology, and cardiology - not to mention all the others. due to my unfailingly constant depression, i've skipped a lot of class. and not to utilize my time better -but to sleep. my grades have reflected this a bit, i think. i made low Bs on both of my first big tests. i know, i know - complaining about Bs - but still. i can do better. and i'm afraid those grades are about to really start slipping, since it's now to the point where i'm studying test to test,
and now, i'm starting to be very worried about the rest of the semester. in typical vet school fashion, the schedule is unrelenting. we have a test in respiratory 1 week from tomorrow. it covers about 150 pages of notes. i skipped a vast majority of the classes, and thus - have no idea what's going on half the time (when i'm present). it's 1 am now, and i didn't get thru all the material i needed to for my test on thursday (multispecies med). and i have a radiology quiz on friday. i haven't even GLANCED at that material yet. it's bound to be about 75 pages.
the stress, coupled with my already very low mental state, is about all i can handle.
i wish i had something else to talk about. but i don't.
is making me dumber. oh, i'm learning lots and lots, but i haven't read a book or watched the news or done anything remotely intellectual in the past month, at least. granted, it's all i can do not to jump off the bridge located oh so enticingly adjacent to the vet school, due to the fact that i'm an emotional wreck still from this summer's too recent turmoil, juggling 7 classes, all of which are difficult, and still trying to function in something like a remotely human fashion. BUT, in spite of all that, shouldn't i at least try to maintain some sort of functioning intellect? i haven't even watched an independent film. all i manage to do in my off time is sleep (i'm still sick, but at least now i'm hacking up bright yellow phlegm) or watch scrubs, season 3- loaned to me by my sister-in-law. i hate watching TV in my spare time. it's such a waste of mental capacity, such a drain on thinking capability and yet, i find myself sucked into these DVDs. i don't even have cable, for god's sake -for just this reason. i hate TV. but i can see the allure. so easy, so mindless. it looks so good when all you can do is study study study study go to class study study study study.
radiology was friday - and it was brutal brutal nasty brutal. i don't expect to have performed particulary well. i think i passed the exam, that's what counts (so they say). instead of being able to relax this weekend, i have a test on monday - oh so predictably. reproductive medicine, a none too easy course in which i have fallen significantly behind, will be next in line to bend me over and give it to me. thankfully, i skipped 1/3rd of the lectures, too - so i really have no idea what's going on. and really, who cares about the estrus cycle of the cow? not moi, i'm not going into food animal medicine. at least, not this month. at any rate, i spent today a) studying b) napping for 4 hours to sleep off the headache/ickiness of strep throat and c) studying (oh and d) watching scrubs as a mental break).
i'd say i hate vet school. but it sounds so trite and whiny at this point. i mean, for god's sake, i'm in the third year. you'd think by now i'd be used to the endless and pointless mental beatdown that constitutes my daily life. i'm sure ya'll don't want to hear about it anymore. you're probably as sick of hearing about it as i am of talking about it.
and- predictably - i have nothing to say that doesn't involve whining about a test or whining about my long days or whining about being sick. so, adieu - to my probably bored or non-existent readers:)
i have strep throat or a cold or whatever everyone else has. coughing, sneezing, mildly sore throat, head cloudiness. unfortunately, it has not incapacitated me - so i still have to go to class (on occasion, when i get up in the morning) and stick my arm inside large animals. plus, i have that lovely low backache that comes along with PMS. so, repro lab was DOUBLY fun today. actually, it was. i got to palpate both cattle and horses - all of the cows were pregnant, and we were allowed to use the ultrasound (rectally) to visualize the structures we'd been previously only feeling. in both the horses and the cattle. i really enjoyed the palpation labs. there's nothing like sticking your hand into an 800 lb animal's rectum. really nothing like it. also nothing like having a cow prolapse her vagina and cervix onto your scrubs while you're digging around inside her upper colon. you ever seen those little sqeezy rubber toys that have a little bubble at the butt where a little red thing squirts out? that's exactly like what a vaginal prolapse looks like. only a lot bigger and moister. and grosser.
i have a test tomorrow. just like always. radiology. it gives me nervous sweats. i'm terrified of the class. it's HARD. every time i'm looking at an xray with a teacher near me, my mind goes utterly blank, and i blurt out the first thing that pops into my head. it's a kind of stress-induced radiograph related tourette's syndrome. for instance, i was looking at an xray of the neck today, with the resident standing over my shoulder, and i blurted out something that could only occur at the back end of an animal. out of sheer panic. it was REALLY embarrassing. i felt sooooooooooooo stoopid. but then again, that's just vet school. i always feel kinda stoopid.
i need to go to bed before i die. i'm sure i have other stuff to say, but i have no idea what it might be.
there is a vast difference between the person i am and the person i want to be. how can i want something and not attain it? i wanted to go to vet school, and here i am - in my third year. i wanted to marry jim, and here i am - married for 7 years. i wanted to run a 5k, and i did it.
yet, i want to change myself - to be a certain type of person with characters and morals - and i'm not. some people might enjoy the challenge of self-betterment. i do not.
for being such a weenie head. i made a 10/10 on my radiology quiz friday, as well as making an A (94.2%) on the first radiology anatomy exam. i do not expect this to continue - because anatomy just isn't my thing. but i'll try to enjoy it however long it lasts.
scare at the stadium on saturday - final score 31-30. good game but a little too tense - especially when i wasn't expecting a tense game at all.
off to study radiology. and respiratory. and cardiology. and reproductive med. and that's ALL for tonight.
in all my time in vet school - i have never been unprepared for a test or a quiz - in that i've ALWAYS covered all of the material before the actual exam or test.
tomorrow will be a first, perhaps. i have a radiology quiz (and i just had a radiology test on wednesday) covering 75 pages of new material. and i haven't read it all once yet. and i study 4-5 hours every night (with the rare exception of fridays off). how is this possible?
sorry, that was rather indelicately phrased. let's say instead that i attended my reproduction medicine lab this afternoon. which involved - as i said - ramming my hand into the rectum of cattle and attempting to palpate the reproductive tract.
what that amounts to is getting cow poop ALL over you, including on your face. as well as massive amounts of KY jelly on oneself. i felt like an extra in the aliens trilogy (or quadrilogy or whatever).
so. yes, that's what i did with my day. that and 4 hours of class. a day well spent, i say.
did i mention that palpating cattle is the most disgusting feeling i've ever experienced? i could describe it, but i'll refrain.
and it was a doozy. i'm already behind. it still amazes me how much information they can pile onto us in 7 days time.
we went and saw 'the wicker man' last night. i had low expectations. first, i'm not a big fan of mainstream movies, because mostly - they suck. the best movies i've seen this year were both critically acclaimed and largely ignored by the mass population (brick and the proposition). second, i'm not a fan of nicholas cage. third, i know that most remakes are bad ideas - ESPECIALLY when they're horror film remakes. despite all that, i went. it was with some friends from school and jim.
let me just say that i have NEVER seen a movie this bad. it was absolutely AWFUL. from about midway through the film till the end, the theater would break into light bursts of laughter. the last 20 minutes, people were actually guffawing out loud. including myself. it was fun in that respect - everyone was laughing. especially during the scene where (and i am not joking here) nick cage runs through the woods in a bear suit. a bear suit, for god's sake. it was hysterical. jim and i got home and went to bed later. as i was lying there, waiting for sleep to come, i started giggling hysterically because the image of cage in a bear suit running through the woods wouldn't leave my head. jim asked me why i was laughing, i preceded to tell him, then he started laughing - and neither one of us could stop. if this hasn't persuaded you to avoid EVER watching this movie, then be warned i'm about to spoil it. the only redeeming factor of the movie (besides the fun i had cracking up about it) was the fact that cage burns to death in the end. it was very fitting.
so anyway. today is the first football game of the year!!!!!! i can't wait. kickoff is at 5:30. we're going in a big group - jim's dad, dan, sam, myself, jim, and bonnie. it's going to be a good time. i love football!! i think we're going to get trounced, considering who we're playing. but i have hope.
totally unrelated, but how does david lynch take perfectly normal 50's and 60's songs (that i love) and totally ruin them by making them unutterably creepy?? i mean - come on - roy orbison's 'in dreams' is not a creepy song. until you see dean stockwell in full drag makeup lip sync it into a 50's era microphone to dennis hopper as he inhales some sort of anesthetic drug. why and how does lynch do it?
it feels like i never left school. wait. i didn't ever leave - considering that i did my research there all summer. but it feels like i never left class, i suppose. other than the fact that we're in a new classroom - on the third floor - far removed from everybody else. it's kind of lonely being a 3rd year. the 1st and 2nd year classrooms are adjacent to one another, so there is lots of socializing in the halls between classes - with teachers, classmates, etc. the third floor is very dull. no other classrooms and we're so faraway from most professors offices that we never see anyone. we are across from the munchbox - so i expect to gain weight with breakfast always within 20 yards of my spot in the classroom.
the classes are shaping up to be interesting. i'm actually excited about cardiology - it seems neat - how the heart works and all the diseases that go along with that. radiology IS going to be as bad as everyone says it is. i can feel it sucking up all my brain space already. respiratory seems ok. a little dry to start. exotics i will love, of course. reproduction is going to be hard, but i think it'll be really interesting, as well. we had a reproductive pathology lab today and got to look at all kinds of plastinated and wet specimens of reproductive problems. including a "male" horse that came in last year and was euthanized. it was a pseudo-hermaphrodite. it had testicles, a rudimentary uterus, and a cross between a penis (the head) and a vulva directly under the anus (where the vulva should be), as well as teats (male horses do not have teats, unlike male cats). so yeah, that was interesting. i could explain what a pseudo-hermaphrodite is, but at the moment - i can't remember exactly. we haven't started our behavior class yet (next week, i think), and we have 1 or 2 electives to choose from (which also don't start for a little bit). so i only have 5 classes right now, though i'll have 8 before the end of the semester. and none end early :(
that's all to report here. my life is fairly uneventful. i've gotten into a rhythm of class, lab, the gym, home, dinner, studying. mundane but already stressful.
did i mention that jim passed his prelim???!!!???!!?
this blog is 99.9% about me. so, i i'd like to take a moment here and talk about someone else. my husband. for those of you who read this and don't know, i've been married for 7 years. since i was 20. six years ago, my husband -the history major - decided he wanted to go into mathematics and earn his phd. with absolutely zero math background. we're talking a phd in PURE mathematics here - stuff that you and i and 99% of the rest of the world couldn't comprehend if wanted to understand it. he took prerequisites and was admitted to the graduate program in 2001 and got his masters in 2004.
ever since then, he's been working very hard to gain his phd. only 10% of people that enter the program he's in will graduate from it. besides rigorous courses, he has to take 2 preliminary exams and write his doctoral thesis. the preliminary exams are extremely difficult and most people fail 1 or both. jim took the algebra prelim (and when i say algebra - i do not mean the algebra you and i learned in high school - i once looked at the proofs he had to do for this test, and i could not locate one number or letter or notation that looked vaguely familiar!) . he failed it. algebra is the hardest of all the prelims and many people do not pass. he had one oppportunity left to take that prelim. he had planned to take it last december/january. but crosby died, so he had to push it back to this summer. he's been studying hard all summer, and he has been very, very worried about this prelim. if he failed, he would be out of the phd program - and all his work from 2004 on would have been a waste.
he took it the wednesday before last - and after a week of waiting for his results- they're in. HE PASSED!!! i'm so proud of him i can barely stand it.
he still has to take 1 more, but algebra is the hardest of all the prelims - so we're not too worried about that. he did a great thing, and i'm happy and proud - especially considering all we've been going through lately.
of the final push. i guess you can look at the new semester as that. there is no summer for us students after the third year, we go straight into the clinics and start our fourth and final year of schooling (not counting internships and residencies). i'm apprehensive about starting tomorrow. too much has gone on this summer for me to be ready to add school to the pile. i'm not looking forward to it in the slightest. our classes promise to be difficult, especially radiology and cardiology. we only have 7 or 8 classes this semester, 6 core and 2 electives (or 1, if we so choose). theriogenology (reproduction - for those who don't own a dictionary), multispecies medicine (exotics, yay!), cardiology, radiology, respiratory, and behavior. plus our 2 electives. i don't know which yet.
thankfully, they started us out lightly tomorrow, with a mere 4 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab in the afternoon.
i'm trying to be optimistic. but it's really hard. i know how difficult this semester is going to be -- i'm fully prepared for all of that. i just don't want to do it. it's hard to keep pushing like this, every single day. i wish i'd had time for a real vacation this summer. but i never really got one. nor did jim. we pretty much worked the summer away. it's a shame, considering that after this - real life will set in for me.
god, in less than 12 hours, i'll be sitting in the 3rd year classroom - back in school. again.
well, i'm over my fear of flying. the last 2 flights home were actually enjoyable! my first flight from san antonio to memphis was at 6:15am, so i got to watch the sun rise. my 2nd, from memphis to knoxville, was short - but the day was beautiful and i sat in the first row - so i actually had leg room. i think it finally dawned on me how safe and routine flying is. i don't know why or what did it. maybe just having 6 flights in 7 days was enough. whatever the cause, i can now comfortably board an airplane without total mental shutdown.
this new found comfort was a combination of many thoughts. for one, over and over again, as we taxied out to the runway, i would see the line of planes waiting to take-off. it seemed so totally routine - like cabs or buses lined up in front of a hotel. i began to realize how absolutely mundane flying somewhere is.
but really what struck me was that my fear of flying was almost totally based around the fear of the loss of control and subsequent death. and death is with us every day, everywhere we go. no - actually - it's more than that. the fear was the fear of the unknown, of being out of control - of not knowing what would or could happen in the next seconds. but ALL of life is like that. sure, daily life is routine and safe. we never think that we'll be hit by a bus or slip in the shower and hit our heads. because showering is so routine, so normal, so safe that we never even think twice about it. flying isn't routine or safe for me, because i start to feel out of control. but that's the POINT. control everywhere else outside of a plane is just illusion. i think i'm in control in my car, at school, in the classroom, in my house. but it's all a facade. we have no control, anywhere in our lives. i think i finally realized the basis - the root - of my fear. not merely death, but the loss of my perceived control over when and where it happens to me. and it's exactly that - a perceived and phony control. i have no control. i can't spend my life fearing everything that might represent the slightest possibility of death, else i'll never leave the house. or get out of bed in the morning.
as for LSU and TX - both went well. the poster presentations were enjoyable. the experience itself - not so much. the event planners only planned for 80% of who showed up, despite having received registrations from many more than that. so, instead of being in a nice hotel room, we were stuck in a freaking dorm room. no TV, no phone, no nothing. just beds. it was really depressing. overall, i was glad to leave LSU when the conference was over. i did like baton rouge, and i could definitely see going there for an internship and/or residency. one fun activity was visiting alligator bayou - a cypress swamp (2000 acres) privately owned. i got to go out on the swamp in a barge and see lots of wildlife, including a mother alligator lying in a den, on a clutch of eggs. i have many pics.
i presented my poster there - but didn't do an oral presentation. i did do an oral presentation in san antonio, on monday. we stayed in the rivercenter marriot, a $350/night hotel. luckily, we got a conference discount (a mere $138/night). i was unimpressed with the hotel. it was nice, and the beds were fantastic - but they didn't even provide breakfast! however, i enjoyed my first foray into the world sans husband. in some respects. i missed jim, and i wanted to be home - especially considering all that we're going through right now - but it was also nice to see that i was capable of being on my own. of getting a cab, being in a city 1000 miles away, boarding an airplane - all alone. i told jim that i think that having been with him since i was 17 years old has weakened me in some ways - made me dependent and frightened to be alone. going to TX was a big step for me - the flying alone - the being 1000 miles away from him and being okay.
at any rate, i gave my presentation on monday at 3pm. it was in front of approximately 300 people, in a huge ballroom that could have seated 700 easily. i was terribly nervous beforehand, and all during my talk, my knees shook. however, afterwards - people kept coming up to me and gushing about how professional and comfortable i looked speaking in front of people. dr jones raved about my talk for a good 5 mins, saying things along the lines of i was a public speaker/teacher in the making, that i looked unbelievably relaxed, sounded confident, enunciated, and explained my research clearly and succinctly. i was thrilled that so many people were impressed with my talk. i also got to meet dr lafeber himself (founder of lafeber bird foods) - who funded our study. i was able to thank him directly for his monetary contribution to my research, which was nice.
i met a lot of vets and students, as well. it was a good networking opportunity - and it was great to get my face and public speaking ability out there. all in all, the oppportunity itself was great. i think i was the only 'undergraduate' vet student to speak (residents and interns also spoke). i felt special and proud of myself. i did well. all that said, i was really, really glad to come home on thursday. in fact, i wasn't supposed to come home till saturday - but i missd jim so much - and needed to be with him due to all of the chaos at home - so much - that i changed my flight to 6am on thursday and came home early. he met me at the airport with roses. how sweet is that?
i am leaving for louisiana on wednesday. my flight is at 8:30am. i hate leaving now, with all the uproar at home. but i have to go to these 2 conferences. the first is the Merck/Merial National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. i'm going to present my research from this summer (which is finished and was highly successful!) in poster format. it's a graduate / vet student symposium. i've never been to baton rouge, or anywhere else in louisiana really. i'm excited and apprehensive both. terrified of flying, of course. imagining the worst things happening - surfing the internet and reading about the planes i'm flying on and everything else i can get my grubby little hands on. some parts of me are ok with flying, know that rationally - nothing is going to happen. then the irrational parts of me pipe up and start yammering about mechanical failures and pilot error and turbulence and wind shear (can you tell that i've been surfing the net for 2 hours?)
on aug 6th, i fly ALONE from LA to TX for the annual assoc of avian vets conference. there, i'm presenting my research - in conjunction with my mentor - on monday. in front of roughly 700 people. i should be more scared of that. but mostly i'm scared of the flight. i've never flown alone before, so it'll be an eye-opening experience. might turn out to be liberating. or - could turn out to be mind-blowingly horrific. i'm hoping desperately for the former.
i've been watching planes land at our local airport a lot from my front porch. we're close enough that i can see the planes descending. it comforts me in some ways.
i wish i had a prescription for xanax. or valium. or any other sedative that would knock me unconscious for the flight. instead, i'll have to crunch chewable dramamine (for my air sickness) and hope that i survive the 12 take-offs and landings i must endure. kville to memphis, memphis to baton rouge, BR to houston, houston to san antonion, san antonio to memphis, and then memphis to home. i won't be back till aug 12. nine whole days. and more flying than i've ever done in my life, plus 2 presentations. it's going to be so much fun. i mean that about 50%.
i can't say enough about this movie. it lived up to expectations and far, far more.
it's a very brutal western, set in the australian outback. the movie is a study in contrasts - namely the contrast of civilization (the british) and the primitive (the australians/immigrants). the story revolves around the burns gang, a group of brothers with a history of violent crimes. one is to be hanged - and his older brother is given the option of hunting down and killing their other brother - so that his youngest (who is very simple minded) can live. hence the title.
the movie is filmed gorgeously, the music is unforgettable, and the acting is pitch perfect. there isn't a ton of dialogue or action. so much of the movie is conveyed through scenery and brief interchanges between characters. hell, there are moments when facial expressions convey an enormous amount - perhaps more than actual dialogue could have. what makes it so interesting is both the moral ambiguity that the storyline presents and the multiple paralells that exist within the story. aborigines play a part - and the paralell between how the aborigines view the white immigrants (subhuman) and how arthur burns (the eldest, amoral? of the burns brothers) views those outside of his familial circle is really rockin'. the movie is also heavy on symbolism - letting the rugged outback of the australian desert serve as a constant reminder of the brutality of the burns gang, as well as perhaps a commentary on their moral character?
one of the british characters, stanley - lives in this desert, in a house surrounded by a fence, with carefully cultivated rosebushes everywhere. the juxtaposition of the desert with the lushness of this oasis -- ahh!!! i love symbolism!! the whole movie is frought with examples like that. where scenery and careful directing impart a subtle but brilliant theme to the film. it's how - with so little dialogue and action - the movie manages to convey a definite theme, mood, and message. or maybe less of a message, more of an idea - that the line between good and evil is very thin and can be difficult to discern. it's certainly a depressing movie.
i loved it. but it was extremely violent. the violence was infrequent and usually the camera cut away rapidly - so it wasn't over the top gore. but it was still a little more than i could handle. i watched a couple of scenes through my fingers. it's definitely a brutal movie - but so so good. and this comes from me. i don't like westerns, and i still don't understand the whole unforgiven fuss. but this movie...wow.
i just finished the 2nd book, HP and the chamber of secrets. it was a fun and fast read. but honestly, i don't get what all the fuss is about yet. the first two books were essentially the same - same plot arc, same characters, same development of the story. i didn't feel like the characters changed or grew that much from one book to the next. so i can't quite see what all the uproar about the books is. i'm going to keep reading them, though - because everyone reveres them so much. and i've heard that the books 'mature' as the characters mature. i've also heard the 3rd book is really good. so...i guess i'll give it a shot.
it's not that i didn't enjoy the books, because i did. but i'm not feeling the HP fervor. perhaps it will come with time?? like running perhaps? you don't get into a groove until the 3rd mile (book) ?? speaking of running, i ran a mile on the treadmill yesterday - and the shin splints about leveled me - AGAIN. i'm not sure what's going on here, but i'm going to slow my pace down to about what it was when i started and see if that helps. jim said i've been running too much. i don't see how that's possible, but it's his theory. i don't want to give up on it, and i want to get better, but the pain yesterday almost brought me to tears. also, dan has this sick idea that i should train for the marathon with him and jim. i think he's off his nut. i have absolutely zero interest in running a marathon. i get bored at around 3 miles! heck, i have less than zero interest, i have NEGATIVE interest. but he's quite enamored of the idea. crazy.
was a disappointment. it was unbearably hot and sticky. i got shin splints about a quarter of a mile into it, my feet and calves hurt, too. i just felt bad. not a 'peak' day for running. i finished, but my time was abysmal - 11.9 minute miles. i'd been down to 9ish min miles at the gym. but it's ok. there are plenty more races to run.
i don't do well in heat. i'm kinda a weenie that way.
overall, i'm very disappointed. i didn't feel good, my time was lousy, and i just wanted to quit at 1.5 miles. i've spent the last month and a half working toward this, and i felt like i was doing really well with my times and my stamina. but the heat and humidity just wiped me out today. i finished it though. so i guess that's saying something. i'm definitely going to run another one as soon as i can.
was a disappointment. it was unbearably hot and sticky. i got shin splints about a quarter of a mile into it, my feet and calves hurt, too. i just felt bad. not a 'peak' day for running. i finished, but my time was abysmal - 11.9 minute miles. i'd been down to 9ish min miles at the gym. but it's ok. there are plenty more races to run.
i don't do well in heat. i'm kinda a weenie that way.
overall, i'm very disappointed. i didn't feel good, my time was lousy, and i just wanted to quit at 1.5 miles. i've spent the last month and a half working toward this, and i felt like i was doing really well with my times and my stamina. but the heat and humidity just wiped me out today. i finished it though. so i guess that's saying something. i'm definitely going to run another one as soon as i can.
the picture above is the finish line, the time on the time board is definitely NOT mine. i wish i could run 3.2 miles in 18mins. i would rock.
life is fairly mundane. my COE advisor is in Canada for 3 weeks, so i am left on my own. i definitely have stuff to do around here - but it's all mundane work - writing abstracts, working on the paper, taking my stats over to the biostatistician across the way *when i actually have stats*, getting my flights to louisiana and texas taken care of, preparing the posters for the AAV and the LSU symposium, prepping samples for electron microscope and cell sorter -- yada yada yada. i'll probably only run a couple of different lab sample runs over the next few weeks.
i'm still working out. i haven't really lost any weight - but people keep commenting on my physical appearance. so i know i'm more toned. i can finally see it myself. it's frustrating that my weight seems to stay about the same though, i would think - as much as i've been doing - i would lose SOME. of course, i could stop eating ice cream and wok hay every couple of days. but what's the point of exercising if you can't enjoy the foods you love? ah, the eternal question.
has passed me by. i am now 27 years old. mildly depressing, considering that i have 2 more years of vet school to go, plus a year of interning, plus 3 years as a resident. ugh. i'll be 800 years old before i'm finished schooling. sometimes i think i need my head examined.
i'm probably supposed to ruminate on my life up to this point. but the thought is vaguely depressing, so i'll just talk about mundane frivolities. we went home on friday night, spent the night - ate with my in-laws. saturday, my mother cooked me a huge, delicious dinner (cordon bleu!) and then we watched my brothers try to 1) shoot clay pigeons/the neighbors house/a car window and 2) burn down the woods in front of my parent's house with fireworks. both were a rousing success. i also had cake. and ate it, too. we came back last night around 10pm and went to school for a run. we went about 2.8 miles. i was disappointed with my run, i didn't feel good, and i didn't make it 3 miles. could have been because of the huge dinner i gorged myself upon before leaving. but at any rate, it wasn't a great run -though i felt surprisingly alert and good after it was over. afterwards, it was around 11:30 - and some friends called me to convince me to go out for a 'drink or two' on my birthday. yeah - 5 shots of various alcohols later (tequila, vodka, and jagermeister - in that order) i realized it was 4 am, and i was signficantly drunker than when the evening started. no hangover today, i'm happy to say. i have no idea why - but apparently drinking more (as i obviously have been this summer) has taught my body to hold its liquor. i haven't had a hangover either of the last 2 times i drank too much.
at any rate, today was fun and low-key. i went and saw the film brick with alison. it's an homage type movie to the film noir genre. surprisingly good. though the slang/jargon of those types of movies made it often difficult to understand what the hell anyone was talking about. i'll definitely have to see it again to catch everything. i really enjoyed it though. afterwards, we went to borders for a bit, then wok hay for dinner. nothing like snappy kung pao chicken on lo mein noodles to make my night. now i'm here, about to go watch the last 2 installments of band of brothers (aka the most depressing miniseries EVER).
i wish i did have something interesting and meaningful to talk about. perhaps something like my realization - as of late - that most people are pretty screwed up, in their own ways. and that our generation is morally bankrupt, corrupt, and/or decrepit - whatever you want to say. but that's for another day and another post.
well, my summer is going to be more interesting than i thought.
first, i've been asked to present my research from this summer at a conference held at LSU in aug (3-6th). the school is flying us down and paying for everything - so that's definitely exciting. i've never been to louisiana. too bad i can't find time to go to new orleans. LSU is in baton rouge.
at any rate, on aug 6th - instead of flying home from louisiana - i'm flying to texas for the annual AAV conference. that's association of avian veterinarians. it's a great opportunity for me - my mentor will introduce me around, and i'll get to meet people that could help me get a residency/internship post-graduation.
my vacation is coming up. i'll have at least 2 weeks off from school - which i desperately need - because i'm tired of that place. sometimes it feels like i live there.
so. lots of flying store for me this summer. you that know me know how much i despise flying. but - i figure a couple of important things when considering flying. first, fear cannot rule my life. if i ever want to travel, i have to overcome the fear of flying. or at least control the fear. second, we all gotta go some time. would dying in a plane crash be any worse than any other way? probably not. so yeah, happy thoughts.
in all seriousness, i'm really excited about our research, especially about presenting it. i love to talk in front of people. makes me feel smart:)
guess that's all here. i'm still running. and still enjoying it. most of the time. sometimes not so much. i have found that treadmills suck after running outside. time and the miles CREEP by. so i'm mostly running outdoors now and using the gym to keep in shape between big outdoor runs.
i ran 3 miles last night, outside, and it was 83 degrees. it was hard, but when i finished, i felt surprisingly good. i thought i'd want to collapse, but i was pretty pumped. i'm officially ready to run a 5k. i still have about 2 more weeks to improve on my time, which will be good. i'm not interested in being competitive in the race - i just want to finish. i would like to do the race in 30 mins, which would be slightly less than a 10 minute mile. i guess we'll see. i'm going to use the treadmill at the gym as a way to get my speed up - shorter distances, faster. then i plan on running outside, at night, to keep my distance up. i'm excited and proud of myself. i feel fit! someone told me today that i looked great, so i guess the working out is finally beginning to show. i feel less flabby, definitely.
so, i figured out why i did so poorly in my first 5k. at least, i think i did. i've been reading a book by jeff galloway - the world's running guru. he trained the guy who broke the marathon time world record several years ago. he has a very interesting approach to running. at any rate, i was running too much. 6 days a week most weeks. and i wound up over training. so, since i've started reading his book, i've cut actual running down to 3 or 4 days a week. on top of that, galloway insists on incorporating walk breaks into every run. you run - for example - 5 mins, then walk 1. it gives your leg muscle a brief break and helps you keep your time up. the guy he trained to run the marathon ran AND WALKED - and broke the world record. he ran 26.2 miles in just over 2 hours. unbelievable, eh? at any rate, yesterday i ran 3.5 miles in this fashion. i ran a mile, walked for about 5 minutes, then ran 2 miles without stopping, walked a couple of minutes, and ran another half mile. i felt great when i was done. not only when i finished, too - i felt great as i was running. exhilirated and good. i was pushing myself but i didn't feel like i was going to die.
because i'm addicted. i ran twice today. once at the gym - 2.5 miles on the treadmill - after i got off work. then, after the movie with alison tonight (the lake house), jim and i went and ran 1.6 miles at school. it was a beautiful night. 12:30 am - and we did a harder run than normal - up several hills. big run for me, because it was mostly inclined - not flat. we ran from thompson boling arena up to neyland stadium and back to the parking lot. 4.1 miles of running in less than 12 hours! i'm tuff!
such a beautiful night. 75 degrees with a breeze. i still manage to sweat insanely.
listening to wolf parade, bloc party, and the bravery a lot lately - all very modern / new wave 80s sound. especially the bravery (whom i LOVE).
i'm up to 2 miles outside. jim and i did the lake loudon greenway in front of the vet school again. i still have a love / hate relationship with running. i love the idea of running, but when i'm actually doing it, all i can think is 'god - when will this agony end?' a friend told me that running doesn't really become natural and you don't get into a 'groove' until you've run at least 3 miles. so i'm over halfway to the point where running becomes fun.
ha. ha. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. fun. running. hahahahahahahahahaha.
ok. i have to go to work.
ps: running - fun. hahahahahaha. 9 days until i'm 27. i hate birthdays.
jim and i took a mini-vacation this weekend. we needed it desperately. we spent saturday, sunday, and monday in asheville. jim's friend, luke (and his wife, lucinda) live in a sweet little house there, adjacent to downtown asheville. the house has a 'cabin' built onto the back - with a bedroom, bathroom, small kitchenette, and living area. it was like staying in a condo. we had a relaxed and fun 3 days. we went kayaking on saturday. my first time in a kayak on a river. it was a little scary - but i had a great time. 4 hours floating down through the gorge on the pigeon river. the rapids were 2+ - and i only flipped once. it was my own fault, i wanted to surf in a hole - and i got into the hole okay - but then i got turned sideways and flipped. other than that, i did pretty well. the gorge was beautiful and we had so much fun. that night, we went out for mexican, then walked around downtown asheville. sunday, we got up moderately early and had a ridiculously good breakfast at a place called sunny pointe cafe. i had french toast stuffed with almond cream cheese and covered with strawberries and jam. i've never had anything that good and RICH for breakfast. we then drove to shiprock, NC and went climbing. it was a flawless day and really cool in the mountains (low 70s).
monday was a low key day - walking around downtown asheville, visiting several art galleries, window shopping, and ice cream.
all in all, it was a GREAT 3 days. it made me feel like i was 20 again - when jim and i used to camp and climb all the time. back when we had no responsibilities and jim still lived with his parents. those were fun times. spending the last 3 days with jim like that reminded me of all the reasons i fell in love with him. we're going to make a concerted effort to spend more time doing the things we used to do together. keeps the relationship thriving. i think some people (including us) lose sight of that idea, especially when daily responsibilities, pets, bills, and everything else starts to weigh on one's soul. it's so easy to forget the good things in life and why you were attracted to each other in the first place.
we got back at around 9:30 last night, threw on our 'athletic' gear - and went for a run along lake loudon (in front of the vet school). that's where the fireball 5K is going to be, so i figured it was a good place to start running outdoors. it was a bit different than running on a treadmill. harder, i thought - though jim always argues that treadmills are harder (read - boring). i only ran 1.1 miles. i was a little disappointed in myself - even though i told myself the first time i ran outdoors, i would only run a mile - allow myself to acclimate. i wanted to go at least 2 last night. but i didn't pace myself very well - it was windy - and the course is a slow, mild uphill for the first half. at any rate, it was a nice run and a beautiful night (72 degrees). i'm looking forward to doing it again tonight. the fireball 5K is a night run - at 9pm, so i'm pretty excited about it. i have to get up to 3.1 miles pretty fast though, the race is july 3rd.
hrm. i got a second job. at another laboratory, making $15 an hour with no taxes taken out. it's the same place my sister-in-law works. i was initially hesitant to take it, but we need the money, i have the time, it's great experience, and why not? if i want to stay in academia post-graduation/internship/residency - then the more research opportunities i take and the more papers i write, the better. i'm not thrilled at the idea of working in a lab all day every day, but i suppose there are worse things in the world. at least i'll have a little shoe money now:)
i ran 2 miles yesterday. i was really proud of myself. it was hard. i hope to be up to 3 miles by the end of next week. i haven't taken my newfound hobby out of doors yet, so that'll be interesting. i run on a treadmill, which gets boring. i haven't actually tried running outside yet. i'm afraid i won't be able to pace myself or something and i'll run full out and then burn out a half mile into it or something. it's just a change from the routine and that scares me a little. plus is so hot, and i don't like heat. sweating, i don't mind. heat i detest. i'm either going to run outdoors in the morning or at night, though i feel safer in the morning.
i guess that's all to report from the mundane existence of me. jim and i are trying to go away this weekend, to asheville. do some of the things we used to do together, when we first started dating - climbing, hiking, that sort of thing. it should be fun and much needed.
as in - i have one. and i absolutely love it. have i mentioned that having a regular job, a paycheck, and a schedule that doesn't change much but doesn't involve studying is the greatest thing ever? i wish i felt some desire to return to school, but i don't. i do still desire a career as a veterinarian though, so i'm sure that will drive me through the next 2 years (of hell).
i'm still working out diligently. i ran 1.7 miles today. again, probably not a big deal for some people - but if everyone only knew how much i previously HATED running - then you'd understand. 2 miles tomorrow is my goal. i think i can make it. i'm trying to get up to speed so that i can run the fireball 5K that's coming up july 3rd. it's a nighttime run (9pm) - so i won't die of a heatstroke (thankfully).
in other news, my research is progressing alright. it's a little frustrating. i have discovered that i lack the meticulous nature required for research. i have a frightening lack of attention to detail. it scares me a little, because - as a doctor - i'll have to pay attention to stuff. and it's hard to learn a skill like having an attention span. one of my mentors told me that having a meticulous nature isn't something one can learn. always heartening to hear. he's out of the country at the moment, leaving me to wreak merry havoc on the flow cytometer. i have learned - this summer - to restrain a parrot one-handed and draw blood with the other hand. i'm doing great with the restraining and the drawing blood, separately. yesterday was my first attempt to do both. i hit the jugular - oh happy day ! but then i lost it, so eventually dr g had to take over and get the sample. but it was my first attempt, so i was fairly pleased with my success.
we saw the omen last night - with friends/fam. save the 2 hours of your life that movie would waste and run screaming from any theater that shows it. YES. it was THAT bad.
jim studies all day - i think his life is more boring than mine. but i don't think either of us is complaining. he starts teaching in about a month, but until then - he just has to study. we have dinner together (that I COOK!) every night and watch movies and generally just relax. it's like being a normal couple again. it's a great feeling - but i'm a little sad - because i know it all ends - for a REALLY long time, come august. because once third year starts, i'm not 'free' until after my fourth year is over. and really not then, especially if i do an internship and residency. but i won't think unhappy thoughts tonight.
i have something niggling at me that i need to write down - but every time i start to attempt to explain it, i find that i really can't. rattling around inside of my brain is the feeling of impermanence, coupled with the knowledge of my own ephemeral existence. on top of that...i just feel ... odd? i guess. i don't know. i have too much time on my hands. i'm volunteering at the shelter and supposedly - any day now - i'll start the research that i'm getting paid for... so it's not exactly like i'm choosing to be lazy. i can't get another job - with the possibility of actually starting my research soon looming...so i'm basically stranded...waiting for real work to begin...and i guess i'm bored. which is always bad, because it gives my mind ample time to work up to a neurotic episode. i had a panic 'flit' last night - which is the beginning of a panic attack -that i got under control in amazingly rapid time - a few minutes...i guess. i was still up till 4am though, assuring that when i finally did go to sleep, i would stay that way.
i don't know what started this weird feeling. yes i do...actually. i was browsing around on vetnet and stumbled across a classified ad for a room rental. the post was by an incoming first year from NCstate. when i saw that pictures of the room/house for rent were posted, i went and looked - and wound up on the girls photo album website. i stayed and cruised around, looking at pictures of this future vet and her friends, family, trips, holidays, and graduations. i think that looking at those pictures gave me a sort of 'life deja-vu' -- in that -- despite the fact that i know nothing about her or her friends or family...the pictures made me think of my family and friends... and i realized that we are all the same. not in the literal sense - everyone has different life experiences. . . but we are all humans, floating along on this rapidly turning planet, moving toward the inevitable conclusion of life, involved in our own pursuits, our own lives, happily (or unhappily) immersed in the existence that defines our paradigm...and yet (at least in my opinion) we are all headed for the same end. and what's it all for ? ?
i'll refrain from ranting about the futility of life and existence ... because i often wind up arguing from a nihilistic standpoint - and really, that can't work, can it? because if i were a nihilist, i would just slit my wrists and get it over with... life is one big anticlimax.
i had intended to write this post to talk about what i learned from my first year of vet school and what i think about vet school and how i feel about becoming a vet and how excited i am to get to fourth year, even though that means 2 more years of my life are irrevocably gone..but now, i can't think of how to start or why it matters.
there is so much ridiculously good music in the world. and you never hear any of it on the radio. because the radio plays the same re-mixed, processed, canned crap over and over and over again. even 'alternative' radio is the same nu-metal music that i've heard a thousand times. thank god for itunes and people with musical taste besides myself. my friends are helping me branch out. the great thing about "weird" music is that the CDs are cheap used on amazon (HINT HINT - CHECK MY WISHLIST, because i'll be 27 soon:) those interested in unearthing some music that's truly worthy, check out the following:
The Veils Wolf Parade The Bravery Honorary Title Kasabian Okkervil River (esp the CD Black Sheep Boy, the song "So Come Back, I Am Waiting") The Mars Volta Sparta Minus the Bear (esp the song "Puchaca Sunrise")
ok, that was probably boring to all of you who aren't interested in music.
i worked today! and our results were PERFECT !! of course, i screwed up some in the lab. i haven't been there in a year, and dr k was watching me the whole time - and i have very poor attention to detail skills - so it was interesting. but everything worked out perfectly, i'm happy to say. i think we'll actually get a paper out of this summer - which would be great for me. and i think i'll have more steady/consistent work to do. i don't know if that's a good thing or not.
that's about all to report. i'm feeling pretty okay right now. the depression is lifting from me. it's not entirely gone - it comes and goes in waves, but i'm doing better every day.
well, not much to talk about here. i've been having a - more or less - relaxing summer so far. wednesday, my grandparents and parents came up for the day. i cooked them dinner - and andrew and rhi came, too. it was nice. we went thrift store hopping and had lunch, as well. i'm blanking out on what i did thursday - but i did something. oh yes, i got up early, cleaned the house, worked out at the gym, went to border's with jim. i scribbled in my journal, he studied. we were there until about 7ish, then we came home and watched a movie. american psycho. about as random as i remember it being the first time. friday, i got up, worked out, went riding with a classmate at her barn - where i learned a little bit of barrel racing (really really fun!) and was offered a job teaching riding lessons at $35 an hour (which i gladly accepted), came home, showered, drove to greeneville with jim for phillip's high school graduation.
we left late friday night to come home (midnight) - and the timing belt went on the car. AGAIN. apparently, the first time we had it fixed, it was done incorrectly. luckily we only paid $500 for that job. in case sarcasm doesn't translate on the internet, that was HEAVILY sarcastic. it tore up when i was coming back from florida for spring break last year. it was easter sunday - so we had to find the one place open to fix it. and they gouged us, of course. and they didn't even do it right, turns out. lovely, eh? ah, at any rate. we had to rent a tow-behind - and andrew towed our car home. so here i am. jim's working on fixing it.
the weekend isn't slowing any for busy-ness. luke is spending the night here. so...yeah.
tomorrow is my last day of freedom before work starts. i almost typed 'before school starts' - which is kind of apt, since it's research and it's at school - unfortunately. but the riding lessons will give me a break from school - and i'm bound and determined to have a fun summer - dammit.
i guess that's all to report here. i'm really tan - due to my day at the steeplechase, my riding yesterday, and my attempt to be out in the sun every opportunity that presents itself. those opportunities have been very scarce this week. the one week i have off before work starts, and the weather has been cool and rainy. :(
i've been having a relaxing week since school got out. i've seen a lot of people that i haven't seen in a while - dan and gabby are here. dan (jim's best friend from high school) and gabby eloped and are expecting a baby in october or september. they just moved back to knoxville from utah, and they crashed at our place on thursday night. we spent most of thurs night and friday with them. saturday, i worked at the iroquois steeplechase in nashville drug testing the winning horses. it was a flawless day - 80ish degrees, with a strong, cool breeze that kept the day tolerable. it was a gorgeous day for horse-racing - and perfect perfect weather. the track was dry, it wasn't too hot for the horses - it was perfection. no horses were permanently injured and none had to be put down (unlike my first experience at a steeplechase, during which TWO horses had to be euthanized for broken legs). it was a lot of work - because the iroquois has the biggest purse on the east coast - so the testing was especially stringent. they tested not just the winning horses (standard) of the iroquois itself, but also the 2nd and 3rd place horses, which meant that there had to be three of us working that race - and three of us was all that were present. the first five races also had more tests than usual. so we were kept hopping all day. in between races, i amused myself by eating all the prime rib and hor d'oeuvres that were located in the hospitality tent.
at the end, the lovely bartenders gave me a bottle of unopened korbel champagne to bring home. haven't drunk it yet, but i have plans for it:)
i've watched some movies too - since school got out - woody allen's new movie 'match point' - which was NOT what i expected. well done, but i didn't love it. also 'dancing at the blue iguana' - which is about strippers. i have a whole bunch more rented to watch...but i'm trying not to see everything in one day. i've downloaded new music - including some minus the bear and royksopp, and started reading nabokov's lolita. my first time. kind of a dense and odd read.
unfortunately, i haven't been able to unprogram my sleep schedule. i wake up around 6:45 every morning, like clockwork. i go back to sleep, but i've been getting up by 8:30 (at the latest) every morning since school got out. i kind of like it. the morning seems more peaceful than later in the day. i got up this morning at 7:45, cleaned up the house a bit, took titus to school so that they could pull a bloodfeather he broke, did some minor errands, and that was about it. i find waking up early seems to help me get more out of the day. but i also fall asleep earlier at night (11ish).
yesterday, we spent in gvegas, visiting our respective mothers. it was a nice day - i ate too much. but it was fun.
i'm really proud of myself. i pulled both of my Cs up to Bs!! i made 7As and 2Bs this semester. that's a shot for my GPA. it'll be above a 3.5 now, which is AWESOME. because that's what i need to get a residency. at least. although one of my professors assures me that if i'm at or above that, i'll be fine for a residency.
wow. it's really done now. i am officially a 3rd year vet student. an UPPERCLASSMEN! and i have the whole summer to read read read read read - watch movies - discover new music and RELAX. i'm so so so so so so so so glad summer is here. which mixes a little uneasily with the feeling of emptiness/sadness that i have. that feeling of having something taken away from me. that something is the constant pressure of needing to be doing school-related stuff.
i feel like crying and screaming for joy at the same time. it's such an unbelievable relief to be free.
i had a good time at rhino's party last night. although i did discover that i suck at horseshoes. even sober. which i was - all night. i didn't drink any, which is amazing. i did eat enough to probably kill a lesser person - but ryan bbq'd ribs and fixed jerk chicken and a bunch of stuff. the food was amazing and abundant. i was actually in pain, at one point. anyway, i was at the party on 5ish hours of sleep in 2 days, so i bailed at midnight, came home, and passed out unconscious in bed. then, james (my brother) showed up at my house at 9:30 this morning. so, we went to breakfast and CD shopping. he just left, and i have some major cleaning to do - which i'm actually excited about doing. because my house is REALLY REALLY gross.
both of my last finals went much much better than expected. i think the teachers had mercy on us. we shall see. as it stands now, i have 4 confirmed As, 1 tentative A, and 2 unknowns.
more tomorrow after i've slept. i went to bed at 3 the night before last and got up at 6:30, and last night, it was 4:30 and 7am. so i'm running on NO sleep whatsoever. and i just got back from rhino's big cookout/inebriation fest.
is going to be a terrible terrible day. starting with our neurology final at 9am. i made a 72 on the midterm, which isn't atrocious, considering that 25% of the class made a D or an F. but still - it's low. and neurology is freaking hard. i'm actually nauseated when i think about taking this test. it scares me that much. i'm never going to be a brain surgeon, because i SUCK at neurology.
after that's over, i get to pull a likely all-nighter, frantically cramming pharmacology notes into my brain. that's going to be a bastard of a test too. i have a C in that class as well. closer to a B though, a 77.8% or something ridiculous like that. and the teacher does not round - at all. so i have that grade, not a 78%. and if i wind up with a 79.9% - then i get a C+. it's going to be miserable tomorrow. i'm going to be mentally exhausted from taking neuro - then i have to turn around and try to learn all the pharmacology i've been putting off.
but - then it's over. after pharm, we're taking the 1st years on the plant walk, to collect toxic plants for toxicology, then tuesday night is a big ribfest/drunkfest at rhino's place. that should be fun. provided i don't drink enough to throw up. we shall see.
keep me in your thoughts. i'm on shaky mental ground at the moment.
today was our first, alimentary systems (GI eg vomiting and diarrhea 101). it was scantron. the teacher had it graded and posted within 2 hrs. i made a 98. but then, of my 67 classmates, 66 made As. the teacher was excellent, he told us what would be on the final, and that's what was on it. i studied for it, i went to all the lectures, i learned a lot, and i aced the final (along with the rest of my classmates). it makes me happy because GI is a 4 hour course - the largest course hours-wise this semester, and i made an A in it. that means that i have 4 hours of 4.0, which is GREAT. as it stands, i have 4 As - ophtho, nutrition, endocrinology, and GI. our zoonoses final is friday, i currently have an A in that class, too. unfortunately, my other 2 classes - neuro and pharm - are both Cs. and the finals are back to back - monday and tuesday. i have to work extra hard to pull those grades up to Bs. neuro is so low (72) that i don't think i'll have a shot in hell at an A. i need a perfect score to manage that. not gonna happen. i suck at neurology. pharm, on the other hand, is much closer to a B. i have a 78. so i could conceivably pull that up to an A. probably not likely though. still, i would be thrilled to come out of this semester with 5As and 2Bs. it would bring my GPA above a 3.5, i think. which is the minimum, generally, for a residency. so i've heard.
i'm not nearly as stressed as i thought i would be by this point. i'm just here, existing. i have to do the best i can, and what else can you do, really? vet school is my life currently, there's just no getting around it. i've been taking it relatively easy during finals week. studying but not frantically using up every available second. a lot of my classmates are being very disciplined, which makes me feel like a huge slacker, but ... ah well.
i've been listening to the soundtrack from the new pride and prejudice frequently. it's so good. and a friend of mine has gotten me into some really amazing music lately - that i've been listening to repetitively. i can't afford to buy anymore music from itunes, so i'm waiting for my birthday to get full CDs. i only have really cool songs here and there. and i keep listening to the itunes samples of the CDs, because i can't afford to actually buy them all. i love itunes. i love music.
i feel pretty good today. i don't know why. maybe it's because i've lost 13 lbs, the end of finals is in sight, 3rd year is looming near, summer is almost here, and the weather today was flawless. i spent 3 hours outside, in the sun, studying zoonoses. my expensive red dye job is already two shades lighter. if i keep studying outside, i'll be totally blonde again, within the month. i'm sure all of you that are fans of my naturally blonde hair will be glad to see that. and i'm ready to be blonde again, for a while anyway.
i more or less screwed off this past week. watched movies, slept a lot, went to the last week of classes, and assiduously did not study. i couldn't bring myself to do it. i needed the break too bad. i did study yesterday. and i've been studying most of today. taking a break now. finals start on wednesday and last till next tuesday. then it's over. i cannot explain how relieved i will be when next tuesday finally gets here. this semester has been unparalleled in its awfulness. for more reasons than one.
last night was fun. we all went out for jessica's 25th birthday, to parkside tavern. good food, a few drinks, a nice night altogether. i went to bed early and got up this morning at 10ish to study. which i've been doing - more or less - ever since.
nothing else much to report here. i'm sure i'll be more interesting after finals are over.
i feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my body. today was our 3rd GI exam. i took it on about 2 hours of solid sleep. i don't think i performed particularly well. and i don't care. for the next week and 4 days, i don't have a single test to take. the feeling is one of immense relief. i can study slowly, focus on what i'm learning, and prepare for my finals. the last 4 weeks have been a nightmare, for a variety of reasons - chief among them the fact that we've had approx 2 tests a week - repeatedly. i was about to the end of my rope. in fact, i think i was at the end of my rope, technically. since, instead of studying as much as i should have for this test, i got distracted a lot. it was the worst, most blurred 4 weeks of my life. i think. other things outside of school are affecting me too, but ... i hope everything will be smoother from here on to the end of the semester. i have one more week of classes, then the weekend + 2 study days, then 4 finals. and then i'm officially a third year vet student. kind of dizzying how fast time is flying by me.
i won an award at the annual honors convocation dinner. it was a Merck award, for demonstrating outstanding leadership and citizenship within the vet school. i was nominated by a faculty member, though i will never know who precisely. i got to go to a big fancy dinner (incidentally - on the night BEFORE my GI exam) - and got to eat a lot - and then had to go up on stage and have my picture taken in front of 300 people. it was embarrassing but nice to be recognized. at any rate...
tonight, i went to dinner with 2 of the avian vets from school, classmates, and a noted avian veterinarian who has won the LaFeber award before (big award in the world of avian medicine). it was a good time. we went to stir fry cafe, i had a red stripe and general tso's chicken, and it relaxed me. now i'm just chilling. because i'm taking the FREAKING weekend off. i haven't had a weekend that i didn't have to study on for 3 weeks or something ridiculous like that.
tomorrow is the vet school 'prom' - actually the congrats 2nd year students, you're officially halfway done with clinics big drunkfest. it's an animal masquerade, held at the knoxville zoo. it promises to be a lot of fun. i'm going as a cockatoo. i have a long, slinky white dress and a fabulous head crest of white feathers designed by sharon - and a big feather white boa. i'm going to be very convincing and very sexy. i might post pictures.
my sister-in-law was accepted into dental school. she and andrew will be moving to memphis in a couple of months, to prepare for starting dental school in the fall. i'm excited and anxious for her (since i know what medical programs can do to people - i fall more on the anxious side).
i think that's about all to report here. not very interesting. i've lost the ability to be interesting.
you would think that antibiotics and other drugs would be a kind of important thing to learn. but no, i've learned nothing. our pharm midterm was today, and it was so nasty. so unbelievably bad. the person in our class who normally makes an A and makes fun of us all after tests, because she never thinks they were hard - WELLED UP IN TEARS - post-pharm exam. it was that bad. i think i was sure about the answers to 10 of the 40 3.75 point questions. as the exam went along, i felt a sinking sensation in my stomach. i had to guess on so many. and not - intelligent, 'i can narrow it down to 2 answers guessing' - but 'omigod, i've never seen that drug before!' guessing. not a good feeling. everyone i talked to after the test said it was awful, and they guessed a great deal, too. the outcome of the test is upsetting me, but it's also the fact that i've learned virtually nothing in there. i blame it, partially, on bacteriology. i studied really hard for bacteriology, and i retained absolutely NOTHING from that class. it was the class (last year) - where the test average would be a 56 or a 45. our final had a 30 point curve. i think that i never made above a 67 on a a test, and i got a B+ in the stupid class. it was a waste of time. and now we're trying to learn antibiotics for bacterial infections, when most of the time, i can't even tell you if the bacteria is gram + or gram -. anyway. no more time to complain about it. our zoonoses midterm is on monday. 150+ pages of reading that i havent' even GLANCED at since the class started. it's going to be horrible. but isn't it always?
nothing else to report here. i go to school, i come home. i see j on occasion, when i eat, and sometimes when i go to bed at night. i see my birds and cats probably even less. ahh, vet school.
Any similarity between my stories and any person or animal, living or dead, is strictly a coincidence. Names, breeds, sexes, and details of the stories have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike.
I am an emergency veterinarian in North Carolina. Despite the crazy people I deal with, the awful cases of injured and sick animals, and the overall stress of emergency work, I absolutely love what I do. Happily married since I was 20, I have a wonderful husband who has a PhD in Mathematics, and a daughter around whom our world currently revolves. We also have a zoo living in our house that can be alternately wonderful and maddening. There are cats, parrots, and a dog who is very low on the totem pole. Our days are never dull and we are learning to balance the demands of work and family.
If you'd like to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Azotemia - elevation in kidney enzymes (BUN and creatinine) indicating dehydration, kidney failure, or urinary obstruction
Lactate - a salt/ester of lactic acid that is produced as energy for a cell when oxygen levels are low. In critically ill animals, elevated lactate can be an indicator of inadequate blood flow to organs (perfusion), decreased delivery of oxygen, and/or decreased oxygen uptake. Values > 6-7 are usually considered to be poor prognostic indicators for survival.
GI sloughing: when the cells lining the GI tract die (can be secondary to MANY things, including heatstroke) with resulting bloody diarrhea, bacterial translocation into the bloodstream and sepsis
TTJ: transfer to jesus: code for when an animal needs to be euthanized or die
DIC: disseminated intravascular coagulation: a very, very bad thing - when the hemostatic system gets out of whack, and clots start forming in the blood vessels until all clotting factors are wasted. once those are gone, internal hemorrhage ensues, followed by death, usually. also known as "death is coming"
Pleural effusion - fluid contained in the pleural space (chest) - this is not the same as fluid in the lungs (see pulm edema) - in cats can be caused by infection in the chest, heart failure, cancer, FIP, feline leukemia, FIV, and in some cases, the cause is never found (idiopathic)
Anisocoria - unequal pupil size (related to any number of causes including brain damage/head trauma)
Laterally recumbent - lying on side, unable to rise
Hyperglycemia - elevated blood glucose
Hyperkalemia: elevated blood potassium - a life-threatening condition related to several disorders (kidney failure, antifreeze toxicity, urethral obstruction...etc)
Sepsis - refers to a bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues. This is a very broad term covering the presence of many types of microscopic disease-causing organisms.
Nephrectomy - kidney removal
Splenectomy - removal of spleen
Pulmonary edema - condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, usually because the heart's left ventricle does not pump adequately ( can be caused by heart failure, electrocution, drowning, too many IV fluids, to name a few)
Tick borne diseases - any of a myriad of diseases transmitted by ticks - including but not limited to Rocky Mtn Spotted fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia
Fine needle aspirate - A method of sampling in which a needle is used to suck in cells or tissue bits for diagnoses (good for diagnosing masses/lumps)
Blood glucose - The principal sugar produced by the body from food–especially carbohydrates, but also from proteins and fats; glucose is the body's major source of energy, is transported to cells via the circulation and used by cells in the presence of insulin (normal range in a dog/cat is 75-100)
PCV - packed cell volume - the volume of packed red cells in milliliters per 100 ml of blood (normal range 35-45)
Diseases I see/treat frequently
Dystocia - difficulty birthing. May be responsive to oxytocin administration (Pitocin, as in people) but may require c-section.
DKA - diabetic ketoacidosis: the extreme end of the diabetic scale. A patient that is diabetic can develop DKA when other diseases make the blood glucose hard to regulate. Other diseases that are commonly associated include urinary tract infection, pancreatitis, pyometra, skin infection, and cancer. In DKA, the body starts metabolizing fat and producing acids that cause a drop in blood pH, nausea, weakness, severe dehydration, electrolyte derangments, and death.
DCM - dilated cardiomyopathy: an idiopathic (cause unknown) cardiac disease in which the heart chambers become very thin/dilated, and cardiac output drops radically. Causes arrhythmias, tachycardia, and sudden death. Seen in large breed dogs like Dobermans, Great Danes, etc.
Lymphoma - cancer of the white blood cells, the most common and treatable form of cancer in dogs
Blocked cat - slang term for a male cat with a plug of mucus and crystals obstructing the urethra (fairly common in male cats) definitely a life-threatening because urine can't get out of the body! If present long enough, causes shock, acute renal failure, hyperkalemia (elevated potassium), coma, and death. Symptoms include straining in the litterbox, yowling while trying to urinate, producing small, bloody drops of urine (also symptoms of feline cystitis, a non-lethal condition)
GDV - stands for gastric-dilatation and volvulus - a condition of large breed, deep-chested dogs (usually) in which the stomach rotates 180 degrees on its axis and thus - nothing can enter or leave, considered the "mother of all emergencies" - it warrants immediate surgery and carries a guarded prognosis
IMHA - immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. A disease in which the immune system attacks the red blood cells and destroys them. It causes profound anemia and is life-threatening. Causes are primary (no known cause) and secondary ( tick borne disease, cancer, and heavy metal intoxication). Treatment is immunosuppression with drugs primarily. Prognosis is guarded at best.