Saturday, November 25, 2006

excitement excitement

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 - 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.

happy belated turkey day to my 2 readers:)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

post #100 entitled 'a bad day'

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.

so yeah.

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.

Monday, November 13, 2006

i made an A on my radiology exam

i can't believe it.

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 guess we'll see when the time comes?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

something new

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.

Monday, November 6, 2006

monotony monotony monotony monotony

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.