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!!!
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.