Thursday, November 29, 2012

Asking for help.

Hey, I realize that I have very few readers, but I thought I'd give this a try...

A classmate of mine, Jonathan, is a Canadian student. Canadian students don't qualify for the student loans that American students do, so they must cover the cost of tuition at Ross solely through private loans. They must provide written documentation that they have sufficient funds guaranteed to cover their entire cost of education at Ross before they can be accepted.

I don't know what happened in Jonathan's case, why his funding got pulled or what the circumstances were, but I do know that the loans he thought he had secured are now no longer available to him. He's flat broke and no one will lend him any more money. Without funding, he'll have to drop out. We're in 6th semester, so close to the finish line, so I'm sure you can understand how gut-wrenchingly awful that feels.

Jonathan is a fantastic student. He studies hard, he makes good grades, he even puts together study guides for his classmates. He doesn't deserve this. He has tried many fundraising attempts - parties, a blog, etc. Nothing has managed to raise the funds that he requires. Please donate what you can, even if it's a few dollars. If nothing else it will help to cover his plane ticket to get him home.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Community service.

Today I was one of two students monitoring anesthesia for the Feral Cat Project, a trap-neuter-release program here on the island. My surgery team knocked out three spays and three neuters. The surgical assistant was one of my classmates. Dr. Bogdanovic did the first spay/neuter and then turned the surgeries over to her thereafter, while he watched and jumped in to assist if she needed. I really hope to get in on a spay day early next semester and knock a few of them out myself before starting live animal surgeries for a grade.

I was very pleased that I was not the least bit dizzy or faint! Usually I get a little woozy watching surgery. Either I got over that sometime since the last time I assisted with surgery, or the Rossie procedure has trained me to view the abdomen as layers of fabric.

Two weeks until finals! Let the stress begin! I'm going in strong with B's in all three of my classes. Many of my classmates are hurting, though. Small Animal Surgery is brutal and the class average right now is 74%. Since anything below 70% is failing, that means nearly half of the class is failing SAS. I feel bad for them, but very relieved that I'm not in the same boat.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spay that bitch!


After waiting an agonizing 20 hours for my results, I found out at 9:30 this morning that I passed my ROSSie, the mock spay exam that makes all 6th semester students' bowels turn to water. It was a pretty nerve-wracking exam. Your evaluator basically stands there stoic and mute while you do the entire procedure. They also try to trip you up by throwing every surgical instrument under the sun into your pack so you have to go hunting for the correct instruments.

I was only penalized for two things:

1. I forgot to make a window in the broad ligament of my second ovarian pedicle. This is very easy to do because there's nothing there on the model, you just have to remember that something is supposed to be there. It's not easy when you're stressed out. I eventually did remember when I started on my uterine pedicle and gasped really loud and said, "Oh shit! I should've made a window in my broad ligament on that second pedicle before placing my carmalts!" Dr. Betance just nodded. It's good to acknowledge your errors, they go easier on you than if you don't notice you did something wrong.

2. I accidentally engaged a bit of dermis into my subcutaneous tissue closure on my first bite.

After a night of conjuring up approximately 5,000 things I did wrong, a board-certified surgeon only noticed two, very minor errors. I feel so relieved I could pass out.

The last round of blocks was Monday. I only have two test results back so far. I got an A on SAM II and a C on SAS. I'd feel bad about the surgery grade, but I passed, which is more than can be said for a large number of people in my class. It was a very brutal exam, with a 62% average score and one of my classmates even scored a 5/20. And this is not a slacker student. She likely studies harder than I do. Luckily that class is curved each semester.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Avast, me hearties!

My friend and Rossie practice partner Michelle's birthday was recently, so last Saturday we went on what we call a "rum run." Basically a group of people pile into an open air bus with a few coolers full of alcohol and drive around the island, dancing and singing. It was a lot of fun, but not something I'd do very often. I think I'm getting old, because by the end I had to pee badly and my ears felt like they were stuffed full of cotton from the volume of the music.

Our rum run was pirate-themed. Yarr!

Michelle is the one in the captain's hat next to the girl holding up the Jolly Roger.

I be a salty wench!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Is this real life?

Just registered online for seventh semester. For those who are just tuning in, Ross students have pre-clinical semesters 1-7 on island and then a year (3 semesters) of clinical education back in the U.S. So I just registered for my final semester in St. Kitts.

Be right back, vomiting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Don's visit.

My husband visited last week. I'm always amazed at how quickly and easily we pick right up, as though we haven't been apart for six months. He's the only person on earth who can make me laugh until I have tears streaming down my face and I can't make any sound except a hoarse wheeze. It's also wonderful having him here because I have someone who wants to be in the water and appreciates the ocean as much as I do. Here's some photos I took on one of our snorkeling trips. I wish I'd held on to the camera for a few more days (I borrowed it) for our White House trip, because the marine life on the wreck there was pretty amazing.

My baby.

West Indian sea urchin. Don't worry, this kind is safe to touch.

Red lip blenny.

Trumpet fish and an immature French angelfish.

Porcupine fish.

We also went on a night dive that was absolutely magical. It was scary, particularly when I lost sight of Don a few times. Your field of vision is extremely limited to just within the range of your flashlight. But it was incredible, too. We saw lots of turtles, lobsters and crabs. A very small hawksbill turtle swam right up to me and came within inches of touching me. At one point we all settled to our knees in a big circle in the sand and turned off our flashlights and waved our arms around like crazy. The bioluminescent plankton lit up around us like fireflies, and for a few moments all you could see was blackness and twinkling fairy lights.

Don left yesterday. Gonna miss him terribly, but we got in some good quality time. It helped to relax me considerably right before I take my Rossie in a week.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A whole lot of nothin'.

Not much to talk about. Blocks 2 and 3 came and went. I've done mediocre to good on them, but not excellent. It's difficult to maintain your usual grades on exams when you're studying for three of them simultaneously. Still, each class has a buffer, either through participation points or a history of being curved, so my chances of getting As are still very high.

My Rossie is in a couple of weeks. I feel like my colon is trying to crawl out of my mouth when I think about it. About a dozen people in my class have taken it so far, and I've seen about six "I PASSED!!!" Facebook statues. I'm guessing the lack of such a status is just as telling.

Don gets here in two days! I've been so distracted, I can barely think of anything else. Six months away from my husband is my limit, apparently. It's tough, it's really, really tough sometimes. This is the longest we've been apart since I moved down here.

I've scheduled a night dive for his visit. He was reluctant, because it is a bit more dangerous than a normal dive during the day. You don't swim around, you basically just sink to the bottom and hover there with a waterproof flashlight and watch as things swim around you. You do see some really cool things that only come out at night, and apparently a ton of turtles. I'm confronting two of my fears by doing this: fear of the dark and fear of not being able to see things in the water around me. It's sort of kooky, deliberately putting yourself into a situation you know will terrify you, but I'd rather face my fears in a controlled setting where I know I'm safe and other people are around to assist me if I freak out than in a situation that is completely unexpected.

Tomorrow is our semester's haunted house. I'm going to be baking cupcakes all night tonight for the cupcake decorating booth. Hopefully the kids will like what I'm doing. I'm making "rainbow" cupcakes in spooky Halloween colors (which I've made before, as pictured here), and mini chocolate cupcake "spiders" with legs of black licorice. Should be fun! I'll post lots of pics, of course.