Sunday, June 30, 2013

Second rotation down.

I just finished with my small animal ER rotation today. Basically, I don't like emergency medicine. It's just not my bag. I hate the heartbreak of it, I hate feeling helpless, and most of all, I hate having the money conversation. ER fees are hefty. Most 24-hour clinics charge a $100 exam fee, and that's just to get the animal seen, not including any diagnostics or treatments. After the emergency fee, bloodwork, radiographs, ultrasound, and ICU hospitalization fees, I was quoting owners $1,000-$2,000 routinely during this rotation. Many, many people don't have that kind of money these days. It was exhausting and sad and I really didn't enjoy it at all.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and the start of my exotic and wildlife rotation, though!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hot dog.

An important message this time of year.

And just in case you're ever arguing with someone who thinks it's okay on a "cool" day:

It only takes 20 minutes to reach 100 degrees in a parked car with the windows cracked on a 70 degree day. That's easily an, "I'm just going to run in and pick up a few things." amount of time.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Smoothie madness!

So this is one of those "kind of but not really related to vet school" posts.

Knowing that my hours were going to be crazy in clinics, I decided to invest in some supplements that could be added to a smoothie so that I could have a liquid breakfast or lunch on days when things were too busy for me to eat.

First off, I went and bought a smoothie-specific blender. Reading through reviews, a lot of them about the choice I wound up going with were negative and mentioned leaking. But I liked the design so much, I bought it anyway. I went with the Oster My Blend, which is basically a giant Magic Bullet. I haven't had any leaks, and it tackles whole, frozen strawberries and big chunks of frozen pineapple like a champ. Basically, it's cheap, and it works really well, and it's kind of cute.

Next I went in search of powdered supplements. On a recommendation from a friend, I wound up going with Amazing Grass products. I bought their chocolate Green Superfood supplement to put in my breakfast smoothies. It's not really a protein powder, but it's packed with veggies (broccoli, spinach, wheat grass). I just add a half cup of plain Greek yogurt to up the protein level. For lunch I bought the vanilla chai flavored Amazing Meal powder. This is more of a whole meal substitute similar to Slim Fast, but also has the super veggie mix in it. If I had it to do over again, I'd get the chocolate flavor of this as well, because the vanilla is a little too sweet for me.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. On the clinics side of things, I started my first night of small animal ER last night. It was not a fun night. We had one euthanasia that the owners weren't expecting (the referring vet diagnosed pneumonia, but the dog had vertical nystagmus so... definitely not).  And another crashing dog that had no PLRs and went into respiratory and cardiac arrest while we were trying to place a catheter. His glucose was so low it wouldn't even register on the glucometer (which means it's less than 20). We performed CPR on him for awhile, because the owner asked us to try and get him back, but after 15 minutes and no response to epinephrine or anything we were trying to do the owner gave us permission to let him go. It was kind of a heart-breaking night, actually.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kitten stuff.

Castiel is doing much better. He's eating, he's more active, he just looks better and more hydrated instead of the sunken, lethargic thing he was. But he's still super affectionate and cuddly, and gets really upset if he can't be laying on me. He even lays on my feet when I wash dishes. I've always wanted a "Velcro kitty" that wants to be touching you all the time. Now I have mine. :)

Slowly, but surely, Mama is warming up to him.

He's just so gosh darn cute!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Clinics are still awesome.

My mid-rotation evaluation on Friday was all good things. They didn't even give me anything I needed to work on, just basically said I was doing great and that they loved my enthusiasm.

Today I started the ambulatory half of my RAHM rotation. It was a pretty slow day, with only two appointments. One of which was a pig euthanasia with captive bolt. That was upsetting to watch. Clinically, I know the pig isn't aware of what's going on after it's been bolted. But all the blood and bone/brain tissue, and watching it seize violently, it's not fun. I was a little shaken up for awhile afterward. Luckily my next appointment was a bunch of mares with foals, and I got to pet adorable, sweet babies with their velvety noses to cheer me up.

Clinics are just awesome. After two and a half years of intense study, I was beginning to flag and burn out. My energy and passion were just sapped out of me. Clinics has rejuvenated my enthusiasm and love of medicine. I'm excited about what I do again.

One small aside to the happy post, I had to take Cas into the ER small animal clinic at school today. He had gone 48 hours without eating and threw up several times. He was getting lethargic and sleeping constantly, so this morning I dropped him off in ER with permission to spend up to $200 on diagnostics before checking with me to order any further tests. They called me about an hour later with blood work and radiograph results that everything was normal except for some mild dehydration. They started him on metaclopramide (an anti-emetic and GI motility enhancer) and gave him some subcutaneous fluids. He threw up twice more, even with the metaclopramide on board, and still wouldn't eat. Then when I showed up at 4:30 to pick him up, he immediately went to his food bowl and started chowing down. He kept that down and ate again about 30 minutes ago and got his second dose of metaclopramide. So far, that's staying down, too. So it seems like he just had a really bad case of indigestion and got into a self-reinforcing loop of nausea, not eating, acid in the stomach making him more nauseated so he didn't eat, and it kept going on like that. Hopefully we broke the cycle and now he'll be fine.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New kitten!

Not a foster, this one I'm keeping.

I've been on the hunt for a kitten for awhile now. Mama went from being totally accepting of any new cat that I brought home, to hissing and hiding from any adult cat I brought home. I think the change happened right after Luna. But she accepted MJ after Luna because he was still a kitten.

Right now, in clinics, I have 12+ hour days on a typical week. I leave around 6:30am and get home past 6pm. When I get home, Mama is all over me, needing attention that I'm too tired to give. She's become increasingly restless and frustrated with me being gone or asleep all the time. So I knew I had to get her a companion.

I've been looking at kittens for a few weeks now, and just not bonding with any of them. The one time I did have a connection he had already been adopted. So I resorted to something I never do: Craigslist. *shudder* I know, I know. The person in me who has worked as rescue volunteer and foster for nearly 10 years feels so ashamed. But I really wanted to get this done quickly, and none of the shelter kittens I looked at seemed the least bit interested in me. I won't adopt unless I feel that special instantaneous connection.

I had a lady come over last night who was advertising a litter of kittens for adoption for a "small rehoming fee." He was the last of the litter, and at 10 weeks was starting to lose the tiny kitten adorableness. She was pretty desperate to get rid of him. I immediately started a mini physical exam on him the moment I got my hands on him. He reeked of cigarette smoke and had flea dirt all over him. And he went completely boneless in my arms and started purring, and I felt that tug of instant bonding I hadn't felt with the other kittens I'd looked at. Of course the fact that I had no intention of sending him home with this woman to get even more parasites and inhale chain smoking was also a big factor. I know she'll keep breeding. I know I haven't actually contributed to the well being of her animals. Trust me, I know, because it's the lecture I give everyone.

So I paid her to go away, immediately gave him a bath with dishsoap to kill the fleas I could, and then shoved him in the bathroom to run to Meijer (it was after 9pm, and Petsmart was closed) to buy kitten food and Frontline Plus.

Last night he slept cuddled up against me the whole night. He won't leave my side, and has to be touching me. Mama's cautious about him, but not hiding, so that's good. I feel confident she'll get over herself soon. I'm trying to squeeze him in at a clinic today to get FIV/Felv tested, a kitten vaccine, and dewormed.

Without further ado, everyone meet Castiel!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Clinics: day two.

In pre-clinics on St. Kitts, we were always told that Ross students did very well in clinics and that Ross grads had great reputations. And you really don't know how much of it is true and how much is bragging. Well now I know, it's absolutely true.

I was terrified about starting clinics. Scared I wouldn't know anyone, and all of the UofI students would already know and have relationships with the clinicians, and that I'd look stupid or incompetent. My first day was yesterday and I jumped right in with being assigned seven pigs for blood draws for pseudorabies testing and ear tattoos. Later that day I correctly diagnosed cecal dilation that most of the other students on the rotation were calling abomasal dilation. (Very, very close to one another, and it can be ambiguous, but the cecum extends farther back. I nailed it.) I also correctly identified lung consolidation on ultrasound.

Today I performed my first band castration, administered my first epidural, and manually reduced a rectal prolapse and put in my first purse string suture.

A lot of these things I'm doing for the first time. It makes me nervous, so I break out my notes before each appointment and do a really quick cram session. Each time I've done that I've been able to go into the appointment knowing enough to answer questions the clinician asks me, and have a general idea of what's going on. I won't know until I get my mid-rotation evaluation on Friday, but so far I feel like things are going really, really well.

And I've had one UofI student specifically approach me and ask for my help with a case because she feels I know what I'm doing. Two people have told me that Ross students on their rotations always appear to be the brightest in the group.

Ross did an amazing job preparing us for clinics. If you paid attention and worked hard in semesters 1-7, clinics will be an amazing, fun, and rewarding experience. You'll be exhausted, your feet will hurt, your back will hurt, and you'll feel like you're paying rent on an apartment for occasional naps (if you're lucky). But it's so worth it for that feeling of, "I know this! I actually KNOW THIS!"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Clinics: round one!

I'm all moved into my apartment in Urbana, Illinois. It's a nice one bedroom in a pretty nice complex. I have a pool just outside of my building (not that I'll have time to use it). Of course my bedroom is as pink, orange and yellow as it was in St. Kitts.

It helps in feeling like home. It certainly calmed Mama down when she was so anxious at the noise and bustle of move in day when I pulled out her blankets.

Urbana is that mix of small town and metropolitan city that I'm used to in college towns. And I've got a Meijer again! If you're not from the midwest, you won't know what that is. Imagine if you combined Wal-Mart low prices with Target quality, and the best produce section ever.

Today I'm just running some last minute errands, doing laundry, and tinkering around the apartment. Monday I start my first rotation - Rural Animal Health Management, also called "Farms" by the students. I'll be randomly assigned to ambulatory (farm calls) or in house on Monday, and then dive right in! I've been told to brush up on right and left displaced abomasum surgery, and respiratory diseases of large animals. So that's what I'll be doing all day tomorrow.

I'm a mixture of excited and terrified. But the people here are super nice, and we were basically told in orientation that if you volunteer to do things, answer questions when the clinician quizzes the group during rounds, and basically just try your best and have a good attitude, you will pass all of your rotations. Even gross medical errors, as long as you acknowledge them and work toward fixing them, probably won't fail you unless you try to hide it or make excuses. So hearing that helped a lot with the fear.

I'll definitely update when I can about clinics, but it's a busy time. I've already been told we basically live on campus from 6am until well past dinnertime most days. I already predicted that and bought a lot of protein powder to make smoothies to bring with me for liquid meals.