Saturday, August 17, 2013

Boo do doobie doo.

Not much to say. The Ross summer semester officially ended on Thursday, so I have officially completed one semester of clinics (OHMYGODholycrap!).

I'm on Diagnostic Medicine right now, which actually takes up two blocks for a total of four weeks. I'm spending the first two weeks on cytology, and the last two weeks on necropsy. I really enjoy pathology, it's another aspect of medicine that feels like a treasure hunt to find the answer. Unfortunately, I'm not as good at it as I feel I am with imaging. My eyes don't pick up things as easily when they're microscopic on a slide, or surrounded by a puddle of gelatinous blood on a necrotic piece of tissue. But so far my skills in ctyology seem comparable/slightly above those on rotation with me, so I don't feel too bad.

I do remember being much, much better at recognizing cells in 3rd semester during my Clinical Pathology class, though. However, we were looking at slides several times a day every week, so that likely has something to do with it. And I have gotten better over the course of the week. Yesterday I successfully diagnosed 11 out of the 21 cases we looked at, and of the 10 I missed I had recognized elements that were right but I didn't arrive at the correct conclusion (i.e. saw a pyogranulomatous inflammation, didn't find the fungal agent responsible).

Anywho... Not much going on. Castiel is getting bigger. He's been neutered, and he's flipping crazy. I miss my calm, sleepy kitten when he first came to me (anemic and with gastritis, yeah, I know). But hopefully he'll grow out of this uncontrollable phase of climbing curtains and destroying anything remotely resembling plastic.

Okay, not as cute as a cat, but still. I like giant millipedes.

I bought brand new brushes a few months ago, and hadn't had the opportunity to try out the eyeliner brush yet. I love it! Using the brush and gel eyeliner makes drawing vintage cateyes a la Audry Hepburn super simple!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I actually really like reading radiographs most of the time. Sometimes it's tricky and frustrating, but most of the time it feels like a treasure hunt for me that ends in an animal going home less sick than it came in. And I'm kind of good at it, too.

Back in 5th semester (I'm ashamed to admit this) I really slacked off on my DI - that's Diagnostic Imaging - midterm. There was a Pharmacology midterm right before it, and we were leaving for Puerto Rico a day after it. So, yeah, I wasn't my most focused. I didn't study hardly at all. Of 20 powerpoints on the exam, I had reviewed 11 the night before the test. I woke up at 4am the morning of the exam and rushed through the remaining 9 just hours before the exam. I was so afraid I was going to fail the midterm and have to catch up on the final exam. I walked away from that midterm with a 95%! Something about radiology just clicks in my head. Maybe I'm a visual thinker, I don't know.

So I was pretty confident going into my Imaging rotation. What I wasn't expecting was to find out that the Univeristy of Illinois students hadn't ever had a class on imaging. They had gotten it in bits and pieces spread out throughout their various coursework, but never a class devoted to imaging.

Suffice to say, I'm doing well on this rotation, and we'll leave it at that.

Today I had a pretty awesome little moment of victory. We are assigned three cases: bone, thorax, and abdomen. We are asked to study the case based only on a brief signalment and history (Ex: 9-year-old, male rottweiler, vomiting for two days), and interpret what we see on radiographs, and present the case along with our differentials to the class.

My thorax case threw me because some of the findings were contradictory. On lateral view, there was a HUGE soft tissue opacity centered around the base of the heart and dorsally elevating the trachea. The mass was more visible in right lateral than left lateral, indicating it was in the left lung. But on ventrodorsal view, it wasn't there. My first thought was a mediastinal mass, probably the tracheobronchial lymph nodes given its location, that would explain those findings. But then, the mediastinum was deviated to the left. Masses in the chest deviate structures away from them, not toward them. It made me start second guessing my diagnosis. I considered atelectasis, but couldn't explain why I couldn't see a retracted lung lobe on VD or why I could still see blood vessels in the lung extending out to the periphery of the thorax if there was a collapsed lung lobe. I ended up sticking with my diagnosis of a mediastinal lung mass.

The clinician specifically said that it was a challenging and confusing case. He said that the deviation of the mediastinum was odd and made you second guess yourself. Basically, I was given a deliberately difficult assignment and knocked it out of the park!