Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ran into a first year today who mentioned having read my blog when he was applying (yeah, the same one mentioned earlier in this blog) and it got me thinking about why I started writing this blog. It's obviously great to have a positive Internet presence especially when you have a common name like mine but that's not why I started writing.

When I applied to vet school, I found it really important to read firsthand accounts of student experiences at the schools I was applying to. I knew students (past or current) at UF, Ross, SGU, Auburn, LSU... For those I didn't know, there were blogs from students. I was pretty disappointed to find only one blog from a WesternU student and whenever I tried to reach out to her, I didn't get an answer. Her blog was still informative, but I wanted to do something more and be available for students that had questions -- pretty much why I'm still so active on SDN (plus it's good procrastination material and I find myself asking the upperclassmen or graduates questions).

As far as how school is going? Well, I survived exams! I heard small animal exams had a high of 71, large animal had a high of 69 and as for miscellaneous block? Well, I don't have any grades yet. No time to dwell on it though! Small animal block has a ridiculous amount of work and very long hours, so it's onward and upward.

I'm rotating at a small animal hospital south of me. It's about 30 miles away and took me an hour yesterday and an hour and a half today... Needless to say, I'm not loving the commute! The hospital is great though. Tons of doctors to learn from and tons of cases. I've seen DKA, respiratory arrest, incision complications, wellness visits, some ortho problems... It's been great! I've gotten to work on venipuncture, general restraint, clinical reasoning (of course), I got to run coags for the first time on an Abaxis machine as opposed to sending them out, I got to calculate how much plasma to give and what rate as well as set up the plasma! I also did my first small animal euthanasia today which was pretty sad. It's definitely a different feeling pushing Euthasol as compared to putting some mice in a CO2 chamber.

Our school has a pretty anti-social media policy and we actually have a section of our third year handbook that says not to post about cases on social media so I'm trying to be really careful and vague about what I see so I don't run into any trouble!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Almost done with miscellaneous block!

I just have one more week left of miscellaneous block, and then it's on to exams and small animal block! Miscellaneous block consists of surgery, zoo and wildlife medicine, pathology, and lab animal medicine.

I just finished up my zoo rotation at a site in Oregon which was AMAZING. I got to see some really cool animals and work with some fantastic doctors and really had a blast. There were two fourth years there, as well as another third year with me and it was really great. I would like to go back some time, definitely.

We had our pathology rotation at Antech, which was really helpful. I think the information was fantastic but unfortunately what we learned isn't on the exam... at all... So while I feel much more confident looking at cytology, histopathology, chemistries, and cbcs, it doesn't matter for the exam. The commute was pretty awful, about 1-2 hours each way every day, so that was really rough. On the bright side, they did let us out a little early to account for traffic, so I appreciated that accommodation. Not to mention, getting to see such a huge and well-known facility was really cool!

At the moment, I'm at UCD for a lab animal rotation and it's been a great experience. We have a lot of assignments but none of them are that bad or terribly time-consuming. The facilities are great and I'm learning a lot from the residents and veterinarians here. I've been lucky enough to sit in on a protocol review and some other meetings. I'm a bit ashamed to admit how little I knew about the duties of a lab animal veterinarian and their typical day-to-day life but this has been really eye opening and I've enjoyed it way more than I expected. We have a week left here, so I'm interested to see what happens next week!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I finished my first rotation! Surgery and anesthesia was definitely a great way to start off third year and I feel much more confident moving forwards. It was nice to get a review on how to monitor for ansthesia and the drug lectures were really helpful. I got to do a lot of different kinds of surgeries and ultimately help my patients get adopted, so that felt great. It was nice to see how far I'd come in just two weeks. My first surgery was a scrotal ablation and, while I knew how to do it, I paused between every step to check in with the surgeon and make sure I was doing okay. My last surgery was an ovariectomy and I just kept going, even with her peeking over my shoulder.

Next, I have my clinical pathology rotation which is supposed to be another really great rotation. I'm a little worried to be sitting down and looking at histopath and cytology slides all day long because it's not my forte but I'm sure it'll be extremely helpful in the long run.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It's been awhile...

Yeah, so I'm bad at this blogging thing. I'm now a big bad third year entering rotations so I don't know how often I'll be able to update this, but I'll try!

I was actually reminded about this blog by a current first year. Weird, right? Apparently he'd read my blog back when I actually updated it and still had red hair. Kind of funny to be recognized that way and kind of cool to realize that someone actually reads this!

Second year was great, but I'm very glad it's done. I got pretty tired of the PBL process by the end of it. The tiredness mainly stemmed from people insisting on discussing a specific topic for 30 minutes to 1 hour when I knew it wouldn't be on the exam or wouldn't be something important to the typical new grad. But, I made it and I'm moving on up!

I spent the summer working on a research project and scrubbed in and assisted on over a hundred surgeries which was definitely an amazing experience. It's already made me so much more comfortable to enter clinics this year.

I'm on my surgery and anesthesia rotation at the shelter at the moment. Monday was just orientation and CPR basics and then today was some testing in order to clear us for surgery (I got cleared, yay! One of the DVMs even said we should talk about residencies, which definitely made me feel awesome) and then we had an anesthesia lecture in the afternoon for a few hours. I thought talking about drugs for four hours would be really draining, but I actually really enjoyed it!

Tomorrow, I'm doing a neuter with scrotal ablation, assisting on a spay, and playing anesthetist for a neuter. Should be fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Exams, ahhh!

Exams start on Friday! Ahhhh! We start with our clinical skills exam on Friday and I'm not really sure what it entails yet because so much of what we did this block was review. We had some behaviour stuff, stuff about taking a history, a review of suture patterns, a review of one-handed and two-handed hand ties, and a review of instrument ID. I guess I could practice gloving and gowning but they've tested us on that twice already...
I had my food animal rotation last week and it was okay. It was good to kind of get around a cow and know that I can complete a physical exam. Our cow was exceedingly healthy so that was... disappointing in a way? They told us that the exams aren't wellness exams as second years, we're supposed to see something sick and diagnose and treat it but... my calf was healthy. Oh well.
I've been spending a lot of time in anatomy which is good and bad. It's good because I tend to avoid it and so I feel that much better about it but, on the other hand, I feel like I've been slacking in my other classes a little bit.
My MCB presentation, on white muscle disease and damage due to free radicals went pretty well. I haven't gotten the grade back, but I can't anticipate not getting a B or higher. It's 40% of my grade, so here's hoping!
I got a few new clients over the last couple weeks! I got to take care of a super cute golden retriever puppy just for a day, I got to take care of Rosie again, I took care of a cocker spaniel mix and poodle mix a couple times, and then an adult golden retriever this weekend. It's definitely a great way to make money on the side! I've also been using Swagbucks and tutoring on InstaEDU. It's not going to pay for school, but any money I don't have to take out in loans helps.



Riley and Tess

Ty, the grown up version of Zoey

Ty's housemate, Kitty

I got moved into my new apartment... I ended up having to talk to the VP of the company that owned the building. After getting essentially no response from the general manager for two weeks, the VP fixed my problem in less than 12 hours. I now live in a one bedroom apartment in a little bit nicer of a location, although it kind of sucks being on the backside of the building -- still better than commuting to class every day though! It's nice having a little more space, but that wasn't my problem to begin with. I loved my little studio apartment (although getting more space for the same amount of money is fabulous) and I love living at this complex. I just didn't like the fact that I didn't have a bathroom for weeks and my complaints were largely ignored. The new apartment has some issues: the windows don't lock, the bathroom light doesn't work, and as of today the shower doesn't get hot but at least I have a bathroom! Funnily enough, the other apartments I was looking at when I moved here just opened two days ago! They started being built around the same time as this complex, but took a little bit longer. They're giving leasees one free month of rent, and it looks beautiful! I was really concerned that I won't be able to get into a studio next year because I really can't afford to live here in a one bedroom, but if that doesn't work out, I could move into a studio apartment that's 100 sq feet bigger than what my studio was for $100 less a month. I'll have to wait and see what my rotation schedule is like to really make that decision but it helps reduce my stress to know that I have options.
My plan for the days leading up to exams include making cling sheets for the physiology of bone healing, phosphorus homeostasis, antimicrobials (maybe pharmacology in general), complement cascade, bilirubin cycle, clotting cascade and fibrinolysis, and maybe some anatomy stuff with skulls. I'll probably start the MCB study guides tomorrow, and practice some suturing over the next few days. 

Calcium homeostasis and bone growth is done!

Oh, and I decided to make a change yesterday and go blonde! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Halfway through!

Alright, we're officially halfway through block one! And, just like any other vet student, I feel perpetually behind. That's life!
Dog sitting has been picking up, with me getting a client every weekend, so that's pretty good. I'm doing some odd jobs on the side to make money, which doesn't really add up to much but when you're living 100% on loans, that's all you can do! I've signed up with something called Swagbucks and I basically play videos in the background of my laptop and computer and get points. I'm getting a couple $5 Amazon gift cards a week this way. For anyone interested, this is my referral link: www.swagbucks.com/refer/rwwilliams You don't have to sign up under me, obviously, but I get a little kickback from it, which is nice :)

Rosie that I dog sat for


Sadie and Lance

The last week, in my apartment, has been a little frustrating. Since I moved in, I've noticed a bit of an issue with taking a shower and having water kind of drip all over the floor... When my mum stayed with me, she said to be careful of pulling the shower curtain all the way closed to prevent that from happening. Well, Taylor stayed with me for awhile and said that he thought my apartment smelled funny and that it was Piper. I didn't notice the smell, and I've had Piper for a year, so I didn't think that was the case. After he left, I noticed that the bathroom mat was soaked and just disgusting. Problem solved! Taylor hadn't been pulling the shower curtain closed and now there was standing water that smelled bad. I cleaned it up and it seemed to get better -- by the time he left, I'd started to notice the smell. Well, it came back... Then the filter light on the AC came on. Oh! It's the filter. Easy, fixed, done. Smell went away.. and it came back. What the hell? So, I took a shower one night and noticed that the floor was absolutely flooded... So, I did a test. I turned the water on, pulled the curtain and sat outside and watched it. No water was escaping around the curtain. I left and came back later to find the bathroom flooded. Great. I called maintenance and they investigated to find out that there was a leak behind the shower knob. They said they'd have to patch it and change some of the wood because it was rotting. Okay, fine, they told me a few days. That's doable. A specialty company came in to evaluate for more damage and found out that all the drywall was damaged and basically ruined, so they have to tear apart my entire bathroom after putting dehumidifiers in there because they found mold!
As of now, I have a blow up mattress in another apartment, and I'm basically living in both apartments... They told me it'll take 2-3 weeks (I'm thinking it'll take longer), and they can't help me move any of my stuff so I'm just out of luck. So, that's frustrating and I wrote a really long email to management about how ridiculous that is. If they can't provide a fully functional apartment for that amount of time, they're violating the lease.
Other than that, I went to the LA County Fair on Friday, since WesternU students got in for free, and that was a lot of fun! We didn't realize we were supposed to print the coupon so we just showed up with our IDs... Luckily enough, the gate captain let us in because we said we were vet students! We ate delicious, disgusting fair food, did an olive oil tasting, and saw all the animals. Since starting vet school, I have a hard time seeing animals in captivity at zoos, aquariums, etc. Petting zoos and circuses are especially difficult. I overheard someone say the animals brought in were from Cal Poly, so I'd assume they're taken care of but I don't know how they don't become acidotic, I don't know how the rabbits don't get stressed and die, and I don't know how the horses don't colic.

A little bit more exciting: I got to monitor anesthesia on a guinea pig last week! They kind of freak me out because guinea pigs and rabbits just tend to die... Mine was great however! His name was Peanut and he came in for a castration. He recovered remarkably well, which made me happy!

Recovering my piggie

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another week down

So, it's been three weeks now since school started and I'm definitely getting back into the swing of things. I've been talking to a couple people lately about my work load compared to undergrad and had an interesting realization of just how different it was. I was talking to Taylor and he said how he didn't have any homework for the day and it kind of hit me how, well, neither did I but I still had work to do. I rarely have homework, per se, but there's always something that can be done. There's always some other topic I could hit on or something I could learn. I'm never done.
This week we learned all about the equine forelimb, passive stay apparatus, osteochondrosis, bone healing, and I got to spend some extra time with some guys that resemble horses internally! I had my VACS rotation today with an organization called Bunny Bunch. I monitored anesthesia, for the first time, on a guinea pig and he was remarkably stable! Rabbits and guinea pigs freak me out under anesthesia because they're just not the easiest to deal with. My little guy went down easy, he handled surgery well, and his recovery was a little slow, but he was totally fine!
Preview Day was last Saturday. I participated for Surgery Club, in the hopes that we'd win $100! We didn't, but it was still a fun opportunity! I got to talk to a lot of prospective students and answer their questions about the school, applying, and basic lifestyles of a vet student at WesternU.
Tomorrow is the CVM Club Day, where all the CVM clubs are showcasing ourselves and hoping to attract new members. Surgery Club is going to be selling suture boards, as always. AAEP is selling our shirts, and I believe SC-VECCS is as well. I have a lot planned for Surgery Club this year, so I hope it pans out. We have two suturing events, one in November and one later in the year; a gastropexy/splenectomy wet lab; a scrub cap competition; and hopefully rescheduling our ultrasound wetlab that had to be cancelled last year.