Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm going on week 3 of P90X - I haven't done it religiously everyday (I've only had time for 5/7 days a week because of the crazy schedule), so its been about three weeks or so since I started. And I'm starting to feel kind of awesome.

My arms were toned before, but they are looking slightly better (I HATE flabby arms!). My legs are a tiny bit skinnier, but I know they will never been chicken legs - I have muscular thighs and calves and that's never going to change! What I am most excited about is that my stomach is getting toned and I have hints of ab muscles! WOOOO! I noticed that I can do more during the workouts than when I started and I can finally do 2 whole pull-ups. Last summer, I was up to 3, but then the finger debacle happened, and I haven't been able to do any since then. So... its getting there.

Plus, today, I put on my first size 4 pair of dress pants ever. If you are a guy, this may not seem like a big deal, but I've been a steady size 6 for years. My first year of undergrad, since I wasn't swimming or working out that much, I had to bump up to size 8 (EEEEEEK) which was a huge wake up call. Rewind to 4 years earlier - I joined the track team my freshman year of high school and started off as a sprinter because I couldn't run longer distances if my life depended on it - despite being a really good athlete otherwise (swimming, softball, and volleyball). As high school went on, I "graduated" from the 100 to the 200... to the 400... to the 800... and then I actually graduated, so I stopped at the 800. The turning point was one track sprinting workout where I outlasted all our best sprinters - obviously I wasn't as fast, but I had the endurance that they lacked. Coach "encouraged" me to try the 800 and I did much better at the longer distance than the sprint. My favorite workouts began to be the "LSD" runs - Long, Slow, Distance.

Anyway - when I gained that nasty freshman 15, I decided to take up running again and fell in love with distance running. And I haven't looked back. I love love love half-marathons and while I enjoyed my first marathon, I'd like to do more before saying I'm in love with the 26.2 miles :)

Moral of the story - after I finish the 90 days of P90X, I'm going to use those workouts as cross training for running and swimming. If you want to get in shape and not leave the comfort of your home, P90X is pretty awesome. I'm not doing the diet, but I'm eating relatively healthier. Last night, we got BBQ at this awesome place in Urbana and I usually get the massive combo meal with pulled pork, 4 ribs, and 2 sides (mashed potato casserole and sweet potato fries) - I do end up taking leftovers home... usually... But last night, I tried the portabella mushroom burger with pesto and fresh goat cheese from the local goat farm (that I volunteered at briefly) with the side of sweet potato fries. So, I'm still eating the foods that I love, just not in the massive quantities that I do when I'm in heavier training!

Also, a friend of mine from school wants to do a triathlon, so he asked if I'd help him with his stroke - an excuse to get in the pool? Yes please. I'm SO excited to have a swim buddy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wildlife Massacre Night

Tonight, we had 4 wildlife cases come in - all hit by cars... and 15 euthanasias. How? One of them was a momma oppossum that was brought into the hospital in a box. We opened it, she looked dead, so we went to euthanizing the rabbit that was also brought in. You may think that she tricked us and she was just "playing possum", but no :)

After the bunny euthanasia, we went back to the oppossum and I was looking at it to make sure that it wasn't breathing... well, its chest wasn't moving, but its abdomen sure was. I put on gloves and wouldn't you know it - its pouch was full of live, suckling babies.


Not cool momma oppossum, not cool. We had to snatch each baby off of each teat (which was actually tough to do, those little buggers hold on tight) and euthanize each of them. Twelve little babies in all. Mom was already dead and ants were crawling all over her and in the pouch - it was quite gross.

Busy night, but at least I'm home by 1. Which is five hours earlier than last night!

I don't do my best work at 2AM

Last Saturday overnight for awhile... until end of October when I have my next ER rotation. However, I still have to get through the rest of tonight. And tomorrow night. And be awake and smart at 9AM for Dermatology. Which, by the way, I know nothing about.

I'm tired. I was super productive today, despite being up till 3AM and getting up and getting my butt in gear by 9. Went to lunch with friends, got my glasses fixed, ran a bunch of errands, met with Dr. B to meet her cats that I'm cat sitting next week, AND got coffee in preparation for tonight. Thank GOD that I got coffee - it has been a really long day/night. My first case was a hit-by-car 10 week old pit bull puppy. Talk about tearing at my heartstrings. Lately, my only patients have been beagles and pit bulls - my favorite, favorite little loves. Plus, I've had all the hit-by-cars as well. My last one was a sweet, young beagle stray dog with a nasty anal tear. The two guys that brought her in watched her get hit by the car in front of them and they brought her in and were very concerned about her - super sweet. We just couldn't do a whole lot besides clean her up since she was a stray.... which sucks.

My pup tonight was owned by a young couple (younger than me for sure) that had NO money with five kids. They were denied Care Credit... so he had to go home on limited pain meds after we did the most that we could to help him (IV pain meds, fluids). He had pain on palpation of his right TMJ and right elbow... so that could be a lovely discovery for the referring vet when they (hopefully) take rads and re-examine him on Monday. Poor little baby boy. I gave him a kiss and wished him good luck.

We are just running super behind in terms of who still needs to be treated... Still waiting to treat a dog with a puncture wound that came in about 5 hours ago. The owner is another vet student, so she dropped him off and went home. Good thing, because this is taking forever. However, I did get to do my first abdominal tap on a probable FIP positive cat. We drained about 1200 mls from his abdomen - in the middle of which the tube popped off the stopcock and exploded awesome yellow fluid all over the tech... she was totally cool with it and we all laughed because it is 2 in the morning and it really was hilarious.

Back to the grind... hope you all are having sweet dreams! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Being Domestic

I don't cook. I don't really know how... per say. I can follow a recipe and it usually turns out just fine, but I can't open up my fridge and throw some things together and call it a meal. Unless it involves opening up a Lean Cuisine/Healthy Choice/Smart Start and throwing it in the microwave, because I am a pro at that.

Today, I decided to cook my mom's world-famous beans and rice. I did it for the first time a couple of months ago and it turned out fabulous, so I thought I'd go super big and do two full slow cookers chock full of yummy Colombian goodness (my parents left theirs at my house a few weeks ago - mom had cooked the beans and rice for us and brought it down when we euthanized Gypsy... and now I have stolen their slow cooker). Mind you, I've been eating this meal for my entire life - nothing suits my fancy better than Colombian food. My mom is a wonderful cook, but I seem to lack the culinary gene, so last time I cooked this, I had her walk me through it, step by step, over the phone. This involved something like 6 phone calls and it ended up tasting really good. The only problem is there isn't a specific recipe for it and that little fact makes me nervous. Last time, she told me 3-4 tomatoes - this time she told me 5, etc. I only called her once, just to make sure I had all of the ingredients and then I ventured into the kitchen alone to begin my big cooking adventure.

Beans and Rice, Momma P Style
4-5 big tomatoes
5-7 green onions
1 bunch cilantro (or more if you love it as much as I do)
Garlic (maybe... 7 or 8 cloves? - I used about 1/4 cup of minced garlic in the jar... I'm lazy)
Lawry's Seasoning Salt - to taste - 2-3 tablespoons? probably more.
Cumin - to taste - 2-3 tablespoons? probably more.
Salt/Pepper - to taste.

1-1.5 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
6-7 medium red potatoes
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can light kidney beans, drained
16 oz chicken stock (low sodium if you wish to be healthier)
3 cups water

First of all, if you have a food processor, use it. If you don't, get one :) Or spend a lot of time chopping tomoatoes into tiny pieces. So, first chop the tomatoes into chunks and put them in the food processor for about 10 seconds - it should look pureed, there should still be bits of tomato, but you want it to be mostly liquid. Pour into a large frying pan.

Chop cilantro and green onions - I used the food processor for this too because it is much faster. You want it to be sufficiently chopped up - I don't like big leaves of cilantro in my food, so I do it pretty tiny. Add to tomotoes in frying pan.

Add seasoning salt, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper - be generous with your spices! But you can always add more later.

Heat at high medium heat. This part takes a little while - you want it to lose some of the moisture and turn thicker. It is okay for it to retain a little bit of liquid, so do this for about 20 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, start browning the ground beef/turkey (I use turkey because it is healthier). Peel your potatoes and cube them - put in slow cooker. Rinse/drain the kidney beans - add to slow cooker. Once ground beef/turkey is done, add to slow cooker. Add chicken stock and water.

Once the tomato mixture is good to go - add to slow cooker. Mix it all up - add some more seasoning salt, cumin, salt/pepper (because you didn't put enough in the first time) and stir it some more. Turn slow cooker on high. If you feel the need to stir and you are home, do so every 30 minutes or so.

After a few hours, it should be ready to go. Make some rice. Taste the concoction in the slow cooker - add appropriate spices. Add rice to bean/meat slow cooker goodness and you are good to go.

Last, add tabasco sauce and fresh cilantro - it makes it yummy. If you can't handle spicy foods, avoid tabasco sauce, but I promise you, it is delicious.

I'll let you know how it turns out - so far, it smells GREAT!

EDIT: It tastes amazing. I'm still eating it.

If this was confusing - only add beans/meat to rice when ready to eat - don't just dump the rice into the beans/meat and let it sit like that :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ER Overnights

Just started week 2 of the small animal emergency rotation. I would have written sooner, except for a couple of reasons - the first being that my school computer is dead. HP and I are in a fight over the warranty right now.

Let me take a moment to vent: Last year my powercord broke, which is covered by the warranty. So I call and ask them to ship me a new one. I confirm the shipping address twice since I can't use my computer and I need it ASAP, and end the call. Two days later, I track the shipment - it was on its way to parents house - i.e. the reason that I confirmed the shipping address in first place. I call, pissed off, and place a new order. Three days later, I attempt to track the shipment - no tracking number listed online for the order. I call HP again - turns out no order was placed the second time - even though I went through the whole process, confirmed the shipping address, etc. I place a THIRD order for the powercord - and they have the gall to ask me to send the other one back. Um, no I won't be doing that.

Present day - My computer screen shattered right before finals and I now need to start studying for boards, so I would like it fixed. It turns out my warranty doesn't cover accidental damage - which I SPECIFICALLY ordered when I bought the computer three years ago. I called HP, verified that I was ordering the correct warranty, and placed my order. Three years later when I need to cash in on that warranty, I am told that I was given an incorrect item number for the warranty. I spend two hours on the phone with HP, talking to six different people - one of which was the supervisor of the tech support guy who told me he has no boss and is at the top of the chain of command of HP.

Are you kidding me? I was so livid at that point that I congratulated him for owning HP and running such a successful, customer friendly business.

I finally got routed around to the tech support supervisor's man's SUPERVISOR (weird, the first guy really doesn't own HP?) who at least made an attempt to help me. He said he'd ship me the box to send my computer in and that I'd be recieving it within the next two days. I verified my address and politely told him that I had had issues in the past with things being sent to the wrong address, so I just wanted to confirm the correct one. He read me my address and said nothing else was listed. The next day, I track the package... sent to my parent's house. I mean, come on, is this for real? It's almost funny how terrible they are.

Moral of the story - whatever happens, stay away from Hewlett Packard.

Besides the computer debacle, I'm really just exhausted. Working 70+ hour work weeks is starting to get to me. I am so excited for my next rotation - 9 to 4ish, Monday through Friday. How glorious. ER has been interesting - I've had a lot of cases, I've gotten better at drawing blood, taking blood pressures, pulse ox, ECGs, etc. Just basic, good skills to have for the rest of the my life.

Last night was one of the toughest - a few very critical patients, but we were able to leave at 2:45am. At 4:15am, I got called back in and stayed until 7am. The one I got called back in for was a panting dog. It wasn't heatstroke or hyperthermia, but just a dog that had been lying under the owner's covers, woke up panting because it was warm and was brought in immediately. It stopped panting for us, the rest of the physical exam was completely normal. When the intern talked to the owners, the owner freaked and insisted the dog had hip dysplasia.

... what kind of monkey leap takes you from minor panting to hip dysplasia? She then literally pleaded and begged the intern to tell her the truth - that her little cocker spaniel must have hip dysplasia. Her previous dog - a chocolate lab - had hip dysplasia 15 years ago, so she assumed this dog must have it too. I was so tired at this point that the whole conversation was hilarious to me. That sounds mean, and I'm very sorry, but we never mentioned ANYTHING about her hips or any orthopedic issues. I have no idea how her mind just went there! I know the owner was upset and tired herself, but this conversation got very weird very quickly.

Anyway, today is my day off and I slept until 1:30 - which is only 6 hours of total sleep, but I feel better. I went to the pool and read a book, got ice cream, took the dogs for a walk, and am now relaxing with wine. I blew off P90x today because I was exhausted, but I'll definitely get back on it tomorrow :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Unexpected Praise

I successfully made it through RAHMS (I think it stands for something like Rural Animal Health, Medicine, and Surgery). I have one phone duty shift tomorrow from 2-8pm, which sort of sucks because it is the fourth of July and I'd rather be hanging outside than inside the phone room... I'm also on-call from 8pm to 8am the following morning - I guess when that is over, I'll officially have survived my one and only RAHMS rotation.

Friday morning started off very strange. I arrived at school around 6:45am, ready for my first call of the day. The appointment was for "killing pigs"... i.e. euthanizing 7 pigs at the swine research farm. These guys were part of a research project and the study had ended, so they needed to be euthanized and sent out. They wanted it done via captive bolt, which essentially looks like a handgun. It stuns the animal, rendering them unconscious by damaging the skull and cerebrum. You can then choose to immediately exsanguinate, or allow them to die on their own. We watched Dr. CS do one of them, but we had been taught in class the proper location to use the captive bolt (or gun for that matter) - you draw an "X" from left ear to right eye, and right ear to left eye - and you shoot at the cross-section of the "X". Each of us did two pigs - there ended up being an extra pig that need to be euthanized after her cannula was pulled out (cannulas were placed in these pigs in order to sample GI contents). It was an experience - it was my first time using the captive bolt and I'm glad that I now know how to load it, use it, and clean it. If I am ever in the situation where an animal needs to be euthanized in this way, I'm glad that I know how to do it. These guys were my first real euthanasia and, to tell you the truth, it was pretty tough for all of us, especially beginning our day with that.

Our next call was at a house belonging to one of the doctors at my school. I LOVE her and she has the cutest house and barn - she has one horse, a Paso Fino, and a cute little donkey. They needed Coggin's tests, vaccines, and their teeth floated - I've never actually seen teeth floated on a live animal (I've done it on horse cadaver heads) - so that was cool to see.

We got back to school around 12:30pm and were hanging around the rounds room doing paperwork and enjoying Food Friday (the last day of each rotation, everyone brings food to share). Dr. CS walked through the room on the way to the office and looked at me and beckoned with his finger, without saying a word, and continued walking to the office. I followed him, a little uneasy that I had done something wrong, and he shut the door. He gently grabbed my arm and looked at me and said, "I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed working with you and that you did a great job. I really hope that you'll come back and see us again." I stumbled through something like, "I had a great time, thank you for teaching me so much" and walked back to the rounds room, basically floating on air. He is an older guy that doesn't offer outward praise all that often. Plus, he is my favorite doctor. It meant so much to me that he personally took me aside to tell me that he enjoyed working with me - I actually started to feel more like a colleague, rather than a student, which is an incredible feeling.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful - I ended up going out on a call with another doctor that I like and another student (who is a large animal girl and really knows her stuff) - we were going to two different pig farms for health papers, a really boring, super quick visit. The only problem was these farms were two hours apart and in completely opposite directions from each other in relation to the school. We ended up in the car for over 4 hours, just chatting about the rotation, but mostly about one of the students on the rotation who has been an incredible headache for everyone that has had to interact with her. I'm pretty sure she must have some sort of psychological issue, and for that, I feel sorry for her. However, it doesn't erase the fact that she is a nightmare to work with, antagonistic, and rude. By the end of the rotation, I had to stop talking to her completely because every conversation left me wanted to blow out my brains. KJ told me not to feed into the craziness, which was the best advice he could have given me - I know that he must have been sick of me coming home and complaining about every encounter with her each day!

Later that night, a bunch of us went out for drinks at my favorite bar downtown. KJ had gone to dinner earlier with some high school friends, one of which works as a tech at my school. At the end of each week of RAHMS, the clinicians and techs get together and evaluate each of the students on the rotation. After the first week, my evaluation went well - I was told that I was great to work with and enthusiastic about getting things done efficiently. She told KJ that after this past week, I had the best evaluation of the group - I was totally shocked, but super pleased. I was scared going into this rotation, since I don't know large animal medicine very well. But I learn pretty quickly and love learning how to do new things - I'm a very hands on learner, has which seemed to pay off for the rotations that I have been on so far. Anyway, I'm not tooting my own horn - it was just really surprising to hear that the clinicians thought I did well - and super flattering!

I'm off to ER next - I work a few days shifts and then switch to a week and a half of night shifts - it should be very interesting and I hope that Iearn a lot!