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!

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