Monthly Archives: January 2010

A life jacket would be nice right about now.

So it’s not good news with Persephone. Her mammary tumor is just too large, aggressive, and invasive for removal to be an option. Also, with her age, she’s an anesthetic risk and the probability of her getting another one is fairly high. But more importantly, she has a small mass on her dorsal pelvic region, that is affecting her central nervous system. She’s dragging her left rear limb, and while she has sensation, she doesn’t have proprioceptive reflexes. The doctor is fairly certain it’s cancerous, and it cannot be removed. So even if I went forward with removal of the mammary tumor, the cancer would claim her anyway. The doctor prescribed metacam, which is an NSAID, just to make her more comfortable. It seems to be working, in that she’s slightly more active and trying to climb the bars of her cage like she did in her youth. She does have some side effects, including decreased appetite and some diarrhea. But I think the pros outweigh the cons at this point. Her appetite is not decreased when it comes to yummy items – like peanut butter. I think it’s her favorite thing on the planet. Right now the plan is to spoil her rotten and let her eat whatever she wants until she lets me know that she’s no longer comfortable…

Let’s move on to more uplifting topics, shall we? This weekend was nice. Scott was in town, and we went to the TG (biweekly social event at the vet school w/BBQ , lots of food, and good conversation) Friday evening, after I gave him a tour of the lovely anatomy cooler and the histo lab. Saturday we took it easy, ran errands, and ate a very indulgent dinner and dessert. On Sunday we went on a private tour of PAWS and their sister facility, ARK2000. They are not open to the public, but do a tour for UC Davis students (and their guests) once a year. It was pretty fabulous, with lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), elephants, and a few other random animals. They take wonderful care of their animals, and we had a great time. We carpooled with Sharon and Maggie, since it’s an hour to the first facility and then about 45 minutes to the second. It was a full day, and we stopped for yummy Chinese on the way home. Once Scott and I got back to our apartment, we only had about 30 minutes before it was time to take him to the airport to fly home. I hate taking him there, and I hate when he leaves. We’re not sure when he’ll be back next, but I know it’s not soon enough.

The next three weeks are going to be horrendous. This week I’m in class 9-5 every day, with food animal nursing Friday night. Next week is also packed, including a neuroscience exam and a nutrition exam. The week after that, I have my STAR research application due, a midterm paper due, and our cardio physiology final (which seven people FAILED last year!!). Oh and I can’t forget the two cardio quizzes (one tomorrow) and two canine head anatomy quizzes in that time period. I feel very overwhelmed right now and like I’m drowning. It’s impossible to stay ahead of everything, and I’m very worried. At this particular moment, I’m not enjoying vet school.

I just want to survive this quarter. The first step being studying for tomorrow’s cardio quiz.

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Full house

My husband and I have an adorable pet rat. Her name is Persephone, she’s white and cinnamon, and she’s about 2.5-3 years old. She lived, until recently, with my husband in Los Angeles. About a week and a half ago, my husband noticed a fairly large lump in her abdominal area. Knowing that rats are very prone to mammary tumors, I suggested he get her to our vet down there as soon as possible. So he made an appointment, it was for this past Tuesday. Sure enough, she has a mammary tumor, and its location will make it difficult to remove. However, given that she’s still very lively and eating/drinking/all that good stuff, my husband and I decided to give her the best chance possible. Unfortunately, the cost to get it done there, even with the discount they so graciously give us, was still a little out of our budget. So I immediately got on the phone with the VMTH (Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital) here at Davis, and with my sizable student discount, the price will be much more reasonable. And so, my wonderful husband packed up and drove our sweet old rat all the way up here Thursday night. She has an appointment on Tuesday, and after the initial exam/blood work/etc, we’ll schedule surgery. I’m very worried about her going under anesthesia, being so old. Hopefully she’ll pull through and everything will be fine. So now I have a full house, because all of the animals officially live here in Davis with me: four cats, one corn snake, and Miss Persephone. My poor husband will be returning to an empty apartment.

The only plus was that Scott was able to visit for a few days. It was, as always, amazing to have him here. Even though I was gone for several hours Saturday and Sunday studying — we have an anatomy exam tomorrow. At least he had football to keep him company, even though the Chargers totally choked.

Oh! I almost forgot about my fabulously awesome news. Here at Davis we have the STAR program. I forget what the letters stand for, but basically you get with a mentor and do summer research for them. It’s an amazing opportunity, especially for someone like me, who is focused on lab animal medicine. There is also a sizable stipend, which is important, because I have to¬† make money over summer break. But there is of course an application, and I have to write an essay as well as a research proposal, and I have to be accepted into the program. With the recent budget cuts, they have told us that they will only be granting half as many as they usually do. If I don’t do research this summer, I’d have to go back to L.A. and go back to my shitty hotel reservations job. So I met with my mentor this past Friday to further discuss the project, and he told me that if I don’t get accepted into the program, he’ll hire me on to do the research and pay me the stipend himself!! How rad is that?? So I will definitely be doing research this summer, woooo!!! To celebrate, Scott and I went to a wonderful Spanish restaurant Friday night and had delicious tapas and wine. It was fabulous.

And now, off to anatomy lab again to continue studying for that pesky exam.

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Week One… Check

So I’m done with my first week of dreaded winter quarter. I’m trying to not let all of the hype about this being the hardest/worst quarter ever get to me, but I have to admit that I’m a little scared. That being said, I did enjoy my first week.

  • Cardiovascular physiology is crazy and fast paced, and my hand is cramped by the end, but it’s really interesting and fascinating. But this is the class that people actually FAIL, and more than just a few, so I’m frightened and trying to stay on top of the information. The final is February 10th, so the good thing is that it’s over quick and I don’t have to worry about it during finals week.
  • Neuroscience is equally fascinating, and the professor is hilarious. This is apparently the second class to really worry over, and I can see why. It’s amazing and interesting, but the material is complicated and will only get more so as the quarter continues.
  • Anatomy of the GI tract is pretty awesome so far. We’ve already had our related embryology lectures (which I LOVE!), and I just love anatomy in general.
  • Nutrition is dry and boring. And that’s kind of all I can say about it so far.
  • Radiology seems great, though we’ve only had one lecture at this point. Last quarter was all about the physics behind it, safety, how radiographs are made, etc. This quarter seems more oriented to clinical relevance, which is always good and far more fun.
  • Comparative Anatomy is the best elective ever. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday over lunch, and get lectured about all kinds of animals and their differences/similarities compared to the “norm.” So far we’ve had a lecture about elephants and one about rabbits. Awesomeness.

I have another elective, but we haven’t met yet – Behavior and Biology of Mice. It was originally scheduled to meet every Tuesday 3-4, and I was bummed because I have lab until five pretty much every day, meaning that I couldn’t take it. But I guess they realized that and changed it so that we meet Wednesdays over lunch, and I’m stoked. This will be the first class with direct relevance to my field of interest, so I can’t wait to get started.

Now I’m at the ARC Starbucks, trying to work on things that I desperately need to finish in order to take some weight off of my mind. One is the scholarship application (including 2 required essays) and the other is that damned ethics paper. The scholarship app is due Monday, and I’m almost done – just fine tuning my essays and other information. The ethics paper is due on the 14th. We’ve had since the beginning of December and I haven’t even started it yet. At this point, passing will be enough.

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They don’t waste any time…

So my break was really fantastic. I had a great time visiting with family in Ohio (including seeing lots of beautiful snow). I then spent my last week in Los Angeles with my wonderful husband, including a fabulous New Years Eve out with friends in Hollywood.

However, now that I’m back, it feels like I never even had a break! How do they do that? Today was only our second day back, and I’m already exhausted. Oh, and I have a cardiovascular physiology quiz tomorrow, yay. It’s not all bad though, I had my first comparative anatomy lecture today, and we talked about elephants :D It was pretty awesome, I have a feeling I’m going to love that class. And GI anatomy lab was actually pretty cool. I think I’m kind of in love with anatomy in general. It was my best subject last quarter and it was the one I enjoyed studying for the most.

Class ranks came out today, and I don’t understand why they do that to us. I was perfectly happy with my GPA until I realized just how many people are doing better than I am. I’m not competitive with others, but I have very high expectations for myself, so I’m left feeling less than thrilled with a GPA I was previously proud of. But sitting here blogging isn’t going to help it any, so I suppose I should go study for tomorrow’s quiz…

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