Monthly Archives: July 2011

Day 30: The Usual

I think my posts are going to start getting shorter, which I’m sure anyone who reads this won’t mind, haha. Because most of the things I do now are things I’ve done before and talked about before.

First thing this morning was sitting in a coffee shop for over an hour… ugh! (See last post for why!)

Once I got to the office and got going, things started with visiting the pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits. We gave treats to the pigs and chinchillas, and would be back later to give veggies to the rabbits. There was another rabbit surgery, so I helped with that like usual. Scrubbing, prepping, hooking up the monitoring equipment, etc. I really like the rabbit procedures because I get more comfortable with rabbits every time and I feel like I’m actually helping and being useful, haha.

After the rabbit was all set up and the surgery was under way, we went back and gave the rabbits some fresh parsley. I absolutely love giving the rabbits veggies! They get so excited, and hop to the front of the cage to beg for it. Then half of the time they’ll pull it out of my hand! Besides, rabbits eating leafy greens is pretty much the cutest thing ever:

After that I went and helped an AHT with the group of mice I’ve talked about before, that need specialized care – moist food, apple slices, an occasional SQ injection of fluids (all to combat dehydration, which is related to the study). What I get to do with these mice depends on the AHT I’m with. A couple will actually let me work right along side them autonomously, making decisions and giving fluids. Others will let me assess cages, but then will do the treatments themselves. Of course it’s most fun to get to do stuff, but I enjoy helping in anyway that I can. I <3 Mice :)

By the time I got back to the office it was 1pm, so I went to lunch with a coworker to BJ’s – YUM! After lunch my husband was there to pick me up, and off we went home!

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Day 29: Not every day can be awesome

Today was a bit slow, which is to be expected from time to time. The morning started with veterinary rounds, which can be interesting. They discussed a particular primate case, and that was pretty cool.

After rounds I went with an AHT who needed to do some mice tail vein injections for an investigator. I’ve seen a million done before, and since I can’t actually do any, it was kind of boring. Afterwards I hung out in the office and worked on my application for the Johns Hopkins externship (for fourth year). I would love to go there, but applying is very intimidating. I have to write a letter of intent, including what I want out of the externship and my career goals – I just have no idea where to start, how long it should be, and what I should talk about. I also need two letters of recommendation, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

After lunch I went with one of the veterinarians and we worked on sling training the pigs (talked about in this post) for just about 10 minutes, then went and looked in on a macaque having skin issues – another 10 minutes. We also stepped in and took a look at the vervets, because they’e just so cute. :) Then is was back to the office to hang out until it was time to leave.

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Day 28 (for real this time): I <3 Rabbits

Today was pretty awesome. It was more rabbit work, but than I’ve done before. I attempted my very first rabbit intubation, which went surprisingly smooth and well! Rabbits are notoriously hard to intubate, and it’s done blindly, so I was pretty excited that I was successful. :) I also got to place two ear vein catheters, and even though I’ve done a few before, every one that’s successful is another notch of experience. Especially because the second one was a rush and I did it while the doctor was shaving, so it was my first one without supervision. I knew that the doctor was counting on me, and it was a stressful situation, so I was nervous. I let out a huge sigh of relief when it went smoothly and was secured. I also helped with scrubbing, prepping for surgery, and monitoring anesthesia. I’ve been in on so many of these particular procedures that I know what needs to be done and am comfortable jumping in and helping out. So it was a good morning.

It ended up being a pretty rad afternoon, as well. One of the training rats was getting very old, and she had a mammary tumor that could not be operated on. So she needed to be euthanized, and they let me and another volunteer (a health tech that just got into vet school – she’s hanging with the vet staff for a couple weeks before leaving) do a full necropsy on her. I love necropsy, it’s so fascinating. I also removed her tumor, and I tried to treat it as if she was going to recover – I was very careful, took note of the blood supply, tried to remove the entire thing without damaging any healthy tissue, etc. It might sound weird, but it was a lot of fun :)

I left a bit early, and that’s when my good day turned bad. I noticed that my car was idling a little rough, then about halfway home the stupid check engine light came on. ARGH! I managed to get it to the shop we frequent before they closed, but of course it was only an hour before and they didn’t have time to look at it today. So we left it there for tomorrow, and here’s hoping (HOPING!!) it’s not going to be anything major or cost a million dollars. Ugh. Also, this means Scott is driving me to work in the morning. Since he leaves so much earlier than me, I get to sit at a coffee shop for an hour and a half before work. Eww! Guess that means I should get to bed early…

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Day 28… Or Not

So today I get a free day off. Totally unplanned. Because of my own stupidity, haha.

Scott had the day off yesterday, so he was super nice and drove me to work and picked me up at the end of the day. In the morning, I went to my car first to get something. When I got in his car, I didn’t need my keys with me so I dropped them in his center console. I’m sure you see where this is going… This morning, I got up, showered, got ready, packed my lunch, and was about to walk out the door when it occurred to me that I never got my keys out of his car. So I called Scott at work with a sense of dread and asked if he had brought my keys up from his car yesterday. Nope. He went and checked his car, and sure enough, there were my keys. UGH! He works way too far away to drive my keys to me. So I waited until 6:40 (when I usually show up), called the office, and explained the situation. They were obviously okay with it and understanding, but I still felt bad and was bummed to be missing out. But now, I think I’ll spend my day reading, watching TV, and doing nothing! After all, I can’t go anywhere!

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Day 27: ART Lab Take 2

This morning I sat in on the AHT meeting, and then went with an AHT and veterinarian to work on sling training pigs. The researcher needs access to the pig’s chest for ultrasound, and the pig cannot be sedated or anesthetized. So we sling train them. The first step is just to acclimated the pig to the sling (something kind of like this, with a winch system for raising and lowering). With the sling all the way down, we lure them in with treats (banana is a popular choice!), and then try to place the four feet into the holes. Since we want the acclimation to be slow and easy, we only had the pigs in the slings for about 10 minutes each. Then they got treats, scratches, and play time before going back into their pens.

After that I went back to the ART lab, which I talked about in this post, to see the other side of things. I watched while she checked pairings for pups (mouse pups – ridiculously cute), checked some embryo transfer mice for pregnancy, made some other pairings, and euthanized and collected reproductive tracts from some mice. It was definitely interesting, and great to see the other side of the ART lab, but it’s always more fun when I get to actually do stuff :)

I left at a reasonable time, went to spin class, and will be heading to bed early!

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Comic-Con AWESOMENESS

So. Comic-Con was super amazing! I haven’t been in many years (four, to be exact), so I was really excited about it. I’ll just give a quick run down of the highlights…

Thursday we got there really early to stand in line for one of the larger ballrooms because both the Game of Thrones and Dexter panels were going to be there that afternoon. We ended up getting in pretty early, but our seats were in the WAY back. So far back that you couldn’t see the actors, you had to watch the jumbo screens. Boo. But then, two panels before Game of Thrones, our friends in the THIRD ROW had people next to them leave, and they saved us seats!! WOOOO! So we got to be in the third row for both panels – Game of Thrones AND Dexter. It was f’ing rad. No watching the screens for us, we were able to watch the actual actors. Which means I was about 20 feet from Michael C. Hall… it’s amazing I’m not in jail right now, haha. Both panels were really great, the cast of GoT was more awesome than I expected, and Michael C. Hall was as charming as ever. The Dexter panel was over at 8:30, and we headed home (father-in-law’s house – yay free lodging!) for the evening then.

Friday we got there early to stand in line for the George R.R. Martin signing – he’s my favorite author ever (well, it may be a tie between him and Neil Gaiman). The way it works is you stand in line so that you can draw a ticket for a CHANCE of getting his autograph. Since it would be a madhouse if they let anyone get his autograph, they limit the number by holding a drawing. Scott’s ticket wasn’t a winner, but mine was!!! YAY! So at the appointed time I went and he signed my copy of A Dance with Dragons and a brand new shiny copy of the first book (A Game of Thrones) that I had just bought. I also talked to him for a few moments, and he’s super cool. After that we just checked out the exhibit hall, and I bought some GoT stuff (of course).

On Saturday¬†we just roamed the exhibit hall, checking out all of the booths. My favorite area is where the independent artists are, the ones just breaking into things and trying to make it. You can find some really great art there for pretty low prices. I picked up four new pieces from three different artists, and I can’t wait to hang them in my new apartment in Sacramento :) We didn’t stay super long, as we felt that we had seen pretty much everything. There were so many awesome exhibitors there, and I could’ve spent sooooo much money! It’s a good thing Scott was there to keep me in check!

Now we’re just hanging out and will be heading back to LA tonight around 6ish. It’s nice to have one day just laying around, reading, and relaxing. This entire mini-vacation has been really great, and I return to my internship at UCLA tomorrow!

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Day 26: Experience Like Whoa

Today was another of those days that make me realize just how amazing this internship and the people I get to work with are. They all want me to learn, want me to gain experience, and test my knowledge – all things that I need and love.

The day started with some rabbit surgeries. The AHT I was with was the same one that I talked about in this post, and he was grilling me like usual. The difference was that this time the questions were easier and some were the same as last time, so I was on top of it. I also explained the Bain circuit to a husbandry tech who was accepted to vet school and is leaving in a few weeks to start her own journey. Explaining everything made me realize how much I actually *have* learned, which is a pretty cool feeling. In school it usually feels like I’m cramming in the info, regurgitating it onto paper during the exam, and then promptly forgetting everything so I can cram for the next exam. It’s nice to know that some things are actually sticking! So back to the rabbits: he let me give them their preanesthetic drugs and place both catheters (both were a success, yay!), and I helped prep them for surgery (shaving, scrubbing w/betadine and alcohol). I’m getting a lot of rabbit experience this summer, which is great, because I don’t have much prior rabbit experience and it’s obviously important in lab animal medicine.

After the rabbits, I met up with a different AHT and the covered species veterinarian. We had a pig with a leg laceration that needed to be sutured. The vet asked if I’d ever given a pig an injection… not an awake one! So she laughed, handed me the syringe with attached butterfly catheter, and declared that it was a good time to start. So we went to the pig room and I entered the cage. The pig was a bit nervous, so I squatted down and gave her a few moments to adjust to me. Once she calmed, I very quickly placed the needle intravenously in the back of the ham. Upon insertion I immediately pushed the entire drug amount before she could move too quickly or kick at the needle. It went much more smoothly than I expected, with little reaction by the pig to the needle. Yay! That was her preanesthetic, she was then moved to the surgery site in a wheeled cage and I watched the surgery and gave any help that was needed.

Lunch was cut very short, and afterward I went around with the same AHT and veterinarian to care for other animals. We saw the chinchillas, gave them dust baths, and treated a sick one with Critical Care, which he ate right out of the syringe with no problem – cutest thing ever! And of course all of the chins got treats :) It was then off to the rabbits, two of which needed Critical Care because they weren’t eating well. I got to give it to one of them, and he was a dream – greedily ate it from the syringe. The vet was a bit annoyed (playfully) because apparently rabbits are notoriously hard to get Critical Care into. You usually have to force feed them and they fight it – not my guy!

Then I joined the mouse handling class toward the end just to get some practice. I’ve been wanting to practice retro-orbital bleeding but have been scared to do so. I practiced on a euthanized mouse a couple of weeks ago, and decided I should practice on the live training animals. I did it on two mice, and it went well! It’s not as scary as it seems, at all. And both of my mice woke up from anesthesia with no eye issues! Yay! :) I also practiced oral gavage some more, and that’s feeling more and more comfortable.

What a great day! And it’s only gonna get better! Today is mine and Scott’s three year wedding anniversary :) I still feel lucky daily to have won the husband lottery, and I look forward to many more years of laughter, love, and happiness! Tonight we’re going to dinner at Ombra. We’ve never been, but it’s apparently delicious and I can’t wait!

Then I took tomorrow off to go visit the veterinarian who first introduced me to lab animal medicine at Cedars-Sinai, then it’s off to San Diego and Comic-Con until Sunday! Woohoo!

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