Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So Close Yet So Far

I want to apologize to all of you who read my new blog. It would appear to me that I created it a little prematurely. While I do state in the "About Me" section that I am a 4th year veterinary student, I won't officially be until May 6th. I've been uber-busy cranking out my last assignments and finals of the semester/my life, then I will be away for the next week on my miniature summer vacation. Afterwards though I shall be rocking the vet medicine 1st hand and will be posting all my triumphs and hardships quite frequently. Stay tuned! :)

In the meantime, I try to keep up to date on what matters in the animal world and will post stuff on here every now and then that I find interesting. Take this article for example which highlights a critical issue in today's animal world :P. To be honest, I just assumed cockfighting was illegal everywhere; that is, until I came to veterinary school and had this question on an exam in my first semester.

"Cockfighting is legal in Virginia so long as there is no wagering or gambling of any form associated with the event." True/False

At that point in time it was legal in Virginia, and I can proudly say that I will be one of the last people who can say they had an exam question about the legality of cockfighting. My favorite part of the article above is the veterinarian talking about the argument against banning the "sport". Part of the culture? Get out of here. If anyone here from Louisiana or New Mexico happens to read my blog, can you validate this? or on the other hand, further the doctors belief that "cultures" change?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Plot Thickens

I'm well aware that this is a terrible thing to say, but one of the reasons I chose veterinary medicine over human medicine is because I feel there are too many people not worth helping. Before I continue, I would like to point out how there are distinct exceptions to this, like for example this whole incident here at VT. I feel nothing but sympathy and sorrow for the families of the lost and for the injured still receiving care. Back to my original point, all I will say is look at this link about who is coming to VT to picket and protest at the funerals of the lost students.

That is all I am going to say about those people. I'm not going to speak my mind any further because that just fuels their fire.

On a different note, it was announced today how students are able to handle the completion of this semester. These are our options for being graded:
Option 1. Materials which have already been submitted for grade prior to
April 16.

Option 2. The already submitted material plus any other assigned
material which the student wishes to submit for grade. For example, you
may elect to submit assignments but not take the final examination.
Please note that in courses in which the only assessment is the final
exam, this will need to be taken.

Option 3. The material that would have been submitted for grade upon
regular completion of the course (i.e. all required material:
assignments, quizzes, exams)

So basically I have the option of just taking the grades I have at the moment for my 3 classes that are not completed and calling it quits for the semester. The vet school did make sure to point out how noone will be discriminated against in any way for taking option 1. Personally, I feel that I have emotionally recovered from the horrific events Monday enough to just power through and just finish up the semester. By next Friday, I have 2 final exams to take and a paper to write (which is already halfway finished from before the event). It is of course tempting to just throw in the flag and take an extra week of vacation, but to be completely honest, I can't morally bring myself to making that decision. After talking to a number of classmates and hearing about others, it would appear that I am one of few who have completely recovered from the situation and many of my colleagues will be opting out of the rest of their finals on correct moral ground. This concerns me greatly. Should I still be suffering from emotional unrest like so many others here? Have I become too desensitized to fully grip the situation? At the least, I can tell myself that, because of my limited clinical background prior to veterinary school, I need to take advantage of every learning oppurtunity afforded to me prior to entering my final year of school.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Never a Dull Moment....


Many of you have probably seen from the news how there have been a couple of guys shooting people here on campus at VT. I just wanted to let everyone know that both Ina and I are ok, as are all of our friends. Its really a shame that something like this has to happen to a school like VT. The school is in a great area with great people both in the school and in the surrounding area. Personally, I think it's just bad luck that a couple of crazy people snapped and are giving the school a terrible reputation as a result. I would also like to point out that the police are doing a great job of controlling the situation and more importantly, VT has been going well out of their way to make sure everyone knows exactly what's going on.

This morning, I was on my way to school for my Advanced Small Animal Surgery final exam at 8 AM, when I passed by the Amber-Johnston dorm and saw a couple of ambulances and police cars on the grass outside the building. In fact, I even stopped to let one of the ambulances come off the grass and onto the street, completely unknowing of how it likely contained one of the casualties. Because this was anticipated to be my most challenging final of the semester, I tried not to think too much about the incident and focus on my test. Come 9:30, after exiting the exam, I went out to the cafeteria to study for a quiz I was supposed to take this afternoon when I overheard one of the school's custodians calling his daughter who was a student on campus to make sure she was ok. Moments later, a spokesperson for the vet school announced to everyone how the school was on lockdown and classes for the rest of the day cancelled. He also said we were allowed to leave at our own discretion and that the shooter was over near Burress Hall, which is on the far, far side of campus.

Call it stupidity, call it bravery, call it whatever you like, but I left since after an entire weekend of doing nothing but studying, I needed to get back and relax (the school wasn't exactly a relaxing place with the events taking place). The walking distance from the student parking lot and the vet school is very short, and I was at least nice enough to offer to come back to the school in my car and provide rides to the parking lot for my classmates. My thoughts and sympathies go out to the victims, their friends and their families.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Comin' Down the Home Stretch....

While my plans for this blog are to describe my experiences in my final year of school, I still have one last round of finals to hurdle over before that can begin. Yesterday I had my final surgery of the school year, where I was assisting with a canine neutering. I've watched them before, but yesterday was the first time I was scrubbed-in and actually participating.

Thus far, I've actually performed 3 surgeries: a feline spay, and two canine spays. Last semester, as I was learning how the basics of surgery, my first procedure was with the feline (who I actually ended up adopting, but that's a story for a different day). However, at the end of the year, the final exam consists of a written portion and a practical portion. The worst part about the whole final was how the practical didn't contribute any points to your grade, but needed to be passed in order to pass the class. Considering how failing courses works in vet school (fail one and you have to repeat the entire year), all of my classmates were collectively pissing themselves during that practical final: one terrible screw-up would turn out to be a $25,000 mistake. To add more timber to the fire, when your group of 3 enters the surgery suite, you have to pull a little piece of paper out of a cup which has written on it your assigned position for the procedure; therefore, you better have your ass ready to do both surgery and anesthesia. I was the first in my group to pull a paper slip, only to open and read *BOOM* "surgeon". I could feel my knees buckle with anxiety knowing how the spay was going to be performed on a dog, not a cat. While the anatomy is relatively the same, it is still more difficult to spay a dog (if you want gross details, let me know).

So there I was, dog all prepped and draped in for surgery, myself all gowned and feeling like having a Tony Soprano-esque panic attack. My veterinary career and $25,000 was on the line for a procedure I've never done before....GG. Albeit, I am over dramatizing here; I assisted with a canine spay earlier that semester and watched a demonstration video a number of times, but there was nothing that can remove the anxiety from that situation. For any of you that know Murphy's Law, you know that if anything that can go wrong, will. While I did not experience every single complication possible, it was a terrifying experience. The dog was older and quite obese, both of which make the procedure extra troublesome. Again, I will spare the details, but I constantly had to acquire the help of a clinician because none of us were trained to deal with such a situation. With all that extra help needed, the thought of failure never once left my mind. In the end the procedure went fine with no excessive blood loss or complications besides frustration and the clinician pulled me aside and said to me, "I'll be completely honest with you Andrew. Aside from patients who have pathology in their abdomen, that dog is the absolute worst patient you will ever encounter, and you adapted well enough and kept your cool." He then proceeded to pass me with flying colors....and I proceeded to drink like a fiend later that night in celebration.

Looking back after now completing another canine spay this semester, I truly appreciated that experience during my final exam. This time, not only am I becoming more comfortable with my technique, but I had absolutely no anxiety during the procedure. I will note, however, that the school did not inform me of how my patient was owned by a food animal practitioner at the school. Had I known that in advance, it would've meant another trip down to anxiety-town. The practitioner in particular also refers to me in lecture as his "go-to guy" just because I answered a couple questions right during our first few lecture with him last year.

So to wrap up this semester, I have 4 exams and a paper till my ass can say goodbye to a lecture hall forever!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Test 1-2, Test 1-2

Heya Everyone,

I plan on using this lil dealie to entail my adventures through my final year of veterinary school where I will be shadowing doctors and getting my "official" training to be a veterinarian. I hope you'll enjoy the hilarity that ensues as much as I do. Another reason I mean to keep this site is to (hopefully) distract me away from World of Warcraft ::crosses fingers::. At the moment, I am working on finishing my final semester of classes and it's arsenal of final exams. Only two more weeks till I can get off my ass and make a difference. Enjoy!