Journal Entry #6

January 15, 2005

    It's been quite a while since I last wrote.  At the end of last term we had group presentations for our CLA project.  It was a nice day and most topics were interesting.  That day, I opened my Christmas presents (they all managed to arrive on time) because I would not be anywhere "home" during the holidays.  Amy left on the Saturday for home while I left on Sunday morning via train to London.  The train trip was good at first - I had several seats and a table to myself and I could plug in my laptop and watch a DVD.  But then the train had problems and we had to switch to another train in Newcastle.  The other train was far more crowded, stunk like a toilet, and I had trouble finding a place for my huge piece of luggage.  Then I reached another station to transfer at, but was late and didn't know which train to take.  I managed to get on the proper train and finally made it to Potters Bar.  I reached the Royal Veterinary College after dark had fallen and I found my accommodation.  I lived in a self-catering house with 5 other students (3 from Glasgow whom I knew and 2 from Cambridge). 

    Our duties at the RVC's equine referral hospital were to do all the treatments and checks on hospitalised horses.  Treatments and checks had regular hours of 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm, 12am, and 4am.  We split up night duty (from 8pm until 8am) so that two students would be on every night, with a third "on call" to help as needed.  I had Wednesday and Saturday nights.  There were two main housing units at the RVC: the "colic yard" and the "upper barns" (or lower barns?).  The colic yard consisted of 6 stalls and a foaling box, while the other barns contained about 30 stalls.  In between times we were doing treatments, we watched and assisted with cases that were brought in for evaluation.  Most of the time, these were emergencies.  We got to see: several leg wounds and injuries (and lameness), one perineal region wound, several colic cases, two neurology cases, an eyelid laceration, and a sinus infection case.  I really enjoyed the surgical colic cases and hadn't seen horses in that degree of pain before (even though I've witnessed many colic surgeries in the past).  One of the neurology cases was mind boggling and sad.  I found the lameness and wound cases to be very boring (there's no way I could be an equine vet due to this). 

    Procedures we got to practice: placing IV catheters, IV catheter maintenance and administering drugs IV (with and without catheters), giving intramuscular injections, giving oral medications, wound care, doing colic checks, scrubbing in for surgery and assisting the surgeons, aiding in general anaesthesia, helping clean up the operating theatre, (some students got to remove shoes from a horse...I didn't volunteer), (one student got to euthanise a horse), aiding with nuclear scintigraphy and radiography, participating in case workups, and closely monitoring critical horses. 

    I returned to Glasgow on the 3rd of January, just after midnight.  I spent a few days relaxing and doing laundry, then we left for Stockholm on that Thursday.  See the Stockholm photo album page for a description of that trip.  Candlemas term began on Monday the 10th of January, and I just completed the first week of the term.  This week we had lectures about pigs, fish, public health and fish, lameness in cats, osteoarthritis in small animals, failure of fractures to improve after surgery (small animals), chronic lameness in horses, laminitis in horses, and metabolic disease of horses.  The week has flown by!  This upcoming week will be busier.  Tomorrow night I'm going to a concert at the Royal Concert Hall, Tuesday night is a GUVZS meeting, Wednesday night is the graduate dinner, and Thursday night we leave for Paris! 


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