Journal Entry #6

April 25, 2006

    I haven't written in a long time since I have been "on the go".  I recently spent 2 weeks on the Hebridean Isle of Islay, and then quickly changed locales to Mainland, Orkney.  These are both islands/island groups that I have wanted to visit for a few years now, at least.  I went to mixed practices at both places, but the case distribution was a bit different between them.  On Islay, I saw mostly cows and a smaller amount of cats/dogs/rabbits.  On Orkney, I saw a bit of everything.  That practice saw about 33% small animals, 33% cattle, and 33% horses.  I tried to go on as many large animal calls as possible because this is one of my weak areas (and I needed to find some good cases to write case reports about). 

    The weather was a bit different between both islands, too.  The wind was ice-cold and quite strong on Islay.  But it was dry most of the time there, just windy.  In Orkney, the wind was very strong too.  But it alternated rain, hail, sunshine, and maybe snow throughout the day!  It felt pretty darn cold at times and once there was ice on the Peerie Sea (which I could see from my bedroom window).  On Islay, I rented a one-bedroom cottage (cute and cozy with a fireplace) that was a 20 minute walk from town/the practice in Bowmore.  In Orkney, I stayed at a self-catering house next to a hostel (and only a 5 minute walk from the vet practice). 

    Some pretty fun clinical skills I practiced throughout that past month included: blood draws from cow tail veins, epidural analgesia in cattle, practice an occasional suture on cows, pregnancy diagnosis on Highland cows (cute beasties!), IV and IM injections in cattle, IV injections in horses, heart auscultation in horses, direct ophthalmologic exams on horses (44 horses to be exact!), cat castrations, IV/IM/SQ injections and blood draws in cats, etc. 

    Now I have started my last final year rotation ever!  I am spending 4 weeks at the Weipers Centre for Equine Welfare.  (I did the same thing at the beginning of the year in September/October).  We've been fairly steady, case-load wise.  Last week I had a pony case with acute forelimb laminitis.  This week I have had a lameness case (we diagnosed it as arthritis in the forefeet).  There's still plenty more that can happen before the week is done though!  I am on call tomorrow night and we've planned to go bowling that same night...and this is like deja vu (last equine rotation, when we went bowling I was on call and got called to an emergency so I never actually bowled!).  I'm on call on Friday through Sunday as well.  But I get Sunday night off to attend our Final Year Dinner.  It is a formal event like our Halfway Dinner (that was in 3rd year), and involves only our class (5th year) and any faculty members that we can entice to go.  Final year is *really* something to celebrate, so this should be great fun. 

    Other news here is that I will be able to attend my vet school graduation ceremony!  It will be a mad rush and cost me a lot of money, but I've been looking forward to this for a long time.  Money is a bit of a concern right now, to say the least.  I am in the process of acquiring more loan money so I can make it through June...not to mention July and moving/security deposit on an apartment etc.  It's scary when real life starts to hit you, after living the life of a student for so long (9 years!).  So far, I have a bed and a reclining loveseat for my apartment in California.  I don't have an apartment yet <g>.  I have a car and car insurance.  I probably have some pots, pans and dishes.  I have mugs and a few utensils (nice knives that my parents bought me).  And I have a bird, bird cage, and bird play stands galore.  :0)

    Stressors right now:  #1 = the case report book that I have yet to turn in.  I have completed 6.5/10 required case reports.  Finding the time and mental focus to do them right now is tough and I'm so stressed about it.  This is required in order to graduate.  #2 = money.  Loans take forever to get.  Always waiting on something.  #3 = plane tickets.  Need to get them soon but money is an issue; so is time to look up the best prices.  #4 = being on-call.  It means potentially more time away from home, more time taken away from my case report/mental break time.  #5 = need to find a place to live for June.  No money right now.