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i wake up at twilight

Nov. 5th, 2012 | 12:47 am

Just after midnight and for goodness sake am I fading. One pepsi next and a bit too many sour patch kids and... drift... drift... absence seizure, absence seizure; rinse repeat.

I will report for duty approximately 16 hours from now. I will be pretty much the only working veterinarian in the state of Rhode Island from approximately 2am until 8am. Dear pets, please stay safe. The concept of this is overall just terrifying, but a necessary rite of passage awaits. Report at 5pm, expect to stay until 11am or so the following day.

Perhaps more petrified than terrified but let's just take one step at a time.

I've stocked up on monsters, red bulls, sodies, and apples. Ginger cats and sour patch kids. I could fall asleep standing right now but I keep pushing myself to stay awake just a little later... I've set my alarm for 4:30 PM.

"You know what to do," our mentors are quick to remind us. Get started, stabilize, get a catheter placed and assess. Keep them on speed dial for the inevitable plea of ehrmagod help me that rings their cell phones at 3:30 AM. And the sense of dread for the 7:45 AM triage is already strongly instilled. Is it a vomiting and diarrhea that can seriously wait until 8:00 AM? Or will you get the stigma of just plain lazy...

"I hate ER," I grumble via text message to Charlie every evening around 9 PM when I thought my paperwork was nearing completion only to have a string of owner visits and less than stable patients. "When do you go home?" chirps the grateful owner you first called at 7:15 AM when you stop through to chat during their 9:30 PM visit. "I will STAB someone if I don't leave ASAP," the words grow serious between internmates as 10:30 PM looms. I scrape the fur from my corneas as I drive home before one am, fighting to maintain one open pupil as the other runs salt and oil down my cheek. I crawl upstairs into bed where Charlie just snores and snores. "When did you get home?" I hear him ask at 5 AM when he wakes up to which I mumble something incoherent along the lines of "I still hate ER," and hit snooze until 5:45.

My goodness, and then that day off hits and I barely make it through the door before I have a wine glass in my hand and toast to the cases I have passed to a fellow doctor and therefore am (hopefully) no longer responsible if they do not leave the hospital.

But at the same time, I don't - I fix things. I help people live better by counseling them through difficult decisions for their pets - their families. People tell me about their life problems, which I cannot help - but maybe I can get their dog home with them for some more time. There have been euthanasias, but I have performed very few for patients that we didn't at least try -something- to patch things up first. People cry, people yell... Some people throw their arms around me - a perfect stranger - and thank me. Or curse me. I come back tired, sometimes burned out - but I still can't manage to not smile.

And I am learning so much every day...

I love this job.

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(no subject)

Apr. 28th, 2012 | 01:05 am

4/28/12

This date, one month from now, I will wake up a graduated veterinarian. How cool.

Never mind the fluster of boxes and possessions that will fly chaotically throughout the walls of the apartment I've called home for almost the past two years. Never mind the miles in between now and my first go at gainful veterinarian employment in nearly two months. And fortunately, the blissful ignorance of goodbyes that will be made joyfully and begrudgingly, even tragically in that interval. How cool is that? Four years of living the dream, countless years of awaiting the dream... the rambling roads and stops and pitfalls and avalanches - every time I told myself I would never get here.

I can't even remember or don't think I could even try to count every time I called myself stupid, ugly, slow, fat, incompetent, a loser - every time I raged how much I hated my life. Every swing where I thought things were better just to shoot myself down hours later. Blood, sweat, tears, anxiety... and love. And caffeine. Things will never be perfect, but they will always be more than just okay. Life is awesome, and beautiful, though disgustingly ironic - the summation is hilarious.

I could have completed this run better, I know I could have. If given the chance, would I? Of course. Every night I should have focused better, every article I should have read or lecture I should have crammed - the time I wasted surfing the internet, flipping through trashy magazines, wishing I were somewhere else - of course, I tell myself I could have done better. But honestly - I rocked this shit like it was my job. I feel competent, scared shitless, and alive.

Three more weeks of clinics and I have a smile on my face I barely recognize. I skip down the halls of the hospital - I laugh uncontrollably. I drink too much. I still waste too much time. I maintain the maturity of a 12 year old boy, and I could give a shit. I LOVE every moment of this. I can't drag myself out of bed in the morning, I'm terrible about regular exercise. But when I'm up, I'm moving. A patient walks through the door and I want to know EVERYTHING.

I have been blessed with the company of some of the most amazing people who have ever walked this life, both here in this experience, and along the roads I stomped to get here. We'll go our separate ways, and I will cry - if not outwardly, and not even that day. But I know it will hit me transiently as I surf facebook, or get the occasional email - we're separated, that convenience ended - the distractions at the gym will become new people, that colleague you can't live without someone new. The surgical duets, karaoke nights, movie dates, candy raids, coffee breaks - they'll all become new faces. I'll continue to be blessed with the people in my life, old and new. But this last four years will be there, the tip of my tongue, the clearest of memories and sentimental smiles.

What happens now? A step towards real life, big girl commitment. Compromise. Insurance plans and liability. Real life decisions and their imposing consequences. Adulthood, and the passing thought that perhaps I -should- consider the consequences of an action though I'll likely proceed no differently. The horrible realization that I am no longer 23 years old that I'll refuse to let keep me grounded. Budgeting, debt, financial panic. More compromise. The beginnings of a bucket list.

Sometimes when I consider the last few days of my sanctimonious space, I picture my things neatly nestled into ordered little boxes - Kitchen, Jewelry, Office Supplies, Bills, Knitting Needles, Picture Frames; all lined up and ready to move, ready to be sorted, ready for the critical eye of my boyfriend who thinks I have too many things that I should sift through and donate/dispose of/etc. I laugh - knowing that while he's right, I enjoy my variety. The simple existence of my cluttered chaos is part of who I am, my little mysteries I never find the words to share as the very explanation is unnecessary.

As the world will rotate under my very feet, I can drag them, or I can keep dancing. Ballet shoes, high heels, slippers, and freshly painted toe nails - shuffling danskos and turned ankles, running shoes and rainboots - just don't stand still. Point and flex, stretch and stomp - and trip, smile, and laugh about it. And call my mother. Call my boyfriend.

And smile. :)

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(no subject)

Sep. 29th, 2011 | 12:19 am

Dear toe.

It's been two weeks since that unfortunate fracture and I'm really sorry about that whole incident, truly I am. But, we need to talk. I need to go running. And I know we've gone those few times while you were recently broken and all, but twice just simply isn't enough to burn off my anxiety. Be fair. I've treated you with cryotherapy and NSAIDs, like one would do for any broken bone, and I even taped you to your buddy toe for support.

I've been being quite nice to you. A few miles isn't a lot to ask. I'll keep it to under 45 minutes, I promise. But you need to stop ballooning up twice your size the next day, and you really need to stop tingling. I have to wear shoes in the horse barn, after all.

Look, think about it, ok? Remember, high cortisol levels can predispose you to founder, and these next few months aren't going to decrease the circulating levels of cortisol. We need to get rid of this stress somehow, and unless you can offer a more productive way to do so, I'm afraid you're going to have to man up.

Love, Me.

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(no subject)

May. 12th, 2011 | 11:54 pm

my very last week of finals ever... ready, set, go...

and enter depression.

GREAT.

in other news, i think i have blackleg, and i don't think the nurse at the health center is going to believe me or just give me antibiotics. my leg is swollen, and i have a cankle. and it doesn't hurt, it's just puffy. it's infected. because that's what happens sometimes when you shred the skin off of it and then drag your open wounds up and down the mud and snow of a ski mountain for ten miles before you get the chance to properly clean it.

seriously, people, hot compresses and bag balm are not doing the trick anymore. i have a pair of running shoes that need to go on my feet and too much nervous energy to sit on my ass with my damn leg propped up and try to talk myself into memorizing the natural history of salamanders. FML. just give me some freaking augmentin and let me go about my wicked ways.

i can't believe this is completely overshadowing the fact that i whooped the shit out of the tough mudder course on saturday and now all i want to do is curl up in a ball and cry because i just can't focus.

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(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2011 | 10:54 pm

i hate myself for saying this, but i had an incredible ab workout to kesha's blow.

also, i have painted my fingernails green, as this may be the last time i'll get to do so for possibly the next year if the rumors i hear about clinicians getting upset at your nailpolish are true.

this weekend i made cinnamon rolls and chocolate raspberry ganache cake from scratch. and chipotle and black bean soup from scratch, just to hear boyfriend say he couldn't eat it halfway through a bowl. which made me sad.

on the brightside, now i have lots of soup to get me through this week.

this will be my last week of swimming class, and the instructor promised me butterfly. i've been diving for the last class, which is a lot of fun. the lifeguard has been teaching me shallow dives so i'll go farther into the pool on the dive and not as deep, as opposed to deep dives from the side. which is so fun to just fly into the water, and i had never really thought about it like that in my fear of submerging my face and having water near my breathing parts. while i will not miss getting home from class and doing nothing for three hours only to get up and go to swimming classes at 745 at night, i think i will miss the consistent classes. maybe i can talk myself into going to lap swim regularly, but we'll see. this is me after all, and my ability to commit to something is dismal and sporadic at best.

last week we started swim testing and the instructor was like great! you're going to take your swim test first. and i just said ahaha i don't have to. and he was like oh really, and why is that? and a few of the students i've gotten to know in the class were like she's a grad student! to which he replied, what? no. and the vehement she's in the vet school, grad student! no swim test! chorus from them sent him to disbelief. and apparantly disappointment, because he said he was really looking forward to watching my swim test. um?

may's cosmo has a to die for pair of pink bebe heels that i need in my life. and opi has a limited edition pirates of the caribbean line with a purple and a green that i love love love.

coincidentally, i will quit working after this weekend until an undetermined date in the future. horror upon horror. tragedy, tragedy.

dear sneakers, please dry out. i know we had a lovely mud run on saturday, but i need another one. like, yesterday.

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(no subject)

Apr. 19th, 2011 | 10:16 am

four intense weeks of lectures and i will sum up this afternoon's exam as follows:

hamsters bite. they should always be handled close to their cage so that following said bite, when you fling them, they cannot fly too far and risk too much of an injury. in fact, this is documented as reflexive rodent flinging disorder, and an accepted risk of working with said creatures. they also can give you a terrible disease called lymphocytic choriomeningitis, a lovely flulike illness with meningitis. they make terrible pets especially for children.

now on a side note, a quick historical lesson here. in elementary school, we performed a song at the spring concert which had a chorus that went as following:

a hamster is the nicest pet that i have ever met

hmm.

ferrets: insulinoma, adrenal disease (from the zona reticularis, not the zona glomerulosa), lymphoma. feed a high quality diet of animal based proteins. don't buy them from marshall farms.

rabbits: gas in the gi tract is good. unless it is a halo of gas surrounding a ball of ingesta. this is very bad. the myth of the jackalope comes from the myxoma virus, which causes horn like growths to appear on the rabbit's head.

and for these above reasons, i am going to get an a+ on this exam. and to celebrate, i am going to hand in a terrible five page paper on managing feline respiratory disease in the shelter, and then i am going to go home and cry from the utter depression of recommending euthanasia for treatable animals.

oh, and i'm going to drink more coffee.

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(no subject)

Apr. 14th, 2011 | 01:18 am

twelve cupcakes done. vegan chocolate cupcakes, half with vanilla notbuttercream frosting, other half with chocolate. all as a little thank you to the kind staff at the kitty emergency room who were nice enough to chop off my tuxedo cat's long skinny tail.

the poor cat is wandering around with the cone of shame like he's had it his whole life. he loses it for food (hooray!) and falls over dead when it's time to put it back on. luckily playing possum works to my benefit, not his, and the collar goes back on, i win. he very likely doesn't need it, i haven't even seen him try to go for the tail sutures. but no way am i running the risk of being a "noncompliant owner". besides, i'm sure within the next day or so it will start to get itchy.

i felt myself overwhelmed with a compelling urge to throw shit away today and indulged my fantasies on a giant stack of handouts. gone, gone gone. awesome. except then i realized that we have to pay for my violent purging tendencies here in good old ithie, so instead, i've bagged up the refuse to transport home. my ipod is charging, i've started to clean the rest of my room, anyways. still have a ways to go and four hours of class (OH CRAP and a buttload of reading to do before that). can't believe it's only been two weeks since i've gone home, and at the same time i can't believe it's only been TWO weeks since i've been home.

and then i can't believe i only have two more trips home including this one!

today i drove by a gas station with a huge sign that said GAS SALE!!!!! for it's gas that was the same price as the gas station across the street. gas sale? as in, yes, you sell gas? and i'm sorry, four dollars is not a sale. but yes, i went to the gas sale and they sold me some gas. and then i had ice cream. the end.

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(no subject)

Apr. 11th, 2011 | 10:28 pm

what a nightmare of a day.

started well. i woke up from an odd dream where i was in the hospital for a cruciate repair. odd. but they let me stay awake for the procedure and just gave me a local block. but i fell asleep anyways, i think, because i woke in the dream to find a long thin scar along the outer part of my knee. but i was recovering quickly. walking within two days.

i planned to do some yoga and read bbc while my coffee water boiled. stretch out, finally feeling the weight of the ferret flu worked out of my body. get some work done, run after class, ready for a beautiful day.

and then my roommate accidentally shut panera's tail in the door and off to the emergency room we go.

(by the way, accidents happen, so this isn't a big deal. but worrisome as cornell's student discount is only 10%. and the emergency fee alone is 130. i'm about to hyperventilate. and cry. because i KNOW how much this is going to cost me and i don't really have the funds to spare. and i'm also about to cry because he's going to look so stupid with a stumpy tail. sooooo stupid. and it's bleeding, and he's hiding.)

so i miss three hours of class sitting in the waiting room. they look at him, and take him for the back for pain medication. where he immediately starts purring and kneading and loving EVERYONE cause that's how he is. finally i get the estimate, 500-600. panic. i ask her to keep it at 350. she says she can try but i need to be prepared that it may be 500-600. but she will cut corners where she can.

seriously i am not going to euthanize my cat because he needs his tail chopped off. nor am i going to give him up. yes, i will go beg people i don't want to ask for money. and i don't even get on the if you don't have money for care then you shouldn't have pets high horse. because that's ridiculous. people have pets because they make life better and SHIT HAPPENS.

my roommate was devastated. i wanted to cry.

where he then made 15 new mommies and everyone wanted to take him home.

and while we wait, my roommate gets into a car accident to boot.

ugh.

what a terrible day.

he's home now. with a cone of shame and a dumb stumpy tail. and i have no desire to do my work, or cook, or anything.

sigh.

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(no subject)

Apr. 10th, 2011 | 12:55 pm

the ferret flu. remember when that ferret sneezed and a tiny sneeze drop flew behind my protective goggles into my eyeball? sure, have the stressed vet student who hasn't had a flu vaccination care for the zoonotically infected ferrets. sure, just bundle up in protective equipment. stop complaining. you'll be fine. you're not traveling five hours back and forth on no sleep. especially when we're fine with letting people not have to deal with possibly contagious patients because they have a dog at home on prednisone. or letting people not have to handle anything that potentially has mrsa because they have children. really? everyone has a dog at home, probably on prednisone. everyone has kids. everything has mrsa. whatever. i know i'm only upset because the one time i asked to not have to handle something that i was actually at a fairly decent risk for catching, i got told i was being ridiculous.

and so, i celebrated my first three day weekend in ithaca by tossing feverishly from bed to kitchen table in moments of grandeur, laced with fits of boredom and despair. and discouragement, as the productive weekend i had slaved to plan dissipated with my hallucinations. burning pains in my muscles, fits of what i think may have been reality. when i could walk, i drank hot hot tea and sat in the shower. bundled up, and drifted back to sleep. woke up sweating, spinning. wait, rinse, repeat. thursday afternoon passed to friday night. i think the fever broke, because i slept through to saturday morning with a clear head. but weak.

at least you got sick on your weekend, and not while you were on vacation like i did, says my supportive boyfriend. that's fine, i said, one up my illness. i am nasty when i am ill. but he quickly countered with an i'm sorry. forgiven.

and because i am a glutton for punishment, last night i jogged two slow miles. and died. and went back to bed.

this morning i lounged until noon and took on three slow miles. or probably just over two and a half, and walked the rest. and promptly came home and wished for death.

now tomorrow let's cross our fingers for four whole miles and a little less death.

and no, i still won't get a flu vaccine. my immune system cleans up just fine.

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(no subject)

Apr. 5th, 2011 | 12:23 am

i may not know anything about the two hours of polycystic liver disease i just experienced but i am getting really, really good at drinking my 64+ ounces of water a day and running to the bathroom every hour.

tonight i am having another argument with physics. specifically, as to why my arms don't feel the need to remain where i put them when i am trying not to drown in swimming class. hold your arm straight until it's time for recovery phase, check. ok, starting, halfway there, and crap, there the arm goes starting recovery anyway. sink. sank. sunk.

it's poetic justice. i'm the only one in the class that can fully point my toes but i can't swim any stroke more complicated than the dog paddle.

i also know more about salamanders than your average 8 year old boy.

seriously, i love my life today.

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