Saturday, December 05, 2009

Stress, stuff that makes it better, and my crazy life continued...

This blog has been quiet, because I have been "laser focused" (ha, ha, that's a gem from my old days in the corporate world) on school. When I'm not at school, I'm either going there or coming back from there, or sitting in my apartment making flashcards and memorizing something super nerdy and science-y. Like how long it takes for Propofol to kick in, and how it's administered, and whether or not you can top it off. (30-60 seconds, IV via catheter, and yes.. yes you can.) Or how you can tell the difference between a reactive lymphocyte and a prorubricyte, should you be looking through a microscope at a blood smear which includes both. Or what antibiotics are unsuitable to give to rabbits. And other fun stuff.

So, basically, my program has stolen my life, and I've become a total recluse. Two weeks ago, I was out the door at 6 am to be at school bright and early to do exams on all of our group animals and report the results to the vets in rounds. The weekend after that, I was at school for twelve hours each day in the kennels and in the barns, taking care of all our school animals. Last week, I was out the door at 5 am to be at school to supervise the first year students as they did their kennel and barn duties. And, in between, I was studying and reviewing while drinking umpteen cups of coffee and trying to get my anxiety in check, because last week I also sat four practical evaluations.

Random stuff that I had to do that will determine my promotability in the program:
  • Put together an anesthetic circuit based on a random scenario given to me, and answer a ton of questions about drugs, duration of action, planes of anesthesia, safety, and patient monitoring in a nerve-racking 15 minute oral exam.
  • Pull a team and a scenario out of a hat and work together to on a particular radiograph, position the patient correctly, manually develop correctly, and answer a series of questions about small animal x-ray studies and anatomy.
  • Read a bunch of urine and blood slides within a certain margin of accuracy and a certain timeframe, identifying a bunch of hard to identify cells for our intimidating as hell Clinical Pathology professor who doesn't tell you if you got them right or not, and mostly just says "Hmmmm. ok..." and scribbles stuff down in her notes, rattling your confidence further.
  • Do a subcutaneous injection on a guinea pig, give an oral dose to a hamster, and hold a rat in the iron grip medical restraint for an intra-peritoneal injection. These were all randomly pulled out of a hat too. I could have picked a mouse or a rabbit, and various other weird lab animal science skills.

I was mostly too exhausted to be as nervous and anxiety-ridden as I usually would have in these scenarios. And most went well, except for the blood and urine slide reading, which I strongly suspect I fucked up, and will be spending some extra time with the teacher on over the holidays. Which, hopefully they let me. I've been kicking ass in the theory portion of her class and usually do well when I'm not panicking in a timed laboratory examination, so here's hoping that counts for special consideration.

And, I am really proud of myself, no matter what the results. Because I am doing it. I am getting it done. I am working hard, and I am out of my comfort zone, and I am four months away from finishing. And it's probably the toughest thing I've ever done in my life, trying to juggle school, and studying, and two jobs, and my own pets, and pretty much doing everything independently since I live alone and don't have much help.

I changed my Facebook status during this week to indicate something about me trying to get through my week of practical evaluation hell, and got a lovely email as a result from Michael, who is one of the boys at the street kids orphanage in Kampala where I volunteered last year, asking me how my practicals were going and sending me the best. Which, honestly, made my day. My month, really. And more important made me step outside my little drama and think about how big the world is, but also how small, and how we are all connected. Facebook is good for that, I guess. Anyway, it made me stress a lot less.

The practicals are done, there's no changing the results, so next is focusing on written exams, which I think I can nail...and looking forward to almost three whole weeks off where I can reconnect with myself, my own pets, my friends, my family, and my old life.

In other news:

  • My parents bought a new house and are moving December 15th. They've lived at their current house since I was seven years old and have talked about moving for the past twenty years. They found their dream home about a month ago, pulled the trigger and are now in panic mode as they have to pack up and unpack in record time. Christmas will be at the new house this year. Crazy.
  • The Toronto Humane Society finally got busted. Tim Trow, the crazy president, and some senior management, including the head vet are charged with animal cruelty. The OSPCA is investigating. The media coverage has been totally sensational, and noone knows what the outcome is going to be.
  • Sue, my oldest friend and the one who knows me better than almost anyone, is pregnant and expecting in June! I'm so happy for her that I actually squealed, and then almost cried when she told me. I'll be writing my RVT licensing exam and she's going to be delivering a baby boy or girl into the world - so much to look forward to in June 2010!

And I think that's all I have time to care about for the next little while... Expect some more updates now that I have some more time.

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