Friday’s post

I ended up staying up too late to get a post written last night, so I am making up for it this morning.  It’s still Friday somewhere, so it totally counts as a Friday post.

First lecture was started with MUVSA (Massey University Veterinary Student Association) elections.  We voted on President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Bar (event coordinators).  The people that I voted for did not win, but I’m not terribly concerned with it.  I’m sure that the elected people will do a fine job.  Though I am annoyed that the Girls won the Bar after their terrible campaign making light of alcoholism and setting feminism back a couple decades (why should they be picked? tits and ass of course! *rolls eyes*).  The lecture was boring and I didn’t pay much attention because it is literally ALL in the study guide.  Thankfully he is done for a while and I wont see him again until the end of the semester (a couple weeks break).

Second lecture (immediately following first lecture) was Biochemistry.  More lipid (fat) metabolism.  The lecturer goes through his slides so fast that it’s hard to keep up.  He also puts huge blocks of text on some of his slides (quite literally what you aren’t supposed to do).  At the end of each lecture I feel like a survivor.  I am very thankful for the book to look up what I don’t understand.

After lectures I stayed in the vet foyer studying Physiology for the test next week and waiting for Grand Rounds.  There were three cases presented: Water balloon cow, Snake bite dog, and Leaky puppy.

The water balloon cow was what is called as a “Hydrops” cow.  Upon presentation there were two options, either the water was in the foetal part of the placenta or the maternal part of the placenta.  Either way there was an extreme accumulation of fluid that made the cow look barrel shaped.  The cows that usually present with this are generally very dehydrated and thin.  She was in relatively good condition and upon physical examination it was found that she had started parturition (giving birth) but couldn’t push because her uterus was so extremely distended.  Because she was at a lower risk of shock and in relatively good health they opted to drain the fluid and assist the birth after supplying her with oral fluids and electrolytes.  The risk for shock in less healthy animals is thought to be due to the sudden release of pressure on some of the big veins that go through the abdomen (caudal vena cava being one of them) causing a sudden, substantial increase in blood flow back to the heart.  This cow was fine with the pressure drop and delivered two very small non-viable calves.  She was a 5 year old Jersey with enough value to be worth saving.  If she doesn’t get pregnant again they will likely cull her but since she gave birth early in the season she should be able to have enough time to recover before being bred again.

The Snake bite dog was a case from the US where rattle snakes are the most common venomous death monger.  The little dachshund cross came in laterally recumbent (lying on its side) and very weak with a very swollen paw.  They suspected rattle snake due to blood spots on the dog’s bed and that the dog lived outside in a run while the owners were away.  They took blood samples to test and make sure before dosing with anti-venom and treated for shock (which the poor thing was clearly suffering from).  The tests came back positive for things that indicate a snake bite is likely and a new and experimental anti-venom was tried.  The first dose didn’t cause a marked improvement so after waiting an appropriate amount of time they gave a second dose.  The second dose caused a mild allergic reaction (not as common in other species as it is in humans) which was treated.  The dog was still puffy and sick when it was discharged 3 days after presentation, but was able to walk and gaining strength.  Since it was an emergency facility and all of the follow up appointments would have been with the usual vet, they don’t know how the dog is doing now.

The final case was a 12 week old female Borzoi puppy.  The breeder brought her in with siblings for a routine checkup and mentioned that she was constantly “damp” and peed on her bed, though was able to urinate normally as well.  Upon ultrasound examination they found that she had an ectopic ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder inserted below where it should and bypassed the sphincter that holds the urine in until the properly potty trained puppy goes outside).  The old method of fixing this problem was to go in surgically, cut the ureter and move it to where it should be.  Because Massey vets are too cool for that (and because that procedure held quite a bit of risk being a long surgery with a high chance of hemorrhage) they opted to go in with a tiny scope and tiny scissors through her urethra and cut the ureter back until it was at the level of the bladder (basically opening up the top of the tube so that it goes to the right place, sorry no pics available for that one).  The breeder took her home and she is still slightly incontinent, but hopefully with her first heat the hormones will help with that.  Her new owner (she was sold) has scheduled for her spay to be at Massey after her first heat.  They would normally recommend that she not be spayed, but because this is a heritable condition they don’t want the genes passed on (intentionally or accidentally) so will be doing what is best for her and future generations of Borzoi dogs.

After Grand Rounds was my Animal Handling practical for Cats.  Which meant two hours of snuggling and petting various sweet cats being used at the Massey Research Facility.  They are running nutrition trials on the cats so feeding them various things and seeing how the cats do on the food.  There are some clearly food motivated cats (Tubby Tim hoovered up any food in his vicinity) and some not food motivated cats (one eyed Iko was thin and couldn’t care less about proffered treats).  The building is not labeled because of the crazy PETA types who are opposed to animal testing (even though these cats live the sweet life).  Anyway, we learned how to carry cats, hold cats for blood draws, and how to pop pills down their throats.  Thanks to Littlun (my cat back home) and her asthma I am very good at popping pills down cat throats.  The one other Cat Person and I finished first and passed the test so got to leave by 4 instead of 5 and I caught the early bus home.

For dinner I heated up the last of my leftover soup, and about halfway through consuming said soup my flatmate asked if I wanted to do pizza with her and some of our friends.  FAIL.  I had been craving pizza all day, so finished my soup and agreed to pizza anyway.  I didn’t eat much of it but what I did eat was delicious.  We stayed up talking and hanging out until almost 11:00 pm, and that is why I didn’t get my post written yesterday.


Physiology lab day

Drove myself to school again, getting close to the end of my 1/4 tank of gas so I probably won’t drive tomorrow.  Since I drove myself, I didn’t have to sit around in the library for an hour waiting for my lecture and instead had a very lazy morning.  It was quite pleasant.

Lecture was Biochemistry and we learned about fatty acid synthesis in the liver.  The lectures are finally getting into new material so they are actually interesting.  However, I got back my grade for the midterm for Biochemistry and am less than impressed.  Not terribly surprised since I couldn’t answer one of the 10 point questions, but still disappointed overall.  The points that I earned for each question: 1) 9.5/10, 2) 7.5/10, 3)  7/10, 4) 1.5/5, 5) 1.5/5, 6) 8/10, 7) 3/10, 8) 3.5/5, 9) 5/5, for a total grade of 66.4%.  This is a passing mark but still depressing as it is the lowest score I have received on any test this semester.  The average mark for the test was 69% and the top mark was 97% so my grade is firmly below average.  This is also the first time that I have been below average on a test.  Guess I will have to study harder and not rely so much on my prior knowledge.

Physiology lab today was about blood pressure.  We learned how to take blood pressure and pulse and filled out several tables.  Not sure what we were supposed to get out of them.  At the end of the lab we watched a neat vivisection on a sheep where they did a lot of terrible things to it (while it was anesthetized) like compress its chest and abdomen, inject it with adrenalin, stimulating the vagus nerve (which stopped the heart when done at a high enough volt/amp), and pinching off the carotid arteries.  It was an old video and I’m reasonably sure they killed the sheep after and used it for a class or something.  It means we don’t have to do the experiments ourselves and can save all of the modern sheep from that.  I took my blood pressure and pulse with the automatic machine that we used for part of the lab.  Something is wrong with me because sitting in lab not doing anything my blood pressure was 141/97, my mean arterial pressure was 117 mmHg, and my pulse was 87 bpm.  Which was higher than our test subject during heavy exercise.  Its either from being sick or I was having some sort of secret panic attack that only my body knew I was having.  Looks like I should go see the doctor again.  My lymph nodes are still swollen (though not as bad) and I’ve been coughing for a couple of weeks.  I wish that I had one of those portable digital blood pressure cuffs so that I could take it again while I am home and resting.  Its got me a little spooked.

I’m starting to study for the Physiology test that is next week.  It covers endocrinology and cardiovascular physiology as well as the histology labs.  I guess this is instead of having a separate practical exam.  The cardiovascular part will be multi-choice, the endocrinology will be short answer, and the histology will be anybody’s guess.  So that is taking up most of my “free” time.

My bestie “friend broke up” with me today.  I’m surprisingly relieved by it.  It means that I no longer have to throw energy into something that is not giving me anything back.  It means I have closure.  I have been dancing to Ska music all afternoon (when not studying or eating) and that has helped me get through the more intense emotions.  This puts me at 4/5 best friends walking out of my life.  Not the best track record, maybe I should fix my picker.  Or stop turning my best friends into siblings or dating them so that they leave the “best friend” box and enter the “family” or “significant other” box.


That’s it for me tonight.  Here is a picture of the Beast.


My vehicle

it has a butterfly sticker on the passenger side back window because he is secure in his masculinity

Tired again

Seems to be a recurring theme with the day after the test.  I’ll be going to bed early tonight to make up for it.  I drove myself to lectures this morning as my flatmate left the house before I even woke up.  Not sure where she is, but she hasn’t come back yet.

We have been bombarded with campaign speeches from various third year students all week as voting for various elected positions is on Friday.  We have heard why we should pick Boys For Bar and why we should pick Girls For Bar.  We have been given compelling reasons for both presidential candidates and both secretary candidates.  Honestly, I don’t care.  I don’t know any of them well enough to know if they are suited to the job.  The BFB campaign did promise some non-alcohol related activities and that does appeal to me.  The others are pretty arbitrary, either way I’m sure whoever gets the job will do well.

The Girls For Bar campaign speech made us late for the RADIC meeting so I missed the first half of the first case (or maybe the first case and the first half of the second case).  The part that I did see involved fluid in the space around the lungs.  The next case was a poor dog that kept coming up lame on the same leg.  The first time was a torn ligament that was repaired, the second time was a broken toe (caught in a fence as she was jumping over) and the third was noticed after the toe was repaired as joint problems in the metatarsal joints.  The thought is that the initial surgery caused an infection which has been slowly eating away at the bone.  Once they figure out what type of bacteria is in there they will treat it aggressively and then fuse the joint because there is no more cartilage to make it comfortable to move.  This dog is a very high value working dog so the expensive surgeries to keep her working are worth it.  The next one was a dog that came in because it had collapsed and was having trouble breathing.  The poor thing pretty much had no lung space that was functional and was in kidney failure.  They drained over 2 mililetres of fluid from around its lungs and the x-rays showed pretty much that there was no part of its lungs that were functional.  The last one was a dog that came in for abdominal bleeding.  They took ultrasound first and noticed air filled nodules around the liver so they took radiographs.  On the radiograph it was clear that the liver was enlarged and that gas filled tumors were pushing the other organs out of the way.  The bleeding was coming from the liver.  The poor dog also had very clear tumors in the lungs.

After RADIC I took a walk around campus and sat by the river/stream thing.  It was nice to be out on a sunny day, especially since it is supposed to be rainy for the foreseeable future.  Then I went to see the councilor at the school and talked about a lot of the issues that I have been having.  I have things to work on now to help me be more stable.  No worries, I’m not nor have I ever been at risk for self harm, just on an emotional roller coaster that is no fun.

Leftover minestrone soup for dinner and lots of relaxing tea.

Anatomy Midterm 2

Woke up much refreshed today.  Funny what a full night’s sleep will do for a person.  I went to lectures and even paid attention.  During the usual Anatomy lecture slot there was the second multi-choice lab test.  We were given 15 slides with 3 questions each pertaining to a picture on the slide.  Two minutes were given per slide.  I managed to get 35 of the answers correct and changed a few wrong answers to correct ones.  There were 7 slides where I answered all three questions correctly, and no slides that were all wrong.  Overall much better than the first test (though only one point higher).

I also picked up my Physiology midterm1 (the second midterm is next week) today.  There is absolutely NOTHING helpful comments wise.  I had spelling errors circled and “semipermeable” inserted where I forgot it (hurray being rushed for time).  Still managed 32/40 so not terrible.

This is the last week of welfare lectures before we start presenting case studies.  I am so very glad of that.  This lecturer is the epitome of terrible.  He reads the handout or study guide shamelessly and doesn’t indicate at all what might be important.  He tries to make jokes and gets awkward laughs from the 6 people who were actually listening.  There are no visual aids at all.  According to the third years that I know he does get better when teaching physiology, but this series of lectures is not looked back on fondly.  I hope its part of the curriculum that is changed for next year’s students.

Physiology continued with circulation and small vessels.  There is far too much physics and not enough biology.  Though we did learn about NO (nitric oxide, nitrogen monoxide) and how it works as a vasodilator.  The small molecule is actually produced by the single layer of cells lining the blood vessels (endothelial cells) as part of a larger molecule which is stored in the cells.  When blood flow increases it causes distortion of the cells which triggers the enzymes near the basement membrane (side not facing the blood) to cut the NO off of the larger molecule so that it can diffuse out of the cells.  Since the NO molecules are so small they rapidly diffuse in all directions (including into the blood).  When they reach the smooth muscle of the vessels, it causes the muscle to relax which widens the opening (lumen) and lowers the pressure.  The NO that gets into the blood can trigger down-stream muscle cells to also relax causing a wider range of effect.  This is why Nitroglycerin works for angina patients.  The pain is caused by the coronary vessels being too constricted, the Nitroglycerin is converted to NO and causes the vessels to dilate.  This is also part of the trouble with shock.  When all of your vessels suddenly dilate at the same time you get a severe drop in blood pressure.  Blood can’t get back to your heart, so your heart is pretty useless at pumping which causes all number of problems.

After the midterm, my Animal Handling practical group got together because we are presenting a case report next week.  Our group is presenting on one of the member’s horse’s rearing problem.  We hashed out most of what we are going to talk about.  One of the members is going to turn the notes into a PowerPoint and we are going to get together on Monday to go over it.  The presentation isn’t being graded so we aren’t terribly worried about it.

After the meeting was Anatomy Lab.  Today we started in on the hind limb, which naturally made me think of chicken legs.  Each of the muscles that we looked at corresponds to one on a drumstick.  Made us all very hungry.  We also palpated bony landmarks on a recently deceased racing gray hound.  The lack of body fat made following the hip bones very easy but finding things beneath the thick muscles was challenging.

I drove the Beast to school today, giving a lift to the flatmate who usually gives me rides.  I made sure to park where there weren’t a lot of other cars and actually got in straight on my first shot.  Leaving was another story.  I pulled out of the space fine, but when going to scan my paystub at the exit, I managed to be too far away so had to reverse and pull closer.  Luckily there was nobody behind me.

Quote of the day: “Well, recreational pharmacology is alright” – physio/anatomy lecturer (the Anatomy paper coordinator while giving a Physiology lecture) The context is unimportant, but I think we were talking about ECG’s

Finding a new normal

Things aren’t back to normal, and I’m not sure they ever will be, but we are working toward a new normal.  My bestie is still in a bad way, but he has people with him who can spare the time and I need to get back to my studies.  I saw him twice over the weekend and he is able to laugh again and push through most of the bad stuff.  He says there are still times when he seriously considers suicide as a viable option for him, but those occasions are getting fewer.

I went back to school today and made it to and through all of my lectures.  The stuff that I missed out on is covered pretty well in the study guides and slides posted on line so I’m not too worried about that.  Tomorrow is the second Anatomy midterm (of three) and I have been studying for it, though not as much as the last one since my focus is a bit off.   I have also had a headache all day today which is throwing off my focus and ability to remember things.  Left temporal region, throbbing and sharp combined, not light or sound sensitive, not directly behind the eye, just mostly driving me crazy and making it nearly impossible to read things.

Quote of the day for classes last week: “surgery without anesthetic can be hilarious”

Quote of the day for classes today: “a Mexican Wave” (referring to…the wave…you know, when people stand up then sit back down at say a sporting event? yeah…apparently its Mexican out here)

I don’t even know where to start with that one, so I will leave it at that.

The fan has found the excrement

My bestie’s girlfriend committed suicide over the weekend.  I’m not going to pretend that I liked her or that I thought she was a good person, because I sat powerless while she hurt him over and over.  He is now considering suicide himself.  I needed time to get over my own issues before I could help him with his.  I needed to set a boundary, and now he has decided that it would be best if he ended his own life so that he stops hurting people.  As much as I hated her for hurting him, I never wanted this to happen.  I’m struggling.  Seeing a councilor.  But school is not very forefront in my thoughts.  I don’t know when I will post about school again.

Tuesday’s post

I apologize for missing last night’s post, I ended up going to a movie at the last minute and by the time I got home it was past my bedtime.  The movie was the latest Resident Evil, if you were curious.  I rather enjoyed it, laughed at what some might consider inappropriate moments, and let myself get sucked in enough to be startled when the baddies jumped out.  My favourite parts were: 1) strong female protagonist, 2) strong female antagonist, 3) Michelle Rodriguez (she was my favourite character in the first movie and while I missed a few in the middle, I like what they did with her in this one).

Yesterday for class I actually missed my first lecture (Animal Handling), but if it was anything like today’s lecture all I need to do is read the study guide, more on that in another post.  I missed this lecture because my usual ride to school, my flatmate, didn’t have an 8am lecture so didn’t leave until closer to 9am.  I made it to second lecture (Physiology) and took good notes on the cardiac system as a pump.  Anatomy was also on the cardiac and pulmonary systems and I was able to get good notes on that as well.

After the two hour lunch break was Anatomy Lab where we got to slice into the heart of our dogs.  We also watched the demonstrator cut open a horse heart and then compared that with our dog’s heart.  After going through the preserved material, we were given unpreserved hearts (the animal origin of which I cannot recall).  The differences between the three hearts were very interesting and we had a good time going through them.  We finished lab by about 4:30pm and I took the bus home.

Not wanting to cook because I’m usually exhausted on lab nights, I ordered pizza and was taken to pick it up by my friend from Hawaii.  When I told the girl behind the counter my name, she looked and could not find anything.  She then looked in the computer when I assured her that I had ordered one on line and that it indicated that the pizza was ready to be picked up.  She then told me that they didn’t have any orders for any Justin.  Wow.  Just.  I don’t even.  I corrected her on my name (and wondered how she hadn’t thought “oh this is a female maybe I misheard the male name and this one that looks vaguely similar could be it), got my pizza, and went home to consume it in peace.  After my ever so healthy dinner, I got popcorn at the theater.  So healthy.

Today’s post will come along after I am done with school.