Wow this semester has flown past

I apologize profusely for the lack of posts this semester, and blame it entirely on my inability to balance life and school.  It will only get worse from here however so please bear with me.


Since my last post, I have had an anatomy multiple choice test (which I passed and did better on than the last one), and an anatomy topography test (which I am reasonably sure that I passed but won’t know until grades are posted hopefully sometime soon).  I have also had several labs, lectures, and assignments.  I finished my Agronomy Assignment which was torturous, so I made sure my assignment was torturous to read (citing every sentence, short choppy sentences, and intentional alliteration) out of spite.


In awesome future things news: I am on the Equine Rotation at the hospital!  Which, excitingly, means that I will be sacrificing two nights of sleep next week in order to get my horse fix! I will be paired with a different 5th year each night and either be on call, or have a set time to come in and stay for based on the cases that come in.  Since I want to work with horses when I grow up, this is the most exciting thing ever in the whole wide world.  Slightly LESS exciting than that (but not by terribly much) is the fact that I will be working for a Thoroughbred racing stable (training) over the 3 week break.  This means I will be with horses from 6:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday for 3 whole weeks.  I am beyond excited about this prospect.  It also means that I don’t actually have a vacation between semesters.  But in better news, it also also means that I don’t have to do equine practical work over the summer break so I will get to be home for longer! Always an exciting prospect for me.


That is all that I have for you today.  I am exhausted from studying all week and my brain is pretty mushy.  I haven’t had time to do any weaving this semester, but I have cooked some of my favourite dishes including Mac N Cheese which was to die for, and a lamb rib roast (the leftovers of which I am consuming tonight).


Hopefully it won’t be quite so long between the next post, but no promises.  Thanks for reading anyway!


New Posting Schedule

After nearly 3 full weeks of classes, I think that I have finally settled in enough to figure out when I will have the time and energy to post.  So far it seems like Thursday nights after Anatomy Lab is when I have both.  Usually I would be studying, but after a full day of lectures and gym and lab my brain is pretty much mush, so focusing on study becomes an exercise in futility.  Therefore, you will get weekly posts on Thursdays when I can manage it.  No promises though, and there might be a smattering of other posts if I can get there.

So without further ado, let me tell you about my first four weeks in New Zealand of 2013.

I arrived in the country on a very warm summer day and found myself delayed in customs for nearly an hour, eating up all of my time to change flights.  Thankfully a kind person in front of me let me through ahead of them so that I could SPRINT across the airport to the domestic terminal (a completely different location about 10 minutes walk…I made it in 6) just in time to make my flight.  Which, of course, was delayed by more than 10 minutes.  Rather than missing my connecting flight entirely (which I was afraid of), I actually had time to sit and drink water and cool down before boarding.  The flight from LAX to Auckland had been the most turbulent flight in my experience of flying, but the trip to Palmy was quick and easy.

I was picked up from the airport by the friend who took care of me while I was grieving last semester.  I stayed at their house that first night, and planned on moving all of my things from storage into the new flat the next day.  I slept in the way that only jetlagged and heat exhausted people can, and woke relatively refreshed the next morning.  I then waited for my friends to wake up so they could help me move my stuff because I have never driven with a trailer before and needed a little assistance.  We eventually got up and situated and ready to go, picked up the trailer, picked up my spider infested things, and took the whole car+trailer load to the flat.  From there we unloaded everything in the hot sun and got my room mostly set up with all of my things.  Unfortunately for me and Mr. Shadow, my bedding smelled RANK.  It smelled so awful that I was sure I needed to wash it at least three times.  Double unfortunately, the washing machine hadn’t been delivered yet and I was too tired to drive to the Laundromat.  With nothing left to do at the flat, and no way to stay the night comfortably, I took my helpers to lunch at our favourite sushi place.  After lunch I walked around town with one of my friends while the other went home to get ready for work.  I ended up spending the night at their place again and looking into internet options in the morning.

After that it was a great deal of waiting around for the router to show up and the connection to go through.  We waited an entire week from when I initially set it up to when it finally arrived.  Absolutely ridiculous.  However, the internet has not had any problems since then so I am willing to give this company a chance.  Also I signed up for a 2 year contract in order to get the router free…so I’m stuck with them.

The washing machine finally showed up on Saturday afternoon (I arrived on Wednesday and moved in on Thursday), so I was able to wash my bedding and everyone else washed their clothes.  I’m going to take this time to say that I REALLY enjoy my flatmates this time around (Henceforth referred to as A, E, and M).  They are fun, funny, weird, awesome, and awkward.  In no particular order.  We have dinner together at least once a week, we go shopping together when it suits us, and we can just hang out.  They have also encouraged me to start working out more regularly so I have done more exercise in the last 3 weeks than I did over the entire semester last year.  I also share the house with 3 cats: Mr. Shadow, Serrate (M’s cat) and Gremlin Fivetoes (a foster kitten for M’s friend who is looking for a flat that will allow cats).  Shadow and Serrate are both older cats and they both dislike the kitten, but unfortunately cannot use that as a bonding tool and also dislike each other.  Once the kitten is gone I think they will be better able to work out their issues.

My first week of classes went relatively well.  We were introduced to the paper coordinators and told a little about this semester, and then flung full speed into study.  My flatmates are also really good at studying, which encourages me to be good at studying and procrastinate less (which is why I haven’t posted every night).  We will see how long this habit lasts, but I am going to give it an honest 4 weeks to set in before giving up completely.

My schedule is pretty easy this semester: Mondays – 3 hours lecture starting at 9am followed by 3 hours tutorial starting at 2pm, Tuesdays – 1 hour lecture at 9am followed by one Physiology lab at 10 and one alternating lab/tutorial/field trip for either Animal Industries or Animal Nutrition, Wednesdays – 3 hours of lecture starting at 9am and three scheduled hours for Anatomy lab preperation, Thursday – 3 hours lecture starting at 9am followed by three hours of Anatomy lab starting at 2pm, and Friday is 3 hours of lecture starting at 9am and a free afternoon.  The times my flatmates exercise is during the lunch breaks Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 6am on Fridays.  I am going to start doing the Monday and Thursday lunch hour days (Body Pump = a weight lifting class set to music for 50 minutes, Body Attack a 30 minute aerobic class, and CX Works a 30 minute core workout) and do Yoga with some of my American classmates on Monday and Friday mornings.

As for specifics, I won’t regail you with all of the bloody details of the lectures which can be both intense and incredibly boring.  However, I will try to talk about my Anatomy and Physiology labs when they are interesting.

This week in Physiology we took a section of non-pregnant rabbit uterus and connected it to a pressure sensor.  The tissue was attached to a hook at the bottom of a bath apparatus (to keep it alive), and at the top to the pressure gage, by sutures.  We then introduced hormones into the bath one at a time, and then in tandem, to measure the reaction.  The experiment we designed was to test which hormones blocked uterine contractions during the fear response to prevent parturition.  There may have been a mix up in the labelling of our hormones, because we found that Nor-adrenalin stopped contractions while Adrenalin increased them.  This shouldn’t have worked and should have been the reverse.

This week in Anatomy we got to look at the eyeball and external ear of our dogs.  We were given back the heads of the dogs we started dissecting last semester and will be getting back the abdominal section later in the year.  In previous weeks we removed the skin to look at the muscles of facial expression which are mostly innervated by Cranial Nerve V.  The following week, we removed those muscles and looked at the muscles of mastication, which are mostly innervated by Cranial Nerve VII.  We also removed one mandible and looked at the muscles that the tongue attaches to.  By the time we got to today’s dissection there wasn’t much left of Buddy’s left side of the head.  We enucleated his left eye and studied the structures in and around the globe.  We also cut into his external ear canal to take a look at that, it was pretty gross in there.  There was also a freshly dead dog (not preserved) that we were able to practice with the auriscope on, which was really cool and saved a live dog the torture of 100 newbs digging around in its ears.  For anatomy, none of the dogs were killed specifically for the lab, they were all going to be euthanized for other reasons.  However, the lab demonstrators did euthanize the animals themselves so we respect our dogs very highly and do our best to learn the most we can from them.

That has been my last three weeks in a nutshell.  Now I am off to bed so that I can be awake for Yoga in the morning.

Home again home again jiggidy jig

I made it back to the States in one piece.  Spent the first week with my mum and people I love.  Had a wonderful thanksgiving, and soon will have another (which will make 3 in 2 days).

I still have a cold, and transferred my southern hemisphere germs around all week.  Hopefully everyone else has an immune system that works.  The only person I’m worried about is Grandpa, but we will keep an eye on him and get him to the doctor if it looks like he’s coming down with it.

Today is “black Friday” and I managed to leave my wallet at home, so definitely no shopping for me. 

Slipsliding away

Today was not a good day.  I have been steadily getting better day by day, but today was a backsliding day.  I had a series of bad dreams last night that left me emotionally drained.  Nothing about my bestie, but still enough bad piled up that I felt on the verge of tears for most of the morning.  I slept late, didn’t want to do anything, and had zero focus.  I couldn’t even be bothered playing the Sims, which is saying something because it is currently my favourite distraction.   My most favourite person living in Oregon sent me a game that has been at least somewhat entertaining, but even that was not holding my attention well today.

I went and looked at a potential flat to move into for next semester, but it was a dud.  The room was too small and the rent too high.  Overall it was a very nice house, but I need more space for all of my stuff, especially now that I am having a hard time parting with any of the things supplied to me by my bestie (the too small desk and drawers).  All is not lost however, another classmate is going to be looking at flats over the summer and seems to have similar goals in mind so hopefully we will be able to work something out.  I have a place to store my stuff (just need to get plastic to cover them with as its a garage), so I won’t have any problems with that.

I cooked today.  Cut up some asparagus (because it is spring here, early spring, cheap asparagus season) and mushrooms, covered them in oil and balsamic vinegar and then roasted them in the oven.  I also boiled up some pene pasta and improved a jar of sauce with mushrooms and fresh garlic.  Piled all of that together and that was my dinner.  The fresh garlic made the sauce amazing even though it had roasted garlic already in it.  I think I will have the leftover veges with rice tomorrow.

Just Keep Swimming

I reviewed more Anatomy and Physiology today.  I avoided respiration and focused on the other things.  I ate an apple and cheese over the course of three hours, then half a brownie-mug, and for dinner I had leftover pizza from last night.  So I have at least been feeding myself.  Not the best diet, but better than nothing.  Reviewing is extremely boring and I hate it, but it is helping me re-orient where all of the information is so that I can look it up faster during the “hard core” study sessions.

I went grocery shopping for the first time in weeks.  It was an expensive trip, but I have things to sustain me while I’m studying.  Proper breakfasts and lunches will definitely help.  I also have some good dinner ideas.  Cooking always relaxes me so hopefully it will help.  I still need to buy my beers for after the tests, but that can wait till next week.  I also still need to pick up Sunday’s roast, so I should be able to kill two birds with one stone.

Oh, I also got my grades back for my last two tests.  Anatomy (which was the week after my bestie’s suicide) I managed a 70% on about 2 hours of study, so not going to apply for impaired performance (it would only bump me up about 5%, so not really worth it).  Physiology was an average of about 70% overall with the breakdown being: Histology ~56%, Cardiology ~70%, and Endocrinology ~82%.  Considering that I only really studied Endocrinology, guessed about 50% of Cardiology, and briefly glanced through Histology the day before, I’ll take it.

That’s it for now.  Boldly going forward ’cause we can’t find reverse.

Hind limbs are not as cool as front limbs

Today was difficult to get out of bed again, thanks to rain and darkness due to daylight savings and living in a rainy place.  Somehow I was able to drag my sorry carcass out of bed and to school on time and ready to give the presentation with my group.  We did well and got compliments from other people both on the presentation and on the horse (to the horse owner not the rest of us, that would have been weird).

First lecture this morning was about cattle yards, I’ve already seen/heard that lecture so I didn’t have to pay too much attention.  Second lecture we started in on Respiration in Physiology and there was WAY too much mat involved.  I kept up but not sure I followed.  Thankfully we don’t need to know the equations or use them for anything, just understand the concepts, which I should be able to do.  Third lecture started in on locomotion, which I would think would be a physio thing but apparently we are doing it in Anatomy.

We got our Anatomy Assignments back today.  I managed a 6/10, which is passing and only slightly below average which was 7/10 so not terrible.  The comments said that the writing was adequate but lacked polish (well it was a rough draft that I couldn’t be bothered sprucing up since its a tiny percent of the overall grade), and that the picture was adequate but didn’t add anything (well I’m not an artist, he was lucky I included one at all).  So for what I turned in it was a fair grade.

For lunch I really wanted a burger, but the only burgers in the cafeteria were fish burgers and I wanted a chicken one, so no burger for me.  Instead I ate the lunch that I packed, and it was good, but not a burger.

Lab today continued with the hind limb, working on the last of the upper limb and then moving down to the lower limb between the stifle (knee) and hock (heel).  We were not focused or very awake so it took forever, but we managed to finish before we got kicked out.  We couldn’t find everything we were supposed to look for, but there were pro-sections done by the demonstrators that were labeled that we could look at so we didn’t miss anything.

After lab I drove one of my classmates home (she lives really close to me and on the way to pizza) and then picked up pizza for dinner.  Not cooking is the best kind of cooking for after lab.  Plus no dishes.  I have had a headache since lab ended and been exhausted most of the day, so I haven’t studied anything.  Getting a good night’s sleep so that I can be awake tomorrow is more important than studying when I won’t retain anything.  So good night internet world, until we meet again, adieu.

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.