a little happy. a little sad. a lot tired.

It's been awhile, I know. I'd say I'm sorry and I won't do it again, but I'd be lying. So, let's just move on.

Vet school year 2: ass. kicker.

After a super busy summer of working 70 hour weeks, diving back into school 8 weeks ago was and still is... brutal. Second year, my friends, is no joke. Tests every week are literally driving me bonkers. Between that and work, I'm pretty sure sleep is something I will never see again. I know my last post talked about being the most tired, ever. But frankly I was naive. I didn't know! I didn't know what was in store for me! So, folks, be kind to your veterinarian. People don't realize that yes, we are in medical school. Yes, it is a grueling four year program. Yes, I have to learn about every animal species known to man (slight hyperbole, but you get the point). Yes, we have to take board exams to be licensed.

At the end of this year we also have a cumulative exam over the material from Y1 and Y2. No pass, no move on to Y3. It's terrifying and I feel like it's the monkey on my back that keeps bopping me in the head. Hard to focus on one block at a time when you know in 8 months you have to take a test on allllll the blocks. Ever.

Clearly, it's not all rainbows and sunshine over here and frankly, it's the exhaustion talking. So, things that have happened since summer? I moved! New apartment, new roommate, and it's amazing. I love my place and I love my new roommate. We also adopted 2 older kitties. I didn't know if my heart was ready after losing my buddy in April, and while it still hurts to think about him and I miss him dearly, these two little fur nuggets are a joy. We adopted a 15 year old and an 8 year old. Best decision we've made thus far. Photos of them will happen eventually, but right now I'm too tired to upload them.

I also ran my fourth Disney half marathon, though I use the word 'ran' loosely. Note to the universe: do not run 13.1 miles without training and while you have the flu. It nearly killed me. But I did it and then spent 3 days in Disneyland popping cold meds, blowing my nose and hanging out with my family. Vacation well spent.

Those of you in California, and perhaps afar, know that we've had some wicked wild fires this year. There were two recently that were close to the Sacramento area and I'm so proud of how my school responded. Faculty and students spent countless days and hours searching for and rescuing displaced animals. The hospital has taken in over 50 burn and smoke inhalation patients and is treating them purely from donations, as well as any other funding sources they have available. It is astounding to see how this community has pulled together to provide top notch care to these injured and scared animals. I had the honor of working with many of the burned feline patients on a clinical rotation yesterday and I can honestly say that it was life changing. Thankfully, about half of the patients have been found by their owners, but the others still need to find their people! If you're so inclined, check out the UC Davis SVM Facebook page for more information and spread the word. And, if you have the urge to share some generosity, donations are still gladly being accepted as many patients still require intensive care.

That's pretty much the extent of exciting and happy news in my world. If you only want happy, move on now. I suggest looking at these adorable photos of cats using dogs as pillows.

On to more serious business. In the past year the veterinary community has lost several beautiful souls. Some to tragic accidents and others to suicide. We can't control the accidents, but we can do something about the suicides. This is a wonderful, rewarding and truly amazing profession. I have joined a family of brilliant, caring people, not just at UC Davis but across the globe. I think one would be hard pressed to find a tighter knit profession than this field. So when one part of our family suffers, we all do. Last week a second year student at the Ohio State veterinary school took his own life. As with any suicide, we will never know the reasons why or what demons he was fighting that were telling him he wasn't good enough/strong enough/worth it. But to his friends, family and classmates I would say, you are not alone. We feel your sadness and confusion with you. To those who have had the same thoughts I would say, hold on just a little bit longer. You matter. You are good enough. You are smart enough. You will make it. This is a demanding field and getting through these programs take a serious toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Just hang in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Find your joy again. Remember why you wanted to dedicate your life to this field. Your classmates and your colleagues are here for YOU. You MATTER,

I repeat. You matter. #VetStudentsUnited


what year is it or how i feel when i sleep all weekend.

I have never known tired like the kind of tired I experienced last week. I don't think I have ever fully appreciated sleep or the comfort of my bed until I was physically unable to spend time in it. Last week was perhaps the busiest week of my life. I've committed myself to three jobs this summer, my two regular ones and the third one in a research lab. Pharmacy staff and surgery technician by night, lab rat by day. Totally feasible, right?

Yes. Except for when it's not and your week explodes on you. Or when you realize that you overbooked yourself. Being on call 5 out of 7 days, plus shifts at the pharmacy, 2 days in the lab, a full day at a conference in Berkeley and a day previously committed to a baseball outing (by far the most fun, but the driving nearly killed me). Needless to say, I was one tired pup. I don't know how I made it.

But as a result, I have been comatose nearly all weekend. Waking only for basic needs and picking a friend up from the airport. I regret nothing. And now another week approaches, which oddly is the exact opposite of the last week. I'm not on call after tonight and only 2 pharm shifts. I might actually get to have a little of summer-time fun!

Grades are also up for our final block of vet school year one. My results are as expected and thus I can close that chapter. Minus the whole still needing to revise stuff over the summer so that I don't lose it all, but that's a worry for another day.

I'm off to, well, probably sleep. That 3:15 am wake up call for work will come soon. Too soon.


year one down.

Where has the time gone. I feel like I just moved back to California, and yet it here I am having completed my first year of veterinary school. It feels a little surreal. This past year has been a wonderful adventure that has put me through the emotional gamut and left me swimming in the wake of its many storms. I have do some of the most amazing things in this first year, things I never thought I would get to do. I have worked harder, studied longer, and slept less than I ever thought possible. But I have survived and did not fail miserably, which is always a sort of small victory.

Despite having finished my first year a week ago, I feel even more exhausted and over worked than I did before thanks to my work schedule this week. Apparently, when people know that you're the one not planning on any major summer vacations, all the shifts fall to you. The money making is always nice, but man am I tired and need to sleep for about 24 hours straight. But, I did get to assist on a pig c-section, which from what my resident's were discussing is not a common procedure, so again one of those small victories! I also just started in a research lab again, for the summer, and while it is nice to get back to bench work and hands on science, holy crap balls did I forget that it is a completely different set of brain skills that I need to utilize. It's been information overload for the past couple days, reading papers and trying to keep up with a bunch of board certified pathologists and virology PhD students, but I'm hanging in there.

So much has happened in the many months since I have had a moment to sit down and write out my thoughts. The most difficult to talk about is the passing of my favorite furry friend. I was forced to say goodbye to Heimlich almost 2 months ago. It still hurts. It's still hard. I still look for him everyday when I come home, miss him snuggling with me while I sleep, and even sometimes miss his ridiculously early morning wake up calls for his breakfast. A lot of people don't understand and look at me like I'm crazy when I talk about how much I miss my cat, that I had him cremated privately and have his ashes in a small cat figurine urn, and that I'm just not ready for another pet and won't be any time soon as far as I can tell. But, he was my little, constant, furry friend. After almost 15 years of him being a part of my everyday, let alone the past couple years as his health declined and my daily schedule revolved around feedings and medications and not leaving him home for too long unchecked because he would decide to lose his ever-loving-mind medically, to have that just gone so suddenly is impossible to describe. As a pet owner and veterinary student I'm plagued by the guilt of did I wait to long to say goodbye, was he happy at the end, did I do the right thing all this time? The morning of his passing he was in such good spirits, snugging and kneading and hanging out with me at 4 am when I got home from work. And looking back that past week, he was far more affectionate than normal for him. I think he knew something I didn't. And then he crashed, so quickly, so fast. After sitting in the emergency room at the teaching hospital for several hours and talking with the clinician and student all seemed like a potential bought of normal GI upset for him, he appeared stable enough to take home. I wish I had never made the decision to take him out of the hospital. Even though I'm planning on going into large animal medicine, watching a pet go into hypovolemic shock is not something I would ever wish on any pet owner, large or small. It was terrifying, heartbreaking and one of the worst experiences I have ever been through. I rushed him back, sad my all too quick good byes and he was gone. I still can't talk about it (or write about it) or think about it without tears streaming down my face. My little orange dude, I will miss him forever.

Apart from that, life has been full of the normal ups and downs. Relationship and friendship struggles and triumphs. Failures and successes in school. Finally reaching my stride to some extent in all my jobs. Being back in California means I got to be home to celebrate my nephew's birthday for the first time in a couple years. I get to spend time with my family over the summer or for short weekend trips when I don't have to work. I think that has been one of the greatest blessings of this whole veterinary school adventure.

So what will this summer entail? Work, lots of work, and some fun times sprinkled in between. I have to remind myself that as much as the experience is good and I want to do a great job (especially in the lab, to not look like an idiot!), I also need to give myself a little bit of time off, because year two will be here before I know it. I'm moving to a new apartment in August with a new roommate, and I'm so excited for that chapter of this journey to begin. As much as I hate moving, it'll be a fresh change, a way to move on from losing Heimy and hopefully build a place that feels like home for the remainder of my time here.

I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing, all the little details and fun things I've done. (Short recap of some school/club adventures: got a behind the scenes tour of Monterey Bay Aquarium = amazing, learned how to dart (for tranquilizers) wild animals using various darting guns = so. much. fun., did my first abdominal ultrasound on a dog, successfully assisted on a couple surgeries for work, participated in a couple necropsies, and had the privilege of doing a ruminant palpation on a fistulated cow... plus other stuff I can't remember because it's almost 7 am and I've been up since 3:15 am, don't judge me.)

That's all for now, ttfn and as Bob Barker always said, don't forget to spay and neuter your pets! ;)


is it caturday yet?

Exhausted, weary, spent, and dare I say dog-tired. That is me after this week. I'm about five minutes away from crawling in bed and passing out.... and it's 8:00 on a Friday night. I don't even care.

It has been quite the eventful week around these parts. Early in the week my dearest, darling, old man cat decided to give me a scare. I'll spare you the boring details, but needless to say we ended up at the VMTH emergency service at about 11:30 at night all to find out whatever was going on had quickly passed and he was fine. I often wonder if parents have that fleeting moment of "I'm going to murder you as soon as we get home" whenever something like this occurs with their children. I'm not gonna lie, it crossed my mind as I forked over my debit card and paid for an hour's worth of exams and questions leading to unremarkable findings. But it was quickly replaced by joy and getting to spend a little more time with this guy. And for that, I am grateful! 

After no sleep that night, I just haven't been able to catch up! Yesterday was one of my clinical rotation days, which are usually exciting and scary all at the same time. I followed a fourth year student around the hospital in small animal medicine all day long. And I mean alllll daaaayyy lonnnnng. About 13.5 hours long. I literally do not know how those students do it. And then I realize that I'm going to be one of those students in just 3 short years and have to go cry in a corner for a minute to calm down. Combine that knowledge and panic with the fact that I'm nearing the end of my musculoskeletal block, which means a written and practical exam are looming on the horizon. Which of course means I have found every method available to avoid finishing my lectures notes to begin reviewing. I've cleaned the kitchen, my bathroom, organized my desk, cleaned off my computer, and I'm about tempted to organize a jar of buttons I have by color and size. Seriously. It doesn't help that today's anatomy lab went horrifically as my team and I tried to locate the blood vessels in the pelvic limb. An hour in I was ready to set my scalpel down and walk out. Which I obviously didn't but still, there's nothing like ending a long week on a frustrating note to just set a bad tone. It also piles up to make you freak out and wonder if you're cut out for this crazy wonderful life that is veterinary school.

But, now that I've showered, cuddled with my furkid and eaten ice cream, the panic has receded (although not about those lectures, that's a must do soon task), and the self doubt has wandered back into my brain for now. It also helps that tomorrow I'm going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (for free!) which I have never been to even though I've lived in California most of my life and I'm going with the wildlife club at the vet school so we get to see all the behind the scenes stuff!

So now it's time to watch some netflix, get some more kitty snuggles in and sleep away today's worries.


look who's back. back again.

See? Still alive.
A three and a half year hiatus, not too shabby.

But I'm back. Well, sort of anyways.

I can't guarantee I'll post always, often, frequently, occasionally or even sometimes. Let's agree to sporadically.

What has happened in the past three and a half years you ask? So much, and yet sometimes it feels like nothing at all. So where to begin....

I finished my masters degree on time (hard to believe I know) but decided to stay in Texas for an extra year (yes yes, I am a total glutton for punishment) and work. Why you may ask? Good question. Because I was lucky enough to get hired as a veterinary technician before graduating and decided to forgo pursuing the PhD prospects I had already put out into the ether and dive into finally applying to veterinary school like the younger, brighter, version of myself had once planned to do. So I stayed and I worked. First for a veterinary hospital.......

*side note: this hospital saved my cat's life when he decided to stop eating while I went home for christmas that year and then miraculously decided they liked me enough to hire me and teach me SO much amazing knowledge.*

..... then for a low cost spay neuter organization.

 *side note: again, these people were amazing and gave me such valuable experience*

During that time I bit the bullet, applied to veterinary school, went to a couple interviews and by some miracle of miracles made it to one of the best veterinary schools in the world. Which also meant getting to come home to California. And somewhere in there my manuscript from my thesis work got published. Phew!

Vet school life is rough
And now I'm a full fledge first year veterinary student! I have never studied so much or learned so much so fast as I have in the past 6 months. It has been a whirlwind. Besides all the hard work, long days, and bemoaning about normal school woes, I have gotten to do some of the coolest things since being here. Today, I drew blood from a sheep on my first try. That, my friends, is pretty cool. Tomorrow, I get to shadow in the hospital and learn all about being on a small animal medicine rotation. I am doing things and learning things that I never would have thought possible, and I am utterly astounded. I spend my days in a place that houses some of the most brilliant clinicians, researchers, instructors and specialists in the world, all people who have more initials behind their name than frankly should be humanly possible. It's sometimes terrifying but always bewildering, humbling and exciting. It's also pretty wonderful having these people at your fingertips when you
have an almost 15 year old cat who has a chronic illness that you're constantly trying to adjust your management of and often need medical and nutritional support. Ah-mah-zing.

Studying for daaaaaayyys
Now that I'm back in California, I get to spend more time with the family, and I'm not going to complain about that, not even a little bit. I had my first Thanksgiving with them in three years. This year I'll get to celebrate my nephew's birthday with him. My heart is full. I know that as I progress through this program I won't get to go home and see them as much as I would like, but having the option is enough in my book. Of course moving meant leaving people I adore behind in Texas and beyond, and I do miss them terribly. But it also meant getting to meet so many new wonderful people here. And also not so wonderful people, thought I got to leave some of them behind too. I guess it all balances out. That's life.

I also just accepted two position at the school, yay employment! I have the pleasure of working as a barn nurse in our livestock barn at the hospital and in the hospital pharmacy. So bring me my calendar and some coffee because my life is about to get busy and scheduled down to the second. And I love it! It's not all work though, there are a lot of opportunities to do fun stuff outside of school and work. Like getting to go to Monterey Bay Aquarium this weekend, for free, and behind the scenes! Or getting to do a high ropes course at the beginning of the school year.

That's about it. Sure there's more happy stories and blood and gore somewhere in those missing years, but frankly I'm tired and have to get up ridiculously early so let's just leave it at that shall we? Here's to a crazy four years (and beyond) and since so many people have asked, I'm going to try to keep this as up to date as things allow.

Go Aggies!


quick, dirty and boring.

I'm still alive and kicking, just incredibly busy. Who knew grad school meant you had no time? Hmm.

I basically live on campus between my own classes, teaching labs, office hours and doing my own research. And, FYI, I'm finally getting a decent amount of awesome cell growth, it only took 3 months to get 6 total kick ass culture flasks, some mediocre ones, and then a slough of crappy ones. But hey, that's science right? However, because it's taken so long, I watch over those babies like a hawk. You know how a lioness protects her cubs at the cost of her life? Forget that, I'll protect them at the cost of your life because if anyone jacks with them I fear I will not be able to control my inner beast! Rawr.

When I'm not holed up in this building....never seeing the light of day....I'm actually hanging out with other grads and co-workers, which is pretty spectacular. There are some awesome kids here and that makes the pain a little easier to deal with, as does the beer. Beer, in a dry country, what? Let's hear it for some loophole allowing bars and restaurants to serve booze.

A few weeks ago I flew home for a whirlwind trip to LA and Disneyland to run the half marathon again. We finished, 10 minutes faster than last year amazingly enough, but my god was it bloody painful. That's what happens when you move several months before a major run and have zero time to train. But it was great to see the fam, especially that ADORABLE and chubby nephew of mine. He's absolutely gorgeous!

Things haven't changed much as far as everyday life goes. I still maim myself frequently, I was sporting a bruised goose egg on my arm for a week or so from running into the lab door. I now have the marks of a molecular biologist: bruises on the undersides of my forearms from working in my culture hood. Schveet.

The temperature has dropped a bit, so I don't feel quite like I'm living on the surface of the sun still, which is fantastic. I can actually go outside and enjoy it!

That's bout it, boring I know, but unless you want all the nitty gritty details on cell culturing, that's all I've got folks! Time to go study for my first round of exams, joy.


this has to make me like a black belt in bad ass or something.

What makes a good day go bad fast? When you set your washing machine to do a quick load, run an errand and come back to find that the water is still sitting in the tub.



Then get pissed. I pulled out the tools, ripped the back of the machine off, read the technical papers, googled the shit out of the problem, cuss, sweat, cuss some more, finally think that maybe it's something simple and not a grand technical issue that's going to require you to hand bail out the water in the tub and wring out the clothes before throwing in the still functioning dryer, and take a screw driver and JAM it in the spot where the lid switch is....

and the machine springs to life and spins.



So what does one do to avoid having someone come in and dismantle the beast to replace a freaking plastic thing that's no longer poking down far enough?

Well this chick learned from MacGyver, took a waxing stick (think popsicle stick), snapped it off and tapped it to the plastic thing that's supposed to activate the switch.

And guess what?

It bloody works.

Can I get my belt now? I really need to go serve up some ninja justice.