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! ;)


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