Tuesday, March 25, 2008

a perilously overdue update

i do feel bad i haven't been updating my blog. I have been busy since i came home. and more than that, there is something different about living alone that made me contemplative. I am writing right now from the NICU at NBC (NICU = neonatal intensive care unit) and if you know me at all you know that it makes me very happy to be around baby animals. the newborn horses are as cute as i expected them to be and i have gotten a lot of hands on time with the babies in the two days i've been here in the NICU.

i can't face transcribing all my adventures in the time i haven't been updating but here's a brief rundown of my last ten weeks.

practicum started jan. 14th 2008. my first week was orientation (= look! It's a big horse! Don't let it kick you) and an introduction to equine/large animal nursing.

second week: evening nursing: 3-11:30 pm: regular nursing care (medications, comfort checks, temp/pulse/resp. rate... putting in catheters, drawing blood, IV care)

third week:midnight nursing: 10pm - 8:30 am: I stayed up all night for the first time ever! the first night i thought i might die (but i didn't). after that i had no trouble sleeping all day. it really fucked me up though, sleep wise.

fourth week: field service: i accompanied the ambulatory vets from NBC. I performed lots of rectal exams on cows ('performed' being a generous description: i had my arm up a lot of bovine butts but i don't really know what i felt, other than the poo).

fifth and sixth weeks: anesthesia: i assisted in the induction, maintenance and recovery of animals during suring

seventh week: clinical lab: big time boring: i learned how to do manual blood counts. boring.

eighth week: OR (operating room) possibly my favorite week--i love the excitement of emergency surgery but it's hard to be learning during an emergency.

ninth week: pathology: incredibly smelly and grosser than i thought. way grosser. interesting intellectually but very frustrating from the nursing perspective--i didn't know enough anatomy/histology to get much out of the necropsy except for the odor.

tenth week: sports medicine. technically this should have been interesting but sports medicine is the most 'horse-y' week so far--the only time i've felt really lost not in teh medicine/physiology/science but in horse people, horse language, sports horses etc... and it was boring.

11th week (now): critical care nursing : ICU/NICU and colic barns/isolation. so far so good.

i have lots more to write about. exciting things, sad things, but not this moment. it's 12:52. I got into NBC this AM around 6:45 and i am off at 3:30. i need to work out on the TM before i go to bed tonight.

one of my rats died last night/this morning. It was expected. I thoguht he was dying two weeks ago (depressed, not eating, ataxic, bilateral hind limb paralysis/paresis) but after about 3 days of deterioration he made a total turnaround (the st. patrick's day miracle!) he spent last week ambulating well, eating and being generally a happy rat. then last night he seemed a little dull and when i checked on him this AM at 5:45 he was cold and stiff. i think he had a stroke two weeks ago, recovered mostly (he was always lame in his right hind) and then stroked out for good. He died the way i wanted him to--in his cage, peacefully, with his friend, surrounded by good food. I also feel like i got a whole week with him that was a gift. I really appreciated his survival last week and he got special treats (baked potato, pancakes, chicken parm, meatloaf) every day. it was a good last week for him as he certainly seemed to enjoy everything.

i will try to write more and update more frequently. the truth is i'm still alive, still thinking and still doign cool things.