Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deep breaths

Hey all. I am taking a quick break from studying, as I need to wake myself up before I have another go at learning all the stuff we're meant to know. So I figured I'd make myself a coffee, and update here, and then get back to it!

First, for the 2nd part of my birthday 'shenanigans', Andrew took me out to dinner at the pub/restaurant where we had our first date (awwww!). It was very delicious and yummy. He also gave me the last of my presents, which was an awesome coaster which reads "It's my birthday, so I can put ketchup on whatever I want!" and then a small bottle of ketchup. It's sort of an inside joke, but really it's just that I drown pretty much any acceptable food in the stuff, so it was a perfect gift! Haha. :) His parents gave me a lovely scented candle, which smells like pomegranate!

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Andrew and I took a trip up to St. Andrew's for the night, where we had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with Andrew's friend from uni. I've already mentioned her in this blog back on the entry about our first trip to St. A's, but anyway, she is from America, and single-handedly cooked us an entire Thanksgiving feast, with all the trimmings. It was absolutely fantastic, and I wished I had a bigger stomach to eat it all!
The whole group at Beth's! Beth is the second from the left!
Queuing up for food!
Then, unfortunately, after all the festivities, the real studying began. But Anik and I still found some time to decorate the flat, and wrap some presents. And we even made a quick trip to the Christmas market to find some gifts for our friends (and the kitteh!)
The kitteh gets a new collar! She immediately ripped off about 1/3 of the bells, but oh well, it was fun for 5 minutes!
A bad quality, but nonetheless hilarious picture of the kitteh discovering fairy lights!
The pile of presents under our little tree has slowly grown!
The Christmas Market always has a festive atmosphere!
Also, in other news, the kitteh had a mini vacation at Andrew's flat at the weekend. This was because she is going to be staying with Andrew while I'm home for a week over Christmas, and we wanted to make sure that I could be there the first time she was, so she got used to the new environment with her momma and didn't stress out :) Also, it's always good to have an animal go into a carrier without the vet being the destination, because then they don't associate the carrier with bad evil vets (ha!). And also we thought Anik could use a break from Tornado Tsuki!

So I mostly just studied all day and made sure the cat didn't destroy anything in the room she was confined to. Overall she was very good, in fact better behaved than she usually is. I suspect not having to salivate over the rats and hamster (and constantly be thrown out of the room when she antagonises them) had something to do with it :) She is a great traveller and didn't get car sick or freak out about being put in her carrier.
While we were there I helped put up Andrew's Christmas tree! I particularly like the mini 'Queen Elizabeth' on the top (although I suspect it's not meant to actually be the Queen)
This past Monday (cue scary music) exams began! The first exam was a practical exam, and was thus very straightforward. We were given a case example where a dog has stepped on some glass, and we needed to insert a single simple interrupted suture. Anik and I had practiced on our crazy fake skin pads the night before, so we think we did fairly well. I was nervous (as always in the practical situation), but as far as I can tell I did everything right, and tied my knots properly.

Tuesday's exam was another practical. Everyone thought, judging on previous years, that it would be scrubbing in, or handwashing, which was pretty straightforward, but it turns out we were examined on instrumentation! Fortunately someone tipped us off after their exam early in the morning, and we were able to study well enough to do really well.

Now, I'm going to rant for a minute here. While I understand why instruments are very very important in all kinds of medicine, and I also understand why you need to know which instruments are for what (i.e. using something that causes puncture wounds on a hollow organ would be bad), I think it is stupid to learn the names of these instruments. Now, if these intruments were called things like "soft-tissue forceps" or "intestinal forceps" or "arteriole haemostats" then I would gladly name them all. However, here is a small smattering of the names of instruments we had to know:
  • Kelly haemostats
  • Crile haemostats
  • Mayo (Mosquito) haemostats
  • Rochester-Carmalt haemostats
  • Rongeurs
  • Balfour retractor
  • Gusset retractor
  • Finochetto retractor
  • Gilleys
  • Mayo-Hegar needle holders
  • Olsen-Hegar needle holders
  • Debakey forceps
  • Rat-toothed forceps (which as least describe it's appearance)
  • Allis tissue forceps
  • Adson-Brown tissue forceps
Why is it that instruments are named after silly old farts in human medicine? It would be so so so much more straightforward to name them as they are, rather than give some old dude a feeling of fame and accomplishment by naming something after him.

Ok, rant over. Moving on. Today's exam was a 'Spot' exam, which is sort of like a practical knowledge exam. We were shown pictures of post-mortem specimens (or in one case, living animal with an obvious problem), and asked to describe the abnormalities, and then describe possible causes or pathogenesis of these conditions. This one was hard, I'll admit, because I think it's a very subjective thing (and I'm convinced everyone sees colours differently), but fortunately most of the points were in the descriptions, which were fairly straightforward. I did know a few of the causes, but most of that was just guessing.

Tomorrow's exam is the really terrifying one. Tomorrow's exam covers drugs, anaesthesia, diagnostic imaging, surgical principles, and clinical oncology. Basically, everything that is most difficult to learn is piled up in one exam. Joy. So I may be back in August for this one. But similar to last year when I retook Animal Husbandry, this is one of those subjects that I would probably benefit from relearning over the summer, and I may just do that regardless of whether I pass or not. In fact, most of the people I know retaking this course are glad they are, because they understand it so much better. But obviously I'm going to try my best, and hopefully do well on the first try!

Friday's exam is another scary one, which is pathology. This is so detail oriented that it's frightening, but at least most of the time the pathogenesis is fairly straightforward and even if you don't know what the cause is, you can usually work backwards to figure at least most of it out.

Friday after my exams I'm going straight to the doctor for my last Rabies vaccine (yay!) and then hopefully I will still feel well enough to do some last minute Christmas shopping before going out for Andrew's work's holiday dinner. Then Saturday is a day full of relaxing and packing before heading home on Sunday!