The chronicles of a veterinary student, foodie and self-proclaimed geek
The chronicles of a veterinary student, foodie and self-proclaimed geek

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Abbreviated posts

. . .are what I resort to when I really should be studying for my upcoming licensing exam.

I hope you voted today. And remember, we only vote every other year, but we spend money every day. Be conscious of the politics behind what you consume and where the money goes.

I met my shaggy-headed long-time crush, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, this weekend. He looks much younger in person (pre-mature gray, I believe) and is extremely nice.

I scheduled my first job interview this weekend (no, unfortunately not with Alameda East).

I got to put stitches in a llama's butt today.

Noww back to studying. Tonight will be antibiotics.

Dana Lee 22:52

Sunday, October 29, 2006


My wish list

I've decided to make gift giving easier for all for the upcoming holidays and my eventual graduation. And I'm a greedy brat. But, as the title says, one is entitled to wish. Please note that I prefer to receive USED (but in very good condition) books. Save the trees!

In-eh 'spensive:

Replacement blades for my veggie slicer (Asian grocery stores probably have it cheaper than this web site.)
I lost one of my blades a year ago and have missed it dearly. Must have julienne carrots!

A guitar dust cover
So I can leave my guitar out where I can easily pick it up for a few minutes of practice without it letting it get all ooky

Egyptian Goddess Candle and/or Soap

Neutrogena mineral powder
I never wear foundation, but after 32 years of living and 3.5 of those years being spent in vet school, I think my skin needs something for nice occasions. And I heard that this stuff is super light.

Not So 'spensive:

Lexar Smartmedia card reader
Building my home recording studio piece-by-piece. Once I get at least 12 songs finished (I have about 40 started, but as my vocal idol Chris Robinson once said, it's easy to start a song, come up with an idea, but the hard part is seeing it through), I'm recording them in a permanent form.

A gift certificate to Guitar center or other music store that sells guitar, drum, or piano stuff

An exotic pet medicine book
The studying never ends

Gettin Kinda 'spensive:

A Montana travel guitar
Can't let the callouses get soft when I have to travel! And what a cute little toy. Ahh, guitars--like potato chips, cats, and tattoos, you can't have just one. . .or two. . .

A REALLY nice frying pan
I've had it with pans that warps and peel, and my roomate has one of these and I've put it through rigorous testing. Worth the price, since it will actually last.

Veterinary dermatology book written by one of our professors What a great book. What a weirdo nerd I am for putting this on my list. There's nothing nerdier than enthusiasm for animal acne.

Even nerdier

O, C'Mon, Dream-on 'Spensive:

Five minute veterinary consult: Cats and Dogs
Because real doctors treat more than once species!

Five minte veterinary consult: Ferret and Rabbit
Because really crazy doctors treat more than the nine species taught in vet school!

Dana Lee 23:58


My boyfriend must be part cat

Something funny I came across while studying for boards:

"Exercise intolerance may be one of the first indications of heart disease. It is more often noted in dogs than in cats because of the latter's aversion to athletic activity."

Dana Lee 23:55

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Check out this video of Mark Goffeney (and put your sound on). He's currently in a band called Big Toe.

Dana Lee 07:38

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I’m quitting vet school to become a starving musician

(OK, since I’m almost done, I guess I’ll wait until I graduate.)

So far, I love this town. Tuesday night I attended a local club for a humble benefit concert for some Athens youth programs. Eight different bands played R.E.M. covers in light of the release of their new compilation album, I Feel Fine: The Best of the IRS Years. The place was small, so the crowd was small, quieter and older than you'd normally expect in a college town (I guess the undergrads didn’t get wind of the event--better view for vertically challenged me!)

So, being the old fart that I am, since the doors opened at 7:30, I got there on time and didn’t plan on staying much past my bed time. Good thing I did--after the first band, R.E.M. themselves came out to play a few tunes. It was a nice surprise, and I’m glad I got there early and stood up front (some people who got there later didn’t get to see or hear them at all). The best twelve bucks I've ever spent--all the performances were great, and quite insipring.

I guess the band was in town recording in their studio right down the street. I’ve met a couple people who work for the band, which makes sense since this is not a huge town (not counting the student body, of course) and the band’s studio and offices are here.

Carol and Peter’s (the people I’m staying with here in Athens) son-in-law is the art director for the band, and one of their neighbors is a personal assistant to the band manager.

How do I know this? Segue in to the barbecue . . .

Carol and Peter hosted a great little shindig Saturday for some new neighbors, which I thought was a very unusually kind gesture, but this may be the way some neighborhoods do things. I guess this is part of the Five Points neighborhood, and people all know each other and help each other out.

I think about 40 people came, and I stopped down to meet everyone. It’s the first time in decades I’ve been to a neighborhood party.

The spread was great. Peter and Carol provided the barbeque pork, chicken, and yes, tofu. Everyone else brought side dishes, salads, and desserts. I was in heaven--there were four kinds of pie, two kinds of chocolate cake (one with rum!) and lemon bundt cake, which made me reconsider whether chocolate is really my favorite kind of cake.

Dana Lee 21:10

Thursday, September 07, 2006


All in a Day's. . . Work?

So these little bugs of the phylum Myxozoa, class Myxosporea are a common parasite of fish that require an annelid intermediate host (usually an aquatic worm) but now there have been some identified in the guts of ducks. This is something never seen before in ducks, and a few incidents have popped up in California and I think the Carlinas or Virginia, and now a dead duck found in small lake here in Georgia had some in its gut.

What does that me for my educational experinces here at SCWDS? It means I get to go fishing and mucking for worms!

We drove an hour and a half from Athens to this small residetial development where the duck was found.

Dr. Kevin Keel, my widllife pathology mentor here at SCWDS, is shown skillfully casting a net to gather some fish.

Jason, a wildlife biologist and soon-to-be vet student, also knows how to throw a cast-net.

Laura, a third-year vet student (who probabaly skipped therio lab and an exciting two hours of getting her arm massaged by a cow rectum to go fishing with us) aerated the cooler full of fish so they can get plenty of oxygen. We want to keep them alive up until the moment they are fresh-frozen so that their tissues stay fresh and intact for necropsy and histopath.

In addition to collecting fish to look for signs of myxosporea, we also collected some worms (the parasites infect and multiply in the worms before they go on to infect other species) by mucking around the shores and collecting sediment, i.e. mud.

Kevin passed the muck through a sieve and picked out the worms.

The local residents, one of whom captained his boat for our little adventure, are very interested in what's infecting the local fish and possibly duck populations.

So, this is what widlife biologists do? If I had know this when I was four and mucking in the local ponds and even my backyard sanbox for bugs and worms, I could have had my PhD by the time I was nine.

Dana Lee 22:51

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


First 24 hours in Athens

(Georgia, that is)

The trip

I got into town last night around 7:30 Eastern time. I left Saturday evening and spent the night at a Days Inn outside Nashville in a room that smelled like pee. The windows weren't the kind you can open, so I didn't sleep too well and got a late start yesterday morning.

The drive through Tennesse is great in the daytime, very hilly and green and there's a beautiful point along the Tenessee River off where there's a rest area off Interstate 24. Great place for a picnic lunch.

The temporary digs

I'm staying with Peter and Carol Goerig, a very nice retired couple who fed me gourmet pizza and Canadian beer when I got to town. They host vet students from all around (they had on from Denmark I think not too long a go) a few times a year. I think it's a pretty neat way to use some of your empty rooms when your kids are all grown up--rent them out to make a little extra cash and get to meet and help out some interesting students. Carol participates in some local drum circles, Peter seems to be pretty good with computers, and they have two grown daughters, one here in Athens and one in Spain.

I should have guessed these folks are parents--the pizza and beer, and when I got to my room I found that they bought me fruit, cereal and milk in case I didn't make it to the store by morning. I'm wondering if my folks shouldn't move to a college town and host transient students--the cereal thing is totally something my mom would do.

Anyway, the attic set-up I've got here is a million times nicer than most apartments I've lived in and definitely nicer than anything I've seen during vet school: quiet tree-lined street; a five-minute walk to campus; a huge bedroom; a sitting room with a fridge, lots of books, and a t.v.; and my own bathroom. They have it all set up like a hotel or bed and breakfast: perfectly tucked sheets, teddy bears and decorative pillows on the bed, fancy stationary at the bedside, and this morning I discovered they even left a bowl of candies in the sitting room. I probably won't be around much to enjoy the place since I'll be spending my nights out in the field during the week, but I will be able to enjoy the weekends and get work, studying and reading done. And I'll probably walk to town to check out the food and local music acts, both of which I hear are wonderful here.

The Vet School and Campus

The CVM is great. They have a great facilty and the classrooms are very well laid out; it looks as if they had some professional consultant help design the classrooms for efficiency. I walked into a radiology class in which there were actually light boxes for every 3 students and people were all looking at radiographs in small groups, and. . . get this. . . faculty were floating around to answer questions and help interpret the radiographs! Who knew that radiology labs could be facilitated this way? They also have a great library that is open until midnight on the weekends, and has microscope stations. I haven't visited the snack bar yet, but I will definitely find my way there eventually (we had a big lunch today at a local Cuban place).

Dr. Keel (the SCWDS coordinator) took me for a brief car tour of the area. The campus is beautiful, very green, very nice brick buildings that look older in design but newer in condition--either they are older and very well maintained or new but built with a timeless design. The campus is efficiently laid out so that everything is walkable, and some residential neighborhoods are right across the street from campus, making walking to school and work a feasible option (unlike the sprawled-out, auto-addicted midwest). I'm beginning to realize I'm not crazy to think that the midwest night not be the best place for me. . .

Soutwest Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study

Oh yeah, the reason I'm here--
So I've already met (very briefly) about a dozen folks today whose names I have already forgotten, but I'm sure I'll be working with some of them very closely later this week. Some of these folks were working on avain flu back in the 80s before it was the flavor of the month, some are working on West Nile virus, some on chronic wasting disease, et cetera. There's also some entomologists involved in the tick- and moquito- borne dieseases, so I may get to do some serious bug-watching. (Did I mention that when I deceided to go back to school for a second career, I was condisering entomolgy as well as vet med?)

So I have an assignment to write a lit review blip on Leptospirosis for a web site +/- a handbook on infectious (perhaps specifically zoonotic) disease. I'll also help perform some necropsies on deer and write pathology reports. And later this week I'll probably go out into the field to collect fish and worms for a study on myxosporea in ducks. Now isn't it every tomboy's dream to land a job looking in riverbeds and under rocks, mucking for worms?

Dana Lee 13:13

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Tomorrow's my birthday!

So as a present to myself, I am allowing myself to blog.

Yes, it's been months since I last posted something, and it's not for lack of material, but lack of time. You see, there are many things I should be doing right now:
1) Studying for boards
2) Reading case reports on small animal internal medicine
3) Reading up on wildlife diseases for my externship next month
4) Washing my piles of dirty laundry
5) writing the bio article on Dr. Thomas Graves for the upcoming college newsletter (which is what I'll be doing right after this and before my 10:30-8:30 ER shift starts)
6) Unpacking an organizing the unknown boxes of files and miscellany (I've recently moved in with a colleague to save on rent since I will only be in ttown four months out of the year)

. . . but instead I'm blogging. Happy birthday to me!

I'm on small andimal internal medicine/emergency/ICU service for the next four weeks, which means I only get one day off untils I head to Georgia next month.

Anyway, what I've been up to:

Since Small Animal Surgery, I've also been on Theriogeniology/Ambulatory service, which was a ton of fun when we got to take trip to farms to artificially inseminate cows, but it was a little slow the two weeks I was on.
I just completed a month of equine medicine and surgery, and it was a ton of fun.

I've also come to realize each species has a cutest part:

Dogs and cows: noses
Cats: their itty bitty toe pads
Horses and: lips, chin whiskers
Sheep: ears
pigs and camlids: eyes, eye lashes

This summer I also helped a couple classmates pick out their very first guitars and started a vet school guitar club--which I think may be the only current vet school club that has absolutely nothing to do with veterinary medicine. It's kind of nice to see some of my colleagues in this different context.

Anyway, I have a day off Friday, which will be the only day off I'll have this month (I'll celebrate my birthday--yay!), then I'm driving down to the University of Georgia the day before Labor Day. I'm pretty excited--when I got an email from the SCWDS coordinator that said "Be sure to bring field clothes: boots, old long pants, long-sleeved shirts and rain gear," I got really psyched. He also sent me the link to great online online wildlife disease textbook. I can't wait!

Dana Lee 08:46

Sunday, May 07, 2006

So I've completed the first week on my first clinical rotation. I'm on orthopedic surgery, which is totally fun and totally exhausting. I find in my spare time it's actually enjoyable to run errands like paying bills and doing laundry. But despite the 16-hours days, the stuff grows on you. Now I'm worried that when I get to the more "laid-back" rotations with 2-hour lunches and 9-4 days, I'll be climbing the walls bored off my ass.

Anyway, here is

An Abbreviated List of Things I've Learned
During My First Week of Clinics

I prefer hard-ass teachers to sticky-sweet ones. I'd rather be told that I suck when I really don't (and of course when I do) than be told that I'm totally awesome when I know I'm not. But, of course, When we really do rock it’s nice to have that acknowledged. . .

Saws and drills and nails and screws ARE totally cool, especially when used in bones! And there are all different types of bone screws, just like there are different screws for drywall, wood and metal

- The surgery residents we have now (Eshelman and Rawson) ARE very good at teaching.

- My last name, although only five letters long, is very confusing to pronounce. A lot of people assume it's "Lah-BOCK" and not "LAY-back." I'm really not used to hear my name over the intercom in French.

- When I am tired and hungry at the end of a long day, only to find that the long day is not over, I will break these rules: no eating after 9 p.m., "I can't afford to eat or order out" and "I was planning on eating healthy this week." Although I have been sticking pretty well to the no caffeine (or at least minimal caffeine) rule.

- Dr. Eshelman and I have similar tastes in music. 80s arena rock is good accompaniment to spinal surgery, light rock is not. Monster ballads are acceptable, diva ballads are not.

- And Dr. Eshelman was the bat boy in Bull Durham who read the message to Kevin Costner, not the one who ran the messages back and forth. Do you still want his autograph, Gregg?

- If you look long enough into his eyes, you can fall in love with Harley the obese 180-pound Newfoundland with the nose the size of a tennis ball and paws the size of my hands, even though he pees and drools on when you have to break your back dragging his fat furry ass outside three times a day because he can't use his back legs (torn ACLs on both legs) very well.

- I have a platonic crush on Dr. Griffon. She's got a totally cool accent and I think her rounds (medical rounds, that is) are the bomb.

- There's not point in getting annoyed or offended by stupid little things people say and do, because you will probably say or do something equally or more annoying within the next five minutes--we all do and say stupid shit when we are tired, frustrated, or stressed.

- Whoever created the VetStar software should be dragged into the street and tarred and feathered.

- Jacob is a true pal. He didn't have any patients and wasn't required to come in, but after a 70-hour plus week came in on 7 a.m. on Saturday anyway, expressly to help me walk Harley. I could tell he totally wanted to sleep in, but he came in because he knew I'd have trouble with Harley all by my lonesome. Thanks, Jacob.

- It's imperative to keep at least four snack bars handy (my favorites include Bumble bars, Lemon or Apricot Cliff bars and nut and fruit bars) in you lab coat pockets each day when you're on any small animal surgical rotation.

- When on any small animal surgical rotation, never pass up an opportunity to rest your feet, relieve yourself, or take a bite of your Bumble bar. You don't know when the next opportunity will arise--the 3-hour surgery you planned for may easily become a 9-hour surgery.

- All you folks on rotations with 2-hour lunches and 7-hour workdays are total strokes. They're not "easing you into it," they're training you to be weak!

Dana Lee 08:40

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I hope not a lot of people died in this county this past month

Finals start Friday (technically "tomorrow"). My tablet computer with my semester's worth of notes started smoking in class Monday.

My reaction as I watched the smoke swirl and inhaled the sweet and slighty caustic smell of burning electric?

"Oh well."

My reaction now that I've spent hours trying ot print out a classmates Journal files and organize them, only to find that with Windows Journal Viewer, anything that's been highlighted prints up blank (yes, meaning that I can't see any of the important stuff),and after I've been offered two loaner tablets, one of which doesn't work and the other which requires a password that nobody knows?

"It couldn't effing wait one more effing week to effing burn up?!?!" (but with a very gracious and sincere "Thanks" to all those who attempted to come to my rescue, namely Tamara, Katie, and our SCAVMA vice prez and prez.)

The good news is that Candace from our computing services was able to save my hard drive and transfer all my files to a DVD, so I can access all the notes *I* took this semester. Unfortunately printing them out takes forever and wastes paper, and viewing them on a regular computer is a pain since Journal viewer is a crappy program.

But I'll get by. Who needs A's, anyway? (or even B's at this point, for that matter?)

And guess what? in less than 8 hours, I have jury duty at the county coroner's office, on my only reading day, the day before finals.

I say let's call all them "death due to natural causes" and get outta there early.

Dana Lee 00:23

Monday, March 06, 2006


Anywhere-But-Here, Here I Come!

Our 52 weeks of clinical rotations start in May! We have 26 blocks, each 2 weeks long. Well, 52 minus the 8 weeks of off blocks leaves 44 weeks, but I'm giving up four of my off weeks for more rotations, so, out of the 48 weeks of rotation I'll be doing, 18 of them are off this campus. Yes, over a third of my clinical year will be away from the land of Champagne and Bananas!

So where will I be when I'm not here?

We start May 1st, and I have my first off block the last week in May, which I hope to spend working the same job I have now for some extra cash. And maybe some extra time in the heated pool at CRCE (it has a waterslide!)

I will spend the entire month of September in Athens, GA, home of REM and from what I hear, the best peaches and drum circles. I'll be participating in the University of Georgia's Southwest Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study and hopefully doing some field work. I found a great littel place to stay the attic rooms of a professor's house, justa 5-minute walk from campus. I think after a long day of epidemiological analysis, it'll be nice to have a rooftop balcony to relax on.

In December, I'll spend the two weeks before Christmas at VCA doing their neurology rotation, then I have two weeks off for the holidays (I really lucked out).

In January, I'm using one of my off-blocks to go back to VCA for their Emergency/Critical Care rotation and a preview of their internship program.

Mid-February to mid-March I'll spend four weeks at the Chicagoland Zoos: Lincoln Park, Brookfield, and the Shedd Aquarium. I might crash over at Gregg's brother's and sister-in-law's place when I have long days, since they live right down the street from Brookfield Zoo.

Then, for my last off-campus experince, my very last six weeks as a vet student will be spent at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee Florida, where I'll learn proper tranquilizer gun technique. This place is great--they do a lot of captive breeding/reproductive work with threatened species.

I can't wait.

Dana Lee 19:44


Mental Floss

Sir Arhtur Conan Doyle
Study in Scarlet

Listening to:
Radio Paradise

The Shins

Classical Gas
Leader of the Band
Fire and Rain


Vet stuff:
UI College of Vet Med
Pet Columns

News, politics, culture, religion:
The Guardian
The Chicago Tribune
The NY Times
The Washington Post
BBC News
Project Censored
Back to Iraq

Raw Recipes

For Fun:
The Onion
Museum of Medical Quackery

Ten Years
Best of 2003

Animal Planet
PBS Nature
Nature Songs

Guitar Tabs
Play by Ear

Designed by Anja Stern (Brazil) at Blogskins
Powered by Blogger