“Sorry guys, I was hoping for live specimens for lab today, but the border held our fleas.”
It’s 8:30am, in parasitology lab. Only in vet school do you ever hear quotes like that. Despite the lack of living fleas to observe, I was suitably itchy enough after spending two hours looking at various dead specimens of ticks, mites, lice and worms under a microscope. If nothing else, the lab served as a great reminder to make sure my horse and dog are well armed for flea and parasite season!
From parasitology I move on to the Surgical Exercises lab. In second year, Surgery is very basic; first we must learn the principles of scrubbing, masking, gowning and how all the instruments are used. We all look like awkward kids trying on our parents clothes, nothing fits right and we’re still not quite sure how put things on, but slowly we get the hang of it. After four years of University and two years of Veterinary School, I am learning how to wash my hands and dress myself. Who said post-secondary education wasn’t practical?
After gowning, we practice draping our ‘patients’; small stuffed animals we will perform our suturing on. Once again, everything feels foreign, scissors must be held just so, forceps a certain way, sutures tight and knots square. Despite my inability to mend my own clothes, I’m much better at mending wounds in my fake stuffed dog!
During lunch, it’s a brief meeting with our supervisor for our summer international veterinary volunteer project (more on that in upcoming blogs). The process is slow; correspondence with some of the charities and organizations takes weeks as they are miles from electricity, let alone a computer with internet access. However, we are making progress, almost a month of work confirmed, with a few more projects to sort out.
And now it’s off to the lecture hall for some pharmacology and more parasitology, perfectly scheduled to allow me to head home with that creepy-crawly feeling fresh in my mind!