crossfit vocabulary fail:

Female classmate, to male coach:

"Hey, can you watch my snatch?"

crossfit fun times:

I joined a CrossFit gym ("box") several months ago, and mostly it has been hilarious and awesome. If I go to the 6 am class, I can allllmost make it to morning treatments on time without racing to the vet school like a maniac.

What is CrossFit, you ask?

It's kind of like someone set out to design a training camp for zombie warriors.  There are monkey bars, climbing ropes, rings, giant boxes you jump on, and absurdly large tractor tires. Also, I'm fairly sure a CrossFit designer once said, "Hey, let's figure out the most awkward movement a person can do with this barbell."

The 6 am class consists of a group of sleepy/overly chipper people doing a prescribed set of exercises (called the WOD, or Workout Of the Day) either:

1) as fast as possible, or

2) as many times as possible within a set time limit.

It's pretty great.  It's keeping me sane(r), and making me stronger.  

your handy guide to rotations (here), part I:

Mostly, you monitor dogs and cats under anesthesia. You record heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and various other things every five minutes. Every now and again, the animal will begin to move/wake up, so you panic, push the extra propofol, and frantically page the technician. Sometimes your patient's blood pressure does scary things. Usually the surgeons take forever.

You'll spend a day in large animal, where you'll realize how amazing it is that any horse survives anesthesia ever. There's often food in the break room. The techs will probably yell at you when you do something silly. You'll usually get to eat lunch. The attire is awesome (scrubs all day every day). You'll get to place a lot of catheters and do your own intubations. You will almost certainly get called in every time you're on call.

The hours are fantastic. You start at 8 or 9, and rarely do you finish later than 5. A cardiology inpatient is like a unicorn - a mysterious creature that is rarely sighted. There are lots of adorable puppies and older dogs. There will be the occasional angry cat. You will get exponentially better at hearing murmurs. The rounds are highly useful. You will probably not get called in when you're on call.

The rounds are fantastic. There may or may not be inpatients, depending on...who knows what. I did this rotation twice - once we had no inpatients, once we got many, many transfers. If you don't believe in oncology/have a hard time with cancer, this will be a challenging rotation. Paradoxically, you'll see lots of happy, tail-wagging dogs as well as some really sick ones. The afternoon rounds are when you get pimped - don't try to guess the answer if you don't know. 

O-PHTH-almology. This matters to ophthalmologists. You'll see a zillion cases per day and get to see some interesting/horrifying surgeries (phacoemulsification can I get a what what). For some inpatients, your entire day will revolve around eye drops (every 5 minutes for some stretches of time). You will learn which end of the slit lamp to hold. You'll be able to use a tonopen without hurting yourself or others. I don't think we rounded more than once. I was oddly okay with that.

Orthopedic Surgery:
If you like elective surgeries, awesome. Otherwise, this rotation might suck for you. The hours are terrible. The chiefs do not care about this. There will be more surgeries scheduled than can physically be cut during the week. The dogs are all large and most of them are badly behaved.  The techs are no-nonsense and fantastic. The resident probably hasn't slept in the last three days.

The hours are 9 to 5. The rounds are useful. The chief-resident rounds in the morning are where the residents get torn new orifices while the students watch in horror. You'll learn how to take good radiographs and which end of the ultrasound probe to hold...if you want. Or you can sit in the student rounds room and eat doughnuts. It's really up to you.

 You will spend countless hours with your arm up a horse's rectum (+/- the ultrasound probe). You will rapidly acclimate to the horrid smell of plube (poop + lube. Kind of like Santorum, except this variety is not the by-product of anal sex).  It's very exciting when you realize that you can semi-competently ultrasound a mare's reproductive tract.

You will become intimately familiar with semen. You may have several terrifying experiences trying to capture an erect, thrusting stallion penis within an artifical vagina. All sex jokes, all the time. There will be foals. They are adorable and mostly naughty. The hours are terrible. You will probably hate getting up at 2 am for mare checks (ultrasounds every 6 hours to monitor for ovulation).

seriously this happened:

Friends, today I got the most ridiculous page.

The zenith (nadir?) of inane has been reached. It was better than "80085" on the purely numeric pagers, and much more hilarious than "8==D" on the alpha-numerics.

(for those of you who don't dick around with the pager system, these are "boobs" and "cockandballs", respectively.)

But first - the necessary back story:

I've been taking care of this horse for about a week now who we'll call Adrian. Adrian colicked very badly and had surgery that mostly fixed his problem, but his surgeons only gave him about a 20% chance of making it. He is so far doing very well (knock wood). Adrian and I, we've spent hours and hours together. It is fairly accurate to say that I have spent this entire week nursing him in the ICU. I have drawn his blood, given him his drugs, walked him, stood him in ice, caught his urine for testing, and generally fussed over his every need.  At this point, I know the horse well.

So! I get a page to the front desk, which I answer.  I then have the following conversation with Sandy, the front desk person:

Alacrity: "Hey, it's me. What do you need?"

Sandy: "Alacrity, I need you to go check Adrian to see if he has testicles."

A: "...he doesn't."

S "No, I need you to actually go look at him."

A: "I promise he doesn't have testicles."

S: "Well, someone looked in his stall, thought he had testicles, and changed his file to show that he's a stallion in the computer system. But I'm confused, since he came in to be gelded (castrated) three years ago."

A: "He does not have testicles."

S: "Please just go look at him."

A: "You're seriously making me do this."

S: "Yes."

I checked. He's a gelding, doy. Surgery report from the castration is right there in the computer system.


hooray for the NAVLE!

rotation-mate: "Oh hey, you took boards!  How were they?"

other student: "Yes...(pause) asshole is larger now."

post-op commentary on a colic surgery:

"I guess we should take the 4x4s out of his asshole as well."

surgeons are weird:

"So, if all the forces in the world were suddenly applied on the top of my head, which way would my tibias break?"

surgeon to the technician during endoscopy:

"Can you make it a DaVinci?"

surgeon, to me:

"You're never going to get married if you're that picky."

public service announcement:

You know what is really really excellent about a town full of the gay ladies?

It is a constant attractive dyke parade.

Since settling down at this coffee shop with a hot chai and an eclair, I've seen:

- A butch with a bright blonde buzz cut who looks like she could bench press me. 

- Two stately attorney-type dykes with power suits and men's shoes.

- A shy-looking lesbian with curly brown hair, a shapeless green vest, and a HUGE stack of papers.

- Not one, but TWO dykes in uniform.  When I settle, may I live in a place where the police department is comprised entirely of no-nonsense, steely-eyed butches?

This is awesome.  That is all.

professor, re: my stiletto boots:

"Oh, those must be safe out on the ice and snow!  They look hot, though."

during surgical pathology rounds:


"Alacrity, here's the nipple."

Oooh, that'll be a neurology consult.

owner: "He likes to bite and bark at imaginary creatures surrounding his head.  It's how he plays."

dentistry adventure!

Okay, so the equine-focused vet students* get to do this fantastic rotation where we learn all these secret side-note skills that are actually fundamental to equine practice. One of these skills is equine dentistry.

When you float (file) a horse's teeth, you're basically scraping away at sharp points and/or hooks on the teeth that you can't see very well.  This happens in a long, narrow, dark oral cavity that is also home to an insanely powerful tongue.  The tongue is always trying to get in your way.  You can use hand floats (which sounds like the sane option), or you can do what we did and use power floats - which are kind of like tiny long electric sanders mounted on a power drill.

We practiced on cadaver heads for a day.  The next day, we teamed up to float teeth on living horses.  This is how that process was supposed to happen:

1. Greet horse.

2. Sedate horse, place jugular catheter.

3. Position horse in dental station, begin IV infusion of sedation.

4. Place speculum (keeps the horse's mouth open for you), perform oral exam.

5. Float teeth.

6. Return horse to paddock.

Our dental stations were located at various intervals in a narrow corridor surrounding the back of a large run-in shed. So, one side was the wall of the shed and the other was the chain-link fence forming the edge of the field.

This is how our first horse's float went:

1. Greet horse.

2. Sedate horse, horse bounces around.  Place jugular catheter.

3. Position horse in dental station, begin IV infusion of sedation. Hang IV bag on chain-link fence.

4. Place speculum, perform oral exam. Another horse in field reaches through fence, grabs IV tubing, destroys infusion set-up. Drugs fountain liberally from IV bag over horse and vet students.

5. Re-sedate horse.  Re-start IV infusion of sedation (new bag!), hang bag on opposite wall.

6. Instructor walks through IV tubing, gets tangled.

7. Re-sedate horse.

8. Float teeth.

9. Horse takes quite some time to wake up from sedation.

10. Return horse to field.

Okay, so that could have been significantly worse.  Here is how our second horse's float went:

1. Greet horse.

2. Sedate horse, place jugular catheter.

3. Horse becomes insanely ataxic, nearly falls down.

4. Flag down passing instructor.

5. Instructor is alarmed, considers reversing the sedation.

6. Discover that the horse has a history of neurologic problems, probably has lymphoma.

7. Decide not to float teeth.

8. Return horse to field.

All in all, it was a good day.  Learning!

*Before I wanted to be an oncologist, I wanted to be an equine surgeon.  Yes, those specialties are really different.  This is why I'm taking all the equine rotations even though I'm going into a (mostly) small animal field.

excellent idea:

clinician somehow drives the van into the building and down a corridor of the old large animal hospital, says:

"Don't worry - the worst thing that can happen is I'll screw the shit out of this van."

hello butches/butch-presenting/masculine-of-center ladies!

These must continue, please:

bow ties, skinny ties, classy oxford shirts, sweater vests, twinkly eyes, winks over teacups, suit vests, shy smiles, half smiles, polished shoes, dapper suits, rugby shirts, fedoras, freckles, crew cuts, nerdy glasses, pocket watches, dark jeans, thick belts, studs, argyle anything, leather jackets (yes), newsboy caps, and plaid scarves.

Thank you, that is all.