Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A day in the life of LGLDVM

Happy Tuesday! Today we have LGLDVM, a friend I met through TheBump, who is currently pregnant with twin girls! 

I’m a veterinarian currently doing a residency and PhD in veterinary pathology. My days are highly variable and usually a lot longer than I would like them to be. I am also anxiously awaiting the birth of our twin girls and on the day that I wrote this, I was 27 weeks pregnant. I hope you enjoy a glimpse into my crazy life. J

5:00 am: This Christmas, I gave you my heart, the very next day, you gave it awa…

snooze, Snooze, SNOOZE!

5:30 am: Let your heart be liiiiight, from now on our troubles will be out of sight…

(Somehow setting my alarm clock to the Christmas station doesn’t make waking up any easier)

 Yaaaaawwwn, time to get moving. Today is the first day of painting. Tim and I (mostly Tim) have been working really hard over the past couple of weeks to prepare the house for a major makeover. Over the next week, almost every room will get a fresh coat of paint and the crappy plastic-wood trim and doors will also get coated in pretty white. I am so excited! The painters will be here at 8 am and we have a bit of cleanup and last minute things to do before they arrive. I start stripping the bed and throwing laundry down the stairs while Tim packs up the dog kennels in our bedroom and moves them down into the family room.

7:30 am: After taking care of the puppies, I get myself showered, dressed and off to work.

7:45 am: Starbucks MUST happen today.  I have a full day and I need fuel.  I order a tall Peppermint Mocha and a piece of gingerbread. Yum!

8:00 am: At work, coffee in hand, ready to go! First stop of the day is an hour-long session of ophthopathology rounds. We get together with clinicians from the hospital and go through a few recent cases. They give us a clinical perspective; we give them a pathology perspective and answer any questions that may still linger. On the docket today: Eyeballs from 1 Chinese water dragon, 2 horses and a cat. Very informative.

9:00 am: Surgical trimming.  I am on biopsy service this week. The first part of biopsies is trimming. I go to the cutting room to get a peek at my caseload. …Fingers crossed for a light day…  Only one case today! Woot!!  I take the biopsy specimen and trim it with a razor, then submit it to the histology department for processing.  I won’t get the slide back until tomorrow. Today, I’ll read the cases I trimmed in yesterday. Slides are ready by 10 am.

9:15 am: Since trimming was so quick, I have some time to kill before my biopsies are ready for the day. I get my computer set up and read through my e-mails.  I met with the medial illustrator yesterday about a few manuscripts I am working on. He sent me some information about my image quality and I need to get a layout for the color plate that is going in the first manuscript.  I play around in PowerPoint for about an hour and I’m feeling good about what I have so far, so I send it off to him. It’s a hit! Now I need to get the actual images together so he can crop them in and actually make the figure. First things first though, my slides are ready and I need to get through biopsies.

10:30 am: Reading biopsies. Just 3 cases to read, 7 slides total.  Since it’s the holiday, most clinicians aren’t seeing many patients this week.  It’s a nice bonus for me since my research really needs most of my time right now. I crank up the Christmas tunes and get to work. First case is a small mass on an American bulldog. It looked like it might be melanoma when I trimmed it in, so I am happy when I see on the slide that it is a benign vascular tumor (hemangioma).  Looks like they got it all, too.  Score 1 for the patients! Case 2 is equally positive. Breast cancer in a mixed breed dog. It looks benign and completely excised.  Score 2 for the patients! Let’s see if we can go 3 for 3 today.

Case 3 is a bit more complicated, a 14 year old Beagle with a rapidly growing mass that was diagnosed as cancer by another vet. I don’t see cancer on my slides, just inflammation. I’m always reluctant to make a call when there’s a disparity so I’ll reserve final judgment until I meet with the senior pathologist for the day.

11:45 am: Lunch time!  I brought a lean cuisine, but I really want Panera. Looks like I’ll be making a sandwich run. J  I got the asiago roast beef (with the meat cooked) and a mango smoothie.  Yummy!  I brought it back to the office so I could play on the computer for a bit while I eat.  I spend my lunch break surfing the interwebs and checking in on my favorite websites.

1:00 pm: Met with the senior pathologist to review our cases.  He agreed with all of my diagnoses. It’s a good biopsy day. No bad news today. When I first started reading biopsies, I had a really difficult time with it.  I felt like I was GIVING patients diseases. I would look at a slide and think ‘damn, I really don’t want to give this cat squamous cell carcinoma’.  After awhile, I have come to accept that I’m not giving patients anything.  I am simply diagnosing what they have. My job is not always a happy job, but I feel like it is so important to do the best job I can in order to ensure that patients are treated appropriately. Whether the news is good or bad isn’t up to me, whether the diagnosis is right or wrong is the only thing I can control, and that in itself is a challenge. (ok, off soapbox)

At this point, my back is killing me.  Up and down in my office, sitting up looking through microscopes for several hours and 2 babies pushing my belly out way further than it was ever supposed to be have all taken their toll. My pace is slowing down.  Fortunately, I can hang out in my office for a bit.

2:00 pm: I am back to work on one of my manuscripts. The images are all digital slides and radiographs. I need to hunt through and see if I have everything I need to make these figures great. Time to crank up iTunes again and get busy. These images are huge files (2-4 GB) so it’s going to take awhile for my ancient computer to process them.

3:15 pm: After an hour of fighting with my computer to acquire images, I’m not feeling so hot. I need to walk away from this for a bit, so I go to the lab to do some cell culture. I have 4 cell lines that need to be taken care of pretty regularly. They are all cancer cell lines that I use to study a virally induced cancer that happens in people.

4:15 pm: My back pain has now turned into front pain too.  I decided to call my OB to see if I should be concerned. The verdict: come in and see someone. I have an appointment for 5:30 pm.

5:30 pm: At the OB’s office. I ran home and met up with my husband so he could come with me. After some poking and prodding, it is decided that I am not in pre-term labor, so we head home, stopping briefly to get me some Ben and Jerry’s that will likely be my dinner.

7:00 pm: The painters did all the trim and doors upstairs and it looks amazing! The before and after pics are of the future nursery.  I am so stoked!  We opted for neutral walls and we’ll eventually put pink and brown polka dot decals up to give it some color. I can’t believe how different the room looks with fresh paint!

Hubby is having pizza tonight since my back hurts too much to venture into the kitchen and I’m snacking on a little bit of ice cream hoping that my stomach settles and I can eat some real food. I can’t remember the last time I had B&Js though so I can’t complain too much. We finish out the day all in the family room watching TV and relaxing. We’ll be sleeping down here since the upstairs is still wet paint.

In true pregnant lady style, I put on my PJs and curl up in my recliner around 8:30. Night all!

Thanks LGL! That was really interesting to read about the different parts of your job and I love the paint before and afters!

Does your job require you to make hard decisions?

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