Thursday, November 24, 2005


This last month has been a lot like the proverbial object in the frictionless sterile physics universe, given one tap and 'poof', its moment of inertia evaporates. There it goes, speeding over the non-existent ground, obediently obeying the laws and wondering if entropy exists in some distant universe. That object, of course, would be me. And November has felt like that continuous dash through reality, with me secretly astonished and wondering if there will ever be another pause. At least so far I have not been called upon to demonstrate the principle of the conservation of momentum. And now, giving pause and thanks for pause, I am not even sure how to begin. This is the only time I begin to resent you, you and your endless confessional, oh electronic repository.

So November began with a crisis of intention that has still not resolved. And because I'm the kind of person that psychically wriggles with discomfort when faced with unresolved crises, I'm going to be mean and leave you hanging. Trust me, it's the kind of thing I will write much more coherently and wittily about in hindsight. And maybe in hindsight it will even seem silly (I can hope). If I write about it now I'm liable to get bogged down and upset, and I have my slim cyber-dignity to preserve (at least I like to think I do--pray, kind reader, let me keep the illusion).

And then I was off to another country to collect the fiercest chigger bites known to man (I'm not kidding: it's two weeks later and my feet still appear leprous and occasionally send me into paroxysms of itching). Well, the actual goal was to provide free neuter/spay services to the people of the Samana peninsula of the Dominican Republic, but I think the chiggers also got a pretty fair deal. This trip is a whole post in and of itself, perhaps more than one. Again, wait for it. I will say that driving in the country is a lot like the old 'Pole Position' video game, only you get a lot more flat tires and a lot less points. And I wish to say to all the whiny children I ever taught to ride ponies: you have no idea. It's all in the available choices you are given at birth. If you are taught that riding is an art that you must struggle to master, and that riding without stirrups is a chore and a trial, and that you must be driven to the barn by your parents, well. I guess a small boy riding down the road on a horse with NO, I repeat, NO bridle and NO saddle would be hard to figure. You may think I'm crazy, but I kind of wished I had been born a Dominican child at that moment. To whet your anticipatory whistles, here's a picture:

Oh, and by the way: I can now castrate a horse in 9 minutes flat. How's that for gifted?

After the Dominican Republic I spent a week riding with some nice vets in Rhode Island that listened to my crisis nicely and made no disparaging comments. Here's a thank you for that. And for those not in the vet school know, now is the time to apply for internships (which are, in fact, optional for veterinarians, but essential if you wish to pursue specialty or advanced training, such as surgery, cardiology or the like). And November is the ticking time bomb of your life: internship or not? In what? Where? And despite the flexibility of the profession (I know many who have gone from one discipline to another) it still feels a lot like a large hand pointing at you and declaiming: "DECIDE THY FUTURE, MORTAL!" (Oh crap, I'm getting a little close to the crisis thing again.)

And this week? This week it was the TEST. You know, lawyers have the bar, etc. We take "THE BOARDS." Of course, it's only one test, despite it being FIVE HOURS LONG (I think, if there were a limit on capital letters, I might have reached it). And everyone I talked to said--"oh, you'll be fine, hardly anyone fails it, yadda yadda." The general consensus has been, if you don't already know it, then...And I did study, if haphazardly-I mean, how do you study for a FIVE HOUR TEST? So why did I come out of the test feeling both stupid and unprepared? Do people just say stuff like that to you and secretly they're giving you the subtle wink that says, "I'm only saying this to cheer you up, lass. What I really think is that you should study your butt off, like everyone else." I mean, I take tests well. I even sort of like taking tests (please keep that under your hat, even if everyone reading this knows anyway). So let me just tell you all now. That test SUCKED (sorry, needed caps). It really did. I have no idea if I passed. I know that doesn't mean much, but normally I have a sense of how I did, and I'm telling you right now, I have no idea (hey, it's not caps). And I, like every other overachieving goal driven vet student out there have a not-so-secret (we're not fooling anyone) fear that we will fail. I'm now having that not-so-secret worry shouting at me from each memory of each stupid question that involved a miniscule radiograph (with no enlargement ability) that was totally unhelpful, to each stupid question about pig diseases (sorry, pigs, can't help you), to every question that read like: "A six year old spayed female wolfhound presented to you with a lisp and a strange alien growth. All lab work was normal. What is it?."

Yup, I'm ranting. See what I mean about this month? Please let me know if you see any potential objects in my way. At least I'll have prior warning before I hit.