And the winner is…..

Filed under: @ 5:29 pm

Not us!

Yeah, we did give in to the recent Powerball fever. And yeah, I know that purchasing a ticket only gives one the barest fragment of a better chance at winning than one would have if one hadn’t purchased a ticket but….
For a buck how can you not occasionally give in to fantasy?

Our first lottery fantasy experience was in January of 1994. We were on our way into Pullman for an extremely rare evening out. It may have been to celebrate my finishing all my board exams in preparation for graduation from vet school, but it may have been a totally random “I’ve got to get away from my damn textbooks or I’m going to go berserk!” night out.
Regardless we were getting into the car when we were approached by the dude that owned the land on which our mobile home sat. It was a weird arrangement, we owned the trailer, he owned the land, but it was a MUCH better place to have spent three of my four years in graduate school than living in the bloody awful apartment that we’d lived in my freshman year would have been. MUCH more expensive, but way better for living, studying, and not going to prison for killing the displaced frat boys that lived above us in the apartment complex.
Anyway, landlord (we still refer to him as Farmer McFuck) comes up, tells us that despite the verbal agreement we’d had (yes, we were suckers) when we’d bought the place three years prior, he wasn’t going to let us sell the trailer while it was sitting on his land. We had to move it before we could sell it.

We’d borrowed money from Andrew’s parents to purchase the trailer — a 1975 14′ x 70′ mobile home with a 30 foot chunk cut out of the back wall for a 12′ x 30′ home built addition. There wasn’t _any_ way to move the addition and even if the wheels and axles of the main trailer were still extant the whole thing was 20 years old. Moving the trailer meant not only finding a company to handle the moving, but finding a contractor to patch the hole in the back wall where the addition wouldn’t be anymore to say nothing of finding somewhere to put the damn thing once it was off Farmer McFuck’s land. All of that costing WAY more than we’d be able to sell the rickety, patched up thing for even assuming that we were able to find somewhere to put it.

We were… what’s worse than stunned? Gobsmacked doesn’t do it. Blindsided is close. Devastated? Yeah, devastated is a bit better. We were not only facing my graduation and $47,000 in loans (a pittance now), but we were facing starting our adult lives and careers with another $20K or so owed to Andrew’s folks.
It’s a bad place to be with one person unemployed and the other only earning sandwich shop wages.

Realizing that we’d just been hit with what was close to financial devastation we decided that we’d still go to town for our dinner & movie and we’d figure something out.
On our way to dinner we stopped to purchase a scratch ticket because we figured fuckit, if we were going to go down we might as well do it with style.
Setting a bad precedent, that particular ticket happened to be a $50 winner.

You all know the end of the story. We’re not destitute. We currently own our own home (okay, the bank owns it, but whatever) on our own land, we paid off my student loans and we even (somewhere around 2006) managed to pay off Andrew’s parents.
But that night started our lottery fantasies.

That first night our lottery fantasy was very much along the lines of paying my loans, paying Andrew’s parents, then finding a hit man for Farmer McFuck. I like to think we’ve gotten a little more sophisticated in that we’re now talking about using the entirely theoretical lottery winnings to assure financial security for ourselves and as much of our families as can be managed (although the idea of a hit man still has its charms even though Farmer McFuck has to be long dead of some or another smoking related disease). But doesn’t everybody give in every so often?
Lottery fantasies are pointless, especially if you don’t ever purchase a ticket, and in a lot of ways the lottery fantasies are just like those games that we played as children — a magical, mystical something happens and you can have everything that you’d ever wanted. A big house with an elevator? You got it! The transportation of your choice and only YOU get to decide who gets in it? You got it! The neighborhood bully gets pantsed in a public place and everyone laughs? You got it!!

But imagination is free and it’s at least one indulgence that doesn’t affect your waistline!


Why Veterinary Medicine is Uber Cool

Filed under: @ 5:11 pm

Part whatever at this point.

I bitch a lot about my job. Mostly because dealing with the pet owning public is enough to turn one into a raving lunatic in a remarkably short period of time.
And while there are a lot of things that I wish I could change about my *job*, I love my profession with a passion.

I’m a boards monitor for the megalith that is known as the Veterinary Information Network. We’re a group of better than 50K veterinarians around the world who meet online to share cases, research, tips, lunacy, whateverall. And being a boards monitor means that I moderate discussions in four of the medical boards. I make sure that the volunteer specialists answer people’s questions in a timely manner, I help bring specialists from other areas into a discussion as needed, and I occasionally wear my Hall Monitor sash and tattle non-subscribers or non-veterinarians using some subscriber’s account (we’re a little snotty that way). It also means that I’m online a LOT and checking in on discussions that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity or interest in opening.

Case in point.
In the last week on my four boards alone I have participated in a discussion about a fractured incisor tooth in a kangaroo (really cool radiographs by the way), a discussion on the ethics of various types of mousetrap, and have read a research paper about whether or not pouched rats are less effective landmine detection animals if they are castrated (they’re not).

And in one of the other discussions in which I have been participating for the last five years I ran across two of the most awesome sentences I think may have ever been written in the English language.
My friend Astrid, a exotics and wildlife DVM in California, was talking about how the tiger cub at the big cat rescue where she works has ringworm. We were all giving her a hard time about who got to give antifungal dips to the tiger cub (onetwothreeNOTIT!!) and she mentioned that at least this time the resident dog hasn’t gotten ringworm yet. And I quote: “The last time I made the keepers do the dips. It was them that let the dog play with the tiger.”

My job has its downfalls, but I do love my profession!


It seems that I’m good at these questions.

Filed under: @ 2:30 pm

It’s a question of semantics.

I was reading my way through a National Geographic the other day when I ran across an article about the patch of ocean strait between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. Seems that this area is known for being one of the richest and most biologically diverse sections of the temperate Pacific. Apparently has some AMAZING diving conditions.

One of the quite lovely photos that was included in the article was a waft of neon green flowing around a colony of reddish sea urchins. The commentary included with the photo reads “To see how nutrient-saturated currents feed creatures like sea urchins, I poured a nontoxic dye and watched it flow not around the urchin colony but right through it.”

Now remember that this photographer is deep underwater. To get some of the photos for this article he literally had to tie himself to a boat anchor and anchor himself to the bottom to keep from being swept away by the currents.
I submit that the verb “pour” for his action in releasing the dye around this urchin colony does not seem to be the right one. Can one pour something when one is deep underwater? Now granted I can’t come up with a verb that seems to be any more appropriate, but I still don’t think one should be able to pour a liquid when one is submerged in a liquid environment.


If This Doesn’t Make Your Eyes Water

Filed under: @ 5:58 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Sasha.
Sasha is one of my favorite Lab patients, but, being a Labrador, she’s one of those sorts to whom _things_ tend to happen.

Case in point. A few weeks ago Sasha was swimming in the river. We got a panicked call from her male owner when Sasha got out of the river. The call was “I’m on my way bringing Sasha in! Her tongue is pinned to her nose!!”
This is what we found when he brought Sasha, still dripping, into the hospital.

Sasha Full Face

Sasha Full Face

Yes, that is a treble fishing hook pierced into Sasha’s schnoz. What the full face photo doesn’t show is what we found after we’d sedated Sasha to get the hook out of her nose. I kinda wondered if there was something else going on with her tongue because she was doing a lot of licking. So we sedated her. And what we found was this:



And yes, that is a _second_ treble hook pierced into the under side of Sasha’s tongue.
The owner told us that Sasha’s tongue really was attached to her nose after she got out of the river. It was only the fact that two young fishers a little downstream had had a pair of scissors with which to clip the line that was attached to the two treble hooks (no, it wasn’t their gear that pierced Sasha) that allowed Sasha to reel her tongue back in before she got to us.

It was actually a fairly easy thing to un-hook Sasha and she suffered no lasting harm, but the photos still make me wince.

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