A day in the life of…

I’m sure you’re sad (or relieved) that I haven’t been updating this blog in a while. The Other Half has been finishing up a PhD and getting ready to teach his first class by himself, so he hasn’t had the time to update for me while he’s chugging along on those projects.

So, pending next week’s (hopeful) continuation of our summer travels and troubles, here is a typical day in the life of a fourth year vet student for all you aspiring veterinarians out there. And trust me, I put the phrase ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ to shame.

Arrive home from the previous day’s shift. Sneak a McDonald’s sandwich and a glass of milk into the house because you’re famished. Get discovered by the dog, who eats your sandwich, and the cat, who drinks your milk.

Try to work on one of those projects that was due last week. Fall asleep on the futon and get smothered by the cat and dog, who lay on your throat and stomach, respectively. Yes, that’s right, all 55 pounds of them.

Get sleepily convinced to go to bed by the Other Half. Try to brush your teeth in a stupor. Miss your mouth and get toothpaste all over your face.

The dog whines pitifully at you because he MUST GO POTTY NOW. Sighing, you and the Other Half play ‘Not Me’ for five minutes while the whining gets progressively louder and more pitiful. Finally, you let him out. He then rounds the entire yard just in case some other dog has gotten through the fenced yard and peed on his bushes. When you call him, he happily picks up a toy because it must be time to play fetch, right? RIGHT?

Get your eyelids pulled upward by the cat’s teeth because SHE MUST BE FED NOW even though her breakfast isn’t until 0700. Pass her off to the Other Half, who passes her off the bed. The dog runs to hide on the opposite side of the bed before he gets attacked by the tiny black panther.

Suddenly realize that the cat knows how to get under your covers when your feet are pierced by the pain of ten thousand needles.

The alarm goes off. Put it on sleep while the dog soulfully tries to convince you to take him for a walk.

Panic because you didn’t wake up when the alarm went off. Rush down the hallway only to meet the Other Half, who has already packed your lunch and dinner.

Eat a breakfast of homemade French toast with hand-ground powdered sugar the Other Half somehow made for you (okay, so maybe this isn’t a typical vet student’s day; I’m just that lucky). Leave the house to do treatments.

Catch up with the overnight technicians on your cases. Start treating/feeding/walking/grooming your in-house patients. Try to find an understanding classmate to help you with one of your intense cases. Panic while you watch the clock because you shouldn’t have pressed that sleep button on the alarm.

Sneak into that seminar you’re supposed to be at by the skin of your teeth. Try not to fall asleep since you’re sitting between the department head and the head anesthesiologist. Fail.

Round on all the patients in the barn while furiously trying to get caught up on the paperwork you’re supposed to have done by 0815. Frantically look up treatments, drugs, and snoop on appointments before you get asked questions. Try not to look dumb because you forgot everything you’ve learned over the last seven years of your education. High five your classmates when you get a hard question right.

Start getting caught up on morning treatments for your patients.

Get a text from an unknown number asking you “IF THIS IS NORMAL FOR MY CAT/DOG/SPARKLY PINK SEA URCHIN??!?!?!” Sigh and pretend that you didn’t just get that text. Unless it’s funny, in which case share it (exaggerated, of course) with your classmates, who also sigh and pretend they didn’t just hear that text.

Get a text from the Other Half asking if you’ve rescheduled that doctor’s appointment you were due for a month ago.

Work frantically on that presentation you were supposed to have done a week ago so you can present it to your entire class and professors. Eat lunch and then catch up on the 50 emails you just received this morning.

Receive an email from your research group asking if you can help them out. Check your schedule and realize that you may have time to help Saturday* if they need it.

Start afternoon treatments and hope you have time to see another case. If not, follow your classmates around and snoop on their cases. When your case comes in late, hope one of them is understanding enough to check on your patients for you while you’re talking with your new client. Have at least one of them pat you on the head and tell you to quit taking cases.

Realize that you have three procedures that need to be done on your cases this afternoon. Try to help out with them and hope you aren’t in the way. In surgery, get told to quit stealing the surgeon’s stool because your feet are tired. Vow to get orthopedic insoles that night.

One of your classmates returns to tell you they walked and fed your patient for you while you were busy with another procedure.

Realize that you’re on call again in the middle of the night. Hustle to make sure you have your medications and paperwork updated before you get dinner.

Grouse at your Other Half because he just caught you playing “Ding-Dong Ditch” at your own house. Get jumped on by the dog while trying to hide your shoes in the closet so the cat doesn’t take them to the dark nether regions of her hidey-hole and chew off the shoelaces (again).


Get licked in the face by the dog. Wake up and wash face off, hoping you weren’t sleeping with your mouth open. Sleepily eat dinner.

Treat/feed/walk/groom your in-house patients. Ask your classmate to relay any overnight treatment details to the overnight crew at 2330 and hope that you’re not there long enough to tell them yourself.

Finish entering evening paperwork. Make plans with a classmate to turn one of the large animal stalls into bunkbeds for your rotation.

Get caught up in that emergency case that came in and start doing ICU treatments for your classmates while they’re trying to help the animal out.

The overnight ICU techs come in early, and you relay your overnight treatment details to them before leaving.

See the light of McDonalds on the way home and wonder if you even ate dinner that evening. Pull in to get a sandwich when your stomach growls.

*Saturday, don’t finish with your paperwork until 1100, then get called in for a necropsy with the pathologist and residents. Spend three hours discussing that day’s cases and belatedly realize you really need to get at least one of those presentations done.

Admittedly, not all rotations are like this; some are busier and some are slower. And it was very fulfilling even though I was highly stressed (and maybe a bit whiny) during the last three weeks. I just hope the rest of this year leads to more learning, and, above all, more adventures.


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