Sunday, December 25, 2011

Final Grades

I received my final grades a few days ago and I am pleased with them.  I actually did better on the final exam than I thought so that was nice.  My final grade for the quarter (we only receive one grade at the end of the quarter) was where I like it so I am glad.  I am enjoying relaxing out in Connecticut and plan to head to Vermont with my family tomorrow to visit my uncle, aunt, and cousin. Hope everyone has (or had) a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

One Down!

I have finished my first semester of vet school and am still standing so I would say I'm doing alright!  I just finished the written part of the final exam this morning.  Now I head home tonight for a few weeks before I head back and bury myself in the books (and dog carcasses) again! The final was more challenging than the midterm just due to some of it being cumulative but I think I did alright.  Now I am looking forward to spending time with friends and family! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My First Christmas Gathering 2011

I had my first Christmas party of the year yesterday.  It was at Jerry and Kathy's (my mom's first cousin and her husband) and myself, one of Jerry and Kathy's daughters and her family and my Uncle Dan and cousins Heather and Andrea were there.  We had appetizers for lunch and then visited for awhile.  Later on, after having some pizza for supper we played BubbleTalk:

As you can tell by this next picture, we had a really good time:

We really did have a lot of fun!  It was a nice relaxing afternoon and evening!  Thanks again Jerry and Kathy!  Here's a normal picture of my cousins and I to end the post:

Friday, December 9, 2011

My (former) Car

Today, I went to the auto body shop and removed all my belongings from my car.  While there, I snagged just a couple pictures.  I had an auto recycling company take it, they will give me some money for it once I give them the title.  Here's the pics:

Thus ends my ownership of the Taurus.

Today was my last day of class.  I am very glad.  Now it is study time although this weekend I intend on doing quite a bit of other activities.  I have most of this coming week to study so I'm not too pressed which I am glad for.  One week from tonight I head home!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Accident Update #2

Tonight I got a phone call from the auto body shop about my car and it is official, I have successfully totalled my first car.  (wow, what an accomplishment!)  The estimate for the repairs  was already 4300 dollars and that wasn't even everything.  So, now tomorrow I have to get in touch with the companies that buy cars like that.  Just what I need, something else to do!  Oh well, sometimes life just doesn't go the way you want it to, this just so happens to be one of those times for me!  But, on the bright side, I have one more day of class tomorrow and then I'm done with class.  This has been a bright spot for me as I deal with the post-accident excitement. 

Tonight, the U of I young group went to Schnucks (a grocery store) and carolled outside for the Salvation Army.  We carolled for two straight hours but it was fun.  Then we went to Brown House for hot chocolate, hot cider, coffee and fellowship.  However when I got there, the front door was wide open and the windows were open.  Apparently, its a good idea to have the flue open when you start a fire!  Once the smoke was dissipated and the windows and door closed the house warmed up nicely.   

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday School Hang Out Day

This past Saturday those of the U of I young group who were around watched some of the sunday school kids so their parents could go shopping or do whatever.  It was a good time and gave me a chance to get to know some of the sunday school kids better.  We played games with them, both inside and outside (as it was sunny and in the fifties) and just hung around and had a good time together.  Here are some pics from the day:

There were plenty of games to choose from!

This is Reuben.  His father is my second cousin who is a fourth year vet student at the University of Illinois.  He kind of looks like he is gonna cry in this picture but he wasn't.  He was fine the whole time running around and playing.  It was just at that moment when I took the picture that he happened to look like that.

These tunnels were brought for the little kids to play with (I think) but I'm pretty sure the not so little kids spent more time in them than the little kids did.  It kind of looks like Hayley is the jailkeeper watching over the two prisoners:

It figures, the engineering students would be building towers:

A couple more pictures from the day here:

Finally, here's Nathan and Greg juggling:

I enjoyed the day, it was a nice break from studying.  After today I have two more days of classes and then my exams next week.  I can't wait to be finished!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Accident Update

So, as a few of us suspected, the girl I hit last night was moving rather rapidly down the road.  Apparently she turned onto Lincoln Ave, the road I was turning onto, just a little bit down from the vet med driveway and accelerated rapidly.  A couple kids from my class who saw it happen said that she was really moving.  This makes it so I don't feel quite so bad (although I still do feel bad) because that may be why I didn't see her.  There were also cars parked on both sides of the road and it was drizzly out.   That would also explain why she spun me 180 degrees and pushed me right back into the vet med driveway!  I had to sign an authorization form so that they could look at my car.  I expect to hear back from them either today or tomorrow with the total damage.  Just what I needed to add to my already slightly elevated stress levels!

Now, a tiny bit of humor (even though I am an extremely serious person!).  My neurobiology lecture today was on the gross anatomy of the brain.  Before she started our lecture, our professor says, "So, today's lecture is really boring, I'm just gonna tell you that up front.  I am sorry about that.  I'm sure some of you are already looking up youtube videos or netflix."  It's not too often a professor says that kind of stuff, but if you knew Dr. Mahoney, you would understand!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Well, tonight was less than ideal.  I was pulling out of the driveway of the vet med building and crashed into a girl driving an SUV.  I did not see her at all before I pulled out and did not see her until I had crashed into her.  It was just boom, and that was it.  I spun her 90 degrees or so and she spun me about 180 degrees.  I'm not sure why I didn't see her although I believe she pulled off a road that is adjacent to the vet med driveway.  Either way it was my fault.  She was nice about it as was the cop which I was glad for.  I was even more thankful for the fact that, although she said her shoulder was a little sore, she was not hurt.  I didn't feel sore right then but my neck and back are beginning to feel sore. I hit her SUV on the rear left tire and adjacent area.  All we could see tonight was that I had popped her tire and cracked her drivers side running board.  I am hoping that that is all that happened to her car.  My car had its bumper cracked, right front headlight smashed, hood sitting crooked, drivers side door that scraped and made a racket when it was open, coolant leaking from my radiator, and also, while the car still drove, I couldn't turn it.  I had it towed and it is at a body shop right now to hopefully have the damage assessed tomorrow.  Luckily, one of my friends Kaleb is allowing me to use his truck for tomorrow and then I am getting my uncles car tomorrow night.  I also got a $120 ticket to top it off for failing to yield on left turn.  While this whole ordeal is a huge inconvenience, I feel that it has shown me how much I have to be thankful for:  1. neither one of us was hurt except some soreness 2. friends and family who are willing to help me out when I am in need 3. the faith and confidence that something will work out even though I feel like everything has gone wrong.

On to a better subject.  I took my second quiz today and felt good about it.  I am glad its over although now I have to start studying to be ready for the final next week.  (Although I must admit, I did not get any studying done tonight, I wonder why!)  Well, now that it is twenty after eleven out here, I suppose I should go eat some supper and get to bed.  Goodnight!  

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Hello! I am beginning to get back into the groove now.  It's kind of hard to be motivated though when I have only two weeks of school left!  This week has been flying by.  I have spent a lot of time in the anatomy lab working on learning the muscles, arteries, veins, and nerves of the front limb of the dog.  Just this afternoon alone, I was in the lab for over three straight hours working away.  Hopefully I remember everything!  Tomorrow we start the horse front limb.  I found out earlier this week that when they posted part of our lab exam grades from before Thanksgiving break, some of the exam grades went to the wrong people.  So, I rechecked my grade.  To my surprise (and delight!) my grade was one that had been goofed up (so I had someone else's grade before).  My score for that section of the lab exam jumped 7 points higher and my total lab exam score jumped almost 9 points!  I was obviously excited but it wasn't the same for everybody.  One girl two people down from me lost seven points and a girl behind me lost ten! 

There has been a lot of scrapping for points on our midterm exam.  Monday in anatomy, some of the students were giving our anatomy professor a hard time about one of his questions on the exam and he got upset.  He said, "You have to take responsibility for you education" among other slightly raised voice remarks.  I have to say that there is a lot more questioning the professors about the exam questions in vet school than there was (that I was aware of anyways) in undergrad.  It is a very challenging curriculum and students want all the points they can get!

Now, yesterday morning I went to leave for school and my car door wouldn't close.  It would just bounce against the car and not latch.  Well, I had to get going so I just drove off and held it closed with my hands.  I finally got it to close when I was almost to school.  Needless to say, it was kind of annoying, hanging on to that door for ten minutes straight while driving (a little bit of the drive was highway too!).  It was fine the rest of the day and today although I did stop somewhere today to have it checked and they lubed the latch for me.  The guy said that sometimes moisture (there was a lot of frost yesterday morning) can cause the latch to not work properly.  Hopefully that will solve the problem!

This weekend I will remain in Champaign.  Saturday the U of I young group are going to be with the sunday school kids so the parents can have some time to holiday shop, etc.  I also have our second quiz Monday morning at 8AM so I have to study for that.  Two weeks from tomorrow is our last day! Can't wait!

I will end with a recent photo of my roommates and I:

Loren, Me, Josh

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

This past week I was off from school.  It was nice to take a break from school and spend time with family.  I was in Eureka with my cousins last weekend.  Then it was off to Tremont to spend some time with my grandparents.  While there, I did some studying for anatomy.  I had my bone box out (a dog skeleton with real bones) and my cousin Neal was quite interested in them.  Here he is, examining them:

For one of my study breaks, I asked him if he wanted to help me put the dog together, which he readily agreed to do:
The set only has enough ribs for one side and we did not put all the foot bones and other real small bones out.  He was pretty interested in it!

Then, on Tuesday evening I headed up to Fairbury.  Tuesday night we sang at a nursing home, then Wednesday I worked around the Zehrs' farm and visited some of my great uncles and aunts.  The Central Illinois Sing was Wednesday night and there were probably around 300 people there, it was pretty nice.  Wednesday night it was back to Tremont so I could be with family for Thanksgiving.  This year I went to one of my Dad's cousins houses.  My cousin Anna and second cousin Laura took plenty of pictures for me with my camera!

Grandpa and Uncle Dan (my gramp had shoulder surgery so his arm was bundled up a little bit):

Kasi and Andrea:

Heather and Anna:

Laura and Cali:

After dinner, we just hung around and visited and played some games:

We had to be careful not to be shot:

Playing telephone pictionary (a very fun game):

We went and checked out the animals in the barn as well; goats, ducks, and chickens:

It was a great evening and a lot of fun!

Saturday evening I went to Gridley, Illinois to spend some time with some of my extended family.  Again, I had a real good time.  Tonight, I came back to Champaign, and went to the anatomy lab to work on dissecting out some of the front limb muscles of our dog cadaver.  Now tomorrow, it's back to the real deal for another three weeks.  Then I will have completed one semester of vet school!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Midterm Exam

Well, I have received my full midterm exam grade and I am happy with it.  I did well so I haven't flunked out yet!  Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Baskets

Today I was with some people from the Champaign church as well as the sunday school to make Thanksgiving baskets.  While the younger kids and some of the mothers stayed and decorated the baskets, the older Sunday School kids and young group folks went shopping.  There were three teams and each team had two families.  I was the head of one team along with Laura, a single member of the church and then we had four Sunday School boys who went shopping with us.  After getting back we organized the groceries into baskets and then went on our way to hand them out.  Our decorating team went with us as well as another person so we had ten people altogether in our group.  We stopped at the first house, gave them the food, and then offered a prayer on their behalf.  Since the people there spoke Spanish, Laura had a prayer in Spanish, something I had never heard before, but which I really enjoyed.  Then it was off to the second house where we did the same thing except I had the prayer.  After we were done delivering, it was back to church for a pizza lunch.  It was a really good time!  Now, I will be heading away from Champaign for a little over a week to visit some folks and spend some time with family for Thanksgiving.  Hard to believe Thanksgiving is upon us already!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Only In Vet School....

So, today we were sitting in our histology lecture when two kids, a boy and a girl, in the front row started laughing a little bit.  Our professor looked at them, smiling and asked what was so funny.  If you knew my professor, she's a cute little lady who laughs even though sometimes she doesn't even know what she is laughing at.  Anyways, the girl responded with minimal hesitation and complete innocence, "Oh, we were just talking about ovaries."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Midterm Part 2

Today was the second part of our midterm exam.  It consisted of seven pages of short answer questions.  I feel that it went fine, I'm pretty sure I passed anyways.  I also gave my first official vet med tour today to two prospective students and one of their mothers.  I enjoyed talking with them and showing them around.  I did NO studying this afternoon, so it was a nice break.  Tomorrow it is back to the books though with three hours of physiology and three hours of histology.  However, Thanksgiving break is only five days away!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lab Exam 1

Well, I had my first lab exam just a little bit ago.  I think it went fine, I'm sure I didn't get a 100 but I don't think I failed it either.  I started my exam on the anatomy part.  There were forty stations, each with a different identification question.  There were horse legs, cow legs, dog legs, cat legs, and then some hooves out and we had to identify different muscles, arteries, veins, nerves, bony prominences, as well as parts of the hooves.  Then, my group went into another lab where we had to spread out and then opened a document that had thirty different histology slides and ten different x-rays on it.  For histology we had to identify different sturctures or make comparisons between structures.  For the x-rays, there was an arrow pointing to a bone or other structure which we then had to identify.  Sometimes it pointed to a part of a single bone and we had to name that specific part of the bone.  It was challenging but fair.  Now I have to continue to study as I have my midterm exam this Friday and Monday.  I can say one thing, next Monday afternoon will find me pretty happy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


This weekend was a good one.  Saturday afternoon I headed to the Morton fellowship hall for the Washington young group invite.  There were a pretty good amount of visitors which was nice.  Then today I went to Washington church for the morning and then it was off for some deer work in the afternoon.  A veterinarian from U of I vet school (hmmm, that sounds familiar!) was going to my mom's cousins house to inseminate six deer and I went to watch and help out.  When I got there, this is what I saw:

These three does (female deer) have been tranquilized and are ready to go!  There were three others that you cannot see in this picture also tranquilized and ready to go.  They were tranquilized using this gun:
You can see the darts up above the gun and the two tubes to the right are the tubes that the semen is kept in when it is frozen. 

Shortly after I got there, the veterinarian (along with a young veterinarian and a tech) showed up.  It didn't take long and things were a-hoppin'.  It was very obvious that the vet knew exactly what he was doing.

Here is the very beginning, these are the first two deer all loaded up and ready to begin the process:

The younger vet shaved the abdomen of the deer and gave lidocaine (a local anesthetic to help numb them) under their skin in their abdomen as well.  She also gave some antibiotics under the skin near the ribs as well just to make sure they don't become infected. 

Then it was off to the "surgery area" where the deer were flipped upside down on their stretcher, two small holes were cut into their abdomen, and a scope (used to view the inside of the animal) and a device to hold the semen tube were placed.  Before they inserted the tubes into the holes, the doctor used air to blow up the animals abdomen so he would be able to see what he was doing.  Then, he used the hole on the animal's left side for his scope and the hole on the animals right side to insert the tube containing the semen into the abdomen.  He then proceeded to administer the semen directly into the uterine horns.  This puts the sperm cells in close proximity to the egg cells to help ensure pregnancy. 

Here you can see the deer flipped upside down on the stretcher:

Here is a deer with the two tubes sticking out of her:

Now the vet has the scope attached and is waiting for the semen tube to be handed to him:

Here he is now, administering the semen into the uterine horns:

He was very nice, he even let us all take a peek through the scope so we could see what he was looking at, which was kind of neat.  Upon completion of the surgery, he removed the tubes, and stapled the little incisions closed.  Then it was up to us helpers to lower the deer down, untie the legs, and carry the deer out of the barn and lay them down in the pen so they could receive a shot to reverse the anesthetic they had received.  Here's just a couple shots I took as they were waking up:

Here's a photo I took of the fawns in their pen:

Here's a photo of a buck in the buck pen.  He's a little difficult to see through the fencing. He has had his antlers removed (as all the bucks there have) as they can be kind of rough with each other when the females are in heat (as they currently are).  So, the antlers are removed to try to avoid as much damage as possible. 

So, after all the surgeries were done, we had to move a buck from one pen to another to be with one of the females which the vet couldn't perform the insemination on.  After he was tranquilized, five or so of us helpers went in with a contraption to carry the buck on.  We were told to hug the fence until we got straight across from the buck and then go straight to him.  We did just that however when we got to him, he moved his legs and head and made some noise.  Well, we were all green at handling deer so weren't exactly sure what exactly to do.  "Throw a coat over his head" were the instructions shouted to us from outside the pen.  So I took my sweatshirt off and put it over his head which worked!  However, it was about this time that the other eight bucks in the pen went nuts.  Instead of just going in the opposite corner of the pen they started racing around the pen, hurling themselves into the fence, and attempting to jump over it.  The fence is around eight feet high and some of them were getting almost up to the top.  While it really was an impressive sight to see it was somewhat unnerving as we were right smack dab in the middle of the pen and the deer were running everywhere going crazy.  The vet was still there at that point and he shouted at us to get low and be as one, so we huddled close to the ground together.  The deer did settle down then some, enough that we were able to remove the buck without us or any of the bucks getting injured.  The people outside the pen said that it was very scary to watch, and was very nervewracking.  Watching large deer hurl themselves against fences in desperation is quite intense, however it could be quite dangerous as well!  It was something I won't soon forget!  I will end this post with a picture of all of us that helped the deer owners with this escapade today:

It really was probably one of the neatest veterinary experiences that I have ever encountered.  I will remember this day for a long time to come!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Yesterday was the final day of my third week of classes.  Time sure does fly!  Yesterday morning after lecture I was thinking, "Man I have a lot of studying to do after these lectures."  We had an hour physiology lecture on hormone signalling and then two hours of neurobiology lecture on spinal reflexes.  During the lectures the material seemed kind of confusing and hard to grasp however when I studied it later, I realized it wasn't really that bad after all, which I was glad for!  This afternoon I plan to head to Washington, IL and then this coming week is the start of our exams.  I have full day of classes on Monday, then on Tuesday I only have histology lecture from 9-10 and lab from 10-12.  Wednesday brings no school until 1 at which point we have our lab exam, where we will be asked to identify different structures on bones of the pelvis andhind limb as well as muscles, veins, arteries, and nerves of the hindlimbs.  We will also questions about histology slides as well as x-rays, so it ought to be a challenging exam, however it is also a marker to see how much we have learned (or should have learned) already.  Thursday is no school as it is our reading day where we will study for the midterm exam.  Friday's part of the midterm has each class (anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, histology, and clinical correlations) split up with a total of 100 multiple choice questions.  Then, next Monday, there will be a written portion of the exam, where they will integrate all the classes together, and for each question, there will be information from at least two classes that you will have to use to answer them.  That is the part of the exam that worries me the most but hopefully it will go well!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

First Quiz

Well, we got our first quiz grades back today.  The average was a 76.7 which was apparently higher than normal and in my opnion is quite good.  After all, like they said at orientation, C=DVM, meaning as long as you maintain a C you will graduate as a veterinarian.  I did well so I am happy!  Tonight, I attended a practice lab exam.  It consisted of different dogs and bones out on tables in stations, and you had to go to each station (1 minute at each) and identify the muscle, artery, vein, nerve, ligament, or tendon that was pinned.  It was all back leg structures and I found that it wasn't as hard as I was expecting it to be (although I definitely have room for improvement!)  It was a nice preview to what we will be doing next Wednesday afternoon! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

10-31 (aka Halloween)

Merry Halloween everybody!  School was off due to the holiday today so that was pretty nice.  I pretty much just sat around all day, so it was nice and relaxing..... Boy don't I wish the previous statement was true!  But, no, we did not have off for halloween, it was learning, and learning and learning as usual!  I even had my first quiz today.  It was forty multiple choice questions (about equivalent to an exam in undergrad but its just a quiz in vet school, makes me excited to see what an exam is like! (that was sarcasm there just in case you didn't catch it ;)  I felt pretty good about the quiz, there were a few anatomy questions I wasn't totally sure on (such as "What is the nerve that innervates the muscle(s) that attach to the popliteal sesamoid?")  I did go to a review trivia session last night, but wasn't real impressed by it so won't go back this coming Sunday anyways.  However, the rest of my weekend was real good (minus the 6 hours of studying I put in on Saturday).  I went to Eureka and spent time with Uncle Dan, Heather and Andrea (hi Andrea, I would say hi to Heather but she doesn't really look at this blog!)  They had a singing Friday night and then Saturday I studied, and studied, and......studied.  I did take a study break however and went to see the deer that a relative of mine raises.  Here's just a couple photos that I shot while I was there:

This one here is a picture of a few of the fawns in the fawn pen:

This one has a doe in the doe pen and also a fawn in the adjacent fawn pen:

It was neat to see the deer up close like that.  I will, however, get to see them even more close this coming Sunday afternoon when I head over there when the vet comes to inseminate the females.  I will talk more about that once it is over but I am quite excited to get the opportunity to watch/assist where I can. 

School does continue to challenge me, it is definitely the most intense schooling I have ever done.  However, the material, for the most part, is interesting and that helps make it easier to study (although I still don't always feel like studying!)  I can't believe that we are in our third week of classes already.  It really is amazing how the time just flies! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harvest Party

Tonight, the young group and sunday school kids gathered at Wayne and Char's and had a fall party.  We had pizza and soda for supper and then it was time for activities.  I have some good videos however the blog is not letting me upload them.  I may try again another day and see if I can get it to work, but here's the pictures anyways.
 The first activity was pin the stem on the pumpkin. 
Here is Seth on his way to the pumpkin:

There was plenty of an audience watching!

This picture of the row of girls is a bit blurry but I'm including it anyways.

Even my roommate Loren gave it a whirl!
Here he's getting ready thanks to Rachel:

Next up was the pumpkin seed spitting contest.  It was kind of funny watching everyone spitting and sputtering trying to be the one who gets the seed the farthest.

  The farthest was Stephen who got the seed from the garage and had it land on top of the car.  Here's a picture to show how far he got it:
So, he shot it from the garage and onto the top of the car to the left, it was quite impressive, although he is also the guy who plays the bagpipes so that might have helped him!

The final organized activity was the pumpkin pinata.  It was a literal pumpkin hollowed out with candy in it.  The kids seemed to have fun whacking at it until the candy was exposed!

Finally, we all hung out in the basement and played a variety of games.

It was a great time, a nice break from the studying! One more day of school and then off to spend some time with the family in Eureka!