Friday, October 14, 2011

First Day.

So today was my first day at WC.

I was flipping terrified.  I went into auto-pilot on the commute there, and started getting anxiety sweats as I walked down the block to the place.  But what can you do at that point? Nothing.  All you can do is walk in the door and act like you know what the hell is going on around you, even though the voice in your head is letting out one, long, continuous high-pitched scream of terror.  For HOURS.  The voice inside my head is now hoarse.

I trailed the head vet tech for the majority of the day - he was my main go-to person, but I pretty much could call on any tech if I needed help, and tagged along with a few other techs when they had a project to do (tech appointment, SQ fluids, ultrasound, etc).  It feels weird being one of the LVTs - I still feel like I'm in internship mode!  At BPV, we were pretty much just in the way, and they could function perfectly fine without us being underfoot.  We weren't getting paid, and some techs didn't even realize we were there, so a lot of the time we just ended up standing around, or cleaning things multiple times.  Even with my working interview being last week, I still almost feel like I'm on a working interview, but it's not - it's actually my JOB now.  I have an accountability level, and have to keep reminding myself that I am actually getting PAID to do things now.  Not going to lie, it feels weird.

One example of what feels weird to me: WC uses veterinary assistants.  BPV doesn't use assistants, they only hire techs, and techs do all the jobs - tech work, restraint, basic cleaning, etc (this is probably why they don't pay so great, even though their prices are astronomical).  I have no clinic experience outside of BPV, so I just assumed techs always did everything everywhere.  But at WC, you ask for an assistant, and suddenly there's one in front of you (assistants seem to outnumber techs 2:1) - they get the animal, restrain it, you do whatever you need to do (blood draw, injection, fluids, meds, etc), and they take the animal away and put it back in the cage/run.  As a tech, you can concentrate on the tech side of things, which I like a lot more.  Also, apparently, if you pull blood and the test that needs to be run isn't in-house, the assistant can take it and get the paperwork and bag it up instead of you doing it.  I can't say I don't like the setup.  It feels strange that even on my first day there, I wasn't the low man on the totem pole - that's not to say the vet assistants are low (the place couldn't run without them) but I'm so used to being new and being the grunt for a good long while before gaining any credit that it takes a new perspective to be able to tell someone what to do ON MY FIRST DAY OF WORK.

So I got there at 9am, and immediately jumped into things.  The head tech had me do bunches of drug calculations and tons of blood draws - one of the most challenging things, I'm finding, is remembering what tests require what kinds of blood collection tubes and what machines to use to analyze the sample.  For example, one kind of test requires two different kinds of tubes, and gets sent out, another requires one kind of tube, that uses a specific machine with a specific set of slides and directions, while another requires two smaller identical tubes, but uses the same machine as the last test, but requires a different set of slides.  So much to remember!!! At the end of the day, the tech gave me a good tip: He told me to bring in a notebook with me so I could jot down notes about procedures and tests as a reference guide (and so I wouldn't continually pester him about what slides go where).

So I won't lie - I screwed up some things.  Had a butterfly catheter fall out because I'm not used to doing blood draws with an animal being held in an upright position in the air (as opposed to the only way I ever learned/saw, with the animal lying down or sitting), couldn't remember how to run a test, missed tracking an animal's respiratory rate (only once, though, and it was more of a "whoever happens to be around at the time do it" thing), couldn't figure out that to draw up ACTH (a gel) I needed a bigger needle and kept trying with the smaller one and actually had the tech say to me, "You can't just keep doing the same thing and think it's going to work.  Bigger needle!".  Duhhh.

But I also did some good stuff today - I'm pretty spot-on about treatments, as well as remembering to log them in the computer afterward (I was on that treatment board like white on rice), I'm way better at blood draws than I previously thought (especially lat saphs), and dammit I actually remembered the name of the muscle group I was going to inject into when asked on the spot (but not until the longest nine seconds of my life dragged was the epaxial btw).  Also, I've become the queen of ear and eye cleaning.  I'm realizing that I may not know all of this stuff inherently, unfortunately, but if you tell me once, I'll remember it.  Especially if I screw it up in a major way.  Then there's no way I'll forget it.

So I ended up staying until 5.45pm (I was scheduled until 5).  Don't have to be back in until next Tuesday, and very glad for it - I need a good chunk of time to process everything that just happened today, and wrap my mind around all the things I did and will be expected to do.  My hours are almost full time (I am considered a full time employee), and my schedule has me working every other Saturday.  Not too shabby, all things considered.

All in all, no one lost any limbs, and I wasn't told not to come back.  That's my measure of a successful day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

That's *employed* LVT, to you.

Called back WC and spoke with the tech.  He offered once more, and I accepted!  Since the other tech (who I believe is actually my classmate) is starting on the 24th, he wanted to stagger our starting dates.  I offered the 17th (next Monday), but he wanted me to start sooner.  Like, tomorrow or Friday.  I took Friday.

There's a four month probation period, but if I can get through that without killing anything/making people pissed as hell, there's a possible pay increase plus a bunch of benefits (medical, dental, metrocard, share of profits, etc).  So not too shabby.

I'm really happy, and kind of frightened.  I still feel like such a dum dum, and I hope they don't regret their decision to take me on (considering they posted on Craigslist, I'm sure they had a slew of applicants).  My friend told me they were only taking one tech, but then after our classmate got hired, she heard (from said classmate, I guess?) that they were considering hiring a second tech.  I'm that tech.

Basically, this dog looks how I feel:


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Got to make a Trader Joe's run this morning.  Happy day!  Got a bunch of stuff I've been meaning to for awhile (Chai mix, breads, sugar, peanut butter) plus some snackaroos (white cheddar puffs and yogurt covered pretzels, amazing!).  Afterward, got to sit in Astoria Park and crochet for a spell - the weather is just amazing and warm, and I'm hoping it holds out this way for as long as possible until winter...I feel like this winter is going to be just awful.

Got my CSA share this evening!  Beets (in all sorts of cool reds and oranges), peppers, eggplant, mini tomatoes, green beans (agh, so many green beans) and...mei qing choi?  It's pretty much just bok choy, so that should be interesting to cook.  The share was a touch smaller this week, another reminder that cooler weather is a-comin'.

Because my life is oh so hard and agonizing, after I came back from the park I decided I was going to take a nap.  That lasted all of a half hour before I ended up getting a phone call from a number in the city.  Just-Waking-Up me gets all disoriented around phones, so I let it go to voicemail until I thought, "Hm, that number sounds familiar...".  I looked it up and it was West Chelsea (the place I did my working interview last Thursday).  I'm still in "praying for the best but expecting the worst" mode, but basically the voicemail was from the tech who ran my interview telling me he just wanted to go over my interview process and extend the job offer to me.  So I'm being practical and reserved, but I'm really very happy and excited on the inside!  I'm going to call him back first thing tomorrow morning (wasn't able to get a hold of him upon calling back) to accept it and see what I need to do.  So thrilled!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm finding flowers (and their variations) to be an interesting/challenging subject.  Considering I really don't know any specific stitches/loops, I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants and teaching myself what looks good and what doesn't.  Yesterday's flower (my current user picture) called for only two rows, the second of which was two loops per hole, followed by alternating chains of 3 and 4 loops to create the "petals".  Honestly, that was probably easier and used less yarn than today's blue flower, which calls for three rows of regular stitches, then two rows of "doubling up", which is kinda sorta a pain in the butt.

This was yesterday's flower:

Regardless of how they look from the front, I have to figure out a tidier way of bringing them together in the back - right now, they're just kind of haphazardly stitched into a spiral using the same yarn as the flower itself.  Not an issue if it's getting tied to a scarf/hat/unsuspecting child, but more of a problem if it's going to be a pin or a hairclip. 

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.  It's just that whenever I look at these flowers, they kind of scream "Etsy" at me.  Which is better than an actual flower screaming at me, I guess.  I don't know, it's a possibility.  Maybe I should start designing jewelry and move to Bushwick or something.  Then I can sit around and crochet all day while smoking American Spirits and agonizing over what live show I want to go to that night.  Sounds like kind of a good life, actually.

I caved and bought some yarn.

I'm pretty sure I've got two rolls of yarn under my bed (if I recall correctly, in black and in purple), but I wanted better quality and colors.  However, yarn is kinda sorta hard to find in the city, and if you do it's pretty expensive, to boot.  So I decided to head over to Michaels instead.  That place is joyful...I spent an hour in their yarn aisles (yes, multiple aisles devoted to colorful pretty yarn!) and eventually settled on two skeins of turquoise/peacock blue and one skein of a wool with a mixed blend of autumn colors (goldenrod, reds, smokey black, taupe, etc).  Oh, AND got to use a 50% off coupon for the fall colored yarn (making it $2.99).  The blue yarn was on sale at 2 for $5, so I spent $7.99 in total for all my yarn.  My inner artist AND my inner asian is happy.

Realized after that I was pretty close to Old Navy, as well.  Been meaning to get some new jeans since none of my old pairs fit me anymore.  After nine pairs of jeans, I found out I was a size 8.  This is pretty amazing, since I have spent my entire life being double digits.  When I started wearing jeans (I want to say middle school?) I was a size 12/13, and pretty much hovered at a size 13/14 throughout high school and college.  I got down to a solid size 12 when I started working butt-busting retail, but I also ate like crap because I had no time to cook due to work/school, so I kind of leveled out there.

Then, about four months ago, I started (randomly, one day) counting my calories and actually looking at what I ate.  Took up walking laps in the park by my house (usually 2-3 miles each morning).  Started eating a lot more vegetables because of the CSA I'm a member of.  Lost about 15 pounds just from doing that for a few months.  I haven't tracked my calories for the last few weeks or so (trip to San Francisco got in the way, plus I just got lazy), but I still eat pretty well (though I have been letting cookies get the best of me as of late) and haven't gained any of it back in that time period.  I slacked off entirely on the exercise, though, and I absolutely NEED to get back on track with that.  No excuses!

Anyhow, I walked out of Old Navy with a pair of size 8 longs, and felt so happy.  Well, not really walked out, I did pay for them.  Hell, the pants even felt slightly baggy in the hips and butt (I am sorely lacking in the booty department), but comfortable in the waist, so who knows? Maybe I'm on the way down to a 6.  How nuts would that be.  Oh also, jeans were on sale for $19.98.  Awesome.

So, an eventful day of shopping, with much happiness and savings all around.  What more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Night ramble.

Looks like some obligatory first post awkwardness is in order.  Couple of years late, too, might I add.

Kind of excited to be writing again - I used to keep a livejournal, but haven't updated it since April of last year.  Even then, it was slow going for the last year of posts or so, and I think I jut fell out of favor with it.  I'd been posting since 2003, and I think I simply...outgrew it.  Rather, my life became incredibly boring for about a year, then incredibly amazing for a short while (with a flurry of posts to match), then incredibly busy, upon which I simply stopped writing due to lack of time/interest/audience. 

 Hopefully this blog will be a window on my new life ahead and the crazy antics I'll be getting myself into, as always (that hasn't changed, thankfully).