Running Wild

The Penny War.


There’s 15 days left of my externship. There’s 23 days until I graduate. Damn time moves fast. I mean, not any faster than one second at a time. But still… it feels like it flew by. Sometimes I’ll sit and zone out for a few minutes and I’ll think about how I got here. It’s been a very long and crazy 18 months. But I think I’m ready for the next chapter – whatever that may be.

These past two days have been incredibly long. The vet staff has been getting out consistently at 5:00PM every night but the rehabbers have been staying until at least 6:30PM. So the past two nights I decided to stay late and help them. And I’m so glad I did because night after chopping up fruits and vegetables, sweeping, and mopping for the rehab staff – I learned how to tube feed baby opossums. They’re so adorable oh my goodness. They would totally fit in my pocket…
Once all the babies were fed we finally left the center at 7:00PM. But our work was not done yet. Instead of going home we drove to a park with a box of 3 bunnies and released them into a forest. Sometimes my job is really hard. We euthanize so many animals it’s really hard to stomach sometimes. I’ve been here for almost 7 weeks and I’ve stopped going into the radiology room to help with intake animals because most of the time animals who go in there for an exam don’t come out alive. Most of the time the animals we get are too far gone to save. Their wounds are usually old and necrosing, or they are very neurologic and can’t walk, stand, or see. Most of the time we are their final stop.
Even though it makes my days longer, working with the rehab staff helps me end my days on a good note. It sucks going home knowing the last patient you saw of the day didn’t make it. There’s just something truly remarkable about releasing an animal back into it’s habitat, or even feeding a baby opossum and helping it grow up to be released. That’s the feeling I like going home with – like I’m doing more good than harm.

I know that I’ve said over and over again how much I love this house and these people. But let me just give one more example of how awesome it has been living here.
One night a few of us were in the front living room playing video games. Jena had gone to the bathroom and when she came back she told us that there was a penny taped to the ceiling. Maggie, Ky, and I all kind of brushed it off like she was crazy and continued to play video games. Later Ky went to the bathroom and came back and said that Jena was crazy there was no penny. Thirty seconds later Maggie and I each got a text from Ky saying that she stole the penny! I feel like it was much funnier when it happened… but the story’s not over yet.
A couple days later Ky found a penny taped to the ceiling over her bed. And thus the start of the penny war had begun. We then taped a penny over Jena’s bed and for about a week we all went back and forth between Jena and Ky’s beds taping pennies to their ceilings.
Then yesterday I came home, dropped my stuff off on my bed, and for some reason I felt like I had to look up. Sure enough, there was a penny taped to the ceiling over my bed. I ran over to Maggie’s room to see if she had one too – she didn’t. I needed to get some pay back here but I didn’t know what. I started with trying to tape another penny over Jena’s bed. And as you all know I am pretty damn short. So I went out to the living room where the rest of the house (minus Jena, Ky, and Maggie) was sitting eating dinner and watching TV, and tried to enlist the help of some taller people.
I told them the story of the penny war. I think they found it funny? Mostly they just thought I was crazy and pretty much wouldn’t help me move the dresser and climb on top of it to tape a penny to the ceiling. Rude, right??
Not sure what to do next I did the only thing I could think of: I called Maggie. And good thing I did because her idea was brilliant. She told me to tape a penny to the ceiling of everyone’s bed in the house. I got everyone – including Karen who sleeps on the bottom of a bunk bed; all except for Elise. She was watching a movie and wouldn’t leave her room. Damn her.
When Maggie got home I told her I needed her to lure Elise out of her room so I could tape the penny to her ceiling. Also I was exhausted from working 11 hours that day and the sole reason I was still awake was to finish taping pennies to everyone’s ceiling. Elise was the last one and after that I was going to bed.
Maggie knocked on Elise’s door, poked her head in and said one of the most for sure ways to get Elise out of her room: “Hey, do you want to play a drinking game?”
At first I was super grateful to have Elise out of her room and I accomplished my goal for the night. YAY! But then I felt obligated to play the game with the rest of the house so it didn’t look suspicious. Three beers and 2 hours later, I regret nothing.
Once the game was over we all went to bed… sort of. I heard Maggie laughing and saying something about a penny so I went to check out what was going on. Elise had found her penny. At first she was super confused, but then accepted it and walked away with it. She came back a minute later and said “There. Now someone else can find the penny.”
And thus begins penny war II.
Game on.

Belated post since we don’t have internet at the house.


I have definitely become attached to these people. I love every single one of them. They’re family. I haven’t known any of them for more than a month, but I know I’d do anything for them.
A couple of days ago one of them left to go home since their externship is done. And this weekend 2 more of them are leaving. I know we’ll keep in touch and I’m sure I’ll see them again someday, but this is still incredibly hard. Goodbyes are always hard.
Last night we all went out as one last hoorah. We went to a cider house and then after that we went to a brewery. And when we got home we played drinking games. I don’t remember the last time I had that much fun. Yesterday was absolutely perfect from the moment I woke up to the second I fell asleep and I wish I could play it over again.
I’m usually very articulate and can describe things really well. But I don’t know how to put this week into words, but I’m going to try:

Monday: We got a new person in the house. Sam. He’s great. He loves basketball almost as much as I do and I wish he had been here 2 weeks ago to watch the games with me. The only bad thing is that he went to UW Madison… pesky badgers. But he’s still great.

Tuesday: We got another new person in the house. Jenna. She’s freaking awesome. She fit in perfectly right away.

Wednesday: We went on a hike up a mountain. Both the climb and the view at the top were literally breathtaking. I’ll tell you, there’s absolutely nothing better than sitting at the top of a mountain watching the sunset and drinking an Angry Orchard with 8 of your closest friends.

Thursday: This day was actually my “Friday”. My weeks are off by a day because I get Fridays and Saturdays off. Half the house went out to Blue Mountain Brewery. Honestly I just wanted to get a refill on my growler but then other people tagged along and it became an actual dinner instead of just an alcohol run. So I refilled my growler AND had dinner with friends. Unfortunately this was Jessica’s last day at the house. After dinner she left. I pretty much attacked her with a hug in the parking lot. I can’t even explain how this happened but now there’s this ongoing joke in the house that you’re only allowed to leave if you’re cut up and stuffed in a pizza box. Our humor is weird and I love it.

Friday: (My Saturday). Kylee and I woke up and cleaned the kitchen since it was starting to get really gross. Also the only things on our counter are alcohol and citrus. I tried to clean up a bit and make it look like we didn’t just drink all the time – no such luck. I’ve decided I’m okay with our obvious stash of alcohol. It says we have fun. After we cleaned the kitchen we went to the Shenandoah National Park and hiked 6 miles of the Appalachian Trail. I’ve officially decided that one day I’m going to come back and do the whole thing. (note to self – bring sunscreen next time). When everyone else got home from work we all went to the cider house and Devils Backbone Brewery and preceded to have one of the best nights of my life with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.
Oh! Also at some point this week we got another new person… Shannon. But she doesn’t live with us so I don’t really know when she got here. But she’s great and fits in perfectly. She came out with us last night too.
Basically last night I got super drunk and told every single person in the house that I loved them.. at least 3 times each. Which I absolutely do.
And now It’s my Sunday (but actually it’s Saturday) and I’m super hung over and writing this blog post.
It’s true what they say: Your 20’s are meant for the moments you’ll never remember and the people you’ll never forget. I will surely never forget these people.

Running with conviction


I don’t know what it is lately, but the homesickness is definitely starting to hit me hard. Mostly I miss my dog. Which sounds lame, but I really don’t care. She’s perfect and I miss her.
College basketball season is nearly over so my life is starting to get back on schedule. I started running again yesterday – did a 5k through the woods. It was really nice, I felt free almost. Today I tried to run the same route but my head wasn’t in it. Half way through I just stopped. Too many thoughts crowding my adrenaline. I couldn’t concentrate on my breathing much less my route. They say nothing kills your run faster than a blister. Which I totally agree with; if you don’t have the right shoes you’re kinda screwed. But to be honest, there’s nothing worse than your head not being in the game. My heart and my limbs want to keep pushing forward but my head is dragging its heels.
Sure you can tell yourself “mind over matter” but it doesn’t mean a thing if your mind is 500 miles away from the path in front of you. It’s so frustrating. I guess I’ll take tomorrow off and try again the day after. If anything that’ll help my runner’s knee that’s starting to present in my right leg.
The center is good; same old, same old. Haven’t gotten any cases that are super crazy or interesting lately. Yesterday we got a snapping turtle that weighed about 15kg. It was shot in the head and had major skull fractures so we euthanized it. Today we flight tested an american crow. It’s x-rays looked great and it was eating everything we offered. But the problem was that it wouldn’t fly. Today was the 5th day that it was non-flighted with a bilateral wing droop. At that point there wasn’t much we could do for it. You can’t help something that has no fight in it and won’t try. So we euthanized it.
We probably euthanize some animal or multiple animals everyday. It gets really sad some days. For example, when we’re brought a litter of cottontail rabbits that are under 50g. They’re completely healthy infant rabbits, but because they’re under 50g we know they won’t survive in our care. We could give them medication, fluids, warm shelter, and feed them every 4 hours and it still wouldn’t be comparable to what their mother could offer them. Even after all that, they’d still only have a 20% chance of survival. So we don’t have another choice but to euthanize them. Those days are some of the hardest. They don’t happen every day, but they’re still difficult. I’ve learned so much in the past month. But the hardest lesson to learn was that no matter how much supportive care you give to something, it can still die on you.
We try to do everything we can to rehabilitate animals to go back into their natural habitat. But sometimes there’s just nothing we can do. It’s hard, but we turn our attention to those we can help, and somehow that makes what we do worth it.

Now I’m about to talk about something that may shock everyone who’s close to me: God.
As I’ve said before, my friend Maggie did the 11 in 11 world race last year. Last night we stayed up until 4am talking about her trip and God and religion. The way she talks about her experience and her journey and her relationship with God is kind of mesmerizing to listen to. I’m almost jealous that I didn’t grow up with strong faith like the way she did. I’ve never once mentioned any of this to anyone. I mean, I’ve always respected religion and those who are devoted and all that. But I’ve always just sat on the side lines while everyone else believed and I just kept my thoughts to myself (even the incomplete, confused ones).
I decided a really long time ago that religion just wasn’t for me. I can’t say I’m atheist nor agnostic. I don’t deny He exists and I don’t deny the ability to believe in Him. It’s more confusion than anything else.
I do believe that the world would be in complete ruin if people didn’t have faith in a higher power. Society would literally collapse on itself if religion wasn’t present in our world today. I believe that having faith in something greater than yourself is essential, no matter what you believe in.
I also believe that my Nana watches over me. Where else would she be doing that if not Heaven?
Many of you know I spent some time in the hospital a few years ago. It was a really rough time for me and being so sick and helpless for so long really did a number on my mental health. I’m a lot better now but I still have days where all I want to do is lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for the next 12+ hours. Those are the days when whatever faith I have in God is truly tested. For a long time post hospital I was really angry. Everyone told me that everything happens for a reason. Well shoot. I almost died on the operating table. Except I didn’t. Someone tell me what was the reason for that? Why am I still here? What reason do I have for being here?
Make no mistake, I do not regret anything in my life. I know how blessed I am for the things I have and the people who love me. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to figure out my reason for being on this earth. And that journey of self discovery is one I know I have to take alone. No one can answer that question for me.
I can’t talk to God the way that Maggie does or pray for things the way my sister does. Maybe I will some day, but right now the only way I can feel or hear Him at all is when I’m running.
I’m not going to start going to church every Sunday. I may go every once in a while and see how it goes. For now though my mind is wide open and I’m just looking for answers. I told you guys I wasn’t the same girl who left IL a month ago. This place is changing me. These people are changing me. My story is definitely taking a turn that I didn’t see coming. But don’t worry – I’ll always be that headstrong person with big goals and no fear.

No medical terms, no bullshit, just life


Since I’ve been out here, I have to admit I haven’t really been all that homesick. Sure I miss my parents and my sister and my dogs and everything, but I’m never sitting around wishing that I was with them. I’m taking that as a sign I’m growing up.

However, tonight my parents are coming to visit. And I am beyond excited.

I was raised by two of the most supportive parents in the world. There’s no way I would have had half the courage to do what I’m doing if it wasn’t for them. Between long talks on Saturday afternoons in the craft room with my mom, and invaluable advice from my dad around the bonfire while we keep drinking long after the rest of the world has gone to sleep, I’ve been given the gift of unconditional love and support.

Over the past 23 years they have taught me to be brave, and honest, and to work hard, and stay humble. But not just that. They have also taught me that one of the most important things in life is who you share it with. In other words, surround yourself with good people.

So far I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that – at least out here I have. It’s only been a month and I already consider my housemates as family. I can’t remember the last time I had this big of a connection with someone who wasn’t related to me. Maybe it’s because we all work at the same place and have multiple common interests. Regardless, this place has very quickly become a place I can call “home” and it will be extremely hard to leave it and even harder to leave these wonderful people. But I know we’ll always stay in touch, or at least try to.

These people are in my life for a reason – they’re important. They are changing my story in the best way possible. I took this externship because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience something new. I wanted to be brave and take a risk. I wanted to become a better technician, friend, person. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m not coming back to Illinois the same person as I was when I left it. And after I graduate I can’t promise I will stay. I know there’s so much more out there in the world that I want to be a part of. So much more that I want to see and do. And right now, it’s something I need to do on my own. I have my parents to thank for raising me to be so independent.

It’s not just the mountains that are calling; it’s the rivers, and the valleys, and the deserts, and everything in between.

I don’t want to settle for a simple life, for I am not a simple person.



Case Study: 16-0116


For school I have to write up a case study once a week on a patient at the center. This week I chose patient 16-0116: An Eastern American Toad. I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things so far but this case was definitely my favorite to be a part of so I thought I’d share it.

Signalment: Eastern American Toad, adult, sex undetermined

History: Public citizen was gardening and accidentally injured toad with pruners.

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 9.39.20 AM

Chief Complaint: Loss of deep pain and motor function in right distal forelimb, exposure of distal articular surface of humerus, superficial laceration over right mid-dorsolateral back, open luxation of right elbow.

Clinical Signs: Right forelimb dragging along below the elbow without any obvious movement of the digits. No deep pain response and no motor function in the distal right forelimb. Right forelimb digits swollen.

Diagnostics: Two dorsoventral views were taken with the right forelimb laid caudal and then laid in normal cranial position. The technique was slightly underexposed with a grainy appearance to the image and loss of fine detail. The positioning is diagnostic, though the caudal portion of the frog is not straight in one view. Both radiographs show a luxation at the right elbow joint.

Diagnosis: Loss of deep pain and motor function in right distal forelimb, superficial laceration over right mid-dorsolateral back, open luxation of right elbow.

Treatment: Pain medication and antibiotics due to exposure of distal articular surface of humerus. Amputation of right distal forelimb necessary.



Prognosis: Guarded to fair

Patient outcome: Patient was taken to surgery two days post admittance. Surgery was successful. However, patient was euthanized during recovery post-op since patient remained non-responsive despite epinephrine administration and assisted ventilation. Euthasol administered intracoelomic.

Extern reflection: First of all I have to say how impressed I was with the public citizen who brought in the toad. I don’t know many people who would transport a toad to a wildlife hospital. I think most people would feel bad about accidentally snipping them with a pair of gardening shears, but probably would just let nature take its course. Second, I am both honored and impressed with the care given to this toad by everyone involved with this case.

The day of surgery we began inducing the patient around 2:05 pm EST. Amphibians can be somewhat difficult to induce. This is by no means anything like inducing a dog or cat. You can’t just premed them with sedatives and analgesics (pain medication). Well, you can but it’s not the preferred method. All the vet staff on the case read up on different methods to induce amphibians. The night before surgery I was reading several articles relating to amphibian anesthesia since I was to be the primary anesthetist on the case.

The thing with amphibians is that their skin absorbs everything. Although they do have lungs, they also use their skin as part of their respiratory system. After reading about several different ways to induce an amphibian patient, we all decided to induce our toad patient via topical anesthetic. We used a mixture of 1.5 mL of distilled water, 3.5 mL of lubricant, and 3 mL of isoflurane and applied the mixture to the patient’s dorsum (back).

Initially we applied a very low dose of anesthetic, careful not to cause anesthetic toxicity. The problem we encountered, however, was our patient would not stay sedated long enough to begin the surgery. Every time we adequately sedated the toad, he would wake up just as I finished prepping the right forelimb for surgery causing the surgical site to become unsterile. Finally after several hours of going back and forth trying to sedate the patient, we decided to apply the highest dose of anesthetic and immediately begin the surgery. At this point my “scrub” became more of a “drip chorhexidine on the surgical site and flush with saline three times” – which was really not ideal but time wasn’t on our side.

The surgery went great. Patient’s heart rate remained steady through most of the procedure, only increasing during the amputation itself. My main problem as being the anesthetist on this case was that I had almost no way of monitoring the patient’s respiratory rate. This is REALLY not ideal in any surgery since the first sign your patient is too deep is their respiratory rate will decrease. The only thing I had to go on was the doppler to monitor the heart rate, which like I said remained mostly steady. Everything we read prior to surgery was that intubation should be reserved for large amphibians only. And since our little toad was only 30.2 grams, we decided against intubation.

For two hours post surgery I monitored the patient’s recovery. Part of my job as being a tech (my favorite part) is providing animals with good nursing care. We are the ones who make sure the patient wakes up and feels comfortable. It’s our job to report any signs of pain to the veterinarian on the case. So I did my job and I sat by my patient the whole time, while intermittently dousing the patient with Reptile Ringers solution and Saline to A. keep the patient moist and hydrated, and B. to flush the isoflurane from their system. The heart rate remained at a steady 60 bpm, increasing slightly every so often. At one point the toad opened its eyes and mouth. I took this as a sign we were on the right path to recovery. However, that was the last sign of recovery I observed.

The other weird thing with amphibians is that their heart will continue to beat after they’ve died. This was a growing fear as we reached the first hour mark of recovery. Around 6:00 pm we decided to take a chance and intubate the patient. We used a size 1 cole tube (a non-cuffed endotracheal tube) which fit perfectly in the patient’s trachea. This was when we realized we should have intubated the patient from the start. After ventilating the patient with an Ambu bag for 15 minutes we administered an intramuscular injection of diluted epinephrine. As I was handling the patient, I realized some of the limbs were becoming stiff. The patient was going into rigor mortis – meaning that our patient had been dead for a couple hours.

Euthasol was administered via intracoelomic to stop the heart and time of death was called at 7:20 pm.

The total time spent on this case from time of initial attempt of induction to time of death was 6 hours. Our clinic closes at 5:00 pm and I did not leave the hospital until 8:00 pm. The lengths that we went to for this toad was remarkable. We did everything we could to keep this toad alive and to make sure the if or when they woke up, they would have a good enough quality of life to be released back into its natural habitat – the sole goal of our clinic.

To most people ventilating a toad with an Ambu bag may seem extraneous and a bit ridiculous. But what kind of wildlife clinic would we be if we didn’t treat every animal with the same respect?  Just because they’re lower on the food chain doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same respect as a cat or dog. We appreciate the circle of life and we understand how it works. But we will still do our best to give every animal a fair shot at survival. It is not up to us to decide who lives and who dies. We are given the daunting task of deciding whether an animal is able to be saved or should be euthanized. But if there’s any chance of survival we will do everything we can to help our patients get there. Sometimes though, we have to euthanize because we know that sometimes there’s nothing we can do. Sometimes nature has already taken its course when the patients arrive at our clinic. It is definitely hard, but at the same time it’s rewarding to be able to rehabilitate an animal and release them back into the wild. And it’s an amazing feeling to know that you did everything you could to help something as little as an Eastern American Toad.


NOTE: if anyone has any questions about the case or the procedure I would be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge. If I don’t know the answer, I will direct the question to the vet.

Live, love, and learn


These past 2 weeks have gone by incredibly fast! I can’t believe only 6 weeks remain before I have to say goodbye to this place and head home. Although it will be tough to say goodbye, I intend on making the most out of the time I have left with these people and these animals because for the first time since I started my vet tech journey almost 18 months ago, I really feel like I’m making a difference.
The first few days here were pretty rough, to put it simply. I’ve always struggled with self doubt. Whenever I start something new I always feel extremely inadequate and unqualified. But just as my grandma told me to, I’m taking everything one day at a time. Sure enough, once my initial jitters were out of my system I fell into my groove. I’m still incredibly nervous but I’m doing things I never thought I would ever do. I’m learning so much here I really don’t want to leave.
In the past two weeks I’ve learned how to treat and restrain raptors, I’ve been the anesthetist for a Red Tail Hawk surgery, and I’ve treated a bald eagle’s feathers with betadine to promote healthy feather growth. Every single day here is amazing. I love what I’m doing and I so content with the path that I’ve chosen for myself.
Here’s something that I thought was kind of remarkable:
First of all, let me just say that my beliefs and my faith are somewhat undetermined. I don’t know what I believe. BUT I’d like to believe that we all have guardians that watch over us. I wouldn’t really call them angels. Most of the time it’s just a feeling. Anyway, my first day here I met this woman. She’s older, probably retired. She volunteers at the Wildlife Center on Tuesdays and you can tell that she loves helping these animals. Here’s the crazy part – her name is Peg. This also happens to be the name of my late grandmother. I don’t believe that my Nana is walking around as Peg. But there was a moment on my first day that I could’ve sworn it was my Nana talking to me. I might be totally crazy, but for that short moment I could no longer feel my nerves. I’d like to believe it was her way of telling me to just calm down. Whatever it was, it worked.
Most people who know me really well know that I’ve been on a crazy path of self discovery for some time now. I mean, that’s what being in your 20’s is all about… right? I’m doing my best to make the most out of every single day and not take anything for granted. Although I am only human and sometimes I can be a bit oblivious to the great things I have in my life.
Being here I’m not just learning things related to my career but things related to life in general. There’s this girl in the house… Maggie. I know I’ve mentioned her before, but this girl really is wonderful. I’ve never met anyone else like her. She’s so comfortable with who she is. She’s honest, and just completely aware. I know that’s a weird adjective to use to describe someone but a lot of younger people really aren’t all that aware of the world around them these days. If something doesn’t show up on their facebook feed they know nothing about it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that last year she went on a mission trip and visited 11 countries in 11 months. She pays attention – which with the current generation’s massive ADHD issues, is a really attractive quality in a person. I think that’s why I like her so much. Let’s be real here I have the biggest crush on this girl right now. Not in the sense that I want to date her or be anything more than friends, but more in the sense that I’m grateful to have met her. You ever meet someone and just get this feeling that they’re really important? I could tell from the second I met her that this girl was going to change my life. Maybe it won’t be this big dramatic change but it will be something.
Life is just a really long book and I can tell that this girl, Maggie, is a really important character in my story.

I really am amazed at myself with everything I’ve accomplished thus far. You never know what you’re truly capable of until you try.

More on my journey as a wildlife vet tech extern to come… stay tuned 🙂

The helpful grocer, Canadians, and an opossum


I realize I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year but that’s because I’ve been so busy! I finished my last term of school and I had my pinning ceremony, and I’ve been running a lot, and now I’m on my externship in VA! Here’s how my first 24 hours went:

On the morning after my arrival I woke up in a panic because I was the last person in the house to wake up and I thought I slept in. It’s not that I had anything mega important to do today. I just didn’t want my new roommates to perceive me as lazy. At least not this early in my stay.

So I woke up and blindly reached for my phone to check the time. I was expecting it to be sometime around 11am or 12pm


It was 7am.

I blinked a few times just to be sure I wasn’t crazy. Turns out I’m not crazy – my roommates are.

With a sudden urge to prove I could be a morning person I got out of bed and walked out to the kitchen where 2 of my roommates were having breakfast. I decided that since I was already up I might as well start unpacking. I walked over to the window, took one look at my car and decided that today was not the day to prove that I was a morning person. So I turned around and went back to bed without anyone saying a word to me.

Four hours later I woke up feeling much more well rested. I justify sleeping an extra 4 hours because I drove almost 12 hours yesterday.

Once I was fully awake and functional I unpacked my things, took a shower, drove around until I found a Panera, and then went grocery shopping. Admission of guilt: I didn’t take a shower until after I went grocery shopping. But Panera was a drive-thru so the only people who had to deal with my poor hygiene were the people at the grocery store. And maybe it’s all in my head but no one really seemed to mind. One guy even asked if he could help me find something. Kudos to that guy for helping me find the cottage cheese! Anyway I digress.

After I took a shower, I called those persons who care about me to tell them that I was still alive. We chatted about how the drive was getting here and how my day was going so far. Those persons all told me to keep my head up and things would get better and I wouldn’t feel so isolated and alone once I started working and yada yada yada, all the usual things loved ones say to cheer up other loved ones. Now, I know I sound like I don’t appreciate these token words of encouragement but the truth is I probably would’ve driven back to IL if it weren’t for those words from those persons. I just don’t have time to write about all the advice from the numerous people who support me. Plus the lactic acid in my hand is building up. Anyway! To those people who love and support me from 562 miles away – I appreciate you.

After catching up with the people (and dogs) back home, I did some meal prepping for my breakfasts and lunches next week. I cooked some skinless chicken tenders in a pan and then I made 4 servings of steel cut oatmeal. As I was washing the dishes that I used (cause you know me, I HATE leaving dirty dishes in the sink for other people to clean), one of my roommates came home with a new roommate whom she had just picked up from the airport.

My first thought was – Finally! I’m not the only new person anymore! Finally someone else who may understand the anxiety I feel from being in a new place. Things are looking up!

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

Turns out my roommate and my new roommate are both from Canada and only speak to each other in French.

Wah. Wah. Wah.

They said hello and the new girl introduced herself to me (in English) and then they both left without so much as an Au Revoir to me.


So what else was there to do? I finished cleaning the kitchen and then went to my room to watch Netflix and play solitaire while in my head telling myself “This will get better.”

About 20 minutes later another one of my housemates came home.


She came into the kitchen, followed by her boyfriend, they said hello to me as they each grabbed a beer and went outside to the backyard and closed the sliding glass door.

Bye Felicia.

About 10 minutes after the 2nd abandonment another one of my housemates came home – Maggie. The oh so wonderful Maggie. Let me tell you why this girl is so wonderful:

She comes into the house and says “hello?” Not in an Adele sort of way, the good way. The kind of hello when Richie tells lucy that he’s home. The inviting kind of hello. This hello was so wonderful I literally leaped off my terrible mattress just to talk to another human being. Maggie saw me and said “Hi!” and then she said something super fast that I didn’t quite catch. But it sounded like she was inviting me to get food. I heard “would you like” and “pasta”. I immediately said yes. Anything to start making friends and getting out of this damn house.

She invited the love birds from the backyard and we all went out to Maggie’s car to go get pasta.

Or so I thought.

See, Maggie spoke really fast so when I thought she said “pasta” she really said “opossum”. Common mistake.

When we got to her car, there was an opossum in a crate in the backseat of her little sedan. We weren’t going to go get pasta. We were taking this opossum to the woods to release him.

I’ll admit I was a little disappointed because I was slightly hungry and pasta sounded delicious. But this was pretty cool too.

So what started out as a very isolated, disheartening day, ended up with me and 3 other people trampling over thorn bushes to help release an animal back into its natural habitat.

Kind of felt like the universe was saying “Welcome to wildlife, you got this.”