Running Wild

Lessons learned: How to not change a tire.

Apr
01

I’m about to go into some pretty embarrassing detail at my own expense. I’m fully aware that I may not live this down and will be mocked for eternity, but the important thing to remember is that although I tired to do something pretty dumb, I learned from it.

My work schedule is actually pretty perfect since I get Wednesdays off. So, I work 2 days, get a day off, work 2 days, get 2 days off, and about every 4-6 weeks I work on a Saturday morning. Pretty great, huh?

Well this past Wednesday was not so great for me. It started off really productive. I was up and out of bed by 8am. I did some laundry and picked up the house a little bit. I even unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, which is one of my least favorite things to do next to grocery shopping. Around 11:30am I left for my doctor’s appointment. Nothing exciting happened on the way there, but on the way home that’s when things got annoyingly difficult.

I was a mile away from my exit to go home when one of my dashboard lights came on. It was the orange one with an exclamation mark I think. Anyway, it was alerting me that the PSI in my front right tire was low. When I first noticed it, it read 17. No idea what that means but I knew it couldn’t have been good if my car was alerting me about it. Although, sometimes I think my back-up sensor totally overreacts when I’m parallel parking. I kind of figured that’s what was happening then, too. Well, I should really stop “figuring” because less than 8 minutes later the PSI in my right front tire was now at 3.

Side note: what the heck is a PSI? Like what does it stand for? All I could come up with was “Pressure Something Interesting”. I don’t know. 

Desperately trying to not break down on the highway, I got off at the next exit I saw and was able to park in the Kroger parking lot while I assessed my situation. The assessment wasn’t good. My tire was completely flat and once again my adult life skills were being put to the test.

It didn’t look like I had hit anything or that the tire popped. I just thought the screw was loose or something and it was slowly leaking air. Spoiler, I was the one with the screw loose.

I just would like to stop this story right here before I lose all of your respect, to say that I KNOW HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE. 

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly depending on your opinion of my intelligence level, changing the tire was not the first thing I thought to do. No, the first thing I thought to do…

Are you ready?

Hold on. I just want to say that life is one big trial and error. How does anything get done if we don’t make mistakes?

Okay, I’m ready.

My first thought was to walk a half mile down Cary street to the Carytown Bicycle Company and get a tire pump… for a bike. Yep. I did that.

I literally tried to reinvent the wheel.

And guess what? It doesn’t work. Shocking, right? I know, I was surprised too. I have no idea why a bicycle pump couldn’t inflate my car tire.

Have I lost your respect yet? At what point did you face palm? My face palm moment came when the bicycle pump flew off the tire when I pushed down on it.

I think we should just keep moving with this story though, and not focus too much on the details.

Finally, it dawned on me that I may actually need to change this tire. So I took a deep breath and started tossing everything in my trunk to the back seat. I had forgotten how much stuff I had back there. When the trunk was clear and I could get to my spare tire, the first thing I pulled out was the lug nut wrench thing and two wedges that just confused the heck out of me. I didn’t see anything else in there except for the spare.

I thought if the 2 wedge things were somehow supposed to be a jack, it’s the weirdest looking jack I’d ever seen. But to be fair, I don’t know many Jacks… Ba Dun Tssss.

Okay that was lame.

For the life of me I could not figure out how this thing worked. So I did the most natural thing a person could do in a situation like this: I called my dad. Who did not answer because he was on a plane flying to New Orleans. I officially became an adult in that moment and did the next best thing to calling my dad: I sat there and stared at the parts until someone stopped and asked if I needed help. Use your resources, right? Well a really nice guy did stop to help me. I told him I didn’t understand how these wedges were supposed to lift the car up.

Apparently they’re not. The guy went to my trunk, lifted out the spare, and low and behold there was the jack. It kind of felt like he did a magic trick and found my Jack of clubs. Then I had my second face palm moment. This day was not going so great for me.

The guy was super nice and helped me change the tire. Actually, he kind of did the whole thing. I’m not complaining though.

To wrap up this hilarious story of my not so bright moments, later that day when I went to get my tire fixed I was told all four of my tires had dry rot and that all four needed to be replaced.

My wallet still hurts, but a lot of life experience was gained.

Also, anyone need a bicycle pump?

Let me tell you about my job…

Mar
23

I know I’m about 5 months overdue for a post, and I’m sorry about that. To be honest I’ve been really busy since moving to Richmond, and I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about since there was so much going on. But today I decided I would talk about the one thing in my life that I don’t know what I’d do without: my job.

In general, I will always need a job; if not for money then just for my own sanity. I’m one of those people that just needs something to do at all times. It’s extremely difficult for me to just “sit there” and do nothing. Retirement scares the heck out of me because I honestly don’t know what I would do with all that extra time.

In regards to the job I have now – I love it. Becoming a vet tech was the single most important and best decision I could have made for myself. Especially at a time when I was so incredibly lost I didn’t know which way was up.  If I was meant to do anything, it’s this. I’m still new, so there’s a lot I don’t know about this career yet. To some I may seem super naive. But if I am, then so be it. I’m young and I’m going to use that to my advantage the best I can.

There aren’t many things about what I do that are “easy”; It’s actually unbelievably stressful at times. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There are 2 patients I’m going to talk about. The first is 15 month old canine that was brought in as a head trauma case. She simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time that morning when a giant branch, weighed down by ice, dropped on her head.

She came in being carried by her dad and was bleeding from both her ear and her nose. As one of our doctors who studied in England would put it, she was a bloody mess.

That was a really bad pun, I apologize.

She was examined by one of our doctors and was given an anti-inflammatory to help with the swelling. The major concern was her neurologic status and whether she had broken her blood-brain barrier. Another technician and I tried to clean her up the best we could, gave her some pain medication, and placed an IV catheter. After that we put her in ICU so we could closely monitor her throughout the day. This was all before 9am, mind you.

She was with us for the next 3 days. She would go home at night with her owners, and then would be dropped off at the hospital early the next morning. The point of this story was her recovery. Every day I saw her, she looked so much better than the day before. She had hypertonic saline IV fluids, pain medication, and other non-invasive treatments to help her get better. That morning she first came in, she was miserable. It was hard to assess her mentality. I wasn’t sure she was fully aware of what was happening, but I know that she was in a lot of pain before we gave her an injection of a pain-reliever. And even then, I was sure she wasn’t feeling too great. I mean, if a branch fell on you would you feel awesome? I didn’t think so.

We see puppies that come in for vaccines, patients that have an upset stomach, have an underlying disease that causes them to not act like themselves, as well as patients that come in for euthanasia. It’s not all puppies and kittens and sunshine. Some days really weigh on your heart but you still have to keep moving forward for the next patient that needs your help.

But seeing this little girl carried in all bloody and bruised, and then getting to see her walk out of the clinic while wagging her tail – that makes all those bad days feel a little bit brighter.

 

The second patient is a 6 year old pitbull that came in today for a dental cleaning and to have a couple teeth pulled. She was hands down as sweet as could be. Everything about her anesthesia went well. It was a really long surgery but she was stable the entire time she was under. Her blood pressure never dropped, her oxygen level varied between 96 and 99%, and although she tried to wake up a couple times her breathing was steady. The problem came when it was time to wake her up. (I promise this isn’t going where you think it is – she’s okay.)

Some patients take awhile to wake up. Especially for short surgeries when the pre-medication is still in effect. With them we can try to move the recovery along with a reversal drug so that they wake up a little sooner.

And there are patients like this sweet little pit. She woke up very abruptly. I was expecting this since the surgery was so long, however her recovery was not fun in the slightest. She was immediately dysphoric and trying to thrash around. So much so that she started bleeding from a couple of her mass removal incisions. Eventually when I got her to calm down, Kathleen was at her rear holding pressure to her incisions. They weren’t open – they were just bleeding. These incisions were equivalent to getting a paper cut that won’t stop bleeding. Honestly it was a little annoying.

I didn’t get a lunch today. Once we got her back to her run and she started bleeding again, I sat with her for another 10-15 minutes holding pressure. Not having lunch is perfectly fine with me if it means I get to help her calm down and stop bleeding. Dr. Escobar apologized for the fact that I didn’t get a break. But I told him not to worry about it – the patient was more important. Besides, it’s kind of hard to relax and eat when you know your surgical patient is thrashing around in her run.

 

The takeaway? What I do is just as beneficial to me as it is to them. I am exhausted. I am physically and mentally drained. But when I think about all the animals I helped that day, I wouldn’t want to be anything less.

 

Stay tuned for my next post on August 23rd… just kidding 🙂

So there’s this boy…

Oct
30

When I first moved to Richmond, I knew that I was about to embark on this whole new adventure.

On August 3rd, as I packed up my things and headed East to my new home, I knew a lot of things were about to change for me in ways I could not fathom into words if I tried. And let me just say that although I tried to prepare myself for these changes and to try to embrace them when they come, I was in no way ready for the new life waiting for me in RVA.

I knew that I would love my job and the people I worked with. I knew that I was going to find a church to go to and try to be involved in my new community. I knew that even though I didn’t feel like I would be, somehow I was going to be okay.

What I didn’t expect was that not only do I love my job and the people I work with, but in just a few short months these coworkers have transformed into a family in a place I now call home.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d find a church that made me want to get up on Sunday mornings. I didn’t expect to find a group of young women who I love to see every week.

I didn’t know that this was a life I wanted, much less needed.

I didn’t expect to love the rants of my neighbor who just wants to pet dogs and hand out treats.

I didn’t expect to find solace in a city. in fact I was pretty darn sure that I wouldn’t.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d meet a guy who would slowly but surely change every feeling and outlook on life I had. this was not without a lot of effort and hard work on my part. But just having him in my life has helped immensely.

We’re just friends.

But truth?

I’ve never felt so normal as I do when I’m with him. I have a lot of problems trusting people, as in I trust next to no one unless we have the same DNA.

But with the Cubs down 1-nothing in the bottom of he 8th inning, and my anxiety pouring out of me the way cars flood the highway during rush hour – inevitable and annoying – there’s this boy looking at me and telling me it’s going to be okay.

And I believe him.

I know my journey in richmond  is only just beginning, and that if I’ve learned anything these past few months (reluctantly or otherwise) it’s to just take a step back and let things happen the way that they happen.

I didn’t expect anything that’s happened since I moved here, and I’m so grateful for it, too.

 

Happy Sunday everyone!

 

Update: Not just friends.

 

Too Legit to Quit

Sep
28

I cannot stress this enough: I. Love. My. Job.
Seriously.
I love where I work. I love the people I work with. I love that I get to help bring new puppies into the world. I love that I get to do lab work. I love it. I love it. I love it.
And tonight, although I am completely drained and had to park 3 blocks away from my house and walk home in a thunderstorm after staying an hour and a half late at work, I seriously just feel blessed to have my job. Today I spent 3 hours monitoring a 17 year old dog for what was supposed to be a dental cleaning turned into a multiple tooth extraction surgery. And not only was he 17 years old, he also had a heart murmur. And I made sure he remained stable through it all. I could’ve gone home at 5pm when my shift was up. The procedure was over and he was off anesthesia. But there was still work to be done. My team needed me; my patient needed me. And it didn’t feel right to go home until I knew he was okay, and the paperwork was done.
I know a lot of people who punch out on the dot of when their shift is up regardless of whether still work to be done and regardless if people still need their help. That’s not me. That will never be me. I punch out when the work is done and not a minute before.
And I love it.

Park it like it’s hot. 

Sep
18

I love living in Richmond. I really do.

HOW EVER. There are two things I’m not appreciating so much.

         1. It is humid as all hell.

And 2. Parallel parking (aka how I’m the only one good at it)

I can’t really do much about the humidity other than whine, cry, and complain about it.

Parallel parking here is kind of ridiculous and I don’t ever curse as much as I do when I’m trying to find an open spot. So, in the spirit of city living, I have created a simple steps by step guide to finding a parking spot in RVA.

1. Drive to your destination.

2. Briefly scout the area for open spots.

3. Circle the block once.

4. Curse.

5. Circle the block again.

6. Curse.

7. Curse some more because you realize that every car on your street is spaced out taking up 1.5 spots.

8. Drive down the street a little ways.

9. Make a U-turn.

10. Find an open spot on the opposite side of the street which you were just on.

11. Curse.

12. Make another U-turn.

13. Find the spot you saw.

14. Realize it looked a lot wider from the other side of the street.

15. Curse.

16. Drive down the street a little ways.

17. Finally find an open spot but it looks a little small but you say “Why not?” Because you’ve been saying that a lot these days and you squeeze your little blue Chevy between two other cars.

18. Get out and inspect your park job.

19. Self five because you totally just rocked that park job.

20. Walk to your destination. 

21. Find a spot that just opened up directly in front of your destination.

22. Curse.

I wish you all the best of luck in all your future parallel parking endeavors.

Cheers!