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Entry, Foot in Mouth
Kate Schraeder, Mississippi State University
For those of us who have spent time in the field of veterinary medicine, this type of language is second nature. How convenient it is to be able to describe patients with symptoms ranging from lethargy to decreased appetite to being in a foul mood as “ADR”- “ain’t doin’ right”.
Now, try to remember back to when you first started working at a vet clinic.
As a 16 year old kid with no medical background besides the religious watching of Grey’s Anatomy, I was pretty sure the general gist of acronyms in medicine was to shorten all vitally important medical directions so the new technician has to take 15 minutes first trying to decipher your hand writing and then Googling what, exactly, “give 1 pill PO BID x 3d, then SID x 3 d, then EOD x3 doses” means.
Eventually, however, I got the hang of it. I even forgot how frustrating I once found the use of these acronyms.
Fast forward a few years: I had grown pretty confident in my work. I knew the ropes, and they had even trusted me to train the new guy! As is customary, within the first month of his employment as a kennel tech, Dan decided to adopt one of the abandoned puppies that routinely found a way to our clinic. Dan was excited about taking her home, but also a little nervous. He had never had a pet before and, being an 18 year old college boy, didn’t know for sure how to take care of another living creature. But it was love at first sight when he saw Edna, a little Mississippi yard dog (you know the ones I’m talking about: brown, medium-sized bulldog/hound mix). Besides having a belly full of worms and a minor skin rash, she was in good health, and her big droopy puppy dog eyes and lop-sided ears had everyone fawning over her. I assured him that everything would be fine; I had written everything down for him. De-wormer and an antihistamine: he could handle that, right?
Entry, Creative Corner
David Kim, UC Davis
I was stumbling down the Inca Trail when I first saw the ass. It was brown with tufts of unkempt hair that seemed to randomly sprout all over its body. In my delirium, I thought Armando had sent it up to get me because I was taking too long to descend. It walked towards me, stopping 20 feet away, and turned around, beckoning me to get on. I stood there confused because I thought we were renting a horse. Perhaps the place he had mentioned had no more for the day. It seemed plausible since it was already late in the afternoon, only a few hours before dark. But if it was sent up, how did it know to find me? Did Armando tell it to look for a chinito? As I tried to rationalize the situation, I realized I was starting to lose it and walked on. Within a few minutes, I spotted Armando resting on the stone steps of a lone house. Seeing me, he grinned and said, “Do you want a horse or do you want a donkey, so you can ride into town like Jesus Christ?” He cackled uncontrollably, and I managed a weak smile as I praised the Peruvian gods that soon I’d be on a horse despite the fact that I had no idea how to ride one.
Three days before, my sister and I landed in Cusco to hike to Machu Picchu for a much needed vacation. I had worked all throughout summer and made the mistake of not taking a break for myself, and I was burnt out before fall quarter had even started. We ended up choosing Peru based on the stories we had heard from my uncle, who had done several hiking treks there. It seemed an ideal time to hike to Machu Picchu as the rainy season meant fewer tourists, and we were able to get a permit to hike the Inca Trail, booking it only 1.5 months in advance.
We stayed in Cusco two days to properly acclimate before the hike. The city is 11,200 feet above sea, and shortly after landing, I started to feel the effects of soroche ie altitude sickness. Luckily, the Peruvians have a magical plant called erythroxylum coca, which is available in a variety of forms from the dried leaf to tea to even hard candies. Within a day, I felt much better. Contrary to what some people may believe, ingesting coca is not like doing cocaine as the humble plant contains less than 1% of the alkaloid. Its effects were smooth and soothing yet had a very clean buzz without the jittery effects of caffeine. While on the trail, I was continually amazed by the porters, who seemed to be fueled solely by coca, zipping up the hills in their sandals or beat up tennis shoes. Initially, I was unsure how to chew them, and a fellow hiker advised me to roll a bunch of leaves into a plug and chew it. When Issac, one of our guides, heard this, he scoffed, saying that was the fancy way invented by the Spanish. Issac was Quecha, part of the indigenous people of the Andes, and he had been an avid coca chewer since he was six. Taking a big wad, he told me to put on the side of my mouth, chomping on it from time to time to let the material leech out. When the mouth got numb and the leaves started to break apart, that was when to spit it out although I did have the option of swallowing it as the leaf provided fiber and other nutrients.
The first day of the hike was challenging, but the views were amazing.