The stress of finding somewhere to live and a couple of health issues have been occupying our diarist Rosie Perrett recently. However, she has also been fascinated by anaesthesia and animal behaviour.
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It's been a tough few weeks; lectures have been okay but I woke up one Saturday with a severe pounding headache on one side; I'm still recovering from it three weeks later. It was like being hit over the head with a baseball bat and I felt dreadful.
I don't really suffer with migraines or headaches, so with my brain pounding out of the blue, I was a little worried. In the end it was diagnosed as ‘sinusitis’, which had been exacerbated by the sudden cold weather.
Alongside coping with the headache, my housemates and I have been looking for accommodation for next year on the Wirral, when we move to Leahurst for our clinical years. Unfortunately, our year group is the largest there has been and there aren't many five-bedroom houses available, so it's hard to find somewhere suitable. After viewing three houses we managed to find one only five minutes from the university, which has a lovely view of the marshland out towards North Wales. With the worry of the headache, the amount of work that I needed to catch up on, and trying to find a house for next year, I then started suffering from neck pain and sensations down my arm. Anyway, after speaking to the nurse, she found I was holding a lot of tension between my shoulders and that was irritating local nerves. The cure? To chill out and find lots of ways to relax, which may be the perfect excuse for a glass of wine.⇓
As far as the course goes, I think I may have found my new favourite topics: anaesthesia and behaviour, although not necessarily together.
The lectures we've had on these subjects have been really interesting and engaging. Anaesthesia involves a fear factor because of the risk when taking an animal towards a point of no return, before returning it to consciousness. I never realised how many factors needed to be taken into consideration when choosing an anaesthetic protocol. I also didn't appreciate the importance of pain control and how it can affect the success of the surgery. I think if I ever went under anaesthetic I'd ask for the strongest painkillers possible just in case; I'm really not very good with pain, and that includes taking a plaster off.
I used to love learning about behaviour in my previous degree, which focused on behaviour theory and principles of natural selection using examples involving wild animals. We did a brief course last year, but we haven't done much about the behaviour of dogs and cats until now. It's so fascinating to discover the differences and it really brings home that dogs and cats are not humans, and why we shouldn't expect them to appreciate the same things that we do. From a personal perspective, it has given me an insight into my kittens' behaviour, especially in their most crucial time of life, during their first year. After two months away from home, I'm really looking forward to seeing them again in a couple of weeks and being amazed by how much they have grown.
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