Today I learned that the expression ‘to luck out’ means completely opposite things in British English versus American English.
When hearing of differences like these, I wonder how much unrealized confusion I may have been caused in previous conversations with my British and Irish friends.
One of the joys of having a park so central to my life (I can’t walk to many places without encountering it in some way) is watching the seasons play out within it. Autumn has always been my favorite season, and today was a particularly glorious example.
The foliage certainly made today’s walk to the library immensely enjoyable.
By far, the most common question I receive when I tell someone I’m studying to become a veterinarian, is, ‘don’t you have to put your arm in a cow’s back end?’
Regardless of the branch of veterinary medicine you are interested in, vet school curricula include rectal palpation of cattle as an important skill. My small animal colleagues were nervous to work with cows when we first started, but they seemed the most anxious about palpating cows. As an activity, I don’t think anyone is initially excited to learn about rectal palpation, but I think the actual practice of it is fascinating. Rectal palpation gives vet students a chance to explore the animal’s anatomy in a very specific and real way. After spending months studying anatomy from textbooks and partially dissected samples, reaching into the cow and putting together the pieces of knowledge is very rewarding.
It’s also very difficult: palpation allows one to feel, but not to see, hidden parts of the cow. Therefore, while the instructor may reach in and tell you what you should feel, when it comes your turn, you’re on your own. Learning to palpate is a bit like reinventing the wheel over and over again, because each student must learn from scratch a skill that can be described, but only in a limited depth. ‘You should feel a big band of tissue’ is a vague way of explaining the feeling of the cervix, but it’s all you’ve got to rely on when you’re feeling around.
Palpating a cow per rectum is also a thoroughly mess activity. However, the challenge of feeling the described structures, blindly, requires enough concentration that I quickly forget about the smell and the dung, and just feel blindly into the dark, hoping I figure out that wheel eventually.
Whilst scanning a ram for a pleural abscess the other day, I came up with a song:
I’m a little Texel, short and stout,
Here is my abscess, here is my gout
When I get the foot rot, hear me shout:
’spray my feet, we’ll work it out’
I’m making a list of rhymes for ‘Leicester’ for next time around.