Love, Simon

Hey!

*contains spoilers*

Just been to see ‘Love, Simon’ at the cinema. I didn’t know the film existed until last night. Just another coming out story I thought!

Do hold onto your seat belts. Its a cringey film. But also a very good and very well portrayed coming out film. I definitely recommend it.

The main guy Simon, privileged guy with a perfect life etc. And he’s known for a while that he’s gay but too scared to come out.

I liked in this film that Simon was inspired to come out. If I hadn’t have met anyone special I don’t think I would have told anyone when I did. Because I suppose, I wasn’t sure? Or there wasn’t the motivation? What if it is just a phase. Why go through all the grief?

I also loved how the film made what Simon was going through a massive deal and we could to a degree appreciate the difficulty while also looking on the outside and understanding that actually…. things will probably be fine. A mixture of teenage angst but also actually this is difficult. I liked how they described Simon’s fear of change and being somehow a different person post coming out. And just how he was annoyed that he had to come out, how he wouldn’t have to if he was straight. There were some very good insights on the film. I’m impressed.

It was pretty classic cringe-y teenager film in that it had magically unrealistic love scenes. And Simon’s best friend turned out to fancy him. It all turned out totally fine in the end. obviously.

I had a bit of an incident earlier on. About a month ago. And I think I kinda thought I was done with coming out and hadn’t really done it in a long time.

I had just been offered a job at a vet practice I has really liked and the following weekend Rosie, my cousins and I went to visit the practice. To say I was slightly nervous would be an exaggeration. I hadn’t really slept that week because of the nerves of the vets finding out about Rosie. More the fact that I didn’t want them to know this about me before they know me otherwise. We all ended up at the vet’s house and I simply introduced them all by their names and not who they were. The vet’s wife was also around and in time Rosie and my cousins chatted to her. The vet took me to aside and we talked about things and he told me some bits!

I then drove down two weeks later for a meeting with some of the other vets. During the meeting the vet who I had visited at this house asked me to explain who the guest were. He thought my cousins were my parents. I could feel dread in my stomach and I felt pretty sick. I really wanted the job, i didn’t want this to affect it. But I wouldn’t lie about it, i couldn’t deny it, i’ll just avoid mentioning it. I explained that they were my cousins who I had been staying with. He said, right, and the other was their daughter?

I can’t remember quite what I said. something like, ‘Ah sorry, no, to put another spanner into the works, she is my partner.’

I couldn’t and still can’t believe how badly I came out. How nervous I felt. I suppose two older male vets who live in the countryside,, it’s just very far from the London tolerance I’m used to (in my mind). But he didn’t seem very surprised and I looked at the other guy who did look surprised but not bothered. They shrugged it off and asked me about Rosie.

I’m slightly kicking myself about it now. I hope they don’t think it’s a problem or a big deal in my life. I hope they don’t think it’s something that’s going to affect me in anyway from being a good vet.

I have had it very lucky, mostly the fear has been from within my head rather than on anything I have experienced.

I watched a video a while back from a gay guy who said that he has learned to love coming out to people. I’m not there yet, I still find it usually leads to a moments awkward silence, even if the person really couldn’t care less. It is probably because it takes them by surprise.

I casually came out to one girl at a vets when she asked if I had got up to much with my boyfriend at the weekend. I said, oh it’s girlfriend (in a light hearted way) and she went to apologise but I just said, ah you weren’t to know. I just carried on saying what we had got up to to avoid the awkward silence where the other person is deciding what to say.

It’s a strange world. But I’m very lucky to live in a more tolerant part of it.

Rebecca x

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Loneliness

Hey,

Rosie’s been away into Japan for three days so far. Sounds like she’s having a great time!

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I’m struggling a bit with the hour difference. Japan is 8hrs ahead of the UK. By 3pm in the UK she’s pretty much in bed and asleep. I’m used to our evening phone calls before bed. Knowing that she wont be there to reply to my messages and send me more of her photos until I’m up the following morning, it makes me feel quite isolated and lonely. There’s too much time and too much to try and catch up with! It has surprised me, I thought I would deal with it better. I’m going to blame it slightly on the exams coming up and say I’m just more anxious and worried than normal… ish.

I was quite a lonely kid growing up. Not bullied and not without friends at all but I always felt different to those Ii knew, how ever much I loved them. I never really found anyone that I really connected with or even just a decent amount in common with. When Rosie’s away I realise how I haven’t felt that kind of loneliness really since we met, over 2 years ago now. I remember going to sleep at night and that feeling of an empty heart and the feeling that no one around you really understands or ‘gets’ you. I remember it really upsetting me at times. And I remember that feeling all through growing up. And I think that’s why Rosie means so much to me, though it’s difficult to explain it.

It was little things when I was younger. I was naturally quite a nerdy kid but one totally desperate to fit in and I actually found myself among the ‘cool’ kids for the first couple of years in secondary school. But I remember feeling (but not understanding it at the time) pretty unsatisfied and unhappy hanging around with those people and feeling like a bit of a fraud just going along with what others wanted and not really saying anything. I played up a lot around that point too, was regularly in trouble for being a nuisance and a distraction in class. I think I wanted to be liked.

When I decided that I wanted to be a vet, It really tuned things around for me. I was motivated and I needed to make time for myself for my grades to be better. I found myself leaning and wanting to sit closer to the quieter students. They in time (begrudgingly) became my friends.

Then A-levels in a way were better. I had a nice bunch of friends who were motivated and opinionated and liked reading and being nerdy. I can remember enjoying spending time during the break and lunch with them. But we never had enough really in common  to spend any time out of school with them. Or it was always complicated for  some reason. There was an obstacle. But they were a nice bunch. I’ve lost a lot of contact with them since going to university. Mostly my fault.

University was a bit disappointing in many ways. It wasn’t how I expected it to be Thought there would be more like-minded people. Naively thought everyone would be in it for the same reason and everyone would be out to save the world and make amazing discoveries haha.  Not quite. But I have made a great bunch of friends that I’m likely to stay in touch with for the future.

There’s a bit of controversy about the Myers-Briggs personality test. For me, It explained a lot. Although i don’t understand the science behind it and it can be used in ridiculous ways it does help one come to terms with different personalities and why there are different reactions to the same situations. So i’m apparently an INFJ. They are supposedly one of the more extroverted introverts. And even that helps me understand why I’m not great around louder extroverted people for a long amount of time. Because although i’m happy to chat to them and have a good time I feel uncomfortable explaining that I’d now like my own space for a bit. An INFJ is a character that is just a bit of everything and so isn’t quite much of anything.

https://introvertdear.com/ This is a beautiful website for introverts.

loneliness BibleI was going to use this image as my featured image. I can remember myself thinking this to myself some nights in bed when I let my mind wander. But not in a religious way, more an exasperation.

I’m pretty certain loneliness played a part in the depression I felt as an older teenager. There were other factors certainly but I think it has the power to overwhelm you and really decapitate you when you don’t expect it. I wasn’t confident in myself, I was hesitant to say things and give my opinion. (I was also pretty shy) but even among-st friends. When you’re the only one rooting for yourself it gets tough and I definitely doubted myself more.

And although I miss Rosie a little bit now, I know I mostly just wish I was there with her. I don’t feel lonely in the same way. Because in meeting Rosie It told me that actually I’m not an odd one out I had just been unfortunate to not meet people on my wavelength. It’s given me confidence that I don’t think I can quite appreciate. But to know there is someone out there that will likely back you in what you do and be a subtle cheerleader as you go along has changed me in so many ways. And I don’t think Rosie has seen the change in me, because I think it happened pretty much as soon as I met her.

I look back now and I think it must have been a matter of time before I did come across a group of people/ or one person that I got along with. I find it so weird to think I might not have met Rosie though. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t. If one of us hadn’t of swiped right 😉 And I’m sure I’ll meet others that I click with at some point. I’m also lucky I fell in love with Rosie too. Shooting two birds with one stone and all that. haha.

Loneliness is a horrible horrible situation to be in. It should never be taken lightly. And equally it’s so common too! I know when I went away to Scotland, Rosie really struggled for the first couple of weeks and I totally understand it now. I was so distracted by the vet practice I didn’t give her the normal kind of attention and time. It’s similar now. But I’m reminding myself it’s only because the internet connection is pretty crappy and she’s having a good time. You’d think you’d get used to be apart! Though being apart is okay, it’s the separating that’s the hardest bit.

I really feel and want to support the charities that help older people who have lost their loved ones and are lonely. And for those that are lonely, apart from getting yourself out there and giving yourself every opportunity to find people you can connect with i can’t think of much else to suggest! I also think, it’s very very easy to take for granted those you do have around you. They probably aren’t perfect and may do your nut in some of the time but if they have your interests in their interests that’s a good start! Xx

My plants! They’re starting to grow!

The lettuce and the Marigolds have ‘hatched’ from their little seeds and are great! Yay, nawww. I’m feeling very proud and excited xD

Rebecca x

New life!

I realized today that I’m actually going to be in one place enough to help mum grow some plants this year. Have spent Easter Sunday repotting, planting and walking the dog.. with nibbles of chocolate in between.

I love planting from seeds. And watching them grow. I love the whole process. When I was younger I used to measure the growth of seedlings and take photos and write a blog about it! I’m not sure I’ll go quite into that depth but I’m excited for the first little seedlings to arrive. When I think about it I feel almost powerful choosing to control life. Choosing which seeds I’m picking to use and the one seed that I dropped onto the floor! Sorry! It does make it all the more worthwhile when they grow and flower or you can harvest them later on in the year. It’s easy to get carried away! It would be amazing to be self sufficient one day. But one step at a time!

Mum and I decided we wouldn’t buy new seeds this year and only use what we already have. Turns out we have loads…

We wanted to grow lots of tomatoes this year and we already have five different packets! so we planted 4 different types of tomatoes. Also, marigolds, leeks, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, beetroot, Parsley, Basil and Rocket! We’ll see!

On our walk with Drey another dog owner with a sprightly young labrador who was eager to meet Drey, said, the old dog doesn’t’ want to play with you. I was hurt! Ugh! Call my dog old! haha. He may have a grey face and sleep most of the day but he’s still not old 😉 he has lots of life in him yet.

Rebecca x

Hiding the real you

I have been on vet placements for the last three weeks. I haven’t mentioned my partner to anyone in that time apart from the female bisexual couple I’m staying with at the moment.

It just isn’t really worth it. Telling people. Well that’s what I’ve been saying to myself.

In conversations about people’s partners which does come up over lunch, tea break or during surgery, I hold my tongue from getting involved, for them to assume I suppose that I’m single and have nothing to contribute.

I don’t want the understanding look, the pity, the sympathy. I want the non-chalent look, the same I’d get if it was a normal bloke who is normal. But you can’t blame a person for it. It’s just not totally normal enough yet. Something slightly abnormal – like saying your vegan, saying you’re religious. Something against the norm still gets the odd look. Except you can choose to be vegan and so that becomes more understood with the fads and popularity phases it sees. And religion has always been known to everyone even if not personally religious.

And it isn’t the fact often that it’s that I haven’t told anyone but that I stopped myself from letting it slip out when I was about to. If the topic never comes up then it’s never mentioned. I’m not strolling in saying ‘btw I’m gay’. Makes a thing a bigger thing than it is. Makes it something worth thinking about, which isn’t what I want.

I stopped it from slipping out because I feel like telling people could cause them to react or treating me differently. To overthink it and think I’ll be less capable, more emotional, less accepted, suddenly a different person to the one that they are getting to know.. something like that.

One place that I’d love to work, I didn’t mention Rosie at all. Specifically held off mentioning her when if she’d have been a bloke I’d have mentioned him. Just in passing. And it does hurt. I do feel like I’m lying, to myself and to others and to Rosie and it doesn’t feel good. But something tells me that it’s for the best.

I went home at the weekend to see a friend who is over from Australia at the moment. I saw Rosie and and family too all the while getting drunk, eating lots of great food and going to a comedy and one of Rosie’s after parties.

In London there is no issue with walking down Soho (the gay scene) and walking into a bar. It’s like walking into any bar. In Dumfries there was a coffee shop/ youth centre/ club place called The Stove and there was an LGBT section. I was very aware of looking at it, being seen to look at it. In London I would feel almost proud and have no issue to look at something similar.

The contrast between the two places made me realise I was hiding myself. And it isn’t the end of the world, at all, but shouldn’t be something that happens. I feel like I’ve lost the nack of ‘coming out’ and it feels harder again.

I’ve had it lucky and I think younger people coming out are more likely to have it easier. There are still so many LGBT people that have an awful time of it. Being so cold at the moment i’m in constant reminded of the homeless people out on the streets in this weather. If you see someone, buy them a coffee, buy them some hot food!

Rebecca x

 

Introverts and the QMH

An Article I have written for the university newspaper. QMH refers to the teaching hospital.

Believe it or not introverts hide among us at the RVC! And that is no bad thing.

We all know everyone is different; it’s been ingrained in us since primary school. How we learn and engage in particular, practically, visually, aurally, reflectively, sociably etc I could go on.

Introversion or extroversion is another broad spectrum that we all sit somewhere along and if rotations has taught me anything, it has shown me that we all deal with a long week in the QMH differently. But usually involving some form of alcohol.

I am an introvert but I’m not shy. Whereas I can talk to anyone, I don’t necessary feel the urge to. I’m happy not to talk and sometimes would prefer not to. Rotations are tiring regardless and I want nothing more than an hour to myself to recharge and refocus at the end of it. It’s not because I haven’t enjoyed myself. It’s that I have so many thoughts whirling through my head from the day’s escapades that I need a moment to breath and clear them. Then I’ll be fine again.

Extroverts, so the definition describes, are the opposite. They gain more energy being with people and so prefer to stay with people after a long and stressful day, they don’t necessarily need that break.

Most introverts hide well because they can be found in busy areas and cope totally fine in crowded and loud places on the condition that they know they’ll get a breather occasionally. Going to the bathroom for the second ‘wee’ in two hours is because those couple of minutes on the lav are beautiful. We focus our thoughts, think about what’s happened, decide who I want to chat to next, what will I eat and drink next, what time I’ll wake up in the morning etc it goes on.

Rotations have difficult but exciting. For the sneaky introverts out there I feel that we may have had it that much harder and I think that some small changes could make a big difference to the year without affecting extroverts or too much in general.

First of all, seminars in the morning: By three in the afternoon, after spending seven hours with lots of other people, being quizzed, running around trying to find the right people, the right patients, talking to stressed owners and trying to convince clinicians that I know what I’m talking about. The last thing I need is to then walk into a room to intensely discuss someone else’s case and what their next steps are going to be. I have too much of my own cases going on in my head to have any concentration or discussion left. Make the seminars in the morning. By the following morning I’ve had the previous evening to unwind, go through my own thoughts and sleep on them and plan for the morning. In the morning I’m yours and I’m happy to discuss a diarrheaing boxer for as long as is deemed necessary.

Second, create a quiet space in the QMH. This might be quite hard, I appreciate that. Everyone will agree with me that the student room is generally mental. Bags on seats, loud excitable students, computers buzzing, kettles going, microwaves pinging and phones ringing. There was one or two afternoons where I struggled and went to the library for an hour. It only takes for a stressful morning to need some time to recoup over lunch. I’m not suggesting a large room or a room with anything in particular in it. Maybe some desks, maybe some chairs, but an absolute must would be on the outside of the door, a sign that says “strictly quiet”. People could eat, people can be doing something on their phones but no talking. Or else, make it easier to go to somewhere quieter, like the library for 30 minutes. You may find that a room such as that will free up some of the toilets frequently inhabited by the secret introverts, as it is our only refuge in the QMH.

Third, quizzing and feedback: I particularly enjoyed tracking with the smaller groups and often one on one teaching. Personally, that suits me far better than big group teaching but that’s not the same for everyone so I wont suggest changing the current system. And without being totally negative, I do think over the year, I have become slightly more assertive. But too often I felt dread towards group sessions.

What was particularly difficult with the big group sessions is being pointed out to give an answer. There is no sure fire way of an introvert not giving you the answer you’re after than by pointing at their face a second after you have asked the question. Then to make it even better, only giving them five seconds to answer before moving to another person. You can make a bet that the minute the pointing finger gets directed elsewhere the answer comes straight to the mind of the introvert. But it’s too late.

It was disheartening after the first few rotation blocks to be told I need to be louder. I understood why yet I’m being told that my knowledge, communication and ability is fine, I just need to be louder. Why? It’s not me to be louder than other people. I’ll get what I want to say across and heard. Usually I’ll wait until other people have said what they want to. But my voice will be heard. And therefore I learned to ignore this comment, as I got more confident in my own ability.

Similarly I got warned with a cause for concern after the first week of a two-week rotation for not giving enough answers. Second week I was so on edge trying to force out answers and so aware that I was being watched and analyzed that I didn’t enjoy it and I don’t think I gained a huge amount.

Therefore, I suggest devising other ways such as spot tests, mock papers and one on one conversations. I know these are all more time consuming than a half hour session of who can shout out words the loudest and fastest but I think it would be a bit more of a rounded approach. Success seems to come from being loudest too often. Yet it just proves who the loudest is.

I often wonder if it is as hard for an extrovert to not say something when they want to as it is for an introvert to say something when they don’t want to?

Just a reminder that there are introverts out there and it’s not a bad thing to not be loud, we make up for it in our ability to listen, understand and reflect.

From,

a proud introvert.

UK farming part 1 : Calves

When I was on a placement in Dorset I became really engaged with farming. I visited some of the best farms in the UK and I also saw standard, average and below par ones. I really saw how different each farm is, met some really dedicated farmers and I want to write about what I know and see as a vet student and future vet.

So I’m going to write a series of blogs about different aspects of farming

My goals with farming is that I believe we should concentrate on the quality of production rather than the quantity. Humans don’t need dairy and meat to survive but I enjoy eating it and think as it’s not going to be stopped any time soon we might as well produce it in the best way possible. I want to stop mass production and bring it back to concentrating more on welfare and environment within farming. If we as consumers change our mindset to meat being a treat rather than taking it for advantage then we’d be prepared to pay more for it. Ideally, more money would go back to the farmers and they can spend more money per animal because they’re getting more for each animal and don’t have to produce so many or so much. It isn’t viable to keep producing at the rate we are. But actually if we shared it around better and only ate meat/dairy, say, once or twice a week then everything would be so much more manageable and hopefully fairer and better for all lives involved.

I don’t want producing as much as possible for as cheap as possible (because that’s what consumers are asking for) but producing a good all round product for the amount of money that it costs to do so.

So as a vet,

Welfare is most important to me. We also need to make sure that a farmer’s business is sustainable and viable for their animals sake and our business with the farmer. We have to find ways to make us useful that doesn’t necessarily mean us getting them to spend money on drugs. Especially antibiotics, we’re all driving away from using them. And the best way to avoid antibiotics is to prevent the disease in the first place. We’re being encouraged to actually use our time and knowledge more wisely. Spend an hour or two on a farm, look for areas that are great, look for areas that could improve or could be causing some of the problems that the farmer talks about.

The calf pens made a huge stir a couple of years ago.  There were  large calves in these pens. I was talking to the vets who knew the farm and they were gobsmacked. Ironically, they said, it was one of the best farms in the area.

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-03-28/heartbreaking-footage-of-calves-caged-in-pens-at-farm-which-supplies-milk-to-marks-spencer-is-released/

The farm in particular had had a recent positive reactor on it’s tb test. This means that the farm was essentially shut down because it has been found to have an animal that may or may not have tb. It is immediately not allowed to remove (sell on) or bring on to the farm any more animals. Therefore these calves were due to be sent to another farm for rearing. But they were no longer allowed to be moved for another 120days at least. (until the next tb test is 100% negative). The farmer wasn’t set up to keep these calves so had to make do. This was the only way he could keep them.

As vets we really like these calf pens. (but yes those calves do look pretty big for those pens) They mean calves can be by themselves while they are really young (and most vulnerable to catching infections) but still see and interact with other calves. Then when they’re older and stronger they can be moved into group pens. Being outside, it means they’re less likely to get respiratory problems and pneumonia which is very common when they’re kept In sheds with little ventilation. The small pen is easy to keep clean and it’s very easy to keep track of each calf and reduce the spread of infection. If one of the calves comes down it’s only a couple that are affected not 25 etc, like you might see being kept in a barn.

A well fed and healthy calf should thrive within this kind of housing. A good bed of hay in each hutch and they’ll easily be warm enough.

A great sign of a happy and healthy calf is when they jump and kick their legs out and run about. And actually, I’ve seen a lot of playful happy calves in these kind of hutches.

Calf hutch / individual / polyethylene / with yard

When calves get old enough to move into group pens they often go into a group of up to five so that they can still be monitored more easily for any health problems. The older and stronger they get the bigger the group they can go into essentially. I loved the farm photographed below. The calves here have collars on that have a specific chip for each calf. When the calf feels hungry it learns to go to the machine (not pictured) which will read the chip and the machine lets down it’s food quota. This way the farmer can see which animals are eating as expected, which need more and which aren’t eating as much as they should be. Those that aren’t can then be identified and checked out to make sure they aren’t becoming ill.

Each calf also had a temperature gauge on it’s ear ID. the thermometers work by reading the temperature of each calf every hour or so. If a calf’s temperature has been repeatedly too high for six hours or so, the thermometer light beams red which will notify the farmer to keep an eye on the calf. Usually the thermometer gauges the very early stages of an illness, so early in fact that there are no other symptoms and therefore we can’t treat the animal! or we just have to guess! But it’s fantastic for being prepared and being able to monitor each animal.

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There is quite a lot of controversy regarding calves and the separation from their mother after birth.

It’s a difficult one and most vets will generally weigh up their knowledge and experience and come up with an opinion. Personally, I don’t think it’s a huge deal taking a calf off of it’s mother within a day or two of being born. Having worked with the animals a lot. A calf will be happy and thrive if it is fed and has interaction with other animals. It’s not very natural I definitely agree but I could argue that it was justifiable. Some people argue that letting a calf stay with it’s mother for a week or two and then taking it away is better. But actually, they have had time to build up a bond, a routine and learned how to deal with the environment that includes each other. To suddenly take that away from the two, i think that could be crueler? But it’s controversial and very debatable. There is also quite a noticable lack of mothering qualities in milking cows. It is believed that they were bred like it. But a beef cow will generally fight off anyone threatening her and her calf yet a dairy cow, though they are generally less temperamental anyway, don’t put up any kind of a fight if you go in and take their calf.

The reason a calf is taken from it’s mother is so that the mother can start producing milk for the milk industry, rather than give it to her calf.

There are a lot of other reasons for why we take a calf away from it’s mother. Disease is a big reason. There are a number of diseases that spread from mother to calf. Milk and faeces are the main way they are spread. Johnes is a great example of a disease and It’s a life long disease in a cow. It’s pretty complicated and long winded but essentially the key to getting rid of the disease is the either kill every animal with it (which is usually high if it is present in the herd and not realistic to kill them all). Or we can stop the next generation from catching it and therefore over a number of years reduce the number of animals in the herd that have it.  Stop the calves from catching it and by the time they are adults they are less likely to catch it. but a calf that catches it off it’s mum will carry it for the rest of it’s life and never grow as well or be as productive or healthy.

Another reason why calves are taken from their mothers is to make sure that they get the right amount and quality of milk.

So, yes, we create a lot of the problems by farming intensively that we then have to solve. Because we ask cows to produce so much milk the quality (so the amount of fat and protein) can hugely vary. The amount can also vary too. Because of this we can’t control how much a calf will get. The first drink for a calf is the most important. The colostrum contains a huge amount of fat, protein and antibodies that will help the calf fight disease until it can develop its own. A calf that doesn’t get a decent amount will really struggle to get on in life, it will probably catch more diseases, probably not grow as well and just not thrive or live as long. And therefore to control the health of the calves, when there are so many calves around sometimes it’s easier to take on the full management and know exactly how much a calf is getting by feeding it directly yourself..

Calves for now

 

I love cows

There will be more to come

Rebecca x