Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 19: You're in Grad School For What?!

It's been a day here in Kentucky. Interesting, confusing, and poignant altogether. My mentor in the pig group defended for his PhD today and while he's not leaving just yet, it was still a poignant moment for me. As for the rest of the day...here we go.

I have some nasty patches on my arms that popped up as soon as I got this batch of pigs in and after dealing with the itchiness and the pain for weeks I finally went to the doctor. I was honestly terrified they were going to tell me that I had an allergy. To pigs. Which wouldn't exactly be a deal killer...I would just have to start taking more precautions and probably end up on allergy shots. But thankfully they said it looked like eczema.

So now if people ask why my arms look like someone with leprosy I can give them a good answer. And I can almost guarantee you that this flare up is from stress.

But just to be sure I also made an appointment with a local dermatologist. Her first question was what are you going to grad school for? My favorite question to ever be asked in the whole wide world. Why do I want people to know I am in grad school for Pig Nutrition? Not because I love nutrition (cuz I don't) but because it never ceases to get some fantastic responses from people.

                     Pig Nutrition?! I've never heard of such a thing! What do you do??

You can't exactly tell people that basically you collect pee and poop all day because they just wouldn't get it. I was unfortunate enough to end up in the hospital 3 days before Christmas last year for a severe kidney infection (thanks to kidney stone problems) and ended up needing a stint put in (which let me tell you is probably the most painful thing EVER...I think my left kidney remembers how much that hurt because every now and then it aches but I tell it to play nice and it stops. Of course).  But I was asked why the heck we needed Pig Nutritionists? My response: somebody has to feed the pigs.

It opens up a world of questions when people come into contact with something new. I feel bad for my family because they are always trying to explain to people what I am doing with my life...and most of the time those people walk away shaking their heads in confusion and awe. But maybe the fact that my degree exists will eventually assuage any fears those individuals have when it comes to food production. Maybe they will look me up with questions.

But back to the dermatologist! As soon as I explained what I do with my life, her next question was:
 "Is antibiotic use in pigs rampant like it is in cattle?" Whoa, whoa, whoa was basically what I was thinking. But after we had a quick discussion about antibiotic use in cattle and pigs, she asked "Well what about dairy cows? Do they overuse antibiotics to prevent mastitis?" Wow. If that isn't proof that consumers are concerned about food production, then I don't know what is.

I was just happy that I knew enough to give intelligent responses and hopefully they will think twice when they hear about antibiotic abuse taking over livestock operations. But that is why I love being asked what I do. Because people inevitably ask you the questions that they need to hear honest, truthful answers to...from somebody who actually has a clue.

I shudder to think what terrifying answers would have been given to these women from somebody that had a nefarious agenda (like getting rid of livestock production and antibiotics use in livestock or seeking to solely promote their product based on fear...like the Farm selling Drug-Free beef from the other day!)

On that note, I will leave you with the following shocking fact:
I was told about a 22 pound organic turkey (on a farm near where my family lives) that costs $400. I wouldn't pay $5 for turkey (I do not like turkey), much less $400! Yikes. I definitely need to look into this craziness.

Wednesday, here we come!

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