Today, I am a DVM
Mr. Takes gave me a lot today...
Greetings to all the people reading this. I love you. You know what else I love about the past 2 years? All the people I have met. But there are some people that I have not met yet who seem to know me better than I know myself! And you know, it’s funny. They all seem to have something in common: they are nameless and faceless. Like this classy act right here who crafted this ‘tweet’ 6 days ago. Bad VAERS Takes, you naughty troll bot. Don’t you know that tricks are for kids?
Above is a screenshot that my friend sent to me of a recent interview that I did with my other friend Gal Shalev. It was a great interview and we got a lot of positive feedback from many different kinds of people including epidemiologists and nurse practitioners. It has been viewed almost 30,000 times on Rumble.
So let’s unpack the box of feelings I felt when I saw the comment from our troll bot buddy, Mr. Takes. This is what Misthtteur Takes wrote:
Dr. Rose is a veterinarian…because the best medical information comes from DVMs.
Ah! If only this were true. Alas, it is not. I actually wanted to be a vet. My intentions way back when, when I first started university as an undergraduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland (M.U.N.), were to get a biology degree and then go to vet school. Well, apparently my GPA (Grade Point Average) wasn’t high enough (3.6/4) to get into the Biology Faculty so I chose to do Math. Also, my Invertebrates Biology Professor was also applying to the vet school program that same year so I thought to myself: there is 1 placement and 2 applicants. I wonder who will get in? I didn’t even apply.
Math always came easily to me - probably because I love Math - and I was happy to do my degree in Applied Math. Screw you Biology. As it were, Biology would have the last laugh. Doesn’t it always?
It took me ten years to get my BSc. in Applied Mathematics because I was working full-time, I flunked out a couple times, and I was a stupid 20-year-old who was more interested in being a punk rocker for at least half of my undergrad time. But I got it. Actually, I didn’t just get it, I killed it. In the end. From my undergrad experience, I have 0s on my transcript and I have 100s on my transcript - in courses whose difficulty level is in the upper sick range. My transcript has been the subject of much ‘discussion’ over the years with potential ‘employers’.
But I jumped over those hurdles, you know, after falling on my face many times, and got into the Immunology program in the Health Sciences Faculty at M.U.N. where I completed my Master’s degree in Medicine. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was one of those people who kind of didn’t belong but at the same time, I sooo belonged. I had an amazing advisor who is my friend to this day and he remains one of the brightest and most clever HIV immunologists I have ever met. Hi Mike!
During my Master’s, I attended a conference in Cleveland, Ohio, to present my work (just a poster). Oh, I forgot to mention that my Master’s was an interdisciplinary project (half Applied Math and half Immunology) and so this conference was an opportunity to meet and greet all the bigwigs in world of mathematical modeling of HIV immunopathogenesis. My poster was entitled “Mathematical Modeling of HIV Immunopathogenesis and the Effects of Antiretroviral Treatment Interruption”. I was a firm believer in the idea that structured treatment interruption in the context of HIV, worked. So at this conference, someone noticed my poster. I got a call to meet to talk about my work that this someone claimed ‘was something he thought no one else was looking at’. So I met with him and we talked for about 4 hours and when he left, he gave me his card and said:
Consider coming to Israel to do a PhD in my lab when you have completed your Master’s.
So I thanked him and thought nothing of it. Until I did. As life would have it, the next time I heard from him via email, I had completed my Master’s and was living in Seville, Spain pursuing my Flamenco career. He asked where I was in the world and if I cared to come over to the Middle East to talk PhD. I don’t believe in coincidences but I do believe it providence and serendipity. My Flamenco career wasn’t going as ‘I had expected’ (it was going amazingly well technically but I had become a bit jaded) and I felt it would be nice to switch gears back to Academia. It had been about a year since I graduated from my Master’s program. So I went to Israel.
I became a decent photographer. I became a Capoeirista. I became a mom to an obese male kitty named Checkpoint. I tried the violin on. I became a certified surf instructor. I became an electronic solo artist. I became a GIS (Geographic Information System) analyst. I did some acting. I became a Rickettsiologist (Molecular Biologist) during my first Post Doc. I became a Protein Biologist (Biochemist) during my second Post Doc. I made so many friends along the way. I moved 26 times in 15 years. But I am still somewhere in the Middle Earth East.
But DVM. No.
But at no point along my path did I ever go to vet school (well, my first Post Doc was done at a vet school, but that’s not the same thing, Mr. Takes), or become a DVM.
Ironically, well, in this case anyway, some of the best medical information DOES come from DVMs! Consider Geert Vanden Bossche, for example. But to be fair, he also has a PhD.
I appreciate that you think that my words in the interview with Gal were ‘some of the best medical information’ but really, we were just cuckooing about COVID crap.
So Mr. Takes, I want to thank you for inspiring me to write this and also for giving me a good laugh this morning when I saw your lovely comment. You inspired me to dig deep into my 1 trillion byte removable hard drive where a lot of my memories live. And you allowed me a morning of reminiscing and remembering very good times with beloved friends. I am left with a feeling of happiness and I will share this happiness with them today. Surf will be up for longboarders soon. :)