Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jump Start

Wow it's been over a week since I last blogged. o.O I've been busy and tired like never before. A few highlights are warranted, I suppose. This is a surprisingly long post that I didn't intend on being so long. But there's your disclaimer.

Jump Start
So last Saturday my parents came by so I could take them to the airport and then I'd have the car with me for a week while they were in CA celebrating my grandpa's 80th birthday. Getting to the airport was fine, getting back was fine. It was very overcast, so my car lights were on. No big deal, they usually turn themselves off.

I went inside to just waste some time before I had to go down to central campus for GSI training. Well, an hour and half later I come out and see my lights still on! I thought, "Well, it's been less than 2 hours, how drained could the battery possibly be?" The engine wouldn't start. The breaks locked. Every warning light flashed on. :(

Yesterday morning a friend of mine, EA-F, helped me jump start my car. And it worked!! I gave her a ride to class on central campus, and drove around a bit to charge my car battery. Last time I checked (which was last night) the car still works. Hopefully it'll stay that way until I pick up my parents this Saturday afternoon.

I've come to realize that I actually like teaching quite a bit. I like "imparting knowledge" on to others. I like seeing that lightbulb turn on in their eyes (doesn't always happen, but I've had a decent success rate). Being a GSI for the undergrad intro genetics course has been quite rewarding, if not exhausting at times. Each week, I actually look forward to teaching and it's just a high point in my day some days. We had extra office hours this week and end of last week because their first exam was last night. So many people came to office hours! Usually very few people (if anyone) shows up at all.

Proctoring the exam was alright. There were 2 GSIs to each of the two rooms where the exam was held (about 200 students per room). It went pretty smoothly overall, and no one seemed to cheat (as far as I could tell). Towards the end, with 30 minutes left, one girl started to have a massive nosebleed. There was blood all over her exam but, thankfully, not her scantron. I excused her to the bathroom. She came back and still turned in her exam early, so I think she was almost done when that happened. We probably would've given her a few extra minutes if she needed it.

And after the exam, no comes to office hours. XD So I'm here, in my office hours, typing this because no one has (nor will) show up today.

At This Rate . . .
Last Friday in lab, I (almost) royally fucked up my experiment. If I had actually messed up and my PI knew, he might've fired me. I would've fired me at any rate. But first let me back up.

That morning, at 8:30am, we had lab meeting as we always do on Fridays. I had to present my (lack of) data. The PI chewed my head off when I got the verification slide. Thankfully, the two researchers I work with and another grad student came to my rescue and defended me.

So I was doing my experiment, all fine and dandy. I went to teach my two discussion sections and then held office hours afterwards. And then, after all that, returned to the lab to finish my experiment. Half an hour before the end of the experiment, I added an enzyme that I shouldn't have. Basically, this enzyme degrades and destroys the sample I was trying to extract and purify. Luckily my researcher caught it before the enzyme had a chance to completely destroy my samples.

I can't believe this happened! In my defense, it was a long day (8:30am to 7pm straight) and I was following the protocol blindly. The protocol had this one small bolded section on the previous page that I didn't see that told me I wasn't supposed to add the enzyme . . . Sigh. I think when I'm that tired, if the protocol told me to sacrifice two mice to the lab gods I would've found a way.

And on Monday in my lab class, I added the wrong solution to the tubes. Luckily I caught it before I added my samples to those tubes. At this rate I won't be able to pipette by the end of the semester!

Rage with Righteous Fury
This will be brief, because I do not want to and cannot go into details without identifying the individual(s) involved because at least one of them reads this blog. When you read this, please forgive me for typing this out (and don't identify yourself unless you really want to :P). If you email me, I will happily delete this section.

I got an email from a friend the other day who I talk to frequently. He was ranting about something that went horribly wrong with someone he cared about when that person was just a young kid. It was a medical issue. Something got botched - maybe not visibly on the outside, but definitely underneathe the skin.

Being who I am, and caring too much about others as I do, I researched the possible ways it could've happened. I'm pretty confident in my diagnosis of the problem, but to the best of my (nascent) knowledge, there's no solution to the problem. The damage is done and is likely permanent, unless a graft or stem cell therapy is possible (neither is likely I think).

As my friend told me more, the situation got worse and worse. It went from what might've been a medical mishap/accident (things happen, isn't always the doctor's fault) to clear medical malpractice to nothing short of cruelty and torture. And I can't believe it happened in the US. I can't believe a doctor would act so unethically and that the family would be so uncaring and dismissive. It literally haunts me to think it happened the way it did. I think that "doctor" forgot the first tenet of medicine: Above all else, first do no harm.

Edit: My friend allowed me to disclose a few more details about what happened to the person he cared about. So what happened to this person is that he had a circumcision when he was 7-years-old or so. Something went wrong and the anesthesia didn't work right. They kept injecting anesthesia into his penis repeatedly as he screamed and cried. After the circumcision, he suddenly lost the vast majority of feeling in the head of his penis and now can barely feel a thing there. There are more details that would reveal the unethical and more cruel/torturous side of this, but I'll spare you all.

And so, as I write this, I'm burning at the thought and I want justice to be restored. Reparations, at least bodily reparation, is very unlikely. But again, I'm not a doctor (yet) and I'm certainly not a specialist in the fields required. And sometimes I ask myself, why do I care so much to let something that happened to someone I don't know and probably will never meet get to me?

Okay, I guess it wasn't that brief. Sue me (but really, please don't - save that for the "doctor" in question).

Other Highlights
On a completely different topic, I've been talking to more bloggers online! :D There are bloggers from everywhere (though a ton seem to be concentrated in CA). I love getting to know people from all over the place.

Hmm, I would say something more interesting here right now. But my office hours are about up and I'm going to head to the gym soon. I'll blog about something more . . . interesting later. ;-)


E said...

I'm glad that the teaching is going well for you. My mom is a teacher. She had a calcium deposit on her shoulder and her principal refused to let her come to work and I got to teach her kids for three days. It was a great experience that almost made me consider a profession in teaching...then I remember what my mom makes in salary and I changed my mind.

It's really sad about you friend. I can't imagine who could be so careless when it comes to health related issues.

Anonymous said...

Doctors like that ought to be sacrifice to the lab gods. They deserve having their intestines cut out and filleted in front of anesthesia.

Anyways, leave those poor lil mice alone. :O

"remingly"...okay, I thought the word was too hilariously perverse to pass up. XD

tracy said...

Hi Aek,
That is sooo very sad about the little kid, wish i had something comforting to's just sooo wrong.

Sounds like the teaching is going well and that you really have a gift for it...way to go, it isn't everyone who can teach...i know, my husband is an excellent teacher...!

Take care of yourself,

Mike said...

Glad you're enjoying teaching! That's cool!
Blogging during office hours... hehe

Anonymous said...

The person with damaged goods should consult the top Urology dept. at the closest top Medical School. If the issue is physical functioning, he needs a consultation with a urologist who specializes in this specific problem. They have to be out there.

And he should be ready to explain his sexual orientation. If a urologist can't handle that, fine another.

Aek said...

E: Yeah, I feel like a teacher's salary is too low for what they do for society. It's simply unjust.

James: Yes . . . well, I wouldn't go that far. o.O

tracy: I know, I fumed about it for days. It's difficult for me to imagine something like that happening. It is beyond wrong, I don't have a category for it.

Thanks for the compliment. I don't actually know if I'm getting through to my students (that's weird to say) as I can't read their minds. But I hope so. ^_^

Mike: Lol, hey! No one comes to office hours the day after an exam!! :P

Anonymous: Yes, the person should consult a urologist. I would also suggest a consultation with a neurologist if nerve damage is indeed involved. I don't know if anything can be done, but it's worth a try. The only issue is that consultations with specialists can be quite costly. I would also like to see the person consult a lawyer who's familiar with this area of malpractice - if he's lucky (really lucky), he might find one to do it pro bono (same goes for the doctors).

charlie said...

It sucks for your friend's friend... I can't imagine how horrible it was :S

Aek said...

charlie: Yeah, it's still difficult for me to imagine how horrible it must've been. :(