Tuesday, September 11, 2007

too much, and not enogh

I've had a hard time getting the desire to put a blog here. There has been much happening, but much of it is hard to put into words.

My mom is in the hospital. They know it's not cancer, and it's not emphasema, but that's about all they know. She is short of breath, can get 4 or 5 words out and has to stop to breathe. They have her on a mask that forces warm moist air into her lungs, she isn't too thrilled with it because she can't read or crochet because she can't get her glasses on with the mask on. However, she can talk and carry on a conversation when it is on, so she wears it most of the time. They've done X-rays, CT scans, MRI's, more X-rays, more MRI's...yesterday they were going to get all of her doctors together and have a 'Discussion' to try to figure out what it is. It's making the whole family a little edgy.

What else?

The new grad student in our lab has had a slight personality change, and it isn't for the better. She's begun to act...condescending is the best word I can find, but that's not quite right, either. I hate to tell her, but I'm not going anywhere. We are getting thumbs up from NIH for the animal research from the last 2 years, and they are sending us some compounds to test...this is extra work, but it is a huge indication that the NIH likes and trusts our work...work that I've planned and executed and documented and reported. I'm good at my job.

In the last 2 1/2 years I have ordered, planned, executed, and documented 95% of the animal experiments that have been done in this lab. That is both Level 2 and Level 3, and sometimes crossover (start in Level 2 and finish in Level 3). I also am the primary animal technician for a separate lab. They don't have a lot of work for me, but I do whatever they need me to do. Now, in addition to these 3 labs, a tech in a collaborating lab is pregnant, so she is out of animal experiments for at least the 12 months, maybe longer (and it's possible that she isn't coming back), so I'm helping with the animal experiments in that lab, too; I'm the second, not the first, but I am still in the animal labs, so they count, too. Last year, we went through 3000 mice on 1 protocol, and another 600 on a second protocol. In addition to all of this, I am in charge of maintianing and ordering all of the consumables in the lab, as well as whatever equipment or extra purchases that DrC approves. Also, I am maintaining cell culture and will be restarting confocal experiments to show how our Toxin intereacts with some cell surface molecules. For awhile I was the primary person doing all of the cell culture, but I've passed that on to another lab member.

Now, to be fair, I don't prepare the bacterial inoculum, the grad student does, and when there are dissections and plating to be done, there are at least 2 of us, and we try to get 3 of us to make it go faster. She has to maintain the stocks and the stock paperwork. And I will admit, that it's been nice to have someone help in the 3 lab, so maybe I've been slacking off a little and letting Grad Student take some of the weight. But when she's gone next year, guess what? I'll once again be responsible for it. DrC has stated that perhaps we'd hire someone to help in the 3 animal lab, because if the NIH likes us and our work, they will be sending more our way. Yeah! and OMG! More work???

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