Thank goodness I finally went in for some drugs last week. I was starting to keep things under control by mid-week, but it took a turn for the worse Wednesday evening. Going into late evening, I had an obvious blob of gunk in the corner of my eye before going to bed. Almost a guaranteed indicator of conjunctivitis, which was even more likely to have been due to an accidental cross-contamination between nose and eyes1. Waking up Thursday morning, my right eye was definitely sealed reasonably shut, and my left had substantial amounts of dried goop. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back; I set myself up an appointment with the clinic in the prospect of getting some drugs.

I don’t like going to see a doctor more than I have to. I’m already aware of the concern with over- (or unnecessarily) medicating with antibiotics, so I already limit my attempts to solicit for antibiotics to a minimum2. However, it seems that every time I go in there, they give me a lecturing on how they would rather not give out antibiotics, that it takes a few days to determine if it’s bacterial or viral, etc. Admittedly, it would help if I would just establish myself a primary care physician (instead of using the student clinic on campus), but it’s this exact mentality that got me situated in my first sinus infection in the first place3. I’m not trying to play off as smarter (or better informed) than the doctor, but damnit, I’m working with you guys! Up until that first sinus infection, I think the last time I got prescription drugs/antibiotics was sometime in high school. I know there are others out there that look to (and do) abuse antibiotics, but I’m not one of them!

Regardless of the speech, this doctor was compliant and gave me antibiotics for both the eyes (polymyxin) and respiratory tract (amoxicillin), and I’ve been cleaning up nicely since then in combination with my normal regimen of pseudoephedrine and dextromethorphan. The last of my coughing fits4 was probably Friday, and the cough has been well under control since. A little more pseudoephedrine until I’m sure my sinuses are clean and extra nightly rest, and I should be ready to start running again late this coming week!

Tangentially, I discovered that the white hairs in my head grow faster than the rest of my hair that does have pigment. For as short as I keep my hair, this becomes shockingly obvious if I let my hair get a little too long before the next cut. Also, the growth of the white patches is making them more obvious. Discovering this while I post-processed pictures from camping weekend was a bit of a kicker. I suppose it’s only a matter of time; even my beard is going white bit by bit. I’m not that disturbed by it, thankfully; the fact that my hair is going white instead of grey feeds my elitist ego a little bit!

1Or the rare chance it could have migrated up my tear ducts. I don’t think that’s possible, but I am extremely fastidious about not cross-contaminating between nose and eye. I’ve seen that go wrong with far too many another person.
2I really would rather not get antibiotics unless whatever infection I have is debilitating in some sense, be it mental faculties, physical capabilities, or ability to sleep. I have to be pretty fucking miserable to give up and go get antibiotics.
3The first doctor essentially blew me off and told me to take cold meds (which I had been), despite it being worse than any cold I had had before. I went in again two weeks later and the nurse practitioner took one gander at my nose and said I needed to get on antibiotics ASAP. Ever since then, I constantly have to fight repeat bouts of it…really…thanks guys…
4I swear I have some variation of asthma once I’ve coughed too much; I develop an uncontrollable itch/spasm in my lungs and can cough until I puke, it gets so bad!

07. August 2011 · Write a comment · Categories: Rant · Tags: ,

Buffalo just finished it’s 25th consecutive day of having a high at 80˚F or above. Coming up on a full month of that, and the record streak was only 32 days long. Thankfully, the region should be dipping back down into the 70˚ range this week, but we’ll see how long that takes to settle in.

This heat used to be bearable. The humidity has made it worse, but I made due after I got back from the conference in Vermont relatively okay. However, I didn’t realize how unbearable it can feel when you’re sick.

Waking up utterly miserable was bad enough on its own. Having to take that and march through the day of heat and humidity just makes the day feel like a time warp. The body aches are that much more achey, the nasal congestion is that much thicker in the humidity, and whatever fever I woke up with Friday (only 100.7˚F) just felt like it torched me: my head felt like it was ready to rip open. It was a ridiculous chore to get to Walgreens that morning for drugs, and then to Wegmans for some juice/nutrition, only to make it back home and put myself back out with a NyQuil-like induced sleep for the rest of the day.

I’ve been confined to the apartment (and predominantly my bedroom) since Thursday evening. I’m far more functional today than Friday (after logging probably close to 50 hours of sleep since Friday morning), but today’s heat just drug out the day forever. I am so ready to get out of here and do something, but the heat and humidity just makes everything miserable. I’m praying it tapers off this week so Shakespeare in Delaware Park might be enjoyable before they finish their summer season!

Also, I blame the heat and humidity for exhausting me so badly on my run last Monday. That’s likely what induced whatever I’m sick with; I’m guessing it weakened my body’s immune response enough to let whatever ripe does of infectogens1 just run rampant. I think I’ll have to keep the exercise down to walks and bike rides until the heat and/or humidity subsides.

NyQuil-wannabe is settling in. Time to sign off and call it a night. I look forward to a less ranty and whiney blog post next time.

1Yes, I did just make that word up.

02. August 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Grad Life, Rant, Work · Tags: ,

I try not to pick out individual coworkers specifically for their asshole-ishness on a regular basis. However, one of them really just struck a nerve with me today.

One of my coworkers (#1 for this post’s purpose) in the lab had been ragging on one of the newer graduate students (#2) in the lab for his inability to ask questions. This was primarily done in the context of describing his chronic ability to set himself up for failure by not preparing enough for the experiment/activity/event. I would have to agree with this, as it is often the case. I have offered advice in the past, and it usually goes the wayside until things aren’t working properly. Then, he either realizes (or someone else suggests) that my recommendations were valid and worth considering. So he could save himself some trouble by asking in varying degrees of uncertainty about stuff.

Cue to this afternoon, while I’m finishing up my preparations for tomorrow in the lab, and I have my iPod running in my ears. Coworker #2 is pissed to all hell, half-yelling at coworker #1 that he’s an asshole and he can’t give a straight answer. Coworker #1 is also just laughing at coworker #2, throughout all this visibly-pissed off ranting. I find out it’s because #2 has been trying to ask #1 for advice on submitting something to another location for analysis, and #1 just kept telling him “have you read the instructions?” Coworker #2 obviously (and stated as such) read said directions, and was asking for supplemental information beyond that. This renders #1’s response as moot, because #2 is obviously asking what #1 does beyond the regular instructions for this protocol.

Coworker #1 often does this regarding questions asked of him. He thinks it’s funny, cute, obnoxious, or lord knows what else. I really don’t know; he just gets a kick out of it. What really pisses me off regarding this now is for as much as he’s stated/bitched #2 never asks questions for help on stuff, here #1 is being an utter jackass by not answering the question, now that #2 is asking.

Seriously? Who the fuck do you think you are to first criticize someone for an inability to do something, and then throw it back in their face when they finally do it for you? I can’t wait to see him function on his own in a post-doc somewhere. This mentality will never cut it.

In other related news…the other three regulars in the lab have started to take a slightly more proactive approach to cleaning the lab. The dish drainers were entirely emptied a week and a half ago (shock!!!), all three of them collectively emptied their vast uncleaned reservoirs of glass culture tubes, and coworker #1 has been remarkably proactive about removing the autoclaveable waste, and even did a run himself and immediately took it down to the dumpster (instead of letting it sit in the lab over a week like the last batch he took down just prior). I can only hope that this is a change to stay (so I can return to the shared cleaning responsibilities), but only time will tell. My ranty tweet that also ended up on Facebook (without restriction on who saw it amongst friends) probably served as a more obvious kick in the ass about it.

Oh well…oops (not really).

P.S. I cannot wait until I’m finished with this lab and have left, despite how much I love the work…