The Life Traumatic: Reflections on 2 Weeks of Trauma Rotation

A two week stint on trauma is part of the general surgery rotation that all third year medical students complete, and the trauma service at a level 1 medical center can be disillusioning to say the least.

With gunshots, stabbings, assaults, and hit-and-runs all too common, you begin to wonder how people can be so awful to one another.  Yet with those detractors comes an energy, a rush of adrenaline and anticipation as you wait for the next patient to be rushed through the doors, that makes it all worthwhile.  In one place you get an incredible cross-section of society – after all, anyone can be in the wrong place and the wrong time –  and a spectrum of cases, from tragic to comical, all thought-provoking and full of lessons to be learned.

It was a Friday afternoon, and I was a mere 15 minutes from being able to go home when, like clockwork, my pager went off in response to a code yellow (a trauma emergency) that was on its way to the hospital.  Less-than-thrilled at the fact that I’d be hanging around for a few more hours I made my way down to the trauma bay, a fully-equipped room within the emergency department where all the action of an arriving trauma case went down.

Word had it that the incoming patient was an en-route transfer, who had been re-directed after it was deemed that a head laceration he’d suffered after falling from standing was too big to be dealt with at a lesser-equipped hospital.  Per the EMT’s, he was not only intoxicated to the point of imbalance, but also to the point of belligerence, and was particularly aggressive.

And indeed, upon his grand entrance into the trauma bay – replete with punches, racial epithets, and expletives yelled in broken English – it was clear this guy was going to be a special case.  In the same organized chaos that accompanies any given incoming trauma case, the patient was surrounded by a hoard of trauma staff – nurses,  X-ray techs, attending physicians, medical students, etc – each with their specific tasks which were to be carried out in the most timely manner, such that no time at all be wasted.

The initial surveys were completed, blood draws taken for labs, IV’s put in place, X-rays shot, despite the fact that all throughout the patient had resisted, pulling on any wire or tube he could get a hold of, swinging and kicking at those of us who attempted to his frail, yet powerful frame down.  In broken English and occasional bursts of accented Spanish he repeatedly yelled that he wouldn’t let us kill him.  To no one’s surprise, he was also less-than-helpful when answering basic questions about his past medical history and the events that had precipitated current visit to the ER.

At one point after the initial hubbub had calmed down, the attending trauma surgeon, an Eastern European woman for whom English was a non-native language, asked aloud, “What are his allergies?” leading me to relay the question to the patient in Spanish.  His response was quick and pointed:  “Tu madre,” he replied.  Those who heard and understood it burst out laughing, as the attending looked on in confusion.

“What is he allergic to?” she asked again, noticeably frustrated at the ongoing difficulties.  “This guy’s mother” a nurse chimed in, pointing in my direction.  “But I don’t think the electronic medical records will recognize that specific allergy” she continued.

Somewhere between grinning from the ridiculousness of the preceding incident, being slightly offended at having my mother insulted, and gagging at the horrendous smells emanating from the patient (a mix of urine and a special form of halitosis known as trauma breath), I continued to hold the patient down and talk to him the best I could.  He was violently writhing and trying to break free, once again pulling at anything he could get his hands on (at least 3 pulse oximeters saw their demise that day), all the while letting us know his displeasure with being there.

And then, as if in a miraculous moment where the skies above parted and a booming voice said, “LET THERE BE ATIVAN!” our riled up protagonist received a bolus of sedative and finally calmed down.  His muscles relaxed, his pupils dilated, and he finally lay back in a quiescent ambivalence to what was happening around him.

In this moment, without me even prompting, he began recounting his journey from Cuba decades earlier, and telling tales of his childhood on the island before that.  And although slurring, sedated, and still very, very intoxicated, he managed to convey a distinct overtone of humanity in his stories.

Unfortunately, everyone in that room had witnessed his worst; yet another belligerent drunk causing trouble in the ER, lost to the world and himself.  But as the sole Spanish-speaker with him at that moment, I was the only one to hear his story, and see him at least partially redeemed.  But hey, that’s life… or at least, that’s trauma.

Say What?

Currently rocking out to I’m On One – Drake
Currently singing to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – Utada

Chompy is a cutie pie.

My baby turtle Chompy is getting a lot bigger!

So my lab partner texted me today about final grades in chemistry because she doesn’t know how to use the student self-service thing, which is cool because she just transferred from Elgin Community College and I’m happy to help her ease into a successful year! Anyway, I checked online and swore that I was going to get a B, but to my surprise I got an A! I am seriously and ridiculously happy. My lab partner got an A too so we are both texting each other how happy we are, haha!

And of course, grades aren’t everything, but seeing your GPA go a few points higher really boosts self-esteem!

Today I took the Metra by myself for the second time ever and it was really nice. I was a little angry in the morning because I woke up at 6am and got to the Bartlett station at 6:27am—then the train left! It was supposed to arrive at 6:30…actually, 6:32! I had to wait for the 7:00am train, and then guess what happens next: the train is LATE. Unbelievable. I had to call my P.I. numerous times because I was supposed to meet him at 8am in the lab to do bone marrow isolation. I got to Union station around 8:00 and tried to locate the 157 bus. After circling around the whole Union station, I just gave up and called my P.I. and asked for directions because I was totally lost. I wonder how the commuters who go to UIC do it, but man I had no clue of anything.

It’s kind of fun getting lost though and being on your own. I went to Taiwan a few years ago to volunteer for the Taiwanese Red Cross to give supplies to the less fortunate and keep elderly company and active, and it was the first I ever went out of the country by myself. I remember landing at LAX in California and didn’t know I had to go from domestic to international, which meant I had to physically leave the building to go to another one since they weren’t connected. Finding the certain airline was hard too. I saw Korean Air, Japan Air, but where was China Air? You know how I found China Airlines? I followed the sound of Mandarin Chinese. China Airlines basically had its own giant section and you wouldn’t believe the amount of Asians crowded there.

Taiwan 2009

We went to a Buddhist temple during our volunteer service.Apparently it has 1000 rooms!

Ah, it was so much fun though. I am hoping to go to Taiwan or China next summer either for study abroad or just for vacation…or maybe even volunteering again! Europe would be nice to go to for study abroad since I will probably never go there, but my parents only approve of England…and that’s basically America but more proper, I think.

I guess not much going on, although last Friday I got to hang out with some people from AAMP (Asian American Mentor Program) at a bakery in Greektown, which is a part of AARCC’s programs at UIC. I was a mentee last year and applied to be a mentor for this year, but unfortunately I didn’t get accepted. I was pretty bummed because I felt like that was the only way I felt connected to the Asian community at UIC. Weird, huh? I’m happy for my peer mentees who got into the program as mentors though! Totally jealous of them because they get to help cute, innocent freshmen! I plan on applying again next year, so cross your fingers! =)

Greektown - Cake

Eating At the Bakery in Greektown

Did I mention I had to kill a mouse today? Well, I didn’t do it personally, but down the road I’m going to have to learn how to do it. For the bone marrow isolation, you have to get the mouse’s bones (obviously) and so you paralyze them, shave them, and then pull their head and tail apart to disconnect the spine. Messed up? Well, to researchers it is necessary. I think, for me at least, it’s one of the worst parts of research and medicine.

Things always have to be tested until approved for human use. I get sad when I see the diabetic mice because they are bred to be fat and in a sense diseased so that we can test on them to make sure things go well and transfer the same method to humans. It seems kind of silly to make animals “sick” when we should be focusing on alleviating humans with sickness already. I guess the only way to be healthy is with preventative medicine.

Lately my family and I have been indulging in green smoothies. My aunt from New Jersey gave me a book called “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko and it was really amazing what this woman has done. Seriously, it’s like she’s found the cure for everything just by drinking green smoothies. I sure hope my eczema gets cured by this soon because I’ve seriously done just about everything to fix it!

School begins basically next week. I’m going to be hardcore pre-studying so that I can get ahead with some classes. I’m sure organic chemistry will kill me so I better get my cell biology straight. I’ve been spending most of my free time working on the clothing company I started with my brother, which by the way we are going to have a photo-shoot so that will make the website look ten times better! I’ve also been learning Spanish on my Nintendo DS (My Spanish Coach) and I am officially a second grader! Yay! :D

My Lionfish

For some reason, my lionfish likes to chill upside down in the tank.

Darn. School starts so soon. My summer flew by way too fast!

For the Bibliophobe and the Cafeine-ophile: Coffee Shop Alternatives When the Library Just Won’t Do

Do you get nauseous at the thought of frittering away hours upon hours at a small desk in a corner of the book stacks?  Does the complete silence of the library increase your anxiety more than your concentration?  Are you the type of studier that requires direct access to caffeine at all times if you are expected to retain any of the information in your books?  Well, then you’re not alone.
Having studied pretty much day in day out for all of April and May, and having spent an ungodly number of hours in coffee shops to the point where both my books and hair perpetually smelled of espresso, I’ve come to know quite a bit about coffee shop culture in the fine city of Chicago.  Knowing I was in it for the long haul, I felt compelled to branch out from the Starbucks down the street and see what the city had to offer in terms of purveyors of caffeinated beverages.  Don’t get me wrong, as is the case with any med student, Starbucks holds a special place in my heart, and  I dare not bite the hand that sustains me; but in this case, I just felt I needed a change of pace, to ramp up both my motivation and productivity.
As such, I figured I’d give a quick run-down of some of my favorite locales around the city (mostly north side) for a good cup of java and even better cram session when you just can’t study in the library.
 Intelligentsia: 3123 N Broadway (Between Barry and Briar)
                Neighborhood: Lakeview
One of my mainstays.  Although Intelligentsia is a little pricier than some of the other options, for any self-professed coffee connoisseur the product is well worth it. With fair-trade options brewed by the cup via a variety of methods (just ask the barista and they’ll take the time to explain why they brew certain blends certain ways!) and a staff that’s well-versed in latte art, Intelligentsia puts Chicago on the map in terms of café culture.  And beyond that, the shop offers a spacious feel, with good lighting and plenty of big tables where you can park yourself across from other caffeine addicts and students alike.
                Pro’s: lots of space, outstanding coffee, and a regular group of studiers
                Con’s: pricier than most and no discounted refills; too busy and chaotic on weekends
The Coffee Studio: 5628 N Clark St.
                Neighborhood: Andersonville

If you’re from Andersonville, a surrounding neighborhood or just don’t mind travelling a little for a few good hours of productivity, then The Coffee Studio is not to be missed.  Of all the coffee shops I frequented during the lead-up to my board exam, this was hands-down one of my favorites.  The coffee is excellent, the staff amiable, and the space immaculate.  This place offers ample outlets for laptops, cushioned seats and a quieter atmosphere than most anywhere else.  The verdict: studying in comfort.  The prices vary, but can be on the higher side, and the baked good selection is better than most.
                Pro’s: newly-finished, well-lit space, quieter atmosphere than most coffee shops
                Con’s: earlier closing hours, higher price-point
Ipsento: 2035 N Western Ave.
                Neighborhood: Bucktown

If you’re into the hipster scene and don’t mind the indie band of the moment as background noise, then this hole-in-the-wall café may be a good fit.  Even if it isn’t quite your scene, it’s worth checking out at least once if just for the drink that bears its namesake.  The Ipsento is a latte made with coconut milk, honey, and a touch of cayenne pepper, and can make any day of studying bearable. (Seriously, it is out of this world).  Although the locale is a little gritty and the space is dark and reminiscent of your friend’s parents’ basement, the baristas are incredibly friendly and the overall atmosphere is one that is pretty conducive to getting work done.

                Pro’s: the Ipsento, the staff, and the younger crowd
                Con’s: pretty dimly lit, not necessarily the quietest coffee shop
Asado: 1432 W Irving Park
                Neighborhood: North Lakeview
This place is one of Chicago’s hidden gems.  Up against bigger primary producers like Intelligentsia or Metropolis, Asado seems to hold its own, processing and roasting their own beans in-store for a cup of coffee that is so smooth that milk and sugar are rendered completely unnecessary.  Despite its meager square footage, this place has a good number of tables for spreading your books out and is generally well-suited for studying.  If you don’t mind the distraction of the barista roasting a batch of beans every now and then in the gargantuan metallic roaster that serves as the centerpiece of the shop, then this place just may be for you.  And if you’re interested, and want to learn something that you’ll probably never be tested on, ask the employee behind the counter how the roasting machine works and they’ll likely give you an impromptu tour (at least they did when I asked).  In contrast to the other coffee shops in the city, this one has a mom-and-pop feel that makes it a comfortable place to be, and excellent coffee and food to boot.  Definitely worth checking out.
Pro’s: coffee roasted the same day you order it, comfortable space, street cred for knowing about this place before your friends
Con’s: small and easily crowded
New Wave Coffee: 3103 W Logan Blvd.
                Neighborhood: Logan Square
 Frequented by all types (but mostly hipsters) New Wave offers a lot when it comes to a coffee shop study session.  Located just off the infamous Logan Square roundabout, this shop offers a spacious setting with numerous couches, love-seats, tables, and yes, even desks – for some reason a desk is just easier to stomach within the context of a coffee shop.  Regardless, whatever your preferred posture while cramming information into your brain, you’ll find it here.  Oh, and the coffee and pastries (which are vegan) are good too.  So if you want a more lax feel with a lot of the same perks, all in an up-and-coming area of the city, New Wave is certainly a destination to check out.
                Pro’s: located off the blue line (i.e. UIC-accessible), spacious and comfortable
                Con’s: Noise level can get a little high at times
Honorable mentions:
Kickstand Espresso Bar (824 W Belmont) in Boystown: good on the weekends as it tends to avoid the hoards of people that make any given Starbucks unbearable from Saturday to Sunday.  Very gay and very hipster; doesn’t hurt to look the part.
Atomix (1957 W Chicago) in Ukrainian Village: spacious place to study; not the best-lit, but overall not a bad choice for studying.

Brutal Illustration

Circumcision complete! Wait… I mean, I drew it. We had a critique today for the two projects due for my surgical orientation class. They were both drawings, one of which had to depict 3 medical instruments and another a procedure of our choice, and I chose circumcision.

Here’s my final illustration:

The first comment was from the only guy in our class, who said “ouch.” Later, someone presented an illustration of a masectomy, which I felt like was payback for me showing a circumcision.

The tool being used is this crazy thing called a GOMCO clamp, which is tough to draw, but only half of it is shown in the step above.

I also drew 3 medical instruments in Illustrator:

The first one is a scalpel, posed for by my helpful roommate. The second is a retractor, used to pull back someone’s anatomy during a surgery. And third is a very long set of weird forceps, which I had to crop to be able to get a nice view of the box joint.

I hope I didn’t scare anybody off!

Preparing for UIC’s “The Big Move-in ” Day

Chicago!

Campus Housing is counting down the days before “The Big Move-in.” More than 3,500 Residents will be pouring into our residence halls.

I’ve been in intense Senior Staff and Assistant Director training for the past two days. The picture below is of our first kickoff meeting for training with a speech by Associate Director William Washington, followed by Director of Housing Susan Teggatz.

Associate Director of Housing, William Washington

The picture below is during one of our Supervisory Lectures of the ‘Sociogram’ in which visualizes resident’s interest, classes, and more to help cater to the student’s needs.

To the left, Area Coordinator Priscilla Velarde and Joe Timson.

During training, they emphasize on the benefits of living in Campus Housing. So I decided to write a quick Top 3: Reasons to Live in Campus Housing article.

3. Great Price
I’ve heard residents complain about the price for housing. It’s truly about what you make of the program. If students put in the effort to utilize housing then it really is definitely a place worth residing.

Free laundry, printing, wireless internet, study areas, facilities repair– don’t have to worry about electricity, water, or gas bills– discounted tickets to theater shows, sports tickets, and movies; also leadership, job, and career opportunities.

Taking residents to Lincoln Park Zoo

2. Home Away From Home
Our staff truly puts in the effort to make Campus Housing your home away from home. Your RA will invite you to floor dinners, programs, and outings while your PM helps with tutoring, classes, and UIC. Both of them are there to also offer support and act as a resource for UIC.

TBH residents hanging out at Grant Park

1. Educational Advantage
Plenty of leadership opportunities as well as networking with faculty, students, jobs, Chicago Businesses and more. Don’t have to commute far and invest more time into studying with other floor-mates in similar classes.

So that’s it for this week. Darren out!

TOPIC FOR NEXT WEEK: Behind the scenes of leading RAs 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Where was UIC before it moved to it’s current location today?

ANSWER LAST WEEK: Captain America’s shield before the circle was actually a triangle. 

Freedom Approaches

At last, the time has almost come when summer school ends and my actual summer begins. Now, you probably won’t consider two weeks enough time for enjoyment—but hey, you take what you can get! I just want to hang out with my brother and play Dungeon Siege on the PS3! Unfortunately we already watched all of the Dr. Who 11th season episodes that are out…we are waiting on the next ones. Dr. Who is SO amazing.

Unfortunately I have to keep this post short because I have a whole lot of studying to do. Darn chemistry likes to eat people for dinner, ahem. I finished writing my research paper for English 222 though! I’m excited to take English 212 (Fiction) in the fall, although I haven’t taken English 240 yet and apparently that’s a pre-requisite on the UIC Undergraduate Catalog. I’m just going to assume it’s false though because I asked around the writing center and everyone says you only need English 161.

Anyway, I guess I’ll post up my tentative schedule for the fall semester! I’m still going to volunteer with Rush and do research at the Applied Health Sciences building, but with the former I’ll be working more from home because it’s a hassle to walk all the way over there and find out I’m just stapling 2000 pages of paper (not fun). I asked my supervisor if I could move onto more meaningful things like writing papers or something. I originally got affiliated with this department (Rush Institute for Healthy Aging) because they needed someone to make a t-shirt design for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. From there, things just kind of added on and soon I made the logos, the posters, the flyers, you name it. Now, doing all of that for free was a bit too much. If you paid a person who worked for a graphics department company, you would probably have to pay at least 800 dollars. I did it for free. I don’t know why, but I guess I just don’t like taking money from people. Then again, they never offered. Ah whatever. I entered the UIC Maurice Prize Competition with the stuff I made. I didn’t win, but that’s okay. I can try again next year!

I am planning on getting credit for research this fall so that I can be eligible for the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Award. It would really help out with paying for college and they even give a bonus to my PI, which he really needs because our lab needs it. Seriously, a little box of RT-PCR Thermoscript thing was about 300 dollars. Crazy.

Anyway, back to my tentative schedule:

CHEM 232 – Organic Chemistry I
BIOS 222 – Cell Biology
HN 196 – Human Nutrition
HON 201 – Music Therapy and Music Medicine I
ENGL 212 – Introduction to the Writing of Fiction
ASST 270 – Sex, Love, and Marriage of Asians

The last class just sounded interesting. I hope it’s not too much work though because those top three classes are probably going to drive me into a hermit-living style! I might drop it because this is already at 17 credit hours, and I’ll be added 1 credit hour (more like 3 but you can only sign up for 18 credits max) for the independent research thing so I can hopefully get paid for research. Oh man, and I also might be a volunteer writing center tutor. Dang, next year I have an officer position in Society of Future Physicians. I’m excited to work with the nearby high schools to conduct presentations about health, but man it will be lots of work (by the way, I totally made that banner on the website header hehe). Jeez, and I have my regular part-time job from UIC Campus Housing as the web aide. I hope I can keep everything together!

Gah. Need to study…or maybe I will sleep…Tomorrow morning I am going to attend the Inaugural American College of  Wound Healing and Tissue Repair Conference at the UIC Forum. There will probably be lots of important people there and I’ll probably end up being the youngest again! I actually attended one of these seminars last year because I wanted to see one of the PI’s I searched at ure.uic.edu just to make sure he wasn’t some mad scientist or something, haha. And what do you know, he is my research PI at the moment and will continue to be in the next three years that I’m here at UIC! (:

Wow. Guess this post wasn’t as short as I predicted. This just shows you that I need to stay away from the computer when I study. Good luck to anyone taking their summer school finals! Crud, I better start taking down my stuff in my room at PSR because I have to move on Friday night! I plan on going to a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert at Ravinia with my mom Saturday night and then Sunday I plan on going to Six Flags with some friends because I haven’t gone the entire summer! Raging Bull, here I come.

So much to do, and so little time…

Can’t just eyeball it

One project done! For my Clinical Sciences class, we had to draw an eye cross section.  A woman from the eye clinic next door–who serves as a full time medical illustrator over there–gave us a bunch of rules about how to NOT draw an eyeball, and showed us examples of artists who had gotten the eyeball wrong. Coincidentally one of the examples she showed was an illustration completed years back by our current professor and director of the program- who was in the room.  Haha. So we learned a lot about how to get the proportions right, how to correctly show where the retina terminates, and how to depict the optic nerve at the right angle. Here is the result of the tutorial we did in class using a ruler and a compass:

The assignment was to scan it into illustrator and create a vector drawing of the eye, with or without color. Since I’m still getting used to Illustrator, I chose to keep it black and white, but to fill in some tone. Here is my final eye ball!

Top 5 Tips: Smooth Move-in Day Into Campus Housing

Hey UIC!

Throughout my years in Campus Housing, I’ve carefully mastered the skills necessary to survive move-in day to Campus Housing. Time to deliver my secrets, so here it is:

5. Plan the layout of your room.
Shoot an email! Call your roommate! See how you would like to layout your room and what to bring. This includes TV, game system, Micro-Fridge, or anything else. Schedule a tour of your room if you haven’t seen it yet.

4. Roommate Agreement Conditions
Through my years as an RA, residents who don’t fill out the agreement forms tend to have roommate conflicts which build stress and tension throughout your year. Talk to your roommate about guest hours, when to take out trash, quiet hours, and more.

3. Find Chicago Errand Hotspots
Want late night ramen noodles? Microwavable mac and cheese? Find the closest grocery store around your residence hall. You can also find restaurants, barber shops, electronic stores, as well.

2. Bring your own move-in cart and vacuum
Campus Housing does provide vacuums and carts; however, there may be a waitlist to obtain one. I recommend bringing in your own cart and vacuum.

1. Plan it out to the littlest detail
Once you plan a date to move-in, you can call your friends and family and say you need help that day. Make sure your on your game with time. Move-in day can be a long, stressful, and hard process, but you can celebrate at a nearby restaurant.

So my top 5 secrets revealed! Next week I’ll post pictures of my room too! A Senior RA room in JST.

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Senior RA Training and pictures of my new JST room!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is the UIC Sales tax?

I Will SURVIVE!

This week has been half exciting and half awful. The awful part, you might have guessed, is chemistry. The wonderful, awesome part is surprisingly my growing love for English! We have a 7-9 page research paper due next Friday in my tutoring class (also the day I have my chemistry final, boo) and I am actually and genuinely delighted to start writing it…if only chemistry wasn’t ruining everything! I swear, chemistry needs to get a life and stop blowing up the whole world and smelling bad (I had a lab today and we had to deal with ammonia and hydrochloric acid, yuck). UIC should ban these hazardous chemicals; in fact, I think the world would be a lot better off without chemistry. We can keep organic because it has to do with life. Everything else…can just disappear. Need an explanation? I will write a wonderful post later about why the world would be better off without chemistry.

You know, this one time I went online in the Google search engine to see why I should learn chemistry. I don’t know how I got to a certain page, but some professor wrote “Now, why should you learn chemistry? To understand beer of course!” What kind of stupid answer this that? Beer and alcohol ruins families and other relationships. It’s just empty calories and can give you liver cancer. PLEASE think about your liver! =(

Okay, I need to stop my ranting. I have a chemistry exam tomorrow and apparently it’s extremely brutal. This post will have to get cut off soon, but in the meantime, I just wanted to update you all on the t-shirts! We got them last Friday and they are so nice. I wore one of them yesterday when I was on campus, doing all that school stuff. Please follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, like us on Facebook, and purchase from me if you’re interested! =) We have a website (look at designs here if you do not have a Facebook) where you can purchase too, but I wouldn’t want you to pay for shipping if you’re in Chicago so just contact me somehow. You’ll probably notice we do not have anything on the pages (well, my brother has updated the FB page). No fear. I am coming home this weekend and doing some awesome social media galore! Time to make fun marketing materials. I’m so excited.

Phew. All right I’m off to study. I have more to say but school is more important at the moment.

Hope everyone is having a nice cadence to their summers.

Tough Week

I screwed up in the lab for the first time, and it was such a dopey mistake. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I definitely wanted to smack my forehead onto my desk a couple times. I was running a qPCR like I always do, pipetting a billion times into the wells (it seriously takes a good one to one and a half hours), and I put it into the beautiful Applied Biosystems computer. After waiting around for an hour and a half filling up pipette boxes with tiny pipette tips, I took my sunglasses and threw on some sunscreen, and stepped outside to face the blazing hot, sunny weather. If you’re wondering why I had to go out of the Applied Health Sciences building, the qPCR machine is in the UIC College of Medicine building, which is arguably close by…but on a day like this, you’d wish it was closer! The walk was almost unbearable to the point that I could almost hear my skin cells screaming in pain.

Anyway, I got to my machine and selected the wells like I always do, and usually the screen would begin to pop up with pretty colors onto a graph as I clicked from well to well…but today nothing showed up period. After suffering a mere panic attack (I had a couple of those today while I was pipetting into the wells…Margaret, a PhD student working in the lab with me and my lifesaver, sarcastically accused me of coming to the lab drunk since I was so clumsy today, which is obviously false because I don’t drink…no one ever believes me T-T), I immediately called Margaret and she asked if I clicked on a check box labeled “FAM” before starting the qPCR. I couldn’t remember if I did or not, but something strongly tells me that I forgot—and now I am just beating myself up with the fact that I messed up. I would forgive myself and just re-run it again tomorrow if I could, but I had just enough sample to run the qPCR today since I was going to move onto a new project. Sigh. I hope Margaret will save me and magically get the results from what I ran today.

Phew. Rough day and week overall. I had a quiz today for chemistry and I blanked out at the end because we had to find the electron configuration for Gd3+. I mean, seriously, who asks that?! Tutoring at the writing center was really intense because all of the SEWW students were eager to complete their portfolio to get into English 160, but they still lacked a good thesis and they always want help with grammar when that should be the least of their worries.

Luckily work has been treating me well. I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from the NRHH and RHA committees about updating their website, and coding is one of my favorite things to do! Too bad I am too busy to do it on my own time, but that’s okay.

Sigh. Two more weeks of summer school left. Exam next week, 7-9 page paper due next week, and even more work to do. Each night though, I play on my DS to learn Spanish! I would take it as a class here, but I already got rid of my language requirement with Chinese…and I would rather take an art class than Spanish. I’m thinking about taking Polish or Italian my senior year though. Those would be fun languages to learn. Ah…I can’t wait to have my two weeks of actual summer break! Oh yeah, and supposedly the shirts come in tomorrow. I’ll post up pictures when I can! (:

I want to go to Europe one day…

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