Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Edward Cullen of Parasites

Had third exam yesterday. We did our lab presentations today regarding unknown diagnoses with our plate cultures. Our case was based on a blood and urine sample from a 9 month old baby girl and we identified E. coli and some S. epidermidis (the latter probably due to skin contamination during the sampling process though) through Gram stains, API test strip, and all that jazz.

After that, we had an introduction lecture about parasitology. Cool class and we learned about all sorts of icky parasites that are quite clever at stowing away into their hosts' bodies, including this little fellow:

Behold. The Hookworm!

And then I died some more as the professor oh so casually described it: "I'd imagine this to be the Edward Cullen of parasites."

Class: "Say what?"

"It sucks blood and ... yeah."

I choked on my half-bewildered, half-horrified laughter.

Confused folks in the back row: "What? What is this Cullen he speaks of?"

I was lost for words. Three extra lessons I learned today:

1) So actually, not everybody is aware of this Twilight business. I thought it had about taken over the world already.

2) But of all those people out there who does know of Twilight, one of them is my professor. Who is so familiar with the Twilight world, he can state the full name of our favorite sparkling vampire. (Extra odd because I'm glancing back and forth between one girl who's all blissfully confused, "What's he talking about?", and then back to our middle-aged male professor, who's eyeing the picture of the hookworm, "Sup, Cullen.")

3) And I will never look at Mr. Hookworm the same way again. There is a part of Mr. Hookworm that thirsts for my blood and I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with - yeah, no. Just no.

Random facts about Hookworm (Necatur americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale):
  • a parasitic nematode worm that lives in the small intestine of its host
  • feeds on host's small bowel mucosa, sucking blood directly from site of attachment
  • one of the most important causes of childhood anemia in developing nations 
  • infective larvae develop and survive in an environment of damp dirt
  • diagnosis depends on finding worm eggs through microscopic examination of the stools
  • basic prevention: don't walk barefoot in suspicious areas, avoid using human excrement as fertilizers, and try to deworm pets

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Recently, I've received some emails from some pretty angry readers and I'd like to apologize here for the long wait since my last update. Status update: regarding the next chapter for Through Me, I have 15 pages. I'm not lying and I'm not making something up to pacify you guys.

Your next question might probably run something along the lines of: "Well, why don't you just post the goddamn thing then?"

Because I don't want to. Not because I adore making you all wait and I love receiving hate mail, but because I don't love the chapter in its current condition and it's already in its third rewrite. Something isn't jiving. However, in response to some readers' concerns, I can promise you that the story will be finished and I haven't abandoned it yet. I just need to work on it longer.

Why is it taking me so long? Because of school. And also, because of friends and the other distractions that come along with life. Yes, I'm aware some of you have said school can't be that busy, but I do like to spend the few breaks I have with friends and family sometimes. Or yes, to laze around and watch a little bit of TV. Call me weak, but I can't stop myself from slacking off with some mindless breathing moments too at times.

And why haven't I updated my blog in a while? Microbiology, Immunology, and General Pathology. I just finished a 15 page path essay, prepped for tomorrow's small group discussion on abscesses and septic shock, and I have to start cramming for Monday's exam. I would also possibly like to curl up in a ball and sleep too.

I can certainly update the blog with posts of daily blabbering about work, but the response I received since my last post didn't exactly go over too well ... and I began to feel guilty instead. Perhaps these readers think I should be working on the next chapter instead of blogging? Perhaps they'd rather wait for a post about an actual chapter update? Yep, I got intimidated. And just uncertain. I definitely understand the frustrations of readers when they have to wait and wait and wait ... only to find nothing, nope, no update yet. And I was just upset because I didn't have anything substantial to appease these readers. Not yet. So I kinda walled myself off, dropped everything else, and focused on school, thinking that "Okay, soon, I will post when I get the next chapter out. Soon."

Yeah, okay. Too bad getting the next chapter out hasn't been working out so far. Writing's definitely been on the backburner these past months and I'm sorry to say that it'd probably continue until summertime, at the very least. This course has exams and presentations mixed in with essays, lab reports, and so much other tedious work that I could scream. Plus, it starts 8am daily. Which means I wake up 5:30am daily. I average about five hours of sleep a night. I haven't been the kindest soul in the mornings this past year. 

The semi-good news though? Thanks to all your patience and understanding the previous months, I was able to really do nothing but focus on my Pharmacology class and I'm happy to report I got an A? Yay?

And for those who are interested in some random details about my recent non-life, I practiced giving PPD shots (The PPD shot is injected under the top layer of skin, causing a blister to form and it's a common test given to diagnose tuberculosis. I'm sure most of you have received this test before for school or work forms and what not) the other day. This means me giving my very first injection to a fellow classmate and her returning the favor. Only her needle slipped out the first time before she could administer the saline solution and she had to do it twice. I am self-sacrificing. Kidding, I didn't mind because she did it very well and it was relatively painless. We all ended the day at the clinic with our very own teeny bubbles on our arms. Gold stars and stickers? Pfft, those are for babies. 

Otherwise, I know, I suck. And I'm sorry for everything. I will try to fit in more writing, but I honestly am getting buried by the workload at this moment. Parents are also away on vacation for three weeks and us spoiled spawn of theirs are still figuring out how to survive on a day-to-day basis. My brother claims he's not hungry every time I ask him what he wants for dinner. Either he's going on a diet or he isn't quite willing to entrust his stomach and I suppose, his quality of life in my clumsy chef hands. What? Food poisoning's treatable.

If you wish to kick me off your reading lists, I completely understand. All I can offer right now are my meek apologies. And if you can find it in your hearts to lay off on the hate mail for now, I'd appreciate it too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your time and patience.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fanart - orangedjuice

I not so recently ago received a gorgeous piece of fanart. orangedjuice created this picture of Adel from Through Me and I absolutely adore it. Thank you, orangedjuice, for spending time on this and I love all the details and the vibrant colors of it. It's incredible and you're awesome.