Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exponential decay

We are learning about neuron equivalent circuits in school.  In honor of said topic, I present my own example of exponential decay.

Last week was the most idyllic example of an exponential decay in condition that I have ever experienced.  Laughably so.  And thus, I share.

Monday (100 enthusiasms): Treated to a fancy dinner with a group of excellent people.  Up all night with epically bloody Throughput despite only eating beets and salmon.

Tuesday (10 ens): Receive denial of insurance coverage for the Remicade that I have been getting under new student insurance since October.  They just now decided it was "not medically necessary".  Morning spent on the phone with the GI, the infusion center and the insurance broker instead of doing science.  Experiment set back by two full days because I am a noob blundering about a new lab with no one to tell me to parafilm my culture dishes so they don't dehydrate.  Still losing irregular amounts of blood.

Wednesday (1 ens): Journal club blitz presentation for a particularly terrifying professor*.  Afternoon spent haggling pharmacy over whether or not my prescription renewals have been translated instead of doing science.  Fell, despite my greatest efforts, into behind-the-scenes mediation of a high school drama-esque conflict between two classmates.  Still losing irregular amounts of blood.

Thursday (0.1 ens): H.K.'s birthday, for which I could muster only a card.  Intense nausea all day long.  Managed to do some science.  Still trying to encourage adult resolution of a childish conflict.  TA'd a lab.  By late afternoon, running only on the fumes of media broth and some desperate hope of still being able to impress my PI this rotation.  Continuing to lose irregular amounts of blood.

Friday (0.01 ens): Wake up with an un-concealable budding stress-induced cold sore.  Recruitment day!  After an extra-painful extra-long 4 hours of class (instead of the normal 3), the afternoon was spent escorting/interviewing/socializing with fresh meat instead of doing science.  By the evening, cold sore noticeable, muscles aching from lack of oxygen, I couldn't even bike home.  H.K. had to pick me up.  I was in bed by 8pm, falling asleep on my study materials.  Dreamed of my two midterms coming up on Monday and Wednesday.

*Of my classmates, I was the only presenter that she said "good job" to, which provided a fleeting blip of positivity in my week.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I just watched the documentary "Under Our Skin", which is about Lyme disease and the disgusting politics surrounding the insurance companies and medical boards (surprise) that prevent it from being properly treated.  One of my most favorite people in the universe has Lyme, and her perseverance has always been inspirational to me.  It's an important message about how biomedical research is just as susceptible to being stunted by corruption as any other major enterprise.

Consequently, watching these types of documentaries is incredibly depressing to me.  Though there is always a ray of hope at the end, I can't help but sink into guilt.  I am not earning my health, there are people so much worse off than I am that I must be faking it, I should be in toxicology or immunology or infectious disease instead of neuroscience, etc, etc...

H.K. is kind enough to remind me of what pitiful condition I am in without the right medication -- how dysfunctional I was before Remicade started to work a year and a half ago, the concern for what will happen when I can't take Remicade anymore, and that even though the pain is now benign and infrequent I have acquired all kinds of side effects.  One of them is being in grad school.  For which, though I complain (because that's where camaraderie comes from), I am so incredibly grateful...

Bring it on, 2012.