Friday, March 7, 2014

Beware of laboratory hazards! Especially the human ones!

I don't have words for how happy I am that this week is finally over!! Yeah me! But it basically ended with what I'm now fairly sure is the fact that employment wise, I need to Seek. Life. Elsewhere. And I'm cool with that.

The bottom line is that I'm expected to wear something like the following so that I may be able to work in the lab again with the venting chemical tank. The same type of venting chemical tank that blew up in another research lab a few years ago, but I digress. Here's my new work gear:

When I was presented with my new lab work attire, I chuckled out loud and asked "where's the Ebola"? That got a laugh out of the HR and ADA reps, but the person over my new and old Supv's didn't find it so funny. Her bad, LOL!! However, they know DAMN WELL that's it's going to be DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE for me to work comfortably or efficiently in the lab at the bench, hood, or at my desk which is also now being relocated back near the venting chemical tank. So I translated all that to mean that what they're really saying to me without directly saying it is this: "we really don't want to work with your Black a$$ anymore, so please get da' hell on". Because I know as a Chemist for the last 20 years that the chemical being vented from the tank doesn't require anything close to this and I know this because over the years I've worked in chemistry and pathology labs with far more dangerous chemicals, that nothing remotely like this is required. OTOH, I've NEVER worked in such close proximity to/or around such a substantially large volume of a chemical like this either. And when I say large volumes, I mean tanks like these in a space around 450 square feet in area:

And yes, there are TWO of them almost as tall as I am (and I'm almost 5'8").

So allow me to be clear, my primary "issue" isn't that I'll have to work in a room with this thing on, people do it every day (for a hellva LOT more money than I'm making). My primary issue today is the same when this all started, the lab skills/safety challenged person charged with running the lab. Put another way, this individual is the ~ 3rd person in an almost 25 year lab career whose presence in the lab scares me $hitless. The fact that it doesn't really vent, it SPILLS air on a regular basis in such a small, averagely vented space is my second concern. The third and most important is the location of the tanks near the ONLY way into/out of the lab. If these tanks were to blow there's a damn good chance that the ONLY entry/exit into the lab would be blocked. Yet I was told today that basically, "too bad for you put on your "Ebola suit", this is what you're going to have to work with". So, I'm praying REAL HARD that God removes me from this situation ASAP and ask that you pray for me too. Fortunately for now, I haven't been ordered back into the lab soon because I need to run this by my Doc (and probably a lawyer too) to get some consensus about what I really need to wear in the lab or if I should be in there at all. In the meantime, I'm applying for jobs just like I don't have one...........................

Moving on, I had the most amazing week to date in my clinical healthcare class!! While cramming/reviewing for my midterm this past week (I got an "A" on my exam), I gained more insightful revelations about a couple clinical medical specialties. And again, I'm SO excited that pretty much any clinical specialty is a realistic consideration for me now that my kid is almost an adult. I went through iterations of becoming a Psychiatrist, Intensivist, or just a regular ol’ Family Doc this week. And this reminds me of the stories I’ve heard over the years from third year med student about what they think as they’re doing their clinical rotations. So for my first rotation, I’m going to be at the local county hospital working with the very population of folks, poor, minority, hispanic, I hope to serve one day as a Physician. In fact, it isn’t lost on me that I could end up as a student, Resident, or Attending, at this very hospital one day! :)

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