Sunday, August 28, 2011

My First Trip to the Emergency Room

It is a typical Friday night. I am doing my dishes, whimsically scrubbing my glassware to the sweet sound of classical music. But as I clean a glass, it shatters, lacerating the side of my right hand. As blood pours out along my forearm and onto the floor, I ponder my predicament.

Now, let me give you some background. I am not wearing a shirt at this point. I prefer not to get my shirts wet while I am performing house chores. I am also wearing some wool, gray-green dress slacks and no shoes (Japanese household and all that). It suddenly crosses my mind that I will have to go to the hospital, which means I need to put some clothes on.

I walk over to my closet, dripping blood along the way, to examine my shirts. I realize that I cannot wear any of my typical button-up, collared shirts, as they require both hands to button, and thus would become a bloody mess. I then decide I would wear a polo shirt, the next best option for a business-casual patient. However, all of my polo shirts are in the laundry, and I do not want to wear a dirty shirt to the hospital.

Thus, I am forced to walk to my dresser and examine my t-shirts. Keep in mind that blood is still dripping on the floor. My first thought is to wear my white v-neck undershirt, but the neckline seems inappropriately revealing to wear in public. Ah, a red shirt. That would hide the color of the blood. It does not match my pants unfortunately, but as the saying goes, "those rapidly losing blood cannot be choosers."

After donning the shirt, I go to find a pair of shoes. Unfortunately, my choices are limited, as laces present the same problem as buttons. I am forced, again, to pick shoes that did not match. In this case, they are blue, which, when combined with my gray-blue slacks and red t-shirt, make me look like a color-blind, deconstructed hipster.

At this point, I realize I should call a friend to help me to the hospital. Having already forgotten that I had injured myself, I reach out with my cut hand for my cellphone. Needless to say, I managed to grab it with my second attempt and second hand, and call a friend to meet me on the way to the emergency room.

I gather a dishrag to cover my wound and leave my apartment. As I am walking down Michigan Avenue, clutching a bloody rag and nodding politely to the Friday dinner crowd, I observe that few people are even taking notice of me. I got more looks earlier that day when I was wearing a bow-tie, making me wonder if bloody hands are already passe in today's fast-paced fashion world. I meet my friend at her apartment. Here's an approximation of that conversation:

ME: Hello, how are you?
FRIEND: What!? Why are you asking me that? We need to go to the hospital!
ME: Okay. I just wanted to be polite. Let's go.
FRIEND: Let's get a cab! I don't want you to walk.
ME: No, I don't want to bleed in the backseat of a cab. That's just rude.

We arrive at the emergency room, where I am told it may "be a few hours." The triage nurse gives me a temporary bandage.

NURSE: Any allergies?
ME: Just cats and dogs.
NURSE: Any allergies to medications?
ME: Not unless they have cats or dogs in them.

Then, after only about an hour of waiting, I am lucky enough to hear this sound across the waiting room.


Ah, how lucky that I, Mr. Flansnee, get to see the doctor so soon. But first, a lovely woman comes in to make sure she has my insurance information, and thus I can pay for my visit.

LOVELY WOMAN: Can you sign with your hand like that?
ME: Well, that depends on how much blood you want on these forms.

After my bills are cleared and my wound cleaned, I am examined by the attending physician.

DR: How did you cut your hand?
ME: I was doing the dishes.
DR: You are a medical student? Where are you from?
ME: Kansas.
DR: Kansas? Why were you doing the dishes?
ME: I'm a good country boy; I do all my own housework.

A new intern comes in to stitch me up.

INTERN: You know, you should make up some cool story to tell everyone how you got these stitches.
ME: Yeah. Like a bar fight.
INTERN: [jokingly] You should see the other guy.
ME: [deathly serious] Yeah, he's dead.

Six stitches later, I am on my way. Now I just need to get back to my apartment before it is legally declared a crime scene.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mom's in Town!

Oh, are you upset that this post is a little late? Well, it was because I was hanging out with my mom. Hold onto your seats, because she got the party started.

Pictured above: And by "party," I mean we doubled-down and ordered both cow tendons and octopus balls. Yeah, we were makin' it RAIN tendons.

After we were done eating, we decided to go for a walk and burn off some of those calories. Just kidding, we got deep fried Asian snacks!

Pictured above: Aw, yeah. We've got satay and rangoon SWAG.

Then, we celebrated my older brother's birthday with a simple, tasteful cake. NOOOOPE!

Pictured above: Fondant designed sushi on triple-layered, chocolate-peanut-butter cake. I'll be honest; I was disappointed that the whole thing wasn't dipped in batter and deep-fried. But there's always next year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Retreat Ettiquette

This past weekend, I attended the annual MSTP retreat: a two-day vacation in the exotic paradise of Wisconsin. Having thoroughly read Emily Post's "Essential Manners for Informal Scientific Conferences Volume III," I was prepared. But so many of my peers were unable to handle the complex mix of faculty, administration, and students. For you, here is a guide for proper conference manners.

1. Listening to presentations

Students have spent years of their lives compiling data, tweaking experiments, and wrestling with personal and professional failure to bring you 15 minutes of science. It is acceptable to fall asleep.

Pictured above: Or, as one of my peers demonstrated, you may also design and draw a tasteful headdress for the current speaker.

2. Talking to faculty

Professors are people, just like you. People that have unlimited power over you and hold your career in their hands like a delicate quail egg. It is best not to inquire as to why they are wearing sandals with jeans.

3. Drinking

As a teetotaler, this is not a problem for me. But for you all, you should remember that the type of alcohol is really key here. While it is very elegant to share a fine scotch with the Assistant Director by the fireplace, it is less graceful to be doing jello-shots with the Dean of Students.

4. Activities

Why not play some sports? Oh, yeah. You are a scientist.

Pictured above: "Hey, do you think we could sample some of the lake E. coli?"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rejected (again) by McSweeney's

Remember when I became super famous for getting publishing in an obscure, pretentious literary journal? Well, I sent in the highest quality essay to their editor(s), and this was the reply I got.

Pictured above: Oh, yeah? Maybe YOUR FACE never takes off, laughs-wise. Good one. Actually, this was actually a helpful and very kind message to send me. Jerk.

Anyway, I need to hunker down and write some real words. Hilarious words. Words that get published. Time to get down to business.

Pictured above: Aw, yeah. Got myself a Task Chair. Now I just need to find one to sit in while I assemble it.

So, what should I do? Here are some actual titles and excerpts of other pieces I am working on. Let me know what piques your interest. (Note: These are still pretty rough.)

Great Moments in Science In Restaurants

Excerpt: "July 23, 1854. Charles Schrodinger orders his burger well done, then changes his mind and asks for it rare. The waiter brings him a turkey sandwich instead, which he feeds to his cat."

Which Heart Valve are you? Take our quiz to find out!

Excerpt: "Answer C. You are the aortic valve! You are quiet, calm, and have a low resistance to intraventricular pressure. You prefer a small group of close friends, talking in coffee-shops, and having sensitive baro-receptors to regulate blood pressure."

Dating Tips for Scientists

Excerpt: "Be sure to keep a control date on the side during all dating encounters."

Real Fake Diseases

Excerpt: "Senioritis, or the the inflammation of the senior, is typically accompanied by mild encephalitis and, in rare cases, acute coolness. This swelling of the brain causes headaches, and, you know, whatever."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Delay (again)

My internet is down. So, this week's post will be delayed, as my only access to internet is this corporate coffeeshop that is a combination of my two favorite things: coffee and whaling. Oooh! Melville reference!