Thursday, January 24, 2019
“That machine? You’re gonna have to get up close and personal with it,” Josh, my fellow postbac, told me. I looked at this small metal contraption and nodded, trying to appear as if I understood, while thinking: he just means that people spend so much time sectioning organs on the microtome that it’s like spending an extended amount of time with a loved one, right?
Fast forward a few days, and I find myself breathing warm, moist air onto a paraffin-embedded mouse lung to soften the wax, just before I slice four-micrometer sections of mouse lung tissue that will later be stained and examined under a microscope. “He wasn’t kidding,” I muttered.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
It was picture day, and I sat stiffly in front of a wrinkly blue curtain, nervously patting my hair into place. “You can smile, but just make sure no teeth are showing,” the person taking my picture told me. I laughed at that, and she also laughed, adding, “Everyone gets a good chuckle out of that one,” as she snapped my photo. A few days later, I picked up my photo, printed (not so) nicely with a vertical stripe running down my face. I didn’t even notice. I thought, this is real, as I proudly held up my official NIH ID badge.