Monday, August 27, 2007

Adventures from week 1. (warning: not for the faint-hearted, although I survived)

#1: Instant cervical dislocation: Sign up for a pregnant mouse, and on day 9 post-conception (going by appearance of vaginal plugs, hence daily monitoring required (monitoring duty rotates)), bring the pregnant mouse from the animal room. Even if the only life forms you have worked on so far were microscopic, did not squeak or have the ability to run, do not be scared of mouse. Hold the  mouse dangling by its tail, which makes it naturally cling on the the railing of the cage for support. This makes it easy for you to whack it on the base of its neck with one swift motion of  the end of the forceps. Mouse dies instantly. Lay the mouse on its back, make one long cut along the abdomen area, push aside the intestines and find the ovaries. Snip off the embryos that are arranged like a string of pearls beneath. Keep embryos in petri-plate on ice and move on to dissection scope for appropriate use. Dead mouse is wrapped in the same glove used to kill it and flung into a freezer, to be disposed off when full or stinking (emptying freezer duty rotates). Blood, gore. bad smell and involuntary twitching of dead mouse is expected, do not faint at any time during procedure.

#2: Stuck in an elevator: Sometimes elevators malfunction, and you may be stuck on one between floors on a friday evening after hours. That's why they have that calling bell in the elevator. Push it, do not panic. Some kind soul might finally hear you "Are you stuck? Hold on, I'll go get some help in a minute". Help arrives in fifteen minutes in the form of the maintenance guy. "I'll get you out of there in a minute," he says. By now you should know that it won't be a minute. He turns the mains off and on, which is supposed to make the doors open. They don't. He gets a key that is supposed to help open the inner doors from outside. He gets to pry open the outer doors to a crack, finally after 20 minutes, and you can see another person and get some fresh air to breath. The whole emergency key system does not work to unlock the inner doors because the door locking mechanism is jammed. He tells you to stay calm and he will go get help (in a minute). You are alone again , and even the outer doors that he got to open slam shut. Ten minutes later they return, and help you wedge the outer doors open with a crowbar. There is lots of banging down on the inner doors using heavy iron poles and crowbars, trying to forcefully break the locking system and open them. All you can see is the beams of the door getting dented and broken, but no signs of the doors actually giving way. Of course, don't panic. Don't curse your stupid self for getting on an elevator (to go down!) just because you didn't know where the stairs were in the building. This is so not the time. Take a deep breath of stale air, and study the door locking system that the guy is trying to get to unjam. Ask them to bring you a screwdriver and a wrench, use all your collective might to open the inner doors just a crack so tools can be passed on to you into the elevator. Work on unscrewing the aluminium panel that covers the locking system and then take apart the locking system. Doesn't matter, just unscrew any screws till you can see the cable that holds the doors taut loosen up. After 20 mins of heavy turning and unscrewing (the screws can be old and heavy and very tight), the cable comes loose and the doors give way. You can jump out now, you are a free woman!

And if the whole mouse incident was too traumatising to handle, you have a new job offer now, to work with the elevator repair guys who were clearly impressed with your (outward) calmness and handy-ness with tools.
P.S: Posting via email from a work computer, cannot answer comments, sorry. :(


Pri said...

why? why? why?
cruelty to animals will not be tolerated. my friend just lost his pet squirrel. im suddenly very moved by death to animals.

your lift story sounds horrible. poor u. i hope that never happens to me. i probably just jinxed myself.

and welcome back.

Coco Captive said...

Gaaawd!! Hats off to u for surviving the mouse incident!!!

anantha said...

Ha.. so you are in the whole chooha kaating line of work too. I have a friend in Philly who works in cancer research and her life revolves around her choohas and her husband (in that order!). She goes to work for a couple of hours even on Sundays to check up on her beloved choohae!

Prashanth said...

*reads part #1*
*runs away to throw up*

Veo Claramente said...

shouldn't the mice be knocked out first?

arpana said...

*utters a silent prayer for NOT taking up science*

Rebellion said...

Maar daala? Woh bhi pregnant wale ko?? Hawwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Can't wait for Jane to react at the mouse thingy. hehehe

And yeah, sorry about it but the elevator thing was hilarious. lol. Ok, the incident wasn't funny but the way you wrote it, was!

I'm proud of you sistah, to survive both the "adventures". I'd have failed to survive the first one tho!

Sakshi said...

I do the mouse thingy now too.
So I read it and went ah! Me TOO!!

Janefield said...

Jeez @ the lift story.
Shrieks and then faints at the mouse story.

qsg said...

Oh gosh...the elevator story made me feel bad for you, glad you decided to have that story follow the chooha story - at least I don't think of you as only a victimizer! :)

Tachyoson said...

are you inhabiting the Frankenstein mansion ?

Neihal said...

if you know me at all you know my reaction to the elevator story...ishtill..