Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Networking and hypothermic mice

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
  Busy day!  When I first got to the lab at 9 am, I helped take the mice out of the alcohol vapor chambers.  Once I was done with that I had to start cutting feed for mice that were on restricted diets.   Mice are put on restricted diets when they will be doing tasks that are motivated by food.  For example we have touch screens where there are two images.  If the mouse touches one of the images, food is released.  Nothing happens if the mouse touches the "wrong" image.  Basically we do a lot with learning and memory.
  After that I helped with "loss of righting."  Mice hate to be on their backs, so they will roll over as soon as possible.  When "drunk" or on pentobarbital they loose the ability to roll back over.  I guess the lab has already done the loss of righting with ethanol, but we were using pentobarital to prove something (I think it was that the drug we mixed in with the ethanol to slow the metabolism wasn't affecting the "righting" ability of the mice).  So I injected mice with pentobarbital and waited for the drug to take effect so I could roll mice on their backs.  Basically you grab the tail and roll them over.  It took about 45 minutes for all of them to be back upright. 
  Then I did the alcohol chambers again.  So injected mice with either ethanol or saline and placed them in the "air chambers" or "ethanol chambers" accordingly.
  When I got home from the lab I decided to check out a gym nearby my house.  When I got to the building I realized it was not marked where the entrance was for the gym.  Being from the midwest, I find asking strangers questions socially acceptable... and I found out why it is not in big cities.  Soooo, I was confused.  I asked a guy in the parking lot that was wearing dress pants and a button up shirt if he knew where the entrance was to the gym... our conversation went like this:
Me: "Hi, do you know where the entrance to the gym is?"
Guy: "ohhhh yeahhhh I know where the entrance is"
Me: "uhhh, can you tell me where?"
Guy: *staring at me*
Me: *nervous laugh*
Guy: *starts walking* "ooooo-eeee baby you look so good I just want to hit on you NOW!"
Me: *awkwardly walking, hoping to just get inside the building*
Guy: "I'm being a bad boy!  I will be around here later, you should come find me"
Me: "ughhhh, thanks for showing me the entrance" *RUNS INSDIE*

Once inside, I have to take an elevator up to the gym.  It is CRAZY nice.  The staff starts talking to me.  I mention the creepy guy in the parking lot to them.  Anyway, I get my workout on which was awesome.  So it's $90 a MONTH to work out there.  I paid $125 to workout for the ENTIRE summer in Janesville, WI like 3 years ago.  When I was done working out, I ask the staff if there is any other exit that I could take to avoid the guy.  There wasn't so one of the guys walked me outside and decided to talk to the guy.  I basically ran away because I was embarrassed.  But, the next day he left me a voicemail telling me how the conversation went down.  When he approached the guy he asked him if he had talked to me before and the guy denied.  The staff member then said that what he said to me was inappropriate and that if he sees anyone that looks like me or anyone with brown hair, NOT to talk to them... or even look at them!  Moral of the story: I may be paying $90 a month to workout because the gym is awesome and the staff has my back (haha). 

After work I met up with a Drake Pharmacy Alumna that I was connected with by emailing the dean of students for pharmacy school (I don't like mentioning names because I didn't ask her if I could blog about it- Dr. Phillips, she knows you!).  She picked me up and we went to Matchbox for dinner.  We went at 5:30 PM which in DC is the early bird/elderly time to eat.  So we got two small pizzas: chicken with pesto, and a cheese one with sun dried tomatoes.  The chicken with pesto was TO DIE FOR!  While waiting for our food I asked her questions about herself and the jobs she has held.  She told me how most of her jobs she got through connections with the Iowa Pharmacists' Association.  She had worked for APhA, some random pharmacies, is doing MTM stuff, and is now teaching some classes at a university.  I had a BLAST talking with her.  I am actually meeting up with her on Saturday night at the 930 Club to go to a little concert thing!  I'm really glad I was able to connect with her because not only is she fun but she also has had different experiences with pharmacy than just a traditional retail.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
I got to the lab and began to help take the mice out of the alcohol chambers.  When I was taking one of my mice out, I noticed it wasn't moving very much.  When mice hunch their backs and don't move, it is a sign of stress or sickness.  My coworker, also had a mouse that was doing the same.  This is very unusual to have two mice that potentially were affected by the injections.  Especially since I injected one and he had injected the other.  Also, mine had gotten saline and his had gotten ethanol.  We took the mice into the animal storage area so the veterinarian could look at them (YUP, we have vets for the mice).  They were diagnosed as being hypothermic (which alcohol does lower your body temperature) and having ataxia (basically like I was saying how their movements were abnormal).  When this happens the mice cages are placed on heating pads and they are usually given extra calories to help them recover.
  I once again cut the mouse feed for the restricted diet mice then went back to the lab.  For some reason nobody really needed my help.  I kept asking other lab staff if anyone needed help with anything, or if I could do something.  So, I sat on my butt reading journal articles about behavior.  I just want to do things!!!!  I would have even been happy being assigned to count neurons (quite possibly one of the most boring things you can do in a lab.  You count the black dots on the screen = neurons). 

Later in the day I checked on the two sick mice.  My mouse was moving around and looked fantastic.  The other was looked better but not 100%.  I went and got the veterinarian so he could examine them and tell me if we could put them back in the alcohol chambers.  A big measure is to test the temperature... which is done rectally.  The mice were not pleased with this!  The mouse that was the sickest had a temperature earlier of 31 degrees Celsius.  When he took it again at 4:00 PM, it was up to 34.4 degrees Celsius.  A good temperature for mice is 36-37 degrees Celsius.  These mice are being used by a researcher who is out of town at a neuroscience thing, so I called her to make sure she wanted us to use both mice (I didn't want to mess up her experiment).  Since they were both looking alot better, she wanted them used because if they didn't go in, she would not be able to use the mouse anymore.  Before putting the sickest mouse in the chambers, we put a hand warmer (like the ones you use for hunting to stick in your gloves) in its cage to help keep it warm.

After work, I was picked up by the same Drake alumna that I met with yesterday to fill in on her softball team.  WOW, I have problems hitting a softpitch softball!  What happened!?!?! I used to be good.  After two strike outs, I finally hit the ball and got on base.  Then the next time I hit the ball it went directly to the pitcher.... I need practice.

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