Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome, Earhole!

EarholeAnother super hot day here in the Bend, and the next couple of days are supposed to be a little bit hotter. We’re pushing 100° the next couple of days, and the dew point is well over 60°. I’ll go into the highly technical and detailed explanation of that...it feels like a frickin’ SAUNA out there! Man, I hope everyone is staying safe and cool. This is really some dangerous heat.

I had a very pleasant afternoon, though, because I met up with my buddy Jim for lunch and lots of talk. Jim SOMEHOW managed to forget his wallet at home. Hmmm! Well played, sir, well played! Haha! It had been far too long since we’d gotten together, which was obvious when we realized that we’d been sitting there gabbing for three and a half hours! It went by so quickly, and it was so much fun. We got to laughing about some stuff, including about how much alike we are. I had a great time, and we definitely need to get together more often. Although Jim is one of those friends where, even if I haven’t seen them for several months or even years, we pick up like we saw each other just last week. I’m fortunate to have several friends like that in my life, and I appreciate them very much!

Since Jim was a former coworker, he got me caught up on things at the Micro lab. The big news lately was a freakin’ BRUCELLA exposure! WHOA! In all my years in Micro, I never saw an actual case of Brucella, and it was the first time for many of my former coworkers with as much as or more experience as I had. Apparently someone came into a local hospital, and our lab worked on his blood culture. Vitek (the main instrument in our lab for identification and susceptibility testing) identified it as Brucella, and some confirmatory testing backed it up. This was a big deal, because it’s a highly transmissable organism, and the most common lab-acquired infection. Basically, anyone working in the department when the culture was being worked on was considered to be exposed, and 16 people had to take prophylactic antibiotics (I believe Jim said it was Rifampin and something else, for three weeks), as well as occupational counseling about watching for symptoms. An additional 14 people were exposed in the hospital where the patient was admitted.

Brucella is a bacteria that most often infects livestock, including cattle and sheep, and can cause spontaneous abortions. Humans usually get it by drinking unpasteurized milk. Why anyone would want to drink unpasteurized milk is beyond me! Brucella, Campylobacter, Mycobacteria...no, thank you! Anyway, it was pretty shocking to hear about it, and it really was a big deal for them—as it would be for any lab worker who was exposed. Sounds like everyone is okay, but being exposed to one of the main organisms that is used in bioterrorism had to be unsettling!

After we gabbed for a few hours, he headed over with me to the nearby Claire’s where I got another earhole. Jim already has a couple, and decided not to get another one, but he came along with me. It was quick and easy (and Jim spied some super cute boots that I think I’m going to have to go back and check out!), and relatively pain-free. My ear was a little bit red afterwards, but that’s not surprising, and it seems to have calmed down now. I shall care for it well and faithfully.

The title of this entry comes from Cousin Shane. A while back, I posted about how after not being able to wear earrings for a while due to sensitivity, I tried again and managed to reclaim my earholes. Shane commented, “Welcome, earholes!” I don’t know why that made me laugh so hard, but it did, and I’ve never forgotten it. So when my ear was getting “punched” today, I thought, “Welcome, earhole!”


  1. Congrats on the new hole in your ear. I have a story or two about mine. At one point, because of wearing earrings I had two lobes instead of one. I needed surgery to repair it. Then I couldn't wear any earrings at all on that side, so I wore them on the other. People who met me for the first time thought I was gay. My younger daughter is a Microbiologist. She would be intrigued by your lab story, I'm sure. Sounds scary to me.

  2. Flawless perforation! I'm so happy for you! And I once knew a Brucella who was a real bitch, but all she did was steal lipstick- I didn't realize she KILLED people!! I don't even like to drink pasteurized milk- I mean, who was the first person who saw a cow and said: "hey, let's pull those things and drink whatever comes out?!" But, thank Goddess they did it to a cow and not a bull!!

  3. Someday I may need to resurrect my earhole...

  4. And that someday should be called NEVER, Ken!! (LOL, Just kidding! But the last thing anyone needs is an extra hole anywhere in their head!!)

    And I am going to keep in mind this brucella scare Beth. I think that it is tangential to what has been on my mind lately.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?