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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Friday, December 19, 2008

why am i not working!

After dealing with 4 serious months of health issues, I am finally feeling good (no my eyesight has not changed! I still see double), a question was asked me, "Are you planning to return to work?" I didn't hesitate, "of course, but not yet." This begs the question why not?
When I was at Stamford hospital in the rehab center, the vocational rehabilitation put me through many tedious fine motor skill tasks. I did them and did them well. I told her this was fine, but it is not an indication of how to do my job. Well, I am a chemist, fine motor skills are what make me, right? Sadly, it is only one very small portion of what makes me a chemist. There was a story told me way back in one of my classes about a professor, stressing the art of observation. He brought a sample into class and asked the class to figure out what it was by visual, optical and olfactory means and he proceeded to stick a figer into the jar and taste it, smell it and look at it. He then past the jar around and everyone thought they did the same as he and they all came back with different answers. When he got the jar back, he told them it was urine. They all gagged and said"but we saw you taste it!" To which he replied, "You still need to work on your powers of observation!, I stuck my pinky in the jar and tasted my index finger!" So it is with every sample that comes in. We ask are there any problems and usually people say "No!" Then we ask if there is any staining and they say "gobs of blue-green staining and my pipes keep breaking!" This is as an example, but every sample is an investigation and it takes my skills as a chemist and an iterogator to find out what is happening and what the submiter needs to know. I was told by a friend in another lab that they got a bunch of samples from the Mill river, but were not told the locations that they were taken. We would never accept samples like that. First it breaks a consideration that we are required to report danerous levels of substances so that they can be dealt with and it breaks with the entire investigatory portion of being in the job I have of understanding the samples. It also is the difference between someone who analyzes and investigates, with some one who is a technician just getting specified results. In the Health lab, we have the freedom, no the obligation to analyze things not requeted if we belive there is an issue involved. If you can not tell from this, I really enjoy my work and can not wait to be able to go back.
When, I don't know, but since I still have to turn a kn ife on its side to determine if the sharp edge is down, it will not be until I can see straight again.
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