Monday, October 6, 2008

A little piece of me

I've mentioned previously that my bunsen burner is awesome. The flame is gigantic, and when it is on it sort of resembles a rocket burner. In fact, the flame of my burner is so large that when I ignite it, every other flame in the lab decreases in size. Yeah, I might be a little bit of a pyro.

On Monday, my glove and bunsen burner conspired against me, and I lost a hunk of my little finger as a result. I am not sure what happened. My flame was on, blazing as usual, and I was transferring media into a few culture tubes. At some point, an uncapped permanent marker went flying and I tried to grab it, or avoid it (I am not sure which), losing focus on my mammoth flame. Nanoseconds later I felt intense pain as my glove and skin became united. My first reaction was to rip the glove off, but when I did this, only a portion of the glove came off. The pinky-finger portion was still attached to my finger, so I tried again. This time I successfully removed the glove, only to find that a dime-sized piece of skin was missing, which I located in my glove.

Luckily there was no pain associated with ripping off the hunk of skin. However, as I said, I'm no stranger to burns, so I new that I was in store for some intense pain. All in all, I think it sucked pretty bad. It wasn't enough pain to make me cry, but it did make me shout a few curse words while jumping up and down. Thankfully, my coworker, who writes over at Nondiscovery blog, helped me bandage it up and apply some burn ointment. (Thanks again!!)

Now, I have gross meaty flesh on the side of my left hand.

Damn I hate Mondays.


chall said...

ouch... I know all too well what that is. I'm sorry and hope that you could put some cold water on it and that the latex fell off and didn't get incorperated into the skin.

I did however write about my experience that was similar but not as severe

(shameless plug. I'm sorry but I thought it might be un to read?!)

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Ewwwwww that's gross. Glad you're ok though! And yeah, all good scientists are pyros at heart.

Dr. J said...

ooops! Glad you're ok too. We've probably all come close to this. I next to never wear gloves for regular culturing, partly for this reason. I'm not sure whether this makes me a really old fashioned microbiologist or not?

microbiologist xx said...

chall - thanks for the link and nice article. I really enjoyed reading it...maybe because I too am left handed. ;)

cath - Do I sense a fellow pyro?

dr. j. - I think this does make you a little old school, but in a good way, like Run DMC or the Beastie Boys. It also makes you right. I have been warned repeatedly about gloves and flames, but I still wear them out of habit. I wish I could say this is the first time I have done this to myself, but it's not. However, it is the first time I actually lost some skin. ;)

chall said...

Fellow leftie ;) and microbiologst. And xx ... wow :D

joke aside, there are some of us out there.

and thanks for the compliment. Happy that you liked it!

(thanks for posting a comment on my blog aobut this too...)

Dr. J said...

lol, I think I'm even older than Run DMC!!!

The gloves thing is a funny one, I suppose it depends what you're working with. The clinical microbiologists I work with next to never wear gloves. We don't work with stuff that we could become colonised by but if it were something I could become colonised by (like MRSA) then I would certainly wear gloves - although I suppose then it would be in a flow hood with gloves. My lack of gloves always raises an eyebrow in new undergrad students!

Dr. A said...

gross. gross. gross.

but good photos!! I love photo documentation.


Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Yeah, I spent a lot of time in high school chemistry holding pencils, pens and all kinds of other things in my bunsen flame!

Candid Engineer said...

Yikes... hope you're feeling a bit healed by now.

microbiologist xx said...

My finger is almost completely healed now!! It was pretty gross for a while.