Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bloodbath in The Laboratory

There was blood all over the table. A girl was pointing and shrilling at the sight which sent half the people in the lab looking over at my direction and my partner looks at me and goes "Shit, Jono, dude! You're bleeding!"

Let me tell you a little bit about cutting stuff in a lab. There are different sizes and shapes of scalpels for different types and areas of cutting.


When you do not have the proper blade, you are to ask the lab assistant for one, snap it onto the handle and get back to work. We were in the lab and assigned to cut into a heart and a liver. I didn't have the right blade. The thought of getting up from my chair and walking across the lab and going "Excuse me, could I have blade number four please?" was too much of a hassle. I looked around the shelves & spotted a container. Aha! Microtome blades! That ought to do the job!

Microtome blades 101.
These blades do not have handles like scalpels do. They are to be loaded into machines called Microtomes and are able to cut cells accurately up to 1 micron thick. Thats one millionth of a meter. A micrometer. They are sharper than scalpels. They used to be manufactured as huge blades and people have lost limbs and whole chunks of flesh and muscles from dropping them on themselves. Now they're made disposable after 20 uses, small and compact. Microtome blades are kept in these cool containers where you press a release button and a brand new sharp blade slides out. Its heaps of fun just taking new blades out of them.

I drew one out and tried to cut with it. I didn't realize I held it upside down, blade facing into my palm and cut myself about twice in the palm. That simple. Thing is, I didn't realize I had cut myself. These blades are super sharp and you don't feel a thing! Being super sharp also means the bleeding is going to be hard to stop, like getting a razor cut while shaving. Just a small cut and you bleed more than your menstruating girlfriend.

I was busy with the heart and the pool of blood on the table was growing bigger.
"Woo, this heart's a juicy one, Steve" I said to my partner. A girl shrieked in the background.
"Shit, Jono, dude! You're bleeding!"
"What ? The heart is... look! I made an incisi - OH CRAP,YES! IM FWEAKING BLEEDING!!!"

People were laughing. "Oi, you slit your wrist eh ?!" a guy joked.
That load of blood was my blood. I had cut through my gloves. No good. You know those times where you just do something without thinking and realize it the next second ? I tried wiping the blood off the table with the tail-end of my lab coat. Nu-uh bad move. Oh! Put preassure on it! Squeezed palm. Blood spruted out. Oh Eddie Murphy! Uh...uh...uh...panic...omgomgmyhandisfreakingbleeding! MISS SUPERVISOR!!! (Lecturers, professors, lab assistants, supervisors are all different personnel. Our supervisors are usually honor students who want to earn some pocket money and experience teaching).

Blood was still, literally, spilling out of my palm. I wrapped me poor bleeding hand with the other end of my coat, got up from my seat and walked down the long lab towards the supervisor.

Take a moment now and picture me in a white coat with a blood soaked coat and another bloody hand wrapped the other end,with a few smudges and hand prints of blood here and there on the coat, walking down the long lab, towards the supervisor. Pretty much like one of those Rambo-survived-big-fight scenes or Jet Li-killed-50-samurais-and-lived scenes.Sweet.

Guys were chuckling. The supervisor looked up from her book as I approached.

"Um...microtomebladecutmeselfloosingbloodquicksaveme!"

She laughed.

Not funny. I'm covered in blood asking her to save my life, and she laughed.

"Don't panic, you wuss!" she said between giggles.

I stared at her in disbelief. Aren't girls supposed to freak at the sight of blood ? Wait, that was what I was doing. Well, it was my hand that was bleeding. Its excusable.

She grabbed the first aid box and tried to patch me up. Took her around 10 minutes to stop the bleeding.

Scary stuff.

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