Keeping score
0 comment Monday, May 12, 2014 |
Yesterday was a pretty crappy day. Not only was it a Tuesday, but I had to deal with my absolute least-favorite aspect of my work. I gripe a lot about poorly handled administration, or irritating interactions with colleagues and advisors, but those things really pale in comparison to this.On Friday, I conducted what we call a "survival surgery" on a mouse. [This is distinguished from "terminal surgery" in which the animal is anesthetized for the duration of the procedure (usually harvest of tissue), then humanely euthanized when the procedure is finished and before the animal wakes up.] Survival surgeries are when you intend for the animal to wake up and carry on its business when the procedure is finished.This was a fairly simple and very routine (for me) sort of surgery. I've performed more of these surgeries than I can count with wholly positive outcomes. Friday's case was no different as far as I could tell. Straightforward, no major problem, procedure went smoothly. Mouse woke up a bit groggy (which is normal) but otherwise no worse for wear.The next day I went to move the mouse back into the colony (they stay in the procedure room on a warming plate overnight as the anesthetic makes it hard for them to self-regulate body temperature immediately following surgery). The mouse was moving around, but had slightly ruffled fur, which is generally indicative of a mouse that isn't feeling all that great. Most of the time the mouse looks fully recovered by this time. Aside from the sutures you would never know they had undergone surgery at all. Since it had not other signs of distress I moved it into the colony and decided to check on it later.Check on it later I did, and it looked totally fine. Phew! Out of the woods, no need to keep watching it like a hawk.When I got in Tuesday morning though I had an email from GrAdvisor asking if anything had gone wrong during the surgery because the mouse looked really bad. Of course I went to check on it right away, and sure enough, it was hunched in the corner with really ruffled fur looking generally distressed. I had to euthanize it.Euthanization is not what bothers me. it's that a) something obviously did go wrong during the surgery since the mouse didn't recover well but I have no idea what it is since the procedure itself went so smoothly, and b) that poor mouse sat there in pain for a couple days because I thought it had recovered and didn't need to check on it anymore. It makes me kind of sick that I didn't catch it sooner and put it out of pain. Yuck.In order to combat my icky feelings over this, I designated Wednesday (today) as my "catching up on trouble-shooting" day. I've got three (usually) simple things that ordinarily should (and do) work...that just haven't lately. Very irritating because they're the sort of routine every day things that really just shouldn't give anybody any trouble and for some reason lately have been requiring multiple repetitions to get a result. I'm happy to report that I think I've got two of the three ironed out due to today's efforts.Science demons: 1AA: 2