Testing, Puzzles, and COVID Haikus. Two Misses and a Hit


Like at all times, there are ups and there are downs.

Miss #1:  We Could Be Testing, Yeah!

Our laboratory is still open, and we came so close to being able to do some COVID testing. As I wrote last year, we planned on entering the field of molecular microbiology (MM), a relatively new technique to identify small amounts of bacteria in a patient sample. Instead of trying to grow bacteria in a petri dish as we do in traditional laboratory cultures, and then using a variety of observational and biochemical techniques to identify which bacteria are present, MM actually identifies the DNA present in a sample and compares it to a “hit list” of known bacteria. This technique is quicker and more sensitive than the current technique but not cheaper–2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

And guess what! MM can identify viruses too. In fact, the equipment we need to bring in for our new MM lab protocol is just the equipment that is used in COVID testing. If only we had obtained it a few months ago!

Sadly, the building process (new lease, budgeting, bidding, waiting for the former tenant to leave the space) took longer than expected, as it always does. Our build-out was completed today (hurray) but the testing instruments and training to use them are no longer available. I trust they are being used wisely at some other laboratory doing COVID testing, but we would have liked to have been able to provide this test for our patients who met testing criteria.

Miss #2: It’s a Puzzlement

After our flopped attempt at a YouTube masterpiece, Barb and I turned our attention to the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle we had ordered to help fill stay-at-home days. It was a difficult puzzle, composed of pictures of classic postcards from around the country–you know, the “Greetings from Sunny California” type. Neither of us is a puzzle veteran, so we attacked the challenge systematically, first the outer frame, then the larger, most obvious colors and shapes. The finely detailed areas came last.

After 4 days and nights of squinting, comparing, and pressing things into place, we had a 99.9%  completed puzzle. Alas, the 1000th piece in the box was a duplicate of piece 999 and we were left with a giant hole in Fargo, North Dakota. Aside from Frances McDormand, I have never given much thought to  Fargo, North Dakota–but when this COVID thing is over, I want to go there and look for my missing piece.

The Haiku Hit

Earlier this month I posted a number of Haiku I had written about our COVID world, and the world seems to have appreciated them. The Haiku have been read in almost 40 countries, including Japan. I’d like to share some of the verses readers have sent in response.

From Dr. Andy Curtis in Canada:

Played God today
No respirator for you
So, so, so sorry

From Juli Krista

Resets our priorities
Do we have TP?

From Margaret Densley

Cleaning my house now
antibacterial smells
Covid-19 Life

From Woof

Spikey, tiny balls bounce
Collide with humanity…

Thanks and keep them coming!

The opinions expressed above are those of the author and not UroPartners, LLC.

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Filed under: Laboratory, life style

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