Posted: March 14, 2007 in Research

I turned into the parking lot of my apartment thinking and rethinking if today’s lab-work went well. Eight full hours of hard and knocking gradients had already numbed my brain. I tried hard to recollect every minute detail of my experiment. I took the sample of fixed tissue out of the container. (The sight never ceases to awe me and disgust me at the same time .) I held the whole brain under water and gave it a thorough wash, feeling each sulcus and gyrus as I started from the frontal pole to the occipital lobe. I had realized that I had cuts on my fingers. I had covered each one of the cuts; big or small using all the bandages, knuckle bandages, butterfly clasps and tapes I could find before I wore my gloves. Six of my ten fingers had pale coffee colored bands on them. All the protective gear had been in place.

It was well past midnight and I was ready to go to bed. I lay in my bed, awake. Something was bothering me. I could not figure out what it was. ‘Maybe I did not lock the door to my apartment.‘ I got up to check. As I went past the shoe rack, my eyes fell on the shoes I had worn today and instantly I smelt animal odor. My nasal cavity seemed full with the scent; very pungent and very disturbing, just like you feel chlorine when you accidentally inhale water while swimming. I immediately squatted on the floor to examine my shoes. The shoe-cover had slipped once… just once. I looked to see if I could find anything on the sole. Nothing. I had touched the shoe with bare hands. I ran to the sink, my heart pounding. I washed my hands with Purell- twice. For a moment, I wished those hands that touched the shoes were not mine.

After what seemed like an eternity, I went back to the shoe rack. I tried to sense the odor again. There was none.


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