I am grateful for being able to spend my entire Saturday reading novels

Reading is my passion

I love reading. It’s one of my favourite hobbies. I have a lot of books in my wish list that I would like to read one day. But finding large chunks of time where I can simply do nothing and immerse myself into whatever world I am in is quite rare.

Spent my entire Saturday, just reading

Today was one of the rare days where I get to read the entire day. Without a care in the world. I get so absorbed into whatever I am reading. It is such a relaxing day and I get to enjoy it thoroughly. For that, I am grateful to unwind, relax and slow down from the hectic busy work schedule that I have been experience the past couple of weeks. I am grateful to get a little respite from all that and enjoy reading my books.

I am grateful for the coming week off from work.

What’s happening next week?

It’s the Lunar New Year holidays next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. And because of that I am taking the week off from work. Yes the entire week.

I am grateful for the break

It’s been a hectic month so far at work. I have been doing a lot of experiments and trying my best to meet deadlines, especially trying to wrap some key experiments in the lab before the start of the Lunar New Year holidays.

I manage to do just that, and I am ending the month on a high note. Because of that I am truly grateful to be given the respite from work and at the same time a peace of mind that everything is pretty much settled.

I am grateful for… growing bacterial colonies.

What initially happened?

A couple of days ago, I tried reconstituting dehydrated bacteria samples that my lab bought commercially onto a broth before streaking them onto a blood agar to get single colonies. One of the strain that we bought was not growing any visible colonies after 24 hours of incubation. That got me panicking as I thought I did something wrong and there were no backup just in case this happens.

Despite all that, I was grateful that my boss was understanding enough and wasn’t really angry about the failure.

Then came the surprise

I left the plate in the incubator for another 24 hours to allow them to adapt and hopefully get some colonies. I read online that reconstituting dried bacteria cells may cause the bacteria to grow slowly as it is still adapting to the change in environment and will take longer than the standard recommended incubation time to get viable colonies from an agar plate.

Lo and behold! Colonies of bacteria did appear!

To day I am so grateful that all was not lost in the quest to get viable colonies from commercially bought bacteria strains.

I am grateful for… having an understanding boss.

What happened?

Today when I checked my bacterial plates that I streaked yesterday, one of the bacterial strain didn’t grow any visible colonies from the plate. I immediately panicked. Something went wrong and I don’t know what caused it. I was certain I did everything right. After all, the other bacterial strain was growing nicely on another plate that I streaked. And I streaked the bacteria onto the agar plate exactly the same way.

I did not have any backup plates. The bacterial stock that I reconstituted yesterday were decontaminated and thrown into the bio-hazard bin.

I had no choice but to inform my boss of my failure.

He wasn’t angry.

After explaining to him what went wrong, my boss wasn’t angry. Probably a little bit disappointed but he wasn’t angry. I am pretty sure that I caused him some undue stress of having to re-order the bacterial strain from the company again so that we can try culturing the bacteria on our own, but that may set us back weeks. But all is not lost. The other strain is growing just fine, and if it has the characteristics that we are looking for, then all is not lost, we can actually proceed with our experiments as planned.

So today, I am really grateful that my boss is understanding and not prone to angry outbursts for the mistakes I made today.

I am grateful for… not screwing up my experiment today.

What made me nervous

I was suppose to start on a brand new experiment in the lab today. It involved reconstituting dried Corynebacterium Diptheria strains that our lab received from ATCC. These are pathogenic strains that produces the diphtheria toxin. It is a potentially dangerous strain that I needed to culture and grow more from blood agar. It was my first time reconstituting from dried bacteria samples.

The bacteria was stored in a flame-sealed double glass ampoule. It is stored in two layers of glass for safety, given how dangerous this strain can potentially be, if not handled properly. I have never handled such samples before and had no clue in opening the ampoule, much less breaking the glass safely.

What made me grateful

The whole process was surprisingly smooth. I initially struggled with the glass ampoule, but after adding some heat at the tip of the glass ampoule, it was easy to break it off, exposing the contents from within. Once the glass cracked, I slowly remove the fragments from the top, followed by removing the cotton wool that sealed the opening of the inner ampoule. Once that was done, I simply added brain heart infusion broth to rehydrate the sample, and plate the samples to a blood agar. I initially thought that I needed help to open up the ampoule, but at the end of it, i managed to break open the glass ampoule without any incident. I followed the instruction (mostly) and did it without too much difficulty. I did it!