Suffering for Science

Went to the doctor’s about my right hand/wrist today. As soon as the words “I work in a lab” left my mouth, she started writing “repetitive use injury” on my chart. Apparently they see a lot of this kind of thing at Student Health, and mostly in females who work in labs.

It could be worse. I have a friend who needed shoulder surgery after doing too many microarray experiments. At least it’s not that far for me.

So I got a splint for my wrist, which I can’t really wear at work because it completely immobilizes my thumb and wrist. I think it’ll be more for when I’m sleeping – hopefully that’ll help. It definitely feels better when it’s on, that’s for sure.

I also ordered some new ergonomic pipettors after discussing it with our lab manager. Sort of expensive (although not anymore than regular pipettors, of which I already have a set), but when we’re looking at gel imaging systems that cost $15,000 and up, $700 doesn’t seem so bad. Oh, and we just dropped $6500 on two new PCR machines, and will be spending almost as much to get two of our current ones replaced.

Science is f’ing expensive. It’s a good thing my boss hasn’t been paying my stipend since I started (thank you, NIH genetics training grant). It’s also a good thing that I’m on really good terms with our lab manager, who does all the ordering in the lab.

I can’t wait for those pipettors to show up. It’s a good thing our imager is broken, because even the thought of setting up PCR reactions makes my wrist twinge.

Update: It’s next to impossible to type with this splint on. I’m trying right now and it’s taking 10 times as long. And moving the mouse involves moving my whole arm. Bummer.