My program director has officially OKed this blog. Hooray! I am, of course, keeping names out of it and changing minor details here and there (for example, I think everyone will be a "he" unless it's a breast/gyn patient), but that's just the standard CYA stuff.
Today was the first day I had to be there at 7:30 a.m. for morning conference (usually, we'll have to be there at 7:30 Mon.-Wed. and 8:00 Thurs. and Fri.). We had "unknown" conference, where the attendings give residents a quick case history and then slides to identify. Based on the differential, the resident also suggests what other tests to run. The main thing I learned this morning is that touch preps look like crap. Also, I will sound more intelligent at the scope once words like "monomorphic" enter my effortless vocabulary.
The lab was slow today. The ID docs told us about a patient with pyomyositis -- basically, abscesses in his calf muscles and who knows where else. In molecular diagnostics, we got to hear the attending vent a little about how two of his machines aren't exactly compatible. One prepares a certain type of specimen in batches of 32 (an 8x4 grid), and the other analyzes them in batches of 24 (a 5x5 grid with the center hole blocked).
Female ID attending: "Well, that was clearly designed by a man."
Male lab attending: "Yes! In fact, it was a German man."
There was also a little issue with the HCV (Hepatitis C) PCR machine. Someone stuck himself on accident a few weeks ago, and the viral load came back in the low hundreds (which is very low for an acute onset). Turns out his specimen got ran after a specimen with a high load (millions), messing the test up; it actually should have been negative. Good news all around.
I managed to get a picture of that velvety yeast plate I mentioned yesterday. It was identified as Cladosporidium:
As a bonus, here's a "peanut butter" plate. This is Epicoccum nigrum:
And here's Epicoccum on a slide (who knew my camera could get such a good picture through the microscope lens?):
No, I'd never heard of Epicoccum either. Cladosporidium, mmmmaybe.