Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A bit of Christmas decor...

School is almost over! I gave my final presentation this afternoon on Bacterial Endocarditis, complete with power point slides, photos, etc and it turned out well. I am hoping that I got an A on it. My voice didn't shake, I spoke slowly and confidently, and didn't pee my pants. Success!!!

The weather here has been in the 30's this week and drizzly rainy, which in South Texas means Christmas is right around the corner!

Christmas decorations are going up...

We had to buy a new tree this year, and my husband found a train he really wanted on sale at Toys R Us that he just had to get. I think it looks pretty cute. 

Our mantle is decorated with our cute stockings, and we are ready for a fire. 

It's beginning to look like Christmas at our house. We will be out of town for Christmas this year, so I am really glad to get the decorations up early. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Microbiology "unknown" project

Blessed. I am so blessed. I am blessed that I have a super supportive...although mostly absent husband who encouraged me to go back to school and pays for it. I am blessed that I have two children who are older and require less hands-on child-rearing every minute of the day. I am blessed that Caleb has Autism because every bit of progress he makes is cause for great celebration. I am blessed that Jansen has a sweet and helpful spirit and is developing a wonderful, independent, and responsible nature. I am blessed to have parents who are always willing to help watch the children for me after school and/or on weekends while I study and do school work. I am blessed to have a part-time job that gives me just enough of what I need. 

I am feeling so relieved this evening as I am looking at the end of this semester square in the face. In lab semester my group has struggled. I struggled so much that several days, I sat at my table and cried. The material is really difficult and we were frequently left with little supervision. It took me quite a while to get used to this style and just accept it. I have yet to embrace it, but having gone through it, it has made me even more self sufficient. 

All semester, we have been told about this big "unknown" project. We have been working toward it the whole time. Each week, we "learned" new biochemical tests, different bacteria, and so on, and had no idea how it was all going to come together. I learned that the "unknowns" in life make me very anxious. For this particular unknown, I spent three days creating a detailed chart for a 14 Gram Positive bacteria and 16 Gram Negative bacteria. I spent two more days creating a flow chart full of tests to isolate each one, still not knowing how this is all going to play out. But having a plan on paper made me more comfortable. 

Last Thursday, we were told to choose a numbered test tube. I chose #48 because that is my favorite number. Each tube had both an unknown gram positive and unknown gram negative bacteria in it. We had 9 days to complete all tests and come up with results. 

I noted the color in the tube, it's cloudiness, and began testing and taking pictures. 

I gram stained once and got beautiful results. Purple gram positive rods and pink gram negative rods. We could have had rods or cocci, gram positive or gram negative or any combination of them. 

Next, I had to isolate both bacteria. So before I left, I did 4 streak plates on 4 agars (TSA, BHI, NA, and PEA) and put them in the incubator.

On Friday morning, I came in to analyze the growth. The best growth came out on BHI and I had two separate colonies of bacteria, visually quite different. After comparing that growth to the one on PEA, I knew that the large, flat, irregular colonies were my gram positives, and the small, orange, pin point colonies were my gram positives. 

I took a sample from each colony and did another gram stain on each...and although it took me four times, I finally got a pure sample of each. I transferred a bit from each plate to put on a slant for incubation over the weekend.

I also took my gram negative and did a streak plate on MacConkey's agar to incubate over the weekend. Those results would put me a bit ahead of the game on Monday.

Monday morning, I took out my gram negative and noted that it grew, but didn't turn red showing fermentation, so I noted that it was a negative result. 

So then I took a sample from my slant and did and Oxidase test, which turned blue in 4 seconds, yielding a positive result. 

Thankful, I moved on to prepare the next test that would give me differentiation between the two gram negative bacteria that met all the above requirements. It was a 48 hour test, so I wanted to get that one going quickly. I did the Methyl Red-Voges Proskaur test and got it in the incubator, hoping that in two days, I would have an answer. 

Knowing that I needed a confirmation test, and notating that the two gram negatives had different colored colonies, I thought that I had Aeromonas hydrophilus. So I went ahead and did a catalase test, hoping it would turn out positive, indicating a positive result and confirming AH. Bubbles appeared under oil in the microscope and I felt so thankful. 

So then I turned to my gram positive. I had a pure sample so I started with an Acid fast test, which turned purple indicating a negative result. 

That narrowed down my options. Then, instead of doing wet mount test for motility (which would give me a result the same day but is super, super difficult), I set up a SIM motility test, which takes 24-48 hours. That went into the incubator and I moved on. The nest test was a nitrate reduction test, so I set that one up, and got it in the incubator to check along with the motility test the next day. 

I did a catalase test for that one to record the results and got bubbling immediately, so it was positive. 

Tuesday morning, I came in to check my SIM motility and it was positive for growth and movement. 

I checked the nitrate reduction, and added the reagents, praying for a change to the color red, which meant I was on the right track. Red, it was!!

I was so close to the answer. When I checked the chart, I was down to Bacillus cereus, and needed a confirmation test. So I did an endospore test. That I was able to view immediately, within 20 minutes, and it was positive for endospores, confirming BC. 

Wednesday morning, I was able to take my 48 hour MR-VP test out and add the reagents. I waited an hour for results, and it turned out red for positive. I compared that to the chart and confirmed it to be AH. 

Now I had taken all my pictures and left the school itching to get home to put it all together and be finished with it. 

I created a neater version of my testing chart for each, my flow chart for each, and then added a Word document with the photos of my tests as I worked toward my result. Tomorrow, I will be heading to school in the morning to turn it all in and it only took 5 days. Oh, how I hope it is correct. 

This class has taken over my life. All that is left is a 10 minute presentation next week and a final after Thanksgiving. We took our 4th test, and turned in a lab quiz, and a lab report that we are waiting to be graded. 

Almost done!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New family member!

Our family has grown by another 1...and is now complete. We have three boys and three girls to complete this family of 6. 

Last weekend we adopted a new female poodle. She was found in September as a stray, was matted and gross, and had rotten teeth and mammary tumors. We patiently waited while the rescue agency took care of all of her needs and got her healthy, and then started jumping the hoops of adoption. Finally, last Sunday, we were cleared and she was healthy. 

We drove to La Porte to the foster mom's home and visited for a while. When everyone was comfortable, we brought her home. 

Please welcome, Vivian Rosette Powell (aka Vivi-Rose). 

This is our little family and we are super happy. This week has been an adventure, getting her used to her new home and family, letting Tatum get used to her new sister, trying to figure out how to keep them separate while I am in school just in case. Tatum is occasionally prissy with Vivian, but for the most part, they just ignore each other. This is fine with me for the most part. 

She is so chill, she makes Tatum look hyper, and I have always described Tatum as the laziest dog on earth. Vivian is just a little angel. I wish I weren't in school so I could spend more time at home with them, but I only have 4 weeks left...thank you sweet Baby Jesus...and then I can get a break. 

Welcome home sweet Vivian!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

This mom is so glad Halloween is over!

The kids had fun, but oh I am so glad it is over. 

It poured down raining all day before Halloween and the day of and finally quit about two hours before trick or treating started. As usual, we had our friends over, took the kids out, and then came back for 50 cent Sonic corn dogs. The kids were so hyper!

This year, even my friend and I got in on the "costume" action.

Here are the obligatory Halloween pictures...

Trick or Treat!!!!

Storybook character day at school-Easy Curious George "costume"

Instead of having a Halloween experience at school, Polk had a storybook character day. Originally, Jansen wanted to be Captain Underpants, but then he realized that he didn't really want to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants to school. 

His second choice was Curious George. That I could do. But it was for 2 days later. I didn't have enough time to buy a costume and I didn't want to buy yet another one. 

I needed something he could wear all day to school, something that would be within dress code, and that he would actually wear. So I spent $7 at Hobby Lobby for a red shirt, some yellow, brown, and tan felt, and a headband. 

I came home and traced out the name "Curious George" on the yellow felt, cut it out, and glued it to the red shirt. Then I used the brown and tan felt and cut out monkey ears and glued them to the headband. It was that easy!

He looked pretty cute if I do say so myself. 

Red Ribbon Week, Intermediate school style

This week was Red Ribbon Week for Caleb in intermediate school. You know, that time when you want to participate in things, but not go too far, because you don't want to stand out. It's so important at this age to just blend in. 

Honestly, it takes a load off of me for having to come up with creative things. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy it, but it is really nice to get a break from that. 

So Monday was neon/sunglasses day...

Tuesday was Sports day....

Wednesday was hat day...

Thursday was Duck Dynasty day...

And today was wear blue day....

And it's over. Thank goodness!