Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bloody Wednesday

This was not a day for the squeamish. Convening bright and early at 8 AM in Health Services, our class was on edge for the big blood draw. Besides a few somersaulting stomachs among us, it was no big deal, as I distracted myself by discussing California with the sweet old woman probing a needle into my arm for blood cells. She complemented me on my large, healthy veins gushing like Mt. Vesuvius, while I felt sorry for many of my girlfriends who suffered multiple pricks from unsuccessful withdrawals as the nurses struggled to find their veins.

Afterwards, I came out giggling at the weird warmth of the test tube of my own blood. My friend jokingly pondered about drinking hers. Luckily, we returned to the lab soon enough and began the protocols for isolating our cells, and eventually extracting the DNA. Seeing the wispy, translucent strands- the fruits of our early morning labors and battle scars and tourniquet marks- was the ultimate highlight. These are the things we read about in textbooks; I never expected to be actually performing it nor the mind-boggling fun I'm having.

From a single expression of curiosity, we embarked on an impromptu blood-typing adventure! In the lab against the hall with a back drop of a dissection team working on cat cadavers, we were provided anti-A, anti-B, and anti-Rh solutions to test with the blood we could squeeze out of our finger with a mechanized pricker. Honestly, I was more testy about the tiny pricker than the nurse's needles. My initial nerves calmed after the paper cut of a prick, and next thing, I was on to cutting the fingers of other girls too rattled to self-inflict.

The ILC Brownies met up for an afternoon tour of John Brown's house. Brown, an interesting character, wealthy merchant/slave trader, and Patriot whose esteem for George Washington seeps into home decor, tenured as treasurer of Rhode Island College (before it became Brown University) for two decades. While the local historical society largely restored the house to the 18th century version of opulence (quite different from the gaudy glitz of The Breakers of the Gilded Age),  its interesting mix of anachronisms appeal to history buffs and students of architecture or design. More importantly, we learned about Providence's distinguished founding and colonial history.

I think it's really awesome how Brown brings prominent experts from a variety of fields as speakers available to summer college audiences. Our study group decided to attend one of the lectures tonight on career paths to science, and we were excited walking together to Salomon Hall from dinner. Disappointed to discover it cancel, we opted for an intensely fun game of Ultimate Frisbee until dark, when we retreated to the dorms to dissect the Central Paper and play Apples to Apples.

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