Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Season of Lyme: A Borellia Sonnet

Early spring in prairie; Doran 2011

The tick, off deer, waiting in the grasses.
And children running down the hill too fast,
Tripping, tumbling down; the pain surpasses.
Picnic on the prairie; hunger is passed.
From where they sit, they know no pain, the bite
On back of knee, the soft skin folds hidden;
The ring of rash, Lyme has come, not in sight.
Children’s blood, to the tick, not forbidden.
The ache has started, the chills, affliction.
Parent wonders and views the swollen knee.
The PA tests titers, gives prescription;
Cefuroxime taken for weeks of three.
When child in woods next, wears long pants and sleeves.
Mom checks  limbs after play, prevents, believes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Science writing in 5 minutes intervals

This is a very brief contribution to the #SCIMOM project

I’ve been told that storing information in your own head and not sharing it is silly, if not selfish and wrong.  Why learn things if you are not going to share it.  I both disagree and agree with this statement.  Anyone that loves to learn can have a moment when they think “wow…, I’ve never seen that before,” but not have a venue to share that information—they just enjoy it.  If you have ever seen a kid’s face when they are tickled with a new finding, you know all about this.  These moments are personal and don’t have to be shared.  But those moments can stack up, and build up pressure within a person until she/he will burst unless it’s shared.

Anyone with a backlog of information in need of escape can understand the desire to teach, to parent, to write, to create art of some form.  There are so many fascinating facts about typhoid, TB, penicillin, fungi, and other infectious diseases that I wish to share with receptive readers.  But like an understaffed office I need to piece together what I have in the time I can steal.  

There are rare moments where I can complete a post during a 2-hour preschool session, but background reading, outlining, connecting thoughts, networking, job searches, making dinner, enforcing snack and homework rules, and “no you can’t bring that into the house” moments all compete for the same 24 hours.  Sometimes I ask the kids for just 5 minutes to finish reading a paragraph about resistant bacteria or vaccine or dengue fever so I can then answer their questions—without distraction.  Possible transition sentences enter my mind while poking holes in potatoes and throwing them into the oven. 

The kids’ questions, along with middle school research papers, and elementary science and social studies projects have all stimulated a desire in me to teach again.  Family, in the way that my husband and I wish to raise our children, provides a challenge in designing a way to teach.  Writing, for me, is one way.  But, you do not have to be a parent. You do not have to love to write.  You don’t even have to love science [gasp!].  You have to find your passion, find a way to act on it, work hard at it, continue revising your plan, and share it—even if it is done in 5 minutes intervals.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Scientific American Guest Blog: Lenina versus the pneumococcus

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a fascinating read.  Lenina is the inoculation nurse at the hatchling laboratory in central London.  Follow this link to the Scientific American Guest Blog to read about her being placed in a pneumococcal research laboratory.  The science of pneumococcus, antibiotics to treat, growing resistance, vaccination issues is referenced.  Artwork by Artologica is placed within the story.  Come read Short Story Science!
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