We're a little crazy, about science!

Day #266: Pandemic research pressure

Pandemic

Think of research like the post office, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor pandemic, we will be there working. My dumbass had to make the transition from design to human experimenting the year before a pandemic. I could be safely at home designing cool robots in solidworks, but no we need to collect human subject data and despite the pandemic, I’m feeling the pressure.

While the school had shuttered, the research lab I worked in continued onward. It was a research hospital after all, so while caring for the sick is part of the business model, the money, fame, desirable trait here, comes from research. Weeks into businesses being closed and we continued faithfully. Then slowly the ironclad will of the hospital started to dissolve.

First we were required not to experiment on people outside of the hospital. That was the first serious blow to my research timeline. Not to worry it would be another two weeks before the next domino fell. In this case we had other experiments we could do in house, I was included in one of them! Then came the order to shut it down, well… mostly. I was told I could not be there, being an integral part of the team (my Co-PI’s words, not mine) the research halted.

My Co-PI is antsy to get back to work though, so we’ve been testing the resolve of the hospital to not let me come in the building. I’m somewhat joking. The rule that I would not be able to the lab was never fully declared. Think of it as a firm request more than an order. So my Co-PI suggested we try to determine if I can get in. We did, I got in, and that is that.

With the pandemic, I’m perfectly happy staying at home and waiting for this to calm down. I’m lucky that this is even an option for me, I know this, and I am doing my part by staying the fuck away from people so I don’t become exposed. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do and I’ve been doing just that. This keeps others who I may come in contact with if I go out safer, it keeps me safer, and it keeps potentially a lot of people out of the hospital.

Well there is a lot of pressure to get back to work. My Co-PI is just starting his lab, we’re only a little over a year into his start and there is pressure to publish, pressure to secure funding, pressure to get back to work. Luckily my Co-PI is awesome and hasn’t started experimenting again. He has a family of his own, so it’s not just me he has to worry about. However, this is his job and unlike me, he doesn’t exactly get the option to take a break. We are slowly being forced to have to work again, mostly because funding demands it.

I may be going in next week, I may be going in next month. In either case, I will be going in and we will be getting back to work. I’ve got a couple of masks and made the proper arrangements, so I’m trying to keep the contact to a minimum. I’m hopeful that I can stay safe and still manage to do the work needed of me, but at the same time I wish we could collectively put life on pause to keep everyone safe.

There are a vocal few who only care about themselves, but I’m not that way. I want people to live, I want the government to do what it was designed to do and support the people. I want us collectively to make it through our new normal, hopefully the other side of this will see improvements to society and lasting changes that make the world a slightly better place. For now I am hopeful that in the next year or so we will get a vaccine. Until then, that vocal few is surprisingly okay with all this death and I’m left to wonder, how?

But enough about us, what about you?

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