This post is in response to the WordPress daily prompt: Micro
Today’s prompt immediately took me back in my memories to microbiology class in college. I greatly looked forward to this course until the professor during the first week of class decided it would be fun to pass around a blood agar culture plate for us all to look at. So around the room the culture with the white fuzzy growth on it went, passing into each of our ungloved hands (ewww) while we were asked to make guesses as to what it was we were looking at. She later informed us, and right proudly I might add, that it was her own personal positive strep throat culture. A quarter of the class came down with strep throat the very next week. Coincidence? I don’t think so. After that, I couldn’t help but wonder what diseases we’d all be exposed to or contract before the end of the semester. It made me a little edgy.
I was dating the man who would later become my husband at the time. We attended colleges approximately 40 miles away from each other. He was taking microbiology at the same time at his respective college, and the two professors seemed to be following the exact same curriculum so we always had interesting discussions, studied together, and compared notes when I came home on weekends.
We were both told to bring in a sample of water from any source we wanted so that we could run tests and cultures on the water. It could be tap water, rain water, or water from a lake or stream. We both collected jars of water from a creek in my boyfriend’s parents’ backyard. Both microbiology professors excitedly asked us where the water had come from because it was apparently LOADED with E. Coli. We were both told it would be inadvisable to drink the water (not that it had ever crossed our minds to do so).
I enjoyed all the micro courses in veterinary school. The first year we had microbiology again (bacteriology) and then virology and immunology. There was also histology which I think they now call micro-anatomy.
One of my favorite classes in veterinary school was parasitology. I loved looking at all those pesky little parasites under a microscope. When I graduated and started practicing, every time I did a skin scraping and diagnosed a case of mange or other parasitic skin disorder, I would take a few extra minutes to let the client view the parasite under the microscope. It made a bigger impression on them as to what we were dealing with and most clients were interested in learning more about the parasite causing their animal’s condition after they had actually seen it. I told the technicians when they found worm eggs on fecal exams, to take the client to the microscope and show them. A few clients would decline but most wanted to look and most who looked asked questions and took more of an active interest in their pet’s condition. Show a pet owner a slide crammed full of moving squirming cigar-shaped demodex mites or round fat, sarcoptic mites (scabies) and explain that this is what is causing their dog’s inflamed and intensely itchy skin and hair loss, it’s going to make more of an impression.
Seeing really is believing when it comes to microscopic parasitic diseases. I love education.