Greetings from Kansas on my last night here. It’s been a very busy trip and even tonight I have little time to write.
On Monday, Larry and I got to visit a food safety lab. This particular lab specializes in pathogen testing in food (stuff like Ecoli 0157:H7, Listeria, Salmonella, etc). With roughly 76 million cases of foodborne illness occuring in the U.S. annually (equaling an estimated 325,000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths), the work they do in the lab is of great value and importance. The employees there take their duties very seriously.
Larry and I have visited many different types of organizations during our respective careers, but this was the first aseptic environment either of us had been involved in. Great strides are taken to prevent cross contamination and to protect the integrity of the samples. Larry and I had to wear special booties over our shoes. This involved a tricky process where you keep your outside, unprotected foot on one side of a line, meanwhile you put a bootie on the other foot and move that freshly-bootied-foot to the other side of the line. My attempt was less than successful. I lost my balance and fell.
That was embarassing, but at least I was able to successfully put on the latex gloves! Larry struggled with that step!
We also wore hair nets, large lab coats and special additions to the sides of our glasses. Somehow the look still managed to be flattering on the lab workers. On me and Larry— not so much.
DORKS! I think my blink is an especially great accessory to the look.
It is a very good thing Larry and I do not work there. As the workers moved between different duties, they had to change into fresh lab coats and gloves. With my struggles with balance and Larry’s with his gloves, we would never get the work done in a timely fashion.
We both very much enjoyed our visit and were extremely impressed by the expertise, vigilance and dedication of all the lab employees. It was easy to see they cared about their jobs and that they performed their duties superbly.