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MIT student blogger Rachel D. '16

My Day by Rachel D. '16

Cats cats cats cats cats cats cats....

Lydia K. ’14 challenged us bloggers to write about our days, inspired by Ana V. ’15’s post titled “1 day”. I’ll write about my Wednesday, and what has happened or is on the schedule to happen today.

My day started at 6am. My cat decided that sleeping next to me was boring and she wanted to play, so she started trying to eat my Brass Rat, which I keep on a chain around my neck. I then picked up the kitty, gave her a treat, played with her for a bit, and went back to sleep for a few hours.

At 9am, my phone alarm played the following song:

I snoozed it twice, and I finally woke up. I sprayed dry shampoo in my hair, and headed to MIT Medical, where I had a line of duties waiting for me.

My first duty was to take care of myself. I went to mental health & counseling at 10am, and I met with a counselor to talk about life. It’s a nice break to go there and talk about things, and how to cope with the pressure that is MIT.

So I had my appointment, and then I checked my email and found out that my EMS instructor, Mark Forgues, was holding a continuing education session at 11am on Narcan administration for EMTs. I went straight to see him in the basement of the medical building, and Will R. ’16 and I got trained in Narcan administration and passed the exam for the session.

After the session, I went to the MIT pharmacy to grab some medication that I needed (I haven’t been feeling well), and there was a really long line. So I checked my email, and I saw the following message:

My friend Sabrina S. ’16 got worried because when I get stressed out or sad, I forget to eat. So she set up a “bot” to send me reminders to eat and stay hydrated and happy three times a day. So I got off the pharmacy line, went to the basement of MIT medical, bought fritos from a vending machine, and then went back up to wait on the pharmacy line. I also visited the cat website, and it made me super happy, even though I have my own bundle of joy waiting for me at home.

So after I started consuming my fritos and became cat happy, I headed back upstairs, this time for a different visit with the MIT Medical allergy nurse.

The reason why I was seeing an allergy nurse at MIT is because I had a bad allergic reaction to my Ultrium® Class Ring, or Brass Rat. I first saw the allergy doctor at MIT Medical many weeks ago, and he said that I should get a patch test, or a T.R.U.E.® test. The thing about this test is that it takes four days, and you can’t shower for those four days or the results can get altered. I’m on day three. I’m going through a bottle of dry shampoo and washing myself down, but I still feel gross, especially after being used to showering everyday.

Anyway, on Monday, I got the T.R.U.E.® Test placed on my upper back by the nurse. T.R.U.E.® stands for Thin-layer Rapid Use Epicutaneous Patch Test. Basically, my back has been really itchy and I’ve been very anxious for the nurse to remove the patch. It also looked super ugly, and everyone kept asking me if I got a tattoo. Why do so many people thing you’re supposed to cover up a new tattoo with numbered patches and tape? Who knows, maybe that’s what people do. I don’t have any tattoos, so I wouldn’t know.

Anyway, the nurse finally peeled off the patch with the expectation that I would have the most common allergy, an allergy to Nickel, which is a common alloy in the steel jewlery I was having bad allergic reactions to. But we were both surprised to find that I did not have an allergy to Nickel, and instead I was very allergic to Gold.

I got a fancy sheet of paper describing my allergy:

“Your T.R.U.E. Test® indicates that you have a contact allergy to gold sodium thiosulfate. This contact allergy may cause your skin to react when it is exposed to these substances although it may take several days for the symptoms to appear. Typical symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters.”

 

Huh. Strange. Especially strange because I had all of those symptoms when I wore my Brass Rat on my finger, and with some of my stainless steel earrings. Very confusing, and unexpected. My Brass Rat is made of stainless steel; I don’t even own a gold one.

I still can’t shower for another day, though, and I’m going back tomorrow morning to see if any of the other metals or T.R.U.E. patches caused a delayed allergic reaction. At least I don’t have super itchy and annoying tape all across my back. Apparently I’m also slightly allergic to first aid tape. Ugh.

Anyway, after the visit with the allergy nurse and me discovering something new about my body and its systematic reaction to metals, I headed home to listen to my health bot and eat some food. As soon as I opened the door to my room, my kitten Rory ran out the door and down the hall to visit her kitten playmate, Aria.

And suddenly it was 1:30pm, and I had missed my 1pm lecture. Instead of going to lecture, I made the conscious decision to eat food and watch the lecture videos online, which are super helpful. The class is 3.032, or Mechanical Properties of Materials. You can take the class on EdX. The lecturer, Professor Lorna Gibson, is incredible, and I really enjoy watching her lecture videos. It’s just difficult when days are busy to fit in lunch, and in this case, I needed to eat and listen to health bot before it gets angry.

I ate carrots and hommus, but should have actually eaten real food. But it’s okay, because at 2:30pm, I got pie!!

We also got the best Holiday Care Packages ever!!

On a normal Wednesday, I would have a class at 2:30pm, Industrial Ecology of Materials, which is a really cool class that lets us look at the life cycle of materials and the different impacts creating, using, and disposing of materials has on different metrics. However, this Wednesday is different since our professor is going on a trip, so we just have lots of homework to do for the class. I’m going to try to get most of it done today.

I also have another event at 4pm which involves food! Yay food!! And being healthy!! Even though I can’t exercise because of this allergy test. Ugh.

Anyway, at 8pm, I am going to head over to Random Hall, one of the other “East Side” dorms on campus, to visit my friend Kate T. ’16 and help with a photo shoot for the infamous “Women of the East Side” calendar that I am helping organize with Annie L. ’15 and Raeez L. ’15. Kate’s shoot will involve her wearing a white lab coat and holding beakers that contain bubbly and strangely colored liquids. I’m really excited.

And then I’ll go home to East Campus, and try to get homework done. There are a few distractions at home – see Exhibits A and B.

Exhibit A: Kitten blocking access to computer

Exhibit B: Thor and Galileo being super cute and fluffy

 

But I think I’ll be able to make some progress with things. And I’m handling the pressure that is MIT, one step at a time, one breath at a time. The journey to where I am right now was a hard one, with tons of evil obstacles and occasional breakdowns and missed meals. But in the end, we have cats, and everything is going to be okay. Because cat.