After series of cooking, cleaning, washing dishes and gardening between traveling, I'm finally back to my old school. Or am I?
I'm trying not to draw a line between those days when all I had to worry about was getting the salmon out of the fridge and figuring out how to make it edible and these days when I have to devour textbooks which I have no idea about. Yes, they are different but both are also amazingly challenging for me since what I can do quite effortlessly are only two things: having siesta and eating hot boiled rice. Yet the most demanding thing about going back to university life I guess is how not to look like a dotty potty pudding-head in front of your colleagues and professors. In my case, it's about not being myself.
A short conversation between me and my professor went more or less like this:
Me : Good morning, Professor! How are you?
MP (Mr. Professor) : Oh morning. Haven't seen you lately. Have you made up your mind about your future research?
Me : Mmmm...probably I'd go with malaria (it's a wide subject, by the way, it's like saying that I'm going to see fish in the ocean or a thick book in a library. You see, I'm playing safe in this line)
MP : Oh, great. Recently we've been doing a massive study on filaria. Do you know if malaria-filaria coinfection in mice makes malarial disease more severe unless filarial infection achieves patency?
Me : (trying to grope what he was talking about)...coinfection with filaria?
MP : Exactly, coinfections are common in natural populations. The literature suggests that helminth coinfection readily affects how the immune system manages malaria. Type 1–dependent control of malaria parasitemia might be impaired by the type 2 milieu of preexisting helminth infection. Or alternatively, immunomodulatory effects of helminths might affect the likelihood of malarial immunopathology.
Me : ...?????! I think I need to look up for that...um...(I was looking down to the floor, trying to dig something from my head. Nada. I regret immediately that last night all I did was eating rice nooddle while watching men being asked to a date by several female contestants. I want to change the subject about the show but I doubt that MP even has time to watch television and eat rice nooddle at the same time)
MP : Yes, you can check it up. Don't forget to see the update for primaquin therapy for plasmodium vivax. Clinical evidence confirms that a course of 15 mg daily for just 5 days, it's a regimen widely used in areas where malaria is endemic, by the way, has no discernible efficacy.
Me : Really? (this time I got a bit idea, I just wanted to make it sounds scientific or something, but not stupid, although was actually the case) What dose you suggest then?
MP: What do you think?
Me : Errr...can you repeat the previous dose, please? (He looked at me as if I was a new-hatched dodo bird with no fur)
MP : Well, another paper recommends a regimen of 0.5 mg/kg primaquine daily for 14 days, on the basis of superior efficacy and good tolerability and safety in nonpregnant persons without glucose‐6‐phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.
Me : Ah! (pretend to be enlightened). Ngg...
Then there was a silence. It only lasted a few seconds but it was really a torture for me. I wish I could say something brilliant, like the likelihood of plasmodium relaps or something. But all I have in my head was just a one-liner, "if the shortest sentence is I am, what the longest sentence? I do," I have no idea why random information just crossed upon our head at a very wrong time. Luckily, soon my professor looked up his watch.
MP : OK, I have to run a meeting. Good luck!
Me : Oh yes. Just in time for me to go to the loo. Ha-ha (laughed nervously and walked away)
MP : (poked my shoulder) I think the toilet is in that way...
Me : Oh yes, of course. Not this way, ha-ha...(another nervous laugh)
I promise myself to bury my nose under textbooks and journals. Adding it to my 2010 resolution between feeding my fish in time and not farting in public place. But I think I'm still far behind. Instead, I'm updating my blog and thinking about having a new red goldfish. I'm lucky that apart from being very up to date to issues in infectious diseases, my professor also has a good sense of humour. And a huge tolerance for a blogger and fish lover.