Thursday, September 25, 2008

On Stress and Bureaucracy

I’m overwhelmed. I handle stress well usually, but I need my five minutes to freak out. And right now, my freak out is bleeding into everything else.

Choosing between formalin and PVA is becoming less and less of an issue, because, according to the US government, PVA is a hazardous material. Even in its modified, no-mercury state.

It means that I’m a unabomber, as far as Fisher Scientific is concerned --

After numerous transfers and phonecalls with Fisher, I discovered that they wouldn’t ship my two-vial parasitology kit to me because of its PVA content. But I could contact a local distributor and see if I can get it from them.

Now, here’s where the ridiculousness comes in ... the distributor calls Fisher, who calls Remel, the makers of the kit. They drop ship it to Fisher, who ships it to the distributor. Who ships it to me, who will already be in the f&$king Congo.

I called Remel directly to see if I could bypass some middlemen, but they won’t ship to me either because they’re FDA regulated. You’d think I was ordering cyanide!

I got a call from the distributor, who was definitely very nice and trying to help me, telling me that Remel was OUT of the two-vial collection kits anyway. They wouldn’t have any more until Late October.

That puts me SOL. Absolutely.

I’m a problem-solver, surely. I told him to please check on the individual single-vial kits -- one for 10% Formalin and the other for modified-fixative PVA and then I’ll just take 2 cases instead of 1 case with 2-vial sets. Right?

I haven’t heard back from the distributor yet (I’m hoping to hear tomorrow) but I’m crossing my fingers.

I’ve got friends and contacts all over, who’ve been supportive and might hopefully be able to get me out of this multi-situational pinch.

If I don’t have collection vials and preservatives, I am really going to be screwed. I realize I have very little time left to go. There is always the option to forgo the protozoa and just do the helminths (only use formalin and not PVA) but it’d be nice to have the full spectrum.

I just feel like I’m constantly being reminded that the system is not built to accommodate people like me -- everything is rigged under a system of Umbrellas. Students are usually under the umbrella of a professor or researcher, who is under a University Umbrella, who is under some sort of Huge Corporate or Government Umbrella.

And I’m just getting rained on, with no recourse.

Cross your fingers for me. 9 days and counting.

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