Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twilight zone

Ok, I only have a minute to post, so I'll fill in details later. I just had the weirdest experience of my life.

Thesis committee went well. Some typical hijacking, but I think I handled it well. Nothing really nasty or mean--just people questioning things based on their own areas of expertise.  The general consensus at the time was that if I could get this one experiment to work, I was golden (the one that didn't work in Utah). If not, then people were concerned.

After the meeting, my boss and I were chatting, and based on the committee feedback, we think we could write up what we have (filling in a few quick blanks), submit the paper, do the tough assay while we were waiting, and then add it when we did revisions.

Dr. B had mentioned in the meeting that he had done a different protocol for this tricky assay in the past. He mentioned a reference. After the meeting, I searched for the reference and sent him an email asking if it was the right on. He emailed me back right away and said to call him. I was nervous, but I called.

He started out by saying that he thought the presentation was very good. He then started on the whole, "you know, you are pregnant, and things happen...." tangent. I braced for the worst--the pregnancy stuff hadn't come up at all in my meeting. I thought, "Great, he has me one on one on the phone, I'm stuck now..."

But then he said, "you are on a limited timeline, and G (my MSTP committee member) and I were thinking that you have a paper now without that assay." Actually, I think he said that I had a paper without all the Western data too, in which case I would have been done in the fall...

He said, "G and I think you should write up what you have, submit it in the next few weeks, and then work on the assay while that is in." I told him that my boss and I had come to the same conclusion after the meeting.

Here's where it gets weird.

He said, "you're a beautiful person, we had a great relationship, and I love you as a person and want to see you succeed. You have a very exciting project, and you deserve to be finished."


Seriously, I thought: a) I'm hallucinating from lack of sleep, b) an alien has taken over Dr. B's body, or c) this is all some kind of sick practical joke.

He said again how happy he was I was almost done, and then we hung up. I called my boss right away to tell her what happened. We both agreed that isn't typically how Dr. B comes off, but we also both agreed that we didn't think he ever meant to be such a terrible boss--he just was.

In the meeting, at the very end, I presented an overview of my thesis. I said that I was planning to tie my work in Frank's lab with my current work. And that's it. It's an overarching theme of cardiac dysfunction in ischemia (with lots of differences). But no mention of the three years of work I did in Dr. B's lab.

This is where I expected the biggest fight. And nothing. Everyone (including G and Dr. B) nodded in agreement and thought it was a good plan.

What just happened here?

I am thrilled that things were so positive. And I was so nervous in the meeting that there were probably a couple of points at which I was overly defensive, since I was anticipating a fight.

But overall, it looks like I'm almost there.

Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd ever be almost there. I was seriously thinking I was going to have to fight to defend my thesis by the fall.

I think it's going to take some time to sink in. But with the tiny amount of sleep I've been getting, I'm still concerned that this might all be a dream or hallucination somehow.

1 comment:

  1. "you're a beautiful person, we had a great relationship, and I love you as a person and want to see you succeed. You have a very exciting project, and you deserve to be finished."

    I think a lot of PIs are manic..they should just put drugs in the drinking fountain!