However, this past fall I discovered a new passion: microbiology. Microbiology was my dreaded last prerequisite, dreaded because it was legendarily demanding, but it turned out to be spellbinding. "I love the pathogens," I confided artlessly to anyone who'd listen. I felt angst when I had to put my plates of Staphylococcus epidermidis that I had lovingly cultured into the autoclave bin.
I saw microbiology wherever I went. "The dog is wagging her tail exactly in the manner of a bacteria with a flagella," I observed. Gathering steam, I added, "Did you know that a protozoan with a flagella moves its flagella in an entirely different way?"
But it was so riveting only for me.
On our family text chat, one of the children posted that she'd spiked a fever. "Did you know fevers can be caused by the death of Gram negative bacteria??" I typed back. "They release an endotoxin when they die that causes a fever. Type 'More' to subscribe to Basic Microbiology Facts.'" She did not, in the event, type "More." Driving in the car one day with a teenaged child, I asked if she'd read a piece I'd forwarded about viroids of the sea: viruses living in seawater who prey upon other aquatic viruses. She rolled her eyes and patiently explained. "You know how you're not interested in everything I'm interested in? Well, I can't come along with you on this microbiology thing."
Like all good things, microbiology came to an end, leaving us with a hard-earned A on my transcript and some fresh stains on the Sober Husband's lab coat, which I borrowed for the class. Still the memories linger. A friend mentioned that she'd been up in the night vomiting with presumed food poisoning, but her husband had eaten the same things and was fine. I suggested that she'd picked up a norovirus, also known as "the Winter Vomiting Virus." "Type 'More' to subscribe to Basic Microbiology Facts," I added.