Picking up my “special package”

A microscopic image of a single whipworm ova

I picked up my “special package” today in my hotel lobby. I’m in _______ (foreign city) finally, and the weather is perfect. Sunny, mid 80’s, people walking about the downtown, lounging in outdoor bars and cafes, free concerts in the parks.

Actually getting the package was extremely easy and hassle free. Even though I only ended up giving them a week’s notice (and should have given more), AIT was able to very quickly ship out the dose to the hotel I had booked, and it actually arrived well before I did, by two days. I checked into the hotel, the polite and rather attractive receptionist gave me the keys, and without even having to ask, she noticed on the screen that I had recieved a package, went to the storage room, and came back out immediately with a medium FEDEX envelope with my name on it. No questions, just handed it over, I didnt even have to sign for it.

I brought it up to my room, and even though I didnt plan on taking the helminth ova for a day and a half, I couldn’t resist peeking inside, to see if all this was real. After more than a year, all the research, the ups and downs of AIT’s fate, the discouragement, and the waiting for months and months while AIT reassembled their lab, I was finally holding in my hand a small plastic vile of clear liquid. Held up to the light, all I could see with the naked eye were tiny white particles, seemingly thousands, floating and spinning in the clear solution. Here were my new friends.

**I thought so at least, but Marc (Dr. Dellerba) from AIT later informed me that the white particles were not ova, but rather buffer solution particulate, and that the ova were microscopic and not visible to the eye. I was HUGELY relieved to hear this, as it seemed like there were many thousands of little white particles in the solution, and I was supposed to be receiving only 1,000 ova. I was actually quite scared that somehow I had been sent far too many ova, and would end up with too many helminths. Ah, the fun of experimental medicine.

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