Wednesday, 9 September 2015

08:00 – One of the neat things about our business is that I get to do fun stuff, like making mud pies. We got a flood of orders yesterday for forensic science kits. Only two of those were from individuals, with the rest a bulk order from a state university. Those orders wiped out our current finished goods inventory on those kits and left us at negative 7 forensic kits in stock. So I’m desperately making up more kits. One of the pieces I’m missing is the spectroscopy questioned soil specimen, which is basically a soil specimen that contains known quantities of various species like barium, cerium, and half a dozen more. I make that up by dissolving the nitrate salt of those species in water, adsorbing it onto vermiculite (expanded clay), and then drying the mud.

So I made up the glop, spread it on an old oven pan, and stuck it in the oven at 350F to dry. When Barbara arrived home from work, she immediately asked what she smelled. I told her that I was baking mud pies. She didn’t even comment.

This morning, I have overnight orders for three or four kits that I do have in stock–as well as another forensic kit–so I’ll get the ones I have in stock queued up to ship and then go to work making up and packaging chemicals for more forensic kits. I already made up some Kastle-Meyer reagent, which needs to reflux for an hour or so before I can bottle it. The only other thing I’m out of is 30 mL bottles of concentrated sulfuric acid, so I’ll get some of those made up as well.

10:22 – I’d mentioned that I picked up a can of Gatorade powder at Costco on Saturday, and someone emailed me to ask if that was a reasonable substitute for oral rehydration salts. Actually, if you mix it according to directions, the G-series 02 Perform Gatorade is a reasonable rehydration solution, comparable to the homemade stuff made with table sugar and salt. It’s heavy in sugar and the osmolarities are outside the WHO recommended low-osmolarity formulation, but Gatorade does at least include some potassium and citrate.

If I’d run out of official ORS, I’d use the Gatorade 02 Perform. Actually, what I’d probably do is use it initially to treat a patient with vomiting and/or diarrhea. If that didn’t start clearing up in a day or so, or if it became severe, I’d switch to the ORS, use the real stuff until I ran out, and then start using the Gatorade again. If Gatorade was all I had, I’d use it for a full course of treatment, because it’s sure a whole lot better than nothing.