Urine – Part 1 of Day 8

July 1, 2006

urine storage fridge

Back at the clinic, hospitalization. Catheter, which makes typing hard. I managed to calm myself very succesfully before the catheter insertion by practicing pranayama yogic breathing. I read about it in a freediving book my spearfishing mate left here for me to read.

Drug administration. Cumulative urine collection. I found out I don’t have a Japanese counterpart, he failed to make the drug administration on the first day. I could believe he had an adverse reaction to the catheter…….maybe. He also could have also gotten drunk 3 or 4 days before, or been too physically active prior to the screening. Alcohol and exercise cause changes in the body’s natural chemistry that can distort the blood test results. We are also told to stay clear of grapefruit juice, caffeine, nicotine and St. John’s Wart. They say they test for narcotics too.

It feels like everything I around me is abstractly related to the clinical trial. Yesterday when I went to the aquarium, I saw dolphins performing tricks in exchange for fish. Singing, jumping, diving……these tricks also included a gynacological examination courtesy of an obliging dolphin rolling over to present itself to an waterproof camera on a pole. With high-pitched squeaks the dolphin thrust its snake like penis towards the lens, and we in the audience were treated to a closeup 10 feet wide, high up on a bank of video screens. The dolphin trainer proceeded to discuss dolphin urine and faeces, and I was of course reminded of our own urine collection.

Much like dolphins tricking for fish we gather our urine into large plastic jars, which we then place into a special fridge in the bathroom. This fridge is alarmed – if the door is left open an alarm sounds in the nurses station. We have two types of urine collection: single and cumulative. The single is given at a specific time prior to drug administration, into a slightly smaller container the size of a chu-shoki beer glass about 375ml. The cumulative urine goes into a big duberu-dai-shoki container, about one and a half litres, which we fill up repeatedly over the course of the day after drug administration. Its hard to hold this container with one hand, especially when the other hand holding your penis has a catheter in it. We’re recommended to use a paper cup instead and then empty it into the container, but that takes longer and requires you to pause and change cups mid-stream. Once I couldn’t be bothered and pissed straight into the big container. Towards the end it got really heavy and I dropped it, splashing my pants with urine. Which was a hassle, but thankfully laundry here is done constantly.

dolphin tricks

Dolphins weren’t the only reminder of the clinic on my day off. The drug we are taking is a medicine designed to boost haemoglobin in anaemia sufferers. Walking through the deep sea section of the aquarium I cam across an exhibit about deep sea worms that live around oceanic thermal vents. Buried in the exhibit text I was reminded,

“Haemoglobin is the red substance in blood, and functions to bind oxygen and carry it through the animal’s body.”

Deep sea worms and gaijin lab rats. Nothing, but animals.

deep sea worms


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