Perspectives – Part 2 of Day 8

July 4, 2006

I asked the catheter to be taken out early. Not because it was bothering me…. well it was, but just because it was itchy and I wanted to type and play videogames. So I will just give a regular blood sample at 1am tonight, no big deal. In fact, I am adjusting to the blood and needle thing quite well. I’m up to that stage that I can look at the blood as it zips out of my body through the little plastic tube, but I still don’t like seeing it empty into the vials. Watching the injection of the saline solution the nurses use to clear the catheter tube, however, was strangely fascinating. Years ago when I frequented underground dance parties, I knew a few girls who had blood and needle fetishes, and I’m beginning to understand why. I used my mobile phone to video the ritual from my first person perspective.

Blood giving via catheter – long movie – 4.7mbs

Blood giving via catheter – short movie – 800kbs

I believe now that my adverse reactions earlier were completely psychological. I’m not even sure this whole thing about the vascular nerve causing a blood pressure drop is actually that likely. For one thing, I can feel the catheter needle moving around inside my vein and bumping the inside wall. Its not exactly pleasant, but its not really painful either, and easy to ignore if you put your mind to it. But with all the movement, why does it only sometimes trigger the nerve? Pschyosomia for sure.

A new bunch of guys arrived today, they’re sleeping in the dorm on the third floor. I was happy to see a few guys I knew from Tokyo – I had referred them here. By Japanese law the clinic is not allowed to advertise, which means they are solely reliant on word of mouth and referrals to locate participants. This means they sometimes come up short for trials, especially if the screening variables are tight. From what I’ve heard, this is pretty bad because the credibility of the results can be impacted. So they like former participants to refer as many people as possible.

Of course, its not the kind of thing everyone is into. I’ve mentioned it to people at parties that view it immediately with disapproval, distaste or even fear.The botched trial in London in March is still on some peoples minds and I suppose it does have a bit of a stigma. I’ve had a few interesting conversations about it. Putting money to one side (and I never deny the financial incentive) I can justify the trials from a social perspective; participating in a clinical drug trial means being part of a medical/legal process that ensures the safety and development of socially beneficial medicines. Its not like feeding starving kids in Africa, but its not totally without altruistic merit either. Of course, this argument is often countered with all that stuff about how drug companies make so much money, overprice their products and hinder cross-developement with patent restrictions. All true too, to a certain extent, but such a conversation invariably oscillates to a discussion of the value and form of capitalism itself, and for me, life’s to short to worry about all that!

test tubes in room


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