Conversations – Day 9

July 4, 2006

injection from the male nurse

Ouch. I just had to two dodgy blood samples.

Last night the male nurse couldn’t get any blood out of one of my veins and had to try again on my other arm. He showed me the discarded tube from the failed attempt, it was lightly striped with tiny clots of blood, stuck in the tube from lack of pressure. Apart from this though, I’m warming to the male nurse. On the second attempt he was telling me “Don’t cry!” and laughing, which I found pretty funny, although I suppose he could have been taking the piss, the language barrier makes the precise intent difficult to fathom.

This morning a couple of nurses had a jolly time wiggling a needle around in my arm for half a minute trying to find a vein. My persistent ouching was pretty loud and prompted my roommate to pull out his camera phone and grab some video, but thankfully by then the nurses had found the vein and I was spared the embarrassment of acting like sissy on video.

I wonder how much these experiences reflect on the state of my veins. In bad light they certainly look like they’ve been having a dirty weekend in Bangkok without me.

One of the nurses saw me on TV last night. To support myself in Tokyo and supplement my income I do what a lot of gooby gaijins do – part time modeling and acting. Last month I was paid to be interviewed in Harujuku about these two celebrity sisters, Mika-chan and Kyoko-chan. They asked me who I thought was better looking. Both of them have enourmous boobs, wear too much makeup and are in denial about being middle-aged. I said that both of them have had too much plastic surgery for my taste, but if pushed I would choose the one who wore less makeup. I’m not sure how much of that made it through the translator though. Anyway, the nurse seemed to think it was pretty great, but who knows if thats because my TV charisma was great or, more likely, that it was just great to be on TV, and really I looked and sounded like an idiot.

Released for the day again, and shared a taxi into town with the French and British guy. The British guy kept talking over the top off me, which was pretty annoying. At a sushi bar a couple of young wannabe yakuza guys spoke to us half in japanese, half in broken english. One of them seemed drunk and I think they had been up all night. They made me pretty nervous, especially when I thought one of them was wanted to take me to a brothel, but the French guy, whose Japanese is better than mine, told me later the guy was actually talking about the sushi, that it was good for having sex or something.

Went to a local island by myself, had a swim, walked around in the sun with my shirt off. The British guy called my mobile a few times, but I didn’t pick up.

Back at the clinic I overheard some dudes on another trial complaining about how others are let out regularly, that is, the others and I on my trial. Their trial, a blood thinner, lasts for 11 days and they are in the clinic the whole time. Ours is 15 days or so, plus a followup a week later, but we are let out almost every second day. There is no hard medical reason for the difference; the trials are planned by the sponsoring drug company and its just comes down to operational preference.

Later, in the middle of the night, when we had turned off the light, but had to yet to fall asleep, someone opened our door, looked in and then went away. My roommate become agitated and got up to have a see who it was, but there was nobody there.

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