Electrocardiogram – Day 12

July 5, 2006




Catheter went in painlessly this morning, but otherwise today was a bit of a muck up from the nurses point of view. First of all, I went to the toilet as soon as I got up, forgetting about urine sampling. When I had to give a sample prior to drug administration at 9am, I couldn’t and the nurses got pissy with me.

Then we had an ECG check, which consists of the nurses placing these sticky little metallic strips on our chest, wrists and ankles, then hooking them up via clamps and wires to a computer. The metal stickers usually come off straight away and initially the nurses did this for us and were quite dilligent about it. Last week we had two ECG screenings in one day and the nurses asked us to leave them on for the second reading. Then we had to remove them ourselves. The sticky material on the back of the strips had gone gooey from several hours of body heat and it was real nightmare, especially for my roommate who is quite hairy. He spent ages wiping and re-wiping his chest and ankles with an alcohol soaked tissue to remove the goo.

I have actually shaved a square inch patch on my ankles to avoid this problem, but the nurses always choose to ignore it and place the stickers elsewhere. Today I asked a nurse if I could remove the pads straight away, when they come off more easily, and she said that was fine. Later in the day another nurse was doing blood sampling and the ECG and was in a real hurry about it; the clinic is running three trials concurrently and is quite busy. When got around to hooking up the ECG and she saw I didn’t have my stickers on she flew into a real huff. At about the same time my roommate had his catheter removed early and had an adverse effect, possibly related to the needle striking his vascular nerve. He lay down and looked pretty grim for about an hour. Several nurses attended to him and it all added up to and atmosphere of a busy hospital where things aren’t going quite right.

We usually follow ECG and blood sampling with a doctor’s examination. It takes literally about 10 seconds. The doctor checks your heart is still beating, asks how you are, and then you’re excused.

drug administration setup

Today was the last drug adminstration. I wasn’t allowed to take a photo of that, but I did take a photo at the end of breakfast when the doctors were setting up the drug administration which takes place in the same dining area.

Tonight we are playing poker. ¥5000 yen in chips each. There seems to be an sense of finality in the air. Its just as well, I’m kind of over the whole thing. I’m looking forward to seeing my girlfriend again and flying off to Spain together, to spend some of the money I’m making.


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