Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The things we do for money

Sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do. So I've been spending an interesting few days in a clinical trial. Why? To save little bunnies from being experimented on? To give the animals a break? To help further mankind? erm, NO! MONEY, plain and simple. Yes its gotten that desperate. Now don't get me wrong I haven't sold my kidneys or anything, well not yet at least.
I applied to an ad to be used in an experimental drug for diabetes with Quintiles Medical research. Having been selected I thought from that point, I was in. Two grand for two weeks in a hospital bed, cant be that bad. As it turned out my body had other plans, apart from giving me manflu a week before I was due to go in, my triglycerides decided they were going to mess about and were in too high a range for the trial, so after a few days it hadn't gotten into an acceptable range, so I was dismissed from the trial.
"How do you feel Mr Freeman", the doctor asked - pi*%ed off, annoyed, frustrated, upset, I thought, but I responded with "it's fine, you have to do what you have to do, it was nice meeting you". Inside I shattered knowing everything that money had already allocated toward, my business, Sandra and Pitu and Emma, before leaving I checked to see if they could transfer me to another trial as I was already there and been screened, sadly not.

So what did we have to do whilst there, well to be fair the facilities were not that bad at all, Sky movies and Sky sports, a pool table, games, computer room - the computers were hit and miss on working properly. All the above is fine, when you can actually leave the ward to use them - my advice, take a laptop and plenty of movies. The not-so-pleasant side of this trial were the vast amounts of blood that was taken about every 20 mins or so, 8 vials 15 times a day, boy we were drained and how did they replenish all that blood? By giving us cold dry pasta, frozen peas and a yoghurt pot FULL of mayonnaise - which had to be eaten separately, so not nice! The meals to be honest were dire all pre-cooked and warmed up, if you were lucky and very small portions. Then not only did they want your blood but also your other waste! We had to poop in a bucket and pee in tubes, such a pleasant job for some poor guy - I really cant imagine that person at school saying to his career adviser "I want to poke around in peoples poop!" but it has a cool title as I was told, biochemical analyst, better than poop checker I guess.

The nurses were fine and for the most time pleasant, but there were very obvious tensions which I think was bad form to let the already nervous participants aware of this, one nurse actually throwing stuff on the floor in frustration/anger and openly arguing with another nurse. Not professional at all and hardly instilled us with confidence. I guess it is hard, each trial having it own criteria and nurses being drafted in for an hour then swapped others, constantly having to be brought up to speed and the same questions / mistakes happening over and over - but it is simple to address I think.

As for the brave boys who were with me on the trial there 10 of us including me. A mixed bag - all ages, races and backgrounds. A few South Africans, an Estonian, a Manc, a Scouser, a film maker, a carpenter, a guy who writes children's stories, all very interesting people and I do hope everything goes well on this study for them. Each person having there own reason for being there, and the money was it for everyone - it was frighting to consider how many people were there and what each one is paid plus the nursing costs and misc costs (nothing was spent on the meals, really) must be a small fortune which shows how much that industry is worth. Personally with unemployment rises as it is I can see this becoming a income for lots of people.   

So the plus side, well I get some money for the few days I was in and I lost 1.2kg. Would I do it again? Yes, because my situation hasn't changed I still need the money as I did before. I now know what I'm getting into so I can be better prepared mentally and physically as long as you have no fear of needles, go for it :)

If you do want to check out trails these are ones to check out:
QUINTILES 
HAMMERSMITH
TRIALS FOR US
If you have been on a trial why not share your experience! I would love to hear it. 

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