Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 2: The Blood Thickens


"Time to wake up, you're restricted from water starting now, go to the bathroom if you need to."


My day started with a flashlight shining in my face at 6am. Despite the fact that I was a little groggy, I still managed to comprehend what was said. They* took away my water bottle and the hustle and bustle began.

Around 7, 10 or so coordinators suddenly appeared in the room and began frantically prepping for the day. Needles were pulled out, gloves were put on, I was asked, "Have you had any changes in your health?" approximately 700 times, and then the IV's began.

Now, I've never had a really big deal with watching needles or putting them in (Not that I do that often or ever.), but I do have an issue with a piece of metal sitting around in my arm for extended periods of time.

"There's going to be a pinch--" the girl said, as she poked the first needle in my left arm.

No big deal. Apparently I just had to sit there for another hour while they coordinated all the medications and doses and doctor jargon. Then came the time for the study to actually begin.

"Have you had any changes in your health?"

No, again.

"OK, you're going to sit up suddenly, swallow this dose, drink this small water bottle, and then IMMEDIATELY LIE BACK DOWN."

They said this part pretty seriously, so I just nodded because you don't make someone with a needle in their hand upset.


I swallowed the dose as quickly as I could (Because I'm a champ at races and I WILL beat everyone else in this study.) and then downed the water bottle and laid back down. Another girl came around my shoulder to draw blood out of the IV that had been prepped.

"...Nothing is coming out."


"We need to do another IV. Now."

Since this was all a timed operation, they needed to quickly draw blood out of my other arm. The girl quickly grabbed another IV set and went to work.

"I don't meant to rush you, but you have 30 seconds." another girl told her. I started to feel like they were defusing a bomb, and I was the bomb--especially since everyone else's arms seemed to generously be giving up their blood. What's the deal arms? Why the sudden stage fright?

"Small poke..." she said, while I could see her brow furrow as she mentally counted down the clock. I actually applauded that she was able to get in as quickly as she did (Not that I doubted her, but if I was in that position, I totally would have just stabbed and said, "That's what you get for having thick ass blood.")


I could see the tiny dribble into the vial as my arm refused to give up blood. I did congratulate my body on its ability to recognize when it should be clotting, or seizing up, but now was not the time! Cooperate, goddammit!

I could see that she just wanted to shake my arm and scream, "GIVE ME THE BLOOD." but she retained her composure rather well. Instead, she just reached for a single needle, stabbed it into my arm, drew the blood, and told me the IV would work later.

Over the next few hours, people hovered over me ("Have you had any changes in your health?"), prodding me with more needles (and eventually removing the IV in my left arm that was there for backup "just in case."), measuring my temperature, and writing in their little books. It made me feel kind of special to have so many people fawning over me making sure that I hadn't passed out and died.

Over and over, the process continued with another coordinator. They would come up to my janky arm, try and get a blood flow, slap my arm around a bit, and eventually be relieved that they got enough out to call it good. I was silently cursing my slow blood flow since these moments usually pushed the IV around a bit. It's like in the "Mummy" movie franchise where the monster scarabs crawl around some antagonists skin until they become a skeleton...except way less disgusting and seemingly more blood** (because I guess I drip a little bit).

The time passed, the routine continued, I wheeled my heart monitor to the bathroom like an invalid, my arm continued to be defiant, and then eventually it all came out. No more needles, no more blood, and they gave me a big ass lunch as some sort of consolation.

"Look at that, you aced your blood pressure test." One girl said, as she took off my blood pressure cuff.

I know, my heart studied blood pressure at SUU.

The second IV that "worked." I'm a trooper, as the workers here told me.
I assume that just means difficult.

*I found out today that I'm supposed to call them coordinators. Not nurses or doctors or scientists or whatever. That really just sounds like they're planning a fancy party in here.
**Riddle me this: Why don't those people bleed while the bugs are eating them? It's probably the magic of a PG-13 rating, but come ooooooooooooon. I want there to be some acknowledgement of actual human anatomy. If I wanted to see that blatantly disregarded, I'd watch Grey's Anatomy.

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