Drug studies. Geez, what a fucked up thing, eh? You get paid (pretty well, by my standards) to be a guinea pig for some nameless huge-ass (and probably evil) drug company. (I mean, any entity that is THAT rich HAS to be evil…)
Now, if you even barely know me, you know that I have a heavy-duty blood/needle/hospital/doctor’s office phobia. But I’m only working half-time, and Dallas is expensive.
Well, M and I saw this one HIV drug study in the Dallas Observer Classifieds that offered $2,000 apiece! Geez! Four thousand bucks?!?! THAT boosts my courage real quick! We’ll do this one quick drug study and pay off a credit card! Yeehoo! We’ll do three or four a year, and be out of debt in no time! Yeee-hew!!!
So, we wake up bright and early this morning for the pre-screening at 8am. M and I were so excited, we got there 15 minutes early. I’m feeling really excited, ready to be on our way to richness.
We signed in, sat down, read the disclaimers, filled out a few forms. But then when we started reading about what the study entails: “If you are a woman, you must use at least two kinds of contraception.”
“Why?” I asked M.
“They don’t want you getting pregnant during the study. It could mess up the baby.” Eeek.
“Well, that sounds creepy.” Reading on, it said, “If you are a man, do not donate sperm for 30 days after the end of the study.”
Again, I asked M: “Why?”
“Your sperm is no good for 30 days after the study is over.” Ugh.
I really started noticing how much the place smelled like a hospital. I started getting a bit queasy, so right there in my little folding chair outside the reception room, I put my head between my legs and had M read to me. It just got worse. White bread toast for breakfast. Blood tests. My stomach started doing back flips and double-twists. I broke out in a cold sweat. I got tunnel-vision. I told M, “I’m not feeling very good.”
HA! That’s the understatement of the year!
M asked the receptionist if she could come back to Thursday’s screening. She got the OK and we split. We needed gas, but I couldn’t move. She pumped it in the blistering cold wind. Then she drove us over to Nodding Dog, where I had a tall cocoa and she had a terrible breve. I began to feel human again, and I drove me to work. And voila! Life goes on…