Today was my third visit to the Seattle VA Hospital as part of my participation in the UW Study "Effects of Simvastatin on CSF AD Biomarkers in Cognitively Normal Subjects" as a "healthy control". The earlier visits for for screening and some basic testing, both of memory and of blood, but today they wanted a sample of spinal fluid. This involves the dreaded "Spinal Tap" ...
...which I found out is not as bad as it used to be, for two reasons. First, it's now called a "Lumbar Puncture" (no umlauts) and second, they use a very slender needle so, with the help of Lidocaine, I didn't feel the procedure at all. I have a little soreness, and of course had to take it easy for a day to avoid headaches, but that's all. I wouldn't do it without a really good reason, but since I had a really good reason, it's o.k.
I use today's excursion as an excuse for not finishing my report on inventorying my food stocks, as promised last Sunday. The fine people at the Change the World Wednesday Challenge had expressed alarm when I didn't report back after a plunge into the pantry, but truth be told, I've been running around like a crazy man, between two brothers moving into town, science experiments, and what not. I'll give it another try tomorrow; in the meantime, I'm enjoying my status as a guinea pig for science!
If YOU'D be interested in trying to participate in some such experiment, you needn't start with anything this drastic. If you're in the Puget Sound area, you can choose from a variety of diseases at the UW's Healthy Volunteers Page; otherwise, may I suggest ClinicalConnection?
POSTSCRIPT: if you think a lumbar puncture is bad, think about this (from Saturday Morning Brekfast Cereal):