Friday, March 21, 2014

In Which I Am A Guinea Pig For Science

We Also Serve Who Only
Lie Around And Metabolize!
I am midway through a study with the University of Washington on the relationship between diabetes and kidney disease. I am a "healthy control", which means that I don't have either syndrome and am for the purpose of comparing how my body reacts to stuff compared to the unwell.
In practical terms, this means that on two successive Mondays I fast starting midnight (not even coffee! but water's o.k.), go into the hospital (and I keep forgetting how awful traffic is at rush hour)  and hang around while they poke and prod and write things down.
Last Monday it was all about lying in bed with tubes in my arm. They would add insulin and watch my blood sugar fall. They would add dextrose and watch it rise. Up and down, up and down. Lots of blood samples. Nice people, and the Primary Investigator in particular loved to talk about the science of it (as much is possible to my limited understanding.)
The last time I was parked in a hospital bed for something like this I didn't have a smartphone, so I watch Star Trek episodes all day. This was not bad (were the special effects really that cheesy?) but this time I could do my email and carry on business, almost as if I was at home with some tubes in my arm and no coffee. If ever I had contemplated talking a day off to relax, skip coffee and inject saline into my arm, this experience has taught me it's not as exciting as they make it seem on TV ;-)
All this week I have been wearing an accelerameter so they have some idea how much activity I have. Yesterday through tomorrow I record everything I eat and (other than water) drink. Sunday I save everything I pee in a couple of special jugs that have to be kept refrigerated. They are sanitary, opaque, and a color and shape that matches nothing in the fridge. Still, if you come by my home, be warned! I do not customarily stock apple juice!
Monday I go in for more poking and prodding and a scan to see where I keep my fat (I asked ... they don't scan my head!) Eventually they'll publish a paper and email me the results and I'll go "huh!"
I don't have the head for science (....and they aren't going to scan it!....) but I can make my contribution this way. It's just my way of being in the Mad Science Auxiliary!
(And you can do it too. Use the google machine and you'll probably find lots of studies. I'd avoid the ones at Miskatonic University.)

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