Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clinical Study (Afterthoughts)

Imagine spending four days and three nights in a hospital bed, and you aren't even sick. Imagine having three to five vials of blood drawn every fifteen minutes for several hours, and there is nothing wrong with you. That was my experience in mid-July when I volunteered to take part in a clinical trial that is being conducted by the CDC and Emory University Hospital.

I checked in on a Monday afternoon and quickly settled into my room -- a regular hospital room in the research wing of the hospital. After meeting the principal investigator of the study, I made myself at home by setting up my laptop and stacking a few magazines and books nearby. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I underwent two MRIs and was hooked to an EKG for a while. The MRIs required me to think as it captured images of my brain as I tried to work problems on a computer screen that was projected into the MRI. Tuesday was probably the most relaxing day, as the MRI on Wednesday seemed to take longer. For a few short days, I felt as if I was on a vacation. I devoured a wonderful novel, "The Kite Runner," and ate some actually tasty meals that were delivered to me as I sat comfortably in my room.

The "vacation" came to a screeching halt on the last day of my stay. It was on this day that even more was required of me as a volunteer participant. More blood was drawn more often, and I had to think on my feet as I finished the testing portion of the study.

Would I do it again? Probably. All of the medical advances we enjoy today were achieved through research and through the hard work and dedication of the physicians and researchers who devise the studies and see them through (which most often takes years and even decades to reach). By volunteering as a study participant, I, too, can help move medical science forward. Even if I do lose a little blood in the process.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Clinical Study (Day 1)

This is definitely a first for me. After taking part in two CDC-Emory studies in Macon, I was selected as a volunteer for a larger study that is taking place at Emory's clinical research center in Atlanta. Today was my admission day, so I'm sitting here in a hospital room while completely healthy! I 've already talked to Craig and Hannah, visited the gift shop (window shopped only... it was closed!), and watched several episodes of Jon & Kate Plus Eight.

My room is a regular hospital room containing one bed (head and feet adjust so that should be fun!), three chairs, a nightstand, and one of the rolling tables that also serve as a food tray. I have a small bathroom and even smaller towels. All they did today was take blood and other bodily fluids, had me checked out by one of the doctors involved in the study, and gave me several computerized questionnaires to complete. Tomorrow, I will begin the day chewing small bits of cottony-type material at specified times, so they can check my saliva for cortisol and/or other things.

Although I will not benefit from the tests, this is an interesting way to help others. Hopefully, from the study, medical mysteries will be solved!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I have had the best time on Scrapblog! This digital design Web site makes me feel like a graphic designer! It has all of the papers, fonts, embellishments, and tools to create professional-looking pages. And I do it all right here in my home office, or at the beach, or wherever life takes me! Warning though... it's addictive! But free. If you haven't experienced the life of a graphic designer, do it now! Visit Scrapblog and create art.