Sunday, 22 March 2009

And a No. 47 to take away

So I went to collect my consolation prize from the good folks at Clinical Research. The 2nd prize, Interferon Beta 1a, according to the leaflet I'm given to read - is licensed for the treatment of Multiple sclerosis...by DNA treatment of 'Chinese hamster ovary cells'...I'd like to meet the scientist that first thought - MS?, Chinese hamsters?..Eureka! Did they try Spanish hamsters first?...too laid back man....We'll deal with your MS tomorrow. But before I can get to this weird Chinese take-away smorgasbord I had to complete the usual corridor walking and mental arithmetic tasks. Then came the blood samples to keep the Americans busy....and finally onto the pre-injection main course - an hour of steroids by IV drip.

The steroids said the new Doctor from Sweden who I hadn't met before will make you very lively, you know, a little bit 'high' and fidgety. Now I'm not good at sitting still at the best of times but here they were pumping steroids through my system whilst expecting me to sit immobile with needles sticking out of my arm. Fortunately Everyone's Favorite Nurse kept me entertained with demonstrations of my new do-it-yourself injecting kit. Unscrew this bit, screw this into that bit, unclip that, put the syringe in that bit, check the marker, don't forget to remove the cap, pull out the lid, depress the top, place at a 90 degree angle, press the button, count to five...s...l...o...w...l...y, remove needle and hey! presto. By the time I'd done that wrong twice on an innocent looking plastic cushion the 60 minutes were almost up and I was feeling disappointingly not 'high'. I don't know what drugs she gets in Sweden but they must be pretty low grade.

And then to the big moment - my first injection. Just me, the needle, the contraption and the drugs with E F Nurse looking on like an examiner....I unscrewed, I connected, I pulled, I depressed, I pushed and phut...nothing. You've still got the cap on said EFN. Bollocks. I tried again unscrew, connect, twist, pull, press, push, bingo!! 26micrograms of Interferon Beta 1a coursing through my veins. 26micrograms of Chinese hamster ovary cells...Richard Gere eat your heart out.

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