Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Blood Work

by Kent5 (writer), In Southern California for now., November 29, 2010

A story about blood being drawn for a clinical trial.

It was a warm summer morning. The last of the ocean fog had burned away, and the air was still. In an old car held together by paint and duct tape, an outcast drove slowly down the street - looking for the address he had been given when he phoned the day before. Soon he spotted it, and then found an open parking space about a block away.

He was early for his appointment, so he waited in the parked car for a little while. Then he walked back to the building he had just driven past and went inside. The front office was empty, so he sat down and waited. After a couple minutes, a receptionist entered the room and asked him his name and appointment time. She wrote something down on a piece of paper, and then told him he could go on back to the room down the hall.

So he walked back to the small lab a few feet away. There was a nurse inside waiting for him. She scowled when she saw him, and sounded mad enough to spit as she asked a few questions preliminary to the drawing of blood. After he handed her the paper that he brought with him, her demeanor quickly changed. "Oh," she said, "you're in the control group?" Her face brightened and she almost smiled. The harshness left her voice as she asked him to roll up his sleeve.

As the blood filled up the syringe attached to his arm, he began to look around the room. On a low shelf behind thick glass there were dozens of glass tubes filled with blood. They all had colored labels on them -- some a pale color, others bright. The light-colored labels said "schizophrenic", and the darker ones said "control."

Finally the last tube was filled, and she removed the needle from his arm. She put a bandage over the needle mark and then handed him a sheet of paper to take to the receptionist. He went to the front and got his pay, and then left; as glad to be out of that place as he was to finally have a little bit of money.

The small facility had no equipment of its own to do complicated tests on the blood that was collected there. Instead, it was all sent to a large laboratory in another city. There it was broken down into various component parts, which were measured and analyzed in many different ways.

At great expense, any and every kind of difference that could be found between the two different groups of blood was recorded and then published in an article in a respected medical journal. The article commented extensively on what substances tended to be present in greater or lesser quantities in the blood of one classification of people versus that of the other classification.

All the authors of the study were congratulated by their colleagues and peers, and their reputations were significantly enhanced. Before the collection phase of the study was over, the nurse who extracted blood from every study participant learned to always check everyone's paperwork before deciding how to treat them.

About the Writer

Kent5 is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Blood Work

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By Frank - icare2be on December 03, 2010 at 04:18 pm

@Kent - Your story is accurate and true. I have lived the scene you have described in your story. Thank you for bringing that memory back fresh and clean.


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By Kent5 on December 04, 2010 at 01:27 pm

Thank you, Melody and Frank, for your kind comments. The story was inspired by an actual experience I had (with a few details changed). I think that kind of thing is probably more a part of everyday American life than is generally acknowledged.

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By Lady D on December 28, 2010 at 02:35 pm

Good story. When we don't fit what others want us to be there is a drug for that. Then six months later there is a law suit for the drug.

I rather not be a drone.

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