the PSE has been out of work since November.
the PSE had been working as a waitress for a few months but decided she did not want to do that anymore because being a waitress sucks.
the PSE decided she would rather be a Lab Rat instead, and sell her body to science.
which is fine, sure, whatever, but the Drug Study Game ain't as easy as you might think and the PSE has been having a fuck of a time getting herself a job.

over the past three months the PSE has tried out for no less then four Drug Studies both up in Dallas forty minutes away and in Austin three hours down south.
she hasn't been able to catch any of them.
twice she was told she did not pass screening because there were things wrong with her; her EKG came back with a week heart one time and another she had dirty piss.
not like she was on drugs, but like she had bacteria or filth or critters in her urine stream. gross.
another time the PSE dropped out of a Study because she anticipated she was going to be a back-up and she wanted to pursue another opportunity that ended up not working out.
the PSE is also limited by her gender and reproductive potential.
a lot of Drug Studies are “males only” or for “men and surgically-sterile or post-menopausal women only.”
because the PSE is potentially capable of breeding [though she refuses to do so] she only qualifies for about a fourth of the total Drug Studies going on at any given facility at any given time.
all of which is to say that it's been a pretty lean three months.

for the past three months the PSE and i have been living on our savings.
we had paid our rent up through the end of March and had enough money to keep us in gas and groceries.
but, with each Drug Study that never came to be, our safety-net became thinner and thinner and thinner.
for the past two weeks we've been looking at a bank balance of $201.01 in our checking account.
if the PSE doesn't catch a Study and bring home a paycheck quick, we're gonna have to dip into our Savings reserves and i really don't want to have to do that.

on Tuesday of this week the PSE woke up at 5:45am, went through her morning routine, then kissed me goodbye asleep in the bed, grabbed her sack and went off to work.
she drove forty minutes across the Tom Landry Freeway to the Dallas Drug Study for a 7:00am check-in.
a few weeks previous the PSE had screened for a $6,200 Study, testing i don't know what.
the Study would involve seven overnights in-house, then a week off, then one more overnight, then another week off then four more nights in-house.
neither the PSE nor i were happy about the PSE being gone for eight days, we were especially concerned about how the Monster would react having to be left home alone all day while i went off to school for the first time in three months, but, we've got to get money somehow and goodness knows i'm not good for it.

the PSE got to the Dallas Drug Study at 7:00am Tuesday morning and spent most of the morning and afternoon hanging around waiting to get a bed assignment.
she gave samples of her blood and urine, submitted to a physical and measurements of her vital statistics.
everything came back fine. no problems.
but, that did not put the PSE at ease.
the Study was looking to dose twenty subjects and there were twenty-eight Lab-Rats all vying for the prize, such as it is.
Drug Studies work like that, they take in some number of back-ups just in case there is something wrong with the Lab Rats they have.
in case they show up high on drugs or with abnormal lab results or if they get a case of nerves right before dosing time and their vitals spike out of range.
at the Austin Drug Study you can tell right from the go whether you are back-up or a full participant, both by your order in the screening process and by the Participant Number they assign you at check-in, but the Dallas Drug Study was being much more coy.
they went out of their way to tell everybody several times “nobody knows who is in and who is not. the Doctor will make his decisions based on your labs...”
nevertheless, the PSE had a pretty shit feeling about her position in the Study.

the PSE was in the last group to screen for the Study and was one of the last ones to get called to the cafeteria for mealtimes.
still, there was some optimism to be had in the numbers.
the PSE was one of only three females in the Study group and one of only five non-Blacks.
the Drug Study Game, like the NBA, is dominated by Black dudes.
the PSE and her two roommates, a White girl and a Korean girl, were hoping that for the sake of a well-rounded clinical trial, they would be allowed to dose, even if they were all pretty far down the pecking-order.
the PSE spent all day on Tuesday in an anxiety-ridden panic, fluctuating between fear that she was not going to get into this study and trying to tell herself that maybe she might.
we really, really, really, really really need this study to come through.

i came home from Law School Tuesday afternoon to find a small mess from the Monster who reminded me that she still does not appreciate being left home alone.
i'll write more about that sometime next week, i think.
Tuesday night i called the PSE and we talked for a while before i went to bed alone.
i wished her luck and figured that when i woke up Wednesday morning i would have a text-message from the PSE letting me know if she was able to dose or not.
when i woke u at 9:50am Wednesday morning there was nothing there.
i got out of bed, took the Monster on a walk, then had a morning shit.
as i was washing my hands there was a clamor at the apartment door and the PSE walked in.
after the Drug Study had excluded all of the Lab Rats who had test results out of range and promoted all the back-ups to take their place, the PSE ended up being number 21 in the pecking order.
since the Study only required 20 people, the PSE and her Korean roommate were shown the door.
where is all the race-based outrage in that!?!

for her trouble the PSE will be paid $350 for her overnight stay at the Dallas Drug Study, plus a $200 bonus for a bunch of immunizations they shot her up with during the Screening process because the drug they are testing reacts with immunizations somehow.
$550 is not a bad payday for one overnight and two hours worth of afternoon work, but it sure as shit isn't $6,200, either.
we can't pay April's rent with $550 and we can't buy gas and groceries and everything else we need to survive.
just this morning i had to transfer $5,000 over from our Savings account, leaving us with only a $35,000 cushion.
and $35,000 might seem like a lot of money to poor people, but for the PSE and i it's got to buy us a house, somehow, and sustain us for the rest of our lives, indefinitely.
so, basically, the PSE and i are shit out of luck unless Norway somehow invades and institutes a Scandinavian welfare state paradise or the PSE and i learn to practice some kind of magic.
the Drug Study Game just ain't what it needs to be.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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