after sixteen days and fifteen nights working as a lab rat at the Dallas Drug Study the PSE finally came home to me last Friday.
as follows, an account of her incarceration.

the PSE was in a group of fifteen Lab Rats.
there were six females including the PSE and nine males.
like most Drug Studies that the PSE and i have found ourselves in, the group was predominantly Black.
though, unlike the Austin Dug Study which is just a few steps removed from a prison riot, the Dallas Drug Study was far way less rowdy.
there was no jiving and hooting and carrying on around the pool table, no thoughtless asses screaming into their phones in the halls and the sleeping quarters.
people were largely quiet and respectful of the group, which is uncommon luck as Drug Studies go.

the PSE and her fellow Rats were all confined on the 8th floor or the Drug Study Facility which was outfitted like all Drug Study Facilities we've known.
it had several rooms with beds for the lab-rats to sleep, several common area rooms with TVs and a pool table, a dining area.
unlike the Austin Drug Study, there was no Procedure Area. all medical procedures including dosing, blood draws and vital statistics were preformed bedside.
which is a more convenient way to do things.

the PSE and her fellow Rats were fed four times a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.
the PSE enjoys the Dallas Drug Study food way more then what we are accustomed to being fed at the Austin Drug Study.
it doesn't quite rise to the level of being good, but it is far from a chore to eat like some of the Austin Drug Study meals could be.
for this Study, the PSE and her fellow rats were being fed a low-fat meal.
at the Austin Drug Study, this will invariably result in grumbling and complaining about the diminished portions but at the Dallas Drug Study they largely took it in stride.
the only real complaining the PSE observed was one morning when breakfast was a crêpe and all the Black people got worked up because it was served cold.
they had never encountered a crêpe before, and there was a queue at the microwave to heat it up.
the PSE came home from the Drug Study having learned that no matter what temperature their food is served at, Black folks will invariably take it to the microwave to nuke it hotter.
it's an interesting phenomenon. some sociologist ought to write a paper on it.

the PSE and her fellow Lab Rats were testing a medication for cystic fibrosis.
presumably to cure it, not to cause it, though, i don't think the PSE thought to ask.
the drug is already on the market, approved by the F.D.A., which is always good news in the Lab Rat Game.
you don't want to be in a First-In-Human clinical trial, though, goodness knows i've rolled the dice more then my fair share of times.
the Study was to ascertain the effects of taking the medication with different kinds of foods, hence the low-fat breakfast.
there will be other Studies done in which the Rats are fed a high-fat breakfast, and likely, Studies where they aren't fed any breakfast at all.

the Study required the PSE and her fellow Lab Rats to be dosed three times on Days Two, Seven and Twelve.
on Dosing Days, the PSE would begin her day by reporting to the cafeteria where she had to eat every bit of her low-fat breakfast.
on her second dosing day this proved exceedingly difficult.
the breakfast included three strips of turkey bacon and a whole carton of milk, and between the rubberiness of the turkey bacon and the PSE's natural aversion to milk, it was all she could do not to throw up.
but the PSE was being paid to eat her whole breakfast on Dosing Days, that was part of the deal, and because the PSE is a pro, she suffered through it.
after breakfast on Dosing Days, the PSE would report to her bed, be handed her pill, take it, then spend the rest of the morning having blood taken and her vital statistics done.
after four or five hours of that, the PSE was free to go about her business until the next Dosing Day came around.

the PSE spent her first four or five days in the Drug Study keeping to herself.
she read, she napped, she stared out the window, she walked in circles around the facility's corridors.
with the exception of the reading, she basically functioned as a house-cat.
after a while, though, the isolation began to wear on her and the PSE began efforts to make friends.
she began by talking to a Korean woman in her mid-fifties who was an easy target for friendship because she would not shut the fuck up.
the Korean woman would just talk and talk and talk and talk at anybody who would listen and the PSE gave her attention until she couldn't.
eventually the PSE began talking to a pair of dudes, a Black kid who was maybe nineteen and a White guy who was in his mid-thirties.
they became the PSE's Study Buddies.
though, friendship in a Drug Study is more about convenience then any kind of genuine respect and affinity.
the Black kid was a typical millennial and couldn't keep his face out of his phone all the time and the White guy was some kind of an autistic who spent most of the Drug Study writing Thank You Notes to different people he had causally interacted with throughout the month.
his mailman, his grocer, his dental hygienist.
the PSE wondered if she might earn herself a thank-you note by the time they all checked out.
a lot of the conversations the trio had were about the latest Fast And Furious movie coming out.

the trio eventually got into playing board games together, Jenga and Monopoly and Life and Risk.
every afternoon they would have a standing date to play board games, which seems really, really fun.
for the first several days, the PSE cleaned up at board game time.
she kicked ass in Jenga, she dominated in Risk, she won the shit out of Life as a rocket scientist with two sets of twins.
though, of course the irony there is that in a game amongst strangers brought together by selling their body to science, there can be no winners in the game of life.
after a while, though, the two boys began to team up against the PSE and in their second go-round at Risk, they nibbled away at her empire.
nevertheless, the PSE has a great time, passing the hours away with her new Lab Rat Friends.
i was jealous of the PSE getting to have all of that board game fun.

the PSE also made herself a Drug Study Enemy.
the Korean Talk-Talk told the PSE that a Black Lady in their room who always wears a shower-cap had it in for her, though the PSE can't for the life of her figure out why.
they barely interacted.
fortunately, there was no need for a preemptive shanking.

two days before the end of the Study some guy the PSE never spoke to had to be taken out of the Study and sent to the hospital.
one of the PSE's board game friends told her that apparently this guy's blood pressure dropped so low that it was imperceptible by the machines they use.
they sent the guy off to the hospital and later that day somebody came around to gather up his belongings.
in all my years as a Drug Study Lab Rat, i've never seen this happen before.
i was hoping that there might be some hush money in it for the PSE, but none was offered.

eventually, finally, the PSE's sixteen days and fifteen nights drew to a close.
last Friday morning the PSE woke up, gave one last vial of blood, and was processed out of the facility.
she was given a check for $2,000 with another $1,700 to come in the mail in another week or two.
the PSE said goodbye to her Drug Study Friends and enemies and in-betweens, and drove back home, the Monster and me and our happy family in isolation.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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