the PSE checked into a Drug Study down in Austin for a fifteen-night stay.
check-in was 13, June at 7:00am.
the PSE drove down the night before and slept in her car.
when the sun came up the PSE went and checked-in and was sent to a room with twenty-nine other Lab Rats waiting to go through the check-in process.
the PSE and the other Lab Rats were handed clipboards that would dictate their schedules for the next two weeks.
Item Number One on their clipboards was to go back into the lab and submit blood and urine samples, have their vital statistics taken and have an EKG.
it usually takes about an hour or so to work your way through that process.
once somebody had signed off on the PSE's clipboard that she'd done everything she needed to do, the next step was to have her belongings searched.
the PSE had packed a rucksack with her computer and fifteen pairs of underpants plus all the cosmetic products she thought she could get in.
Drug Studies are particular about what products they allow people to bring in so the PSE had to be particular about which of her many cremes, balms and salves she took down with her.
the PSE did not have anything confiscated.

the PSE was sent upstairs to the locked pod where she would be spending the next fifteen days.
the pod consisted of a cafeteria, male and female bathrooms, male and female shower rooms, two TV rooms, a 'game room' with a pool table and a 'quiet room' with old desktop computers for all the people who didn't bring their own laptops.
despite the name, the 'quiet room' is never really quiet because people who don't own their own computers generally are the same people who can't shut the fuck up.
the pod was dormitory-style with several different windowless rooms with four bunk-beds each.
fortunately for the PSE, one of the side-effects of the experimental drug the Lab Rats would be testing was dizziness so the Study Coordinators assigned them to bottom-bunks only which meant only four to a room.
the PSE found her bed assignment, then went and got changed into the hospital scrubs the Drug Study provides and a color-coded t-shirt so that the Staff can easily identify what Rats are in different groups.
the PSE was assigned to the Maroon Shirts.
wearing the color-coded shirts is mandatory but wearing the scrubs is optional.
the PSE and i are always amazed at the percentage of Lab Rats who pack suitcases full of different pairs of jeans and hats and sneakers and get dressed in them every day.
can you guess what race those kinds of Rats are?

Check-In Day passed.
Lab Rats are normally mellow on Check-In Day, having come all the way from wherever they are from, often by bus.
the day after Check-In Day is normally Dosing Day but this Study was a little different and they didn't dose until Day Three.
which meant the PSE and all the other Lab Rats had to wait forty-eight long, miserable hours before they knew if they would qualify for the Study or they would be sent home as back-ups and only be paid a few hundred dollars instead of $4,500.
that is always the most stressful part of the Lab Rat Game.
results came back eventually and the Coordinators had the Lab Rats all report to the Procedure Area to let them know if they were cleared by drawing different shapes on their clipboards.
all the PSE could see was a series of faces either light up or fall flat entirely.
the PSE got a circle which meant she was cleared for dosing.

Dosing Day started around 7:00am on the PSE's third day in the Study.
she gathered in the Procedure Area with all the other eligible Lab Rats, gave vital statistics and blood and then, one by one, were handed a Dixie Cup full of experimental pharmaceuticals.
this Study concerned a medication for Schizophrenia, to prevent it, i assume, not create it.
the PSE and the other Lab Rats had to hang out in the Procedure Area for four hours after they got dosed, giving blood and vital statistics periodically.
this is normally little more then an inconvenience but the PSE reported that this time it was damned-near excruciating because the medication made her so sleepy.
all the PSE wanted to do was sleep but every few minutes the Staff would come around to fuck with her.
even more noteworthy, however, was that for two days after dosing, the PSE was overcome with an overwhelming melancholy.
apparently this was one of the anticipated side-effects of the experimental medication.
every morning, the Staff would come around with a Suicide Assessment Questionnaire and ask all the Lab Rats if they were thinking about hanging themselves with the computer cords, or whatever.
the PSE wasn't feeling suicidal, but she did spend an inordinate amount of time fixating about how unfair life is.
her thoughts ran the gamut from the desperation of the American working class to famine and genocide in Africa and Asia to the shameful comfort of oligarchs and corporate masters to having to sell your body to science just to be able to afford to live indoors.
and, to be fair, is that the schizophrenia medication talking or is that just an accurate assessment of what a shitty state the world is in?
where does an awareness of world affairs stop and depression begin?

the PSE spent the next few days hanging out mostly in her room.
when i do Drug Studies i make a point to be out in the larger community but the PSE stayed in her bed the entire time, playing on her computer.
the PSE had planned on downloading some TV programs to watch, in fact, i was counting on her to do a whole lot of downloading off the torrents and bring back a haul of programs for us to get into, but sometime between the last time the PSE was at the Austin Drug Study and this time, their tech support people figured out a way to prevent internet piracy.
they had already had filters in place but the PSE and i could normally get around them by using the TOR browser.
apparently, though, the Tech Support squares found a way to plug that hole and the PSE couldn't get her Utorrent program to connect to the world of free shit.
because the PSE didn't bring enough media to get her through two weeks of confinement, she had to sign up for a Netflix free trial.
of course, we'll cancel before the free month is up.

the PSE kept to herself for the first several days, laying low in her dorm room, only really talking to the other girls in her room.
but of course, if you put somebody in a confined space with three other people, the odds are good that one of them will emerge as your enemy.
because A) the kind of people who sell their bodies to science for a living generally come up short in the manners department and B) the PSE [like me] is good at finding people not to like.
the PSE's enemy was a Black Lady who insisted upon talking on her phone in the room.
this is taboo, the dorm rooms are supposed to be places where Lab Rats can take refuge from the rest of the pod, but, of course, some people just don't give a fuck about other people.
the woman would screech and hoot on her phone with her various boyfriends all afternoon long, totally ambivalent to the PSE or anybody else in the room who might be trying to take a nap.
what the PSE needed to do was to tell the woman off first thing on Check-In Day to establish dominance but she didn't do that so the Black lady hooligan just kept being unruly.
it got so bad that one afternoon the PSE had to take her pillows and blankets and go sleep on a table in the Procedure Area.
the fluorescent lights were on overhead and there were two different groups of Lab Rats playing board games, but it was still quieter and easier to sleep then with her shitty roommate making a racket.

several days passed like that, with the PSE keeping mostly to herself laying in bed, playing on her computer and trying to avoid her uncivilized roommate.
then, on Day Ten of her fifteen-night stay it was time for the second of two Dosing Days.
stay tuned for the conclusion, later this week...

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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