Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Flu Camp - Stage 1

The day was finally upon us, Flu Camp Saturday! I arrived at London Euston at approximately 8.30am. Early I know, but Im obviously going to make the most out of my all expenses paid (well, £25 train fair) day out in London. The plan was to hit the shops early before my 11.15am appointment, however I failed to take into consideration the fact that the shops do not open until 9.00am..dammit! So my friend and I found a nice little cafe just off Oxford street and had breakfast.
I would bore you with all of the details of our exciting escapades around primark and topshop, however I know you are probably reading this for the gruesome drug testing details, weirdo’s.
Well I hate to disappoint, but there isn’t all too much to report back, however here is what happened...
We took the tube to Whitechapel station, and made the 10 minute walk to the Queen Mary Bio enterprises building. The building itself was not hard to find at all, the real quest came into play in finding the door! I must have lapped (the surprisingly large) facility a good 3 times, all the while panicking that my appointment would be cancelled due to my lack of efficiency.
Fortunately I found a back door. I use the word fortunately extremely loosely. Upon entering the building we were welcomed with an array of white corridors, lined from end to end with doors. Remember the bottom bunks on the film titanic? Well, it struck a worrying similarity to that.
Fortunately we were whisked back into the 21st century after coming across lift. After a good 10 minutes of aimlessly riding it up and down, we eventually came across reception. And guess what? After all that panic, we were made to wait an agonising 45 minutes.
When finally summoned, I was made to fill out a mass amount of forms, agreeing that my name could be used on their database, however with no obligation to take part in any form of clinical trials. I then entered a board room that was already filled with around 8 angry looking 20 something’s. (I later went onto discover that they had been in there waiting since 10am, so their lack of enthusiasm was forgivable.) Two men entered the room, one doctor and a spokesperson for the company. The spokesman began to read from a booklet, filled with a variety of facts about the trials. In all honesty he seemed rather nervous and unsure of himself, which was reassuring. It would not surprise me if it was his first day. So here are the key details I learned..
- 200 people try out every day for flu camp.
- Not all of them get put onto Retroscreen’s database.
- Of the people that do get put onto the database, 25% of them get chosen.
- If you get chosen, you do not have to participate.
- The amount of money they offer depends on the amount of time you spend in quarantine.
- You are made aware before hand, how long you will be staying in the facility.
- If you are still ill at the end of the trial, they may hold you for an extra 1 or 2 days.
- No one has ever had any side effects from these trials, which have been performed on a previous 900 people.
So all of these facts are pretty reassuring right? Although the 25% statistic is a little disheartening to all the money grabbing post-graduates such as myself..
After this we were taken one by one for a blood test to check our antibody count and then sent on our way.
I will find out the results in 2 to 3 weeks, keep your fingers crossed for me followers, I need all the luck I can get!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

'I just want to throw my phone away'

We’ve all thought about it, right? Surely everyone has had a point in their life where they have questioned what their existence would be like without a mobile phone.
But why is it so hard to take the jump? Little over 10 years ago mobile phones were limited to business men and the techno-savvy. And the rest of us got by with carrier pigeons, cup and straw, and god forbid...the house phone!
Well I did take the jump, around 2 months ago, I was fed up. Fed up with sitting in a group of people all glued to their phone. Fed up of not being able to concentrate unless I had checked my texts within the last 60 seconds. Fed up of feeling the need to document every movement I made by checking in, updating my status and providing photographic evidence.
So vamoosh, I threw it off a bridge, landing a reservoir, into the sunset. Goodbye technology, goodbye communication, hello bohemian lifestyle.
Ok so that is a slight over exaggeration...I in fact cancelled my contract (it was an iphone 4 ok?!) But still it was un-usable.
So how did it feel? At first, horrible. I hate to sound cliché, but I felt like someone had taken away one of my limbs. I had no idea whether my housemates were in, I had no idea if my friends were already at the pub, I had no idea what was trending on twitter?!
The grief and panic lasted a good 7-14 days. Just like a diet, the first hurdle is the hardest. However I pursued, and in all honesty, I have to say, after the initial depression it caused, it was so worth it.
I lived without a phone for a total of 6 weeks, and it was really liberating. Maybe even the burning your bra for the 21st century? I no longer felt tied down, no longer continuously scrolling through my tiny screen, when I could be actually living in the moment.
I am aware that it was a slight risk, for example, what if my car broke down, and I am stranded on the side of the road, or I am on a night out and have lost all of my friends - which is generally a weekly occurrence - but what did people do in 1995 if this happened? Well, I have no idea to be honest, but they didn’t have mobile phones!
All I know is, I felt in a lot more control of my life, as I wasn’t worrying about who had liked my latest status (not that I leave statuses anymore, facebook is so 2010..) As for now, I do own a pathetic pay as you go phone with all of about 5 phone numbers on it. This is my happy medium, for emergencies and to keep my mother from having a heart attack.
So I hope I have persuaded you to at least give it a go, you never know you may realise you actually prefer it?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Flu Camp

OK, I know I said I would post everyday, and I am aware that it has now been a week since I started this blog. blah blah, but the thought is there ok!
What im talking about today - and what I will be most likely mentioning more and more regularly - is flu camp!
For those of you whom haven’t heard the endless catchy adverts on popular student media such as KISS fm and Spotify, it is basically a light hearted clinical trial. Well I have convinced myself that there is such a thing as light hearted clinical trials..?!
The general idea behind it is, you go away for anything between 7 and 10 days, you are injected with the flu, then mad scientists come along and test a variety of new and potentially damaging medicines on you. Simple right?
Make no mistake, it may sound like I am anti-clinical trials, however this is far from the case.. In fact I myself have signed up for the first stage of this very trial.
'But what if your head blows up like a balloon and your fingers and toes drop off?!' I hear you cry... Well here is my thinking behind it.
a) Your on your own in a room for 10 days, with no real form of human communication, thus leading to potential dementia.
b) You are not only being injected with a virus that you know will make you ill, you are also then subjected to medicines containing god knows what.
c) There are no windows in the room...what if its sunny?!
However Pros..
a) Money
b) Money
c) £3000 of money!!!!!
Need I say more? Im sure I can occupy my time with purchasing online goods such as ipads, topshops finest tapestry’s and future holiday escapades.
Anyway, the first section of the trial for me takes place on the 23rd June, not this saturday but next. So for anyone that is interested in potentially taking part in the trial, I will update this blog, and let you know how it goes.
If nothing else, Im getting a free trip down to London for it..

Friday, 8 June 2012

Its 12.30am...

& I am awake customising yet another new blog. I have work at 8.45am, and I am very sure my housemates are not appreciating my late night activities, so I'll keep this short.
I have a good feeling about this one, it will be updated every day, promise.