Elaine - Interview 04
Age at Interview:
works as a healthcare assistant. She is married with two sons aged 17 and 22. Ethnic background: white British.
Brief outline:Elaine has taken part as a healthy volunteer in several diabetes and metabolism research studies, where she has given blood and tissue samples. Healthy volunteers help researchers understand how influences such as diet and weight interact with our genes.
More about me...
Well, it’s been a wee while since I did one and I can’t remember when, I’d have to go and look up, but I would say that as time has gone on they have got more and more in depth. So I suppose like you start off maybe just having a blood test done, and then it’s got more and more and more involved. And I think from what one of the nurses said to me it’s that when they’re doing their research they obviously are looking at different things and people’s, you know, like blood might match up to something that they want to then move on to the next stage, or whatever. But they always tell you in advance what they’re going to do. The last one I did, did involve, it was quite invasive, and they did tell me that it was very invasive, and I read through it and I thought about it and thought about it, and decided that, yes, I would go ahead. There was like one instance where they were sort of taking blood from an artery in my leg that they just found it quite difficult to do just because of, I think, the anatomy of it all more than anything. And they decided that, you know, that it wasn’t going to work, so they stopped, you know. I was left a little bit bruised and a little bit sore, but they were very, you know, they were just very kind and made sure that I was okay and that I was happy, and that they gave me, the doctor even gave me his number and said, you know, “If you have any problems you can phone at any time”, and you know. But it was at the end of the day it was a bruise, you know. And it goes.
Well, I was contacted by letter. I don’t know why. I suppose, I think they got my name from the GP surgery and just asked me to go along for a blood test and height and weight, and that was all. And I thought, “Well, there’s nothing much to that, so I’ll just do it.” And then it stemmed from there.
And the kind of information that you’ve been given about these different research projects, what are your feelings about the way that the information is presented?
I think it’s very important, because you get to know the staff, and I suppose in some way they’re a bit like, they’ve become like friends, you know [laughs]. You get to know them, and you know, I quite often think, “Oh, that’s quite nice, actually.” Because I’m going up to see them and you chat and you catch up, and because you can be there for half a day or a whole day, and it can be quite nice because sometimes you’re just lying on a bed, you know, once they’ve got everything into you, you know, I’ve sat and read magazines and they put the radio on. And there are other times with the research, you know, you’ve got to concentrate more on different things, but quite often you’re just, you know, it can be quite a nice day [laughs]. Quite relaxing, you know.
Well, I must have just read what they sent to me, and because it was only something like taking your height and weight and a blood sample, I thought, “Well, that’s not a big issue, you know, if it’s going to help them, you know, I can quite easily go along, takes half an hour at the very most.” And, you know, it’s not any different from going to give blood, is it? In fact, it takes less time. So, you know, I just felt that some good would come out of it.
Do you feel there’s a sort of social responsibility to take part?
A little bit, yes. I mean, I don’t think people should be made to take part in it. You know, I mean there’s - I mean, there are people who just the thought of going up to hospital or the thought of needles or anything to do with that just makes them feel quite squeamish and quite ill. So, you know, I can understand that they wouldn’t want to. But I think if everybody, you know, does a little bit - and it doesn’t have to be, you know, research. You know, it could be, there are lots of people do, you know, charity runs for things. But I just felt that it was something that didn’t bother me, having blood taken from me or a needle put into me, it just doesn’t bother me.
So I felt quite happy to contribute that way. It’s better than running a marathon [laughs].
What does gift imply that that isn’t, doesn’t match with this idea, then?
They always check your height and weight. And they usually take a blood sample, but apart from that.
So they don’t ask you about your lifestyle and smoking and all that sort of thing?
Yeah, oh yeah, oh actually yes, you do. You’re absolutely right, yes, obviously you fill in a form to sort of say whether you’re a smoker or not, how much alcohol you take. I don’t know if they do it every time. I suppose it depends what they’re doing but I have filled that in.
And there have been, there was one study where I had to do a food diary, for so long before. I’d forgotten about that. And I think it was sort of analysed by one of the nutritionists. I suppose it would be just to, you know, if you’re fasting and they’ll want to know what you normally have. But that was, I mean, when they had it written down it looked, I thought, “Oh my goodness, how am I going to remember to write all that you have down?” Because they were asking, you know, for quite specific sort of measurements and stuff, but actually they didn’t need it just quite so detailed as it was. Because if you have to start weighing out, you know, how much pasta you’re having, you know. But it did, as long as it was, you got a rough idea of the portion. So there was, I did do that one time.
So they told you that—
--in advance, right.
I think I actually did, you had to do it over so many days, and I don’t think it had to be consecutive days, but you had to write down which days it was and maybe do it over a week, so maybe pick three or four days out of that week. And then I did, I think sent it off to them and they obviously give you a prepaid envelope and you send it off to them in advance, so that they can have a look at it.
Feedback on the results, I suppose, is the other thing, where you said you’ve been sent some results.
I think if they’re thinking about it - I mean, I didn’t think about it. It was, you know, came out of the blue. But if you are thinking about it, then just find out as much as you can, and I mean the more information you have the better, you know, informed you are to make a choice. But don’t be frightened to go along for - because I know, well, the one I did they certainly do pre-screenings - go along and ask them, because I’m sure they’d rather you went along and then turned around and said, “No” than you didn’t go along at all. Because I think you’ll probably find that once you do get there, and you see how friendly everybody is and how easy it is, you’ll be quite happy to carry on.
Site map /
Contact us /
DIPEx is a registered charity No. 1087019 and a company limited by guarantee No.
Copyright © DIPEx 2008. All rights reserved. Website by Thinking Fish.