Time for a quick update on the Sustain drug trial.
It’s been four weeks since I started injecting
synthetic lizard saliva exenutide (the trial drug). Further research reveals that the drug has been in use for quite a while, but usually has to be injected twice a day before meals. Not surprisingly, some people find this a bit hard going – hence the development of a slow release version which can be administered as a single weekly injection.
Anyway, things were going well until last Tuesday when one of the stranger side effects started to kick in. Although not directly linked to the treatment of diabetes, the drug can also have the effect of slowing down the movement of food through your intestines, meaning that you eat less and may lose weight :).
Unfortunately, the initial effect is to make you feel as if you have swallowed half a gallon of liquid concrete which refuses to budge :(.
On the basis that these things usually sort themselves out, I spent the day huddled under a duvet feeling sorry for myself and sipping tentatively on a glass of water.
It didn’t sort itself out and by two o’clock in the morning I was on the phone to the non-emergency help line and, eventually, an out-of-hours doctor in Abingdon. His prescription was to sit up, take two paracetamol, drink a large glass of iced water and massage my stomach in a clockwise direction. Spookily enough, it worked.
More observant readers will have noticed something else that worked – the NHS. Yes, I had to go through a call centre and a long checklist of questions. But at least there was a number to call; they answered the phone promptly; a doctor phoned within 20 minutes and called back later to see how things were progressing. If things had got worse, I would have been given a home visit or even sent to hospital.
Oh – and none of the questions on the call centre’s checklist was “what are your credit card details?”
Today I went back to the Churchill for a review and to give the inevitable blood samples and am happy to report that all seems to be going well. And this is also part of the NHS – all this research; all these studies that lead to gradual improvements in the understanding and treatment of disease and disability.
The NHS gets a lot of criticism, some of it justified. But it also gets a lot of things right and does a lot of amazing stuff that we take for granted.
P.S. on my way out of the hospital, I saw a red kite.