Saturday, November 12, 2011
I looked into the pain medication study and found it to be a legitimate, trustworthy study. All participants receive a free medical foot surgery, including all pre-op and post-op visits, as long as they participate in a 48 hour post-op pain study. In addition to paying all medical costs, the study would also pay each participant $650. Participating in the study seemed to offer a lot of positives. The only negative aspect of participating was the possibility of receiving a placebo pain medication during the 48 hours following surgery. "So what?" I thought. "I'm tough and have a fairly high pain tolerance. I can go through two days with a little pain."
Needless to say, I signed up and had the surgery. Everything went well during surgery and the first few hours after surgery. The medical researchers had me record my pain levels in a pain journal every hour following surgery. The first few times I gave my pain relatively low ratings (1, 2, 4). But after several hours, the medication from surgery had worn off and I began feeling it. When I finally listed my pain level at a 6 out of 10, the researchers began giving me the study "pain medication." It was given through an IV and I was told to let them know when I felt any relief. After 15 minutes, I had felt no relief. In fact, my pain was still increasing. After another hour, the researchers gave me another dose of the "pain medication." Still, I felt no relief and my pain continued to increase.
By this time, I knew that I had definitely received the placebo. Now, I thought I was pretty tough, but I guess when a surgeon saws the bones in your foot in half and reattaches them with screws, it hurts more than I expected. I'm not a whiner or a crier, but I was on the verge of tears. After two rounds of my "pain medication" and a round of ibuprofen, the researchers said I could opt to go "off study." The researchers said that going "off study" meant that whatever they were giving me for the study (the placebo) wasn't working so they'd record those results, stop giving me the study "pain medication" and start giving me Percocet. I told them that I'm not a quitter and I don't like quitting. They laughed and said that it didn't make me a quitter. They said that whenever a patient gets the placebo, this happens - that it's pretty standard.
With that reassurance, I decided to go "off study" and start taking the Percocet. What a difference actual pain medication makes!! I still had to stay my 48 hours to be monitored by the researchers, but instead of taking their fake medicine, they regularly dosed me with sweet, sweet Percocet. I'm home now and am recovering quite nicely. I should be getting my $650 next week and will shortly be purchasing a new iPad. Yes, I experienced 5-6 of the most painful hours of my life, but I got excellent medical care, saved my $1000 insurance deductible, and even made $650. Well worth it.