Posts Tagged ‘good fortune’

My first day of the dermatology study was mostly what I was expecting.

There were six people participating on this particular day. The lounge area we had to stay in was about the size of a small conference room, with ten very comfortable armchairs and ottomans. Despite the comfiness of the chairs, the room, for six people, over the course of 12 hours, did start to feel kind of claustrophobic.

Every three hours, we were called downstairs and evaluated by a doctor. Then we’d go back upstairs and continue on with our sitting. The demarcation of having to get up every three hours helped to break up the day. Really, it passed very quickly. They provided us with lunch and an assortment of snacks, and in fact, there was such an array of snacks that I felt spoiled, like I was back at my grandma’s house.

I would have been perfectly fine sitting in a room by myself for 12 hours. I would have had no problem finding a multitude of things to do. But of course, I forgot to take into account the human element. The thing that truly bewildered me was that two people of the six in the study brought absolutely nothing to occupy themselves for the 12 hours that we were. They brought their winning personalities. That meant they spent a large amount of time chatting. About what, you might ask? Oh, their motorcycle-riding habits (with a helmet versus without), how often “blacks beat each other up,” cruises they have been on, kids these days (“the language they use!”), food (“What is… hum-mus?”), Lifetime movies (“I love Lifetime.”), and etc. This put something of a damper on my plans to spend the entire day peacefully reading and writing. My ear plugs did not successfully block out the noise of their conversation. It was annoying for a little while, but all I had to do was remind myself how much I was being paid to be there, and it became instantly less annoying.

I did manage to finish one book, completely read a second one, and begin a third one. That was nice.

As far as the study itself, I felt self-conscious about my level of rosacea–like I wasn’t badly enough affected to be there. Everyone else in the study had much more obvious issues than I had. In fact, they actually questioned why I was there. And then, I felt even more awkward when I caught a glimpse of the doctor’s assessment of my face. Every three hours, I had to fill out a questionnaire about how I felt about the levels of my facial redness. On a scale of 0-5, I usually gave myself a 2 or a 3. When there was no one in the examination room, I took a look at what the doctor had put down for his assessment, and he had consistently given me a 1. It made me feel like a self-conscious, pale-faced whiner. I consoled myself that the pharmaceutical company probably wants this information of how red people feel their faces are, as opposed to how red a doctor determines them to be.

Some days, like today, I remember how different I feel from all the people who are around me. Today, I was the weirdo with pale skin. I was the weirdo who brought all of her many (many) belongings for the day in a rolling suitcase. I was the weirdo who brought homemade fruit leather for a snack (“Is that beef jerky?”). I was the weirdo who, when I was asked what snack I was gonna get from the ones provided for us, responded, “Oh, I’m just marveling at the diversity of my choices!” (and then I realized that I sounded like a tool). I was the weirdo with the bright orange ear plugs in my ears, when everyone else was happily talking to one another about the texting and the Facebook.

If this truly was a secret psychological experiment, I hope I have given whoever is running it some good material to work with.


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The past two months have been expensive for me. I had a fence put in my backyard, so that the new puppy would have a place to run around. I had been wanting a fence for a while, but I hadn’t been planning on doing it quite so soon. My car also had to be in the shop twice. TWICE!

The result of this was that I was considerably lower on funds than I like to be at any given time. But, I resolved, it would be okay. I made a new budget, and tightened things up where I could. I started planning out my menus weeks in advance, so that I would minimize grocery expenses. I told myself that I would go without all luxuries for as long as it took to restore the appropriate balance to my bank account.

It felt good to have a plan, but I knew it would be well into 2011 before I would be able to relax my budget. It made me anxious, and angry, to think of doing without simple things until March or April or however long it took.

And then a miracle fell out of the sky.

I got a call from my dermatologist’s office. They told me that they were conducting a rosacea study. And that participants in the study would make exactly the amount of money that it cost me to have my car repaired twice and to put a fence up in my backyard.

There were a number of variables that would determine whether I could participate. I had to be approved to take three days off work, to start. And then I had to go be screened to determine whether or not I actually had rosacea. I had never been diagnosed as such, although I have always felt like I had a very red face.

My boss thought it sounded great. And then I went to be screened by the dermatologist, and he told me that I had just a moderate enough case of rosacea to qualify. I have never in my life been so happy to have something wrong with my skin.

So, tomorrow, I will arrive at a dermatologist’s office at 6:00 a.m. and stay there for 12 hours while they conduct the first part of the study. They need to see how the topical prescription works after application in a controlled environment, which is why I can’t leave for 12 hours. But I get to bring books and my laptop and pretty much anything else I want to entertain myself. 12 hours of sitting in a room enjoying leisure activities and getting paid A LOT OF MONEY FOR IT?

I will confess that I am so excited about the prospect of 12 hours of leisure time, and it just seems too good to be true, that I’m worried that it is actually a secret psychological experiment. I’m concerned that they’re going to make me spend 12 hours in a room with a crazy person or something, and that will be the TRUE study.

However, I am remaining optimistic. So far, I have compiled the following list of things to bring with me:

  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Laptop
  • Earplugs
  • Ipod
  • Snacks
  • 3-4 YA novels
  • Girl With Curious Hair (if not finished by then)
  • You’ve Got Mail

When I say that this feels heaven-sent, I mean that literally. As in, thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for this.

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