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Trial and error

Trial and error I think it was like that with my mum. She wears patches to ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and the last time she saw her GP she was invited to try some new anti-inflammatory gel. ‘Gel? For the sort of pain you are in?’ I was sceptical. How was gel going to do the work of opiates? But she had two large tubes arriving by courier and, besides, she had promised the doctor she would take part in the trial. A little gel could not do any harm, could it? Gel never hurt anyone. She would carry on with the patches, but for two weeks she would also rub this new wonder gel into the bits that hurt. She did this diligently, to a strict schedule. It was a medical trial, after all, and the results would be useful to science. And after a week, her fingers did feel better. Her knees, too, seemed less swollen. But her hip, where the metal joint is playing up? Her back, where the bones have all but gone? I am not so sure. She was halfway into her second tube when I phoned, and I could tell at once that she was in pain. ‘The trouble is,’ she said, ‘I have to twist to rub it into my back, and I think the strain of twisting has…’ Well, I told her as firmly as you can tell someone on a bad line and with bad hearing: ‘I don’t care if it is medical research. I don’t care if you promised the doctor. This trial stops now.’ Could it be that what they were really testing was just how far some patients will go if they believe they are helping out? If so, then I think my mum has done her bit for science. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing Standard Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Trial and error

Nursing Standard , Volume 28 (8) – Oct 23, 2013

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Publisher
Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
Copyright
©2012 RCN Publishing Company Ltd. All rights reserved. Not to be copied, transmitted or recorded in any way, in whole or part, without prior permission of the publishers.
Subject
Reflections
ISSN
0029-6570
eISSN
2047-9018
DOI
10.7748/ns2013.10.28.8.29.s33
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I think it was like that with my mum. She wears patches to ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and the last time she saw her GP she was invited to try some new anti-inflammatory gel. ‘Gel? For the sort of pain you are in?’ I was sceptical. How was gel going to do the work of opiates? But she had two large tubes arriving by courier and, besides, she had promised the doctor she would take part in the trial. A little gel could not do any harm, could it? Gel never hurt anyone. She would carry on with the patches, but for two weeks she would also rub this new wonder gel into the bits that hurt. She did this diligently, to a strict schedule. It was a medical trial, after all, and the results would be useful to science. And after a week, her fingers did feel better. Her knees, too, seemed less swollen. But her hip, where the metal joint is playing up? Her back, where the bones have all but gone? I am not so sure. She was halfway into her second tube when I phoned, and I could tell at once that she was in pain. ‘The trouble is,’ she said, ‘I have to twist to rub it into my back, and I think the strain of twisting has…’ Well, I told her as firmly as you can tell someone on a bad line and with bad hearing: ‘I don’t care if it is medical research. I don’t care if you promised the doctor. This trial stops now.’ Could it be that what they were really testing was just how far some patients will go if they believe they are helping out? If so, then I think my mum has done her bit for science.

Journal

Nursing StandardRoyal College of Nursing (RCN)

Published: Oct 23, 2013

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