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Volunteering: In the Name of Research

Jul 15

Posted by: ACHA
7/15/2013 2:10 PM  RssIcon

By Kim Edgren

So… here is the scene:

I am on a bike, in a johnny that opens in the front. I am connected to equipment by 12 wires to my chest, two more for each index finger, and a blood pressure cuff. My nose is pinched closed and I am breathing into a plastic tube hanging from the ceiling.

And then the test begins and goes like this: Bike until you can’t pedal any further – but let us know about 90 seconds before you can’t pedal any further so we can complete the test. Off we go... pedaling... breathing....losing my johnny because, as you can imagine, it doesn't make for the best exercise wear! Knock off a pulse ox clip because the wire gets caught on my pedal, but still going. I am giving the signal to stop... nope, keep going... machine not cooperating! Finally I have to stop. Nose clip comes off, tube out... drool everywhere. Fun times!

I have had many tests over the years; this one, however, I volunteered for in the name of research. It is a study to see if cardiac rehabilitation would benefit adult congenital heart patients and this visit was the initial evaluation to evaluate my muscle strength and exercise capacity. In addition to the exercise test, the evaluation also included “donating” lots of blood, breathing into funky machines, doing squats and having an echocardiogram.

Drooling and flashing the room notwithstanding, I was happy to do participate. Without research, many of the advances we have would not have come to fruition. Our future health, along with all those to come after us, depends on research. Many of us are into uncharted territory, so what better way for our medical community to keep moving us forward than use us as human guinea pigs of sorts? While we endure plenty of procedures that are necessary, hopefully these extras may lead to more advances and better practices for our future.

So how’d I do? The equipment malfunctioned and I had to return for a second exercise test! Luckily, I managed to stay clothed during this one and was ready for the drool at the end! There was good news and bad news: The good news was that my exercise capacity was too high to qualify for the study...and the bad news was that after all that, I could not participate in the study! Oh well.

Kim Edgren was born in 1966 with transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and ventricular septal defect. She recently became the proud owner of a Melody valve! When she is not trying her hand at writing she is busy spending time with her partner and three girls, managing her two child care centers and planning her next vacation.

Copyright ©2013 ACHA

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