There are six parts to Professor Hunter’s investigation into why some people need more frequent injections than others. The first part involved sending out urine sample kits to the participants which, when returned to the office, were frozen. The participants were all patients who need more frequent treatment than the currently prescribed 12 weekly injection. The second part involves sending out faecal sample kits to the same participants which will be returned to the Gastrointestinal Laboratory in Port Talbot.
This second part should have been a doddle. The record keeping is being overseen by Taylor Morgan who has recently completed the registration process to become a registered Biochemical Scientist (well done that girl) and involves codes and indexing so that the patient’s name is not associated with any samples and only Taylor knows the name of the individual who is known to the laboratory and Prof Hunter and his team only as a reference number. This is to maintain patient anonymity and was a requirement for the Medical Ethics Approval. Anyway, all of that has been taken care of and the packs were put together by Taylor on Thursday night for posting yesterday – Friday. The dates were important because the samples have to be returned to the laboratory at the beginning of the week as there is nobody at the laboratory to receive the samples at the weekend. So, yesterday I left the office with the box full of samples to be sent off. But there was a problem. Since the laboratory had sent us the reply envelopes with their address on and the postage pre-paid there has been a postal charge increase. Hence the postage applied by the laboratory was now out of date. Not a problem you might think, simply add the extra stamp (which was 5p). And so off I toddle to the post office, buy the necessary 5p stamps and then proceeded to add these to the return envelopes. And then it was when disaster happened. I placed the return envelope into the large envelope that contained the sample pot, latex gloves, plastic spoon (I know), sealing tape and instruction leaflet – it was rather a full envelope as you can imagine. Now, the post was due to be collected at 1pm. The time was 12.30 and now all that remained was to seal the envelopes and hand them over the post office counter. And that was when the problem occurred. You see, for some reason the envelopes wouldn’t seal. They were completely open. And that was when I begged the Post Master to let me have some sealing tape and I frantically set about sealing the envelopes which was a much more difficult thing to do than I would ever have imagined. At 2 minutes past 1 I sealed the last one just as the post office delivery person arrived at the post office.
So, if you are taking part in this research programme, please accept my apologies for the way in which the envelope that you should hopefully receive today is sealed. I did my best in unforeseen circumstances. For the first time in my life I wished I’d had some sealing wax….