Although a linguist, I have always been extremely interested in medicine, devour medical programmes on TV and like to think I am doing my bit for future medical advances, so for the last five months, I have been taking part in Covid research for Biobank, a biorepository that stores biological samples (usually human) for use in research. Once a month I am sent a kit which involves cleansing and pricking your finger to let blood into a small phial, which is then returned through the post. You are supposed to follow a strict regime of drinking two glasses of water half an hour beforehand to hydrate your system, be quite active to ensure the blood flows well round your body and then prick your finger(s) with the lancets in the kit. You are supposed to fill the phial with blood to the 0.5ml line. It doesn't sound a lot when you think a teaspoon is about 0.5ml, but I have had the devil's job of getting that much out of my finger. I have to press and squeeze, press and squeeze to get as far as 0.25ml. At the end of the session, my finger is sore and bruised for several days afterwards. It seems in no time at all, the next month's kit is sent to me to repeat the whole process.
Today was this month's collection of my blood and I spent a good hour preparing (drinking three large glasses of water and exercising), before taking the sample. I have just come back from the post box and am now typing this with a throbbing finger. All in the name of science. My one consolation is that in four weeks' time, that will be the last sample of the six-month study.