Friday, August 29, 2008

Bag of Bones

Sarcasmo here. On day 64 of my NASA adventure, I did something I haven’t done in a long time... got up and sat in a chair! It was time for the standard mid-way bone density scans:

DEXA = Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry

pQCT = Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography

This is part of the ongoing data collection. We had these tests upon entrance to the program, and they’re conducted again around the 60-day mark. The reason that mark is important is because in the original study, the entire bedrest duration was 60 days, and they add our data to that original databank of the previous subjects.

I missed it by a few days, since there has been a lot of activity lately, being that we had more people joining, one person got out of bed recently, and Heather also had all her 30-day tests.

I know you’re saying, “Oh whoop de doo, he sat in a chair.” Well, after being in bed for two months with the head tilted downward, a few things CHANGE in your body. First off, the word "Tenderfoot" comes to mind. The moment my feet touched the floor, I felt hot pins and needles sensations. The next major development I can only explain as an elephant sitting on my chest – mostly from the changing of fluid from the upper body back to the legs and feet.

After lying in bed that long, transferring over to a wheelchair felt so "abnormal" -- like I was always leaning forward too far, even though I knew I was sitting totally upright. When I got out of the wheelchair and lay on the flat surface of the scanners, it felt like I was not flat at all… almost as if my feet were in the air!

The tests took about 2 hours. Some of the feelings went away and some new ones invaded, the longer I was upright. The weight on the chest dwindled quickly, but the tingling in the feet did not. I felt aches and pains, and weakness in my muscles. After all was said and done, they returned me to the tilted bed, and I instantly felt “back to normal” again. In conclusion, I was excited about getting up and walking around, but until I have to, I will be content with my -6 degree home.