Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mile Mark

After an exhausting week, I'm pleased to say I walked a mile for the first time today! I've been building up to it, trying to move a further each day around my neighborhood. I exercise first thing when I get up, so there's no avoiding it (otherwise, I think I'd just give in to the fatigue and sleep all day!) I've also revved up into a run a few times, but stop almost immediately due to nausea.

Those first steps out of bed are still the toughest. Everything I loosen and stretch the day before just stiffens up again, and I get shooting pains through my heels and calves. I take a few moments to straighten my spine, and stomp around until it's gone, but it's frustrating how long it's hanging on. Sounds screwy, but picking up the feet and setting them down very hard actually helps. Our physical therapist actually had us jumping off steps directly onto our heels -- I guess it helps convince the body that we are using our legs again, and strengthens the bones.

Makes sense, right? But why does the body need re-convincing every day?! That pretty much sums up my first week at home: two steps forward, one step back. I'm also having depth perception problems. I keep swiping walls and door knobs in my house, because my eyes misinterpret how close I am to solid objects.

While Googling articles on gravitational effects, I found something which explains a lot about why I feel so disoriented:

ZeroG Makes Astronauts Dangerous Drivers

Some interesting excerpts:
"low gravity adversely affects ability to judge size and distance... suggesting that astronauts' perception problems are a physiological issue, not a result of adaptation to enclosed environments."

"Study of the impact of microgravity on spatial awareness and movement is going to become more important as we try to land on Mars or on the Moon after very prolonged space flights."

"NASA has long suspected something goes wrong with visual perception in space. Apollo astronauts reported difficulties judging distance while on the moon, for example: far-off rocks and features seemed closer than they really were."


I heard from Devin, and he made it to Georgia to pick up his motor home, and is now headed for Iowa to see his family! He also mentioned in the middle of the afternoons he "keeps falling asleep." LOL... glad to know I am not the only one!

9 comments:

barbie2be said...

that's funny... i fall asleep in the afternoons too. ;)

sarcasmo said...

well progress on motorhome has kind of come to a halt im waiting on parts still .. the hurricane kind of slowed all mail.. so hopfuly the rest of my stuff will be in by tues day so i can get on the road.. and im still planning on comin don to see ya... jst takin a little more time then expected sorry :p

Christy said...

Hey there. Good to hear you are returning back to normal. Have you gotten any of the mail/postcards? I hope mine made it from Germany.

PillowNaut said...

hi Christy! sadly, none of my mail has caught up with me just yet, as most of it was forwarded to Galveston, and they are just now getting services back up and running. But I am sure some stacks will find me soon, thanks for sending! :) I'm also still sending things out, and I think I am through my email now -- but I caught a few in the Spam folder from web mail accounts, Yahoo is weird that way. So if anyone else out there was expecting one but hasn't heard from me, please email again, I'm watching the spam mail filter more carefully now instead of just emptying it...
:)

ActingUpAgain said...

I long suspected that those mirrors on the side of my car are the result of lunar astronauts...

NotSoccer Mom said...

funny, that's about what i feel like every morning too! glad to hear you were able to walk a mile. sorry to hear the rehab is taking longer than you expected. how is computer time--still feeling icky sitting at the computer?

PillowNaut said...

hey lady! yeah, i can still only stare at the PC for limited amounts of time... I'm thinking I need a brace for my laptop so I can type while lying down again, LOL :)

Mrs. L said...

At least you have an excuse for waking up with aches and pains and stiff muscles. Some days I wonder if I was in a boxing match in my sleep!

Norman Copeland said...

I haven't experienced a micro gravity environment in 'everyones' perception of space that I guess should be termed our magnetic standard intellectual g setting, but, I think the distance perception is about how you think regarding the atmosphere, sort of like when babies are born, they sort of wrestle things and it's said they can't really see...


I beleive I could envisage training techniques for the preparation...