Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Month Out

I left Seton hospital a month ago… seems like a blur now! I catch myself thinking, “Was I really part of one of the biggest evacuations of the past half-century or did I hallucinate that?!” And now I'm just trying to get my body and brain back into shape...

I finally dug out my roller-blades, and enjoyed a 5-mile roll, which felt so amazing! The fluid motion of skating uses different muscles than running, though I’ve had almost no soreness, because I stretch extensively each day. I’m also lifting weights again, working slowly back toward my previous routines. I’m running a few times per week, and have reached two miles – though sometimes I have to walk in between. My body appears to need more water, and more rest afterward.

With apologies to everyone, friends & strangers alike, who emailed me recently…I was visiting family in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and am only now catching up. Some Q&A for newer messages:

Just about everyone I know from everywhere asks: How is the rehab going? Are you still in a lot of pain?
Yes and no on the pain thing. Exercising isn’t the chore it was at the beginning, but I’m still stiff first thing in the morning. It takes less movement to shake it off now, but I notice I must be careful about sitting or lying in the same position for too long. For instance, I used to sit in front of my PC all day with little effort, but now my neck and back aches after only a short period. I’d have to say, though, that the only genuine PAIN I have recently felt was after putting on high-heeled shoes and attempting to walk in them. I’ve done that twice… once just to see if I could and once to go out with friends. It was a less-than-smashing idea.

Chris Fuhs of Nebraska asks: Take care of yourself. I think this has been harder on you physically than you let on in your blog?
LOL, yes… I refrained from writing about it regularly because it would unintentionally sound like a litany of whining. “My back hurts, my knees hurt, my feet hurt, blah blah blah.” I tried not to dwell on it, because I knew it was temporary, and I’m a very disciplined exerciser. Now that the rough part has passed, it’s easy to look back with blithe dismissal, since I was forewarned about everything that would happen to my body while simulating spaceflight.

The worst part was the fatigue. Actually, “fatigue” isn’t even the word for it… this was a kind of exhaustion I have never felt before, not even during bouts of flu. I’m sleeping deeply, and napping (now that I can!), but every now and then I am overcome with a combination of drowsiness and muscle-weariness that is debilitating. Sometimes it comes on suddenly, and I just have to sit or lie down quickly. My fitness goal is become even stronger than I was before, in both mind and body, but sometimes fatigue can interfere with motivation… I’m just trying never to let that happen for more than a few hours at a time! When all else fails, I just charge out of the house and walk, run, walk, run, walk, run.

Karyn K. of Austin, TX asks: Be honest now, so are you just watching TV?? You are glued to CNN and the debates, aren’t you.
Tempting! ;) But no, I don’t have any channels at home. It was nice to have them for awhile on the ward TVs, but now I only see news at the gym for short periods. At home, I watch DVDs, and I did finish up the “Twin Peaks” series I'd been watching at UTMB. Also, hockey season just started, so I go to my brother’s house a few nights per week and we watch Sharks games on Satellite.


Mrs. L said...

Dang, I liked reading your posts on a regular basis. Couldn't you start doing research or something on NASA stuff and post here :)

Go Sharks!

ActingUpAgain said...

You might consider prompting others at the study to take up the mantle of blogging. Maybe even some other testing subjects in different areas. Considering the attention this blog generated, it would be a shame that this window into NASA activities be closed.

Along those lines - have you considered visiting the current pillownauts for encouragement down the down? Speaking of which, since everyone had to be brought upright - is there currently a shortage of test subjects now?

Vlad Atavin said...

Hello there!!

I've just completed the first phase of a 3-step bedrest experiment conducted by the ESA (European Space Agency) in Toulouse,France.
There are 12 volunteers and we've stayed in bed at - 6° during 21 days + 2 weeks of hospitalisation (7 days before and 7 days after the bedrest).

Here's my blog:

I'd be happy to share this experience with you so feel free to come by and to ask any questions!
I wrote in French but I can communicate in English or Russian...

Have a great day!