Friday, July 18, 2008

Daily Life at UTMB

Busy testing day! Hopped from one thing to the next with less free time than usual, but it feels good to be busy. I often have periods of intense physical and mental exertion, then hooooours to kill. Today was very active though, and I am trying to move around as much as I can, even when I have no medical tests.

It's starting to sink in that I'll be recumbent for three months without the ability to rise! I've heard and read that a hundred times now -- but it's becoming more "real" as it approaches.

I got a question last night via email asking if I am allowed to leave? Yes and no. We can walk about the facility freely, and also leave the 6th floor to go to any other floor. I have technically been "outdoors" twice, but I'm limited in how far I can wander, since I cannot go into direct sunlight. This would cause the body to create extra Vitamin D, so we must stay in shade. It is particularly weird for me, because I'm in a room where the sun comes crashing in during the late afternoon. So I literally can't even go into the corner of my room between about 4 and 7pm!

Mom also asked if we can spend time with other subjects? Yes, we all have contact every day, whether walking around or lying down. Monitors will wheel the "bed-ridden" ones to various floors or the lobby for a change of pace, and sometimes a whole group will tag along. We also meet in common rooms to watch movies, and some of the guys wheel their beds together around the Wii or Playstation to play video games. Magazines tend to travel from room to room, and we each have TVs & laptops for entertainment.

And yes, anyone can have visitors. I haven't seen any, because everyone is from out-of-state... all our friends & families are far away, but any could come and go with certain restrictions: no one can be ill in any way (because our immune systems take a dive), and they cannot bring anything in with them. The nurses tell funny stories about folks who tried to have pals sneak in candy bars or other contraband food, LOL... and one woman who even had a friend try to sneak in her cat! Seriously, how do you sneak a CAT anywhere?! Needless to say, that did not have a happy ending...