Saturday, May 9, 2009


So, I'm pink. Upon checking in, each subject is assigned a color, and all your tools and articles will be marked accordingly. I'm pink this time, though what's weird is that I cannot remember what color I was last year. After being here for 64 days, you'd think I could recall!

On the bright side, I remembered everyone's names -- though there are many new faces among all the levels of staff ... and I am easily recalling the more important processes and procedures, such as: Lights out at 10pm. Astronaut (i.e. musical) wake-up call at 6am. Vital signs and temperature taken upon waking and before sleeping. Rooms must be kept between 70-73 degrees fahrenheit. Twice per day, someone sticks a stethoscope on my back and chest, to check breath sounds and heartbeat. Occasionally, others feel for pulses in the wrists and feet.

So far, the only testing is daily urinalysis, which is continually examined in a refractometer for Specific Gravity, after which small amounts are frozen and picked up by NASA for archiving.

They weigh me in kilograms every morning, and for some silly reason I still trouble myself over the mental math, converting to pounds. Daily weight is then used to determine water-pitcher assignments for the day and caloric requirements... carefuly calculated to keep us at a percisely stable weight. Three square meals a day, and you must eat and drink everything on the tray.

All in all, this second visit has been easier in many ways, because much of the "mystery" is gone. I no longer have tons of questions swirling around in my mind, and the environment no longer feels foreign. I know where the towels are, I know where to get an extra blanket, I know that when a nurse asks, "Can I get you anything?" ... "chocolate mousse" or "a martini" are the wrong answers.

A few things have changed. We can no longer leave the ward to roam the hospital for short periods each week, due to all the construction. That's rather a freedom-restricting bummer. As long as we stayed out of direct sunlight before, we could wander around the grounds. Workmen run amok with toolbelts and ladders and whatnot, still repairing all the damage from Hurricane Ike. So, for liability reasons, we can only walk around the 6th floor.

Another recent change was citizen status. The program only used to accept US citizens, but after some suggestions and discussions (and I don't even want to know the level of paperwork, LOL...) they are now allowing non-US citizens to apply, as long as they have green cards. Hmmm, I know some out-of-work hockey players who might now be interested. Hey Chicas, y'think this could help Chelios with that tax bill? ;)