Thursday, May 7, 2009

Screening Redux

Before returning for the Lunar Study, I had to undergo a modified screening... nowhere near as grueling or thorough as last June, because they consider all records of physicals good for one calendar year. I came in under the deadline, so I didn't have to repeat the full flight physical, psychological tests, etc.

However, certain things like metabolic panels, TB, Hepatitis, HIV -- those must be repeated for every incoming subject, regardless of timeline... (also, us gals have to repeat pregnancy tests). So, last week I headed down to Houston's Johnson Space Center campus to revisit the Human Test Subject Facility (HTSF).

If you apply and are invited to have needles stuck into you at JSC, it feels like you drive all over creation, but you'll mostly be in the HTSF building with The Screening Crew. I was there for about two minutes this time around when Linda (who conducted my eye and ear exams last year) happily said she still enjoyed reading my blog, LOL... So naturally, when you say that, you have to be on it!

HTSF Screening Crew

Linda, Rori, Me, Chad, David, Kathy & Wanda

Here are the amazing unsung heroes who recruit and test for the medical and space research studies, day in, day out, for the sake of science -- they are a fun and cheery bunch, despite their always-hectic schedules. (I've seen some of the schedules, you really wouldn't even believe just HOW hectic.)

The ladies above are RNs, and the two gents are the official chauffeurs who drive us subjects hither and yon around Houston and Galveston. They are so busy right now with new recruits, they sometimes need airport taxis to pick up the slack, but that's a good thing. Everything is back in full swing again!

Wyle's Activities Coordinator, Michelle, went on ride-alongs with us, so she could see everything the subjects go through. Some of you may remember her from posts last year -- she's the fast-moving lady who helps us shop, send and receive mail from bed, and a million other things you don't even think of until you are "head-down." She also arranges for lectures and comics and movie nights...

Johnson Space Center Michelle & Me

After screening, we drove to AMC Lifestyle Support, who fits NASA study subjects with leg-compression stockings. More to come on why these are used (I'm still learning about it myself), but for now I'll just mention what I knew on that day: each set is customized for the wearer... they measure us in Houston, then FAX the specifications to a company in Germany called Beiersdorf-Jobst. They'll make my new legwear, and ship to UTMB before I go into the lunar bed.

See the full gallery of pictures from that day at the Screening HSTF Gallery in my Picasa albums .. and yes, I know my legs are white and I need a tan.

NASA StudyFollowing the measurements, we got to have a nice quiet lunch together, and do some space souvenir shopping. Michelle knows all the good spots ;) Then it was off to Wyle for a briefing about the project, which I'll detail tomorrow... stay tuned!

It's so great to be back!