N A S A   S T U D Y   -  P A R T   S E V E N :  B E D R E S T,    B O O K,    A N D    C A N D L E
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2009     09:40 pm
11/18/2009 5:32 PM
I have an ice pack under my lower back and my head hurts.  I had my third finger stick, and Karina and Jerry had me roll onto a gurney so they could put one of those egg crate-style cushions under my sheet.  I managed to adjust the TV a little bit so I can see it better.

Dinner consisted of chicken, fries, broccoli, apple sauce, a couple of Famous Amos sandwich cookies, and a glass of grape juice.  At first I was hungry… now I’m nauseous… my back is better but my head is not…

I have an ice pack on my head, and I’m doing terribly with my water – I still have a pitcher and a half left.  A nurse named Tia checked my vitals and asked me to rank my headache on a scale of one to ten… I gave it a solid five.  I almost fell asleep, too.  The previous two weeks, I never felt the need to take a nap or go to bed early… that changed today.  Jerry asked me if I’d be interested in playing Uno tomorrow and I hesitantly told him I would… today, I just wanted to take things slow.

I have one water pitcher left and 20 minutes to go… this won’t end well…
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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009     02:12 pm
I ended up finishing about half of the pitcher last night, and I did have to urinate at 10:30 (thirty minutes after lights out).  This morning, my head is better but my back is not… I was weighed and I actually went down three pounds.  They took my bandages off and got another finger stick.

NewsRadio is back on and Karina gave me another ice pack.  I don’t know if it’ll do anything.  Theresa came in for a chat and reminded me that the first three or four days are always the hardest.  Breakfast was raisin bran with nuts, yogurt, fruit, a dab of peanut butter, a glass of OJ, and a glass of milk.  Karina checked my vitals and I have some physical therapy later which should help with my back.

A guy named Mike just introduced himself to me… he’s a bedrest veteran, back for his follow-up bone density scan.  He told me that it took him about a week to adjust and after that, it was smooth sailing.  Other than my back, I’m okay.  Everyone keeps popping in to ask how I am… I tell them all the same thing: "Just my back, this is to be expected, etc."

Used the bedpan for a second time… still awkward but I managed to finish in half the time.  Karina gave me a second pillow for additional support to see if my back would feel any better, but later took it away because it wasn't doing anything for me.  A woman named Patricia (pretty sure that’s what it was) introduced herself to me… she’s one of the doctors in charge of the study… seemed like a nice lady.

Lunch was a turkey sandwich along with corn chowder, a small bowl of trail mix, and a glass of some orange-mango-tangerine concoction. I ate in the common room whilst playing Scrabble with Todd and Kennisha.  It was a little awkward with Todd and I in our beds and the Scrabble board placed on a chair in between… and I would have won if I didn’t have to leave early for my first massage.  Now that the bedrest phase has begun, I get a massage every other day. 

I didn’t get the massage therapist’s name but she was very nice.  The massage was great.  I mentioned Chanukah and she asked, "You’re a Jew?"  She didn’t try to convert me, but I got the distinct impression that she probably believes in the Rapture, or the End Times.  At the end, she said, "My husband loves Jewish people."  I told her we’re not that different, and she said, "You’re God’s people"… uh, thanks…

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009     08:50 pm
More NewsRadio, another finger stick, another bathroom break, and I finished the second water pitcher.

Dinner was chicken, broccoli, carrots, a glass of punch, and a small bowl of Jell-o… and into the third pitcher of water, which I later finished early, so hopefully I won’t have to urinate during the night.

I was wheeled out into the common room to play Uno with Amber but I soon needed to use the bathroom so we were only able to play a few rounds before they wheeled me back to the room.  Tia just took my vitals… I have my first horizontal shower tomorrow which should be interesting… I also have another plasma volume test tomorrow which should be, uh, fun…

Sanjurjo called and we chatted for about thirty minutes.  Tia asked me to rate my back pain on a scale of one to ten… I gave it a 3.5… other than that, it’s a slow night.  The new guy starts on Saturday, and I heard he’s a veteran of last year's study that was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike…

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009     09:26 am
Our wake-up call today was "Faith of the Heart," a.k.a. "Where My Heart Will Take Me."  For a second I thought I was in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, but just for a second (and hopefully, it was T'Pol's pon farr episode).  I had some weird dreams again last night… why Jon Gosselin was in the dream I have no idea.

I exchanged the ice pack for a heating pad this morning, and I give my current back pain a solid four.

The first half of breakfast consisted of waffles with syrup, a bowl of fruit, and a glass of OJ… then I was wheeled a couple doors down for my second plasma volume test.  Once again, Mike did the blood draw and a cute girl named Natalia (I later learned she was an engineering grad from MIT) supervised the test.  I had to breathe pure oxygen through an apparatus, then she would gradually adjust the mixture… sadly, I also found out I’ll be doing another tilt test after I’m done with bedrest. 

The second half of breakfast consisted of sausage, eggs, and milk. I watched last night’s 30 Rock which, sadly, wasn’t up to their usual standards… and one of the nurses gave me two Tylenol to help with the back pain.

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009     10:09 pm
That was weird… my first horizontal shower.

Nas and Nikki had me roll onto a gurney, and then wheeled me down the hall to the shower room… then they had me turn onto another gurney, covered with a towel.  They closed the curtain and shut the door, and I was basically left up to my own devices.  The time limit is 20 minutes, and I spent the first five adjusting the water temperature.

The faucet was just above my head (so I had to operate it in reverse) and Nikki had rested the shower head next to my body.  I was clothed when they wheeled me in, and it was a bit weird stripping whilst laying down.  The shower itself was excellent… I was able to get just about everything, but did however get water in my nose and right ear.  

I had my soap and shampoo in a plastic bin located on a small wheeled-table adjacent to the gurney; on the shelf below was a plastic bag with my underwear, a set of scrubs, and towels… I nearly tore my right leg off putting my underwear back on… when finished, I pulled a red string which sounded a chime so they could come and extricate me.

I’m back in bed now… Nas picked a shirt and pair of shorts from the nightstand, closed the curtain, and now I am dry, changed (my clothes, anyway), and I have the heating pad under me.  Not a bad morning, blood draw and back pain notwithstanding.

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009     08:06 pm
Lunch consisted of meat and noodles stuffed in a bread pocket, greens, carrots, a couple of sandwich cookies, and a glass of lemonade.  Back is still in pain… still watching NewsRadio… also finished my NBC comedies on Hulu... 

Arby informed Brent of my back pain, so he came to see me… and told me it’s better to keep my legs bent, not straight.  He also said I can keep my legs elevated with a pillow (or two) during the night… I guess this might sound like common sense to someone with chronic back pain but what do I know?  He lastly advised me to use the heating pad for 25 minutes, followed by 25 minutes with the ice pack.

Tammy just brought me the ice pack and a large pillow to place underneath my legs… I'll chase this back pain ‘round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give it up!

Had another blood draw… thanks to all the finger-sticks, I have to type with bandaged fingers which slows down the process, though it helps me move the scroll wheel on the mouse a little faster.  My back feels slightly better, but that could just be mental.  I’m already on my third water pitcher… and I did my stretching routine (which we have to go through twice per day to prevent blood clots).

Dinner consisted of enchiladas with rice, corn, salad, and a glass of grape juice… meh… urinated again… did the heating pad and the ice pack and I’ll probably go back to the heating pad again soon… then it was back to NewsRadio (again).

I just spent an hour out in the common room with Jerry… we played six games of Uno and I won exactly one of them.  I’m back in the room now… Tierra asked if my back was still a four and I said, "Yeah..."    She said she’d say a small prayer for me later… I’m not religious but the sentiment was appreciated.
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Continue on to Scott's Journal : Part Eight


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