N A S A   S T U D Y   -  P A R T   T W E L V E :   T h e    F i n a l    C o u n t d o w n  
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009     04:19 pm
I woke up about twenty minutes before the music... eventually, I turned onto my side and looked at my watch: 6:01.  About fifteen seconds later, the music started.  Breakfast was oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, toast (the toast was a bit well done so they replaced it), and OJ.  I had Obama's Nobel Prize speech on in the background.  Tia asked about my food concerns for the last two days and said she'd talk to Astrid, the nutritionist.  I wouldn't want anyone to go to any trouble, but she said it's worth asking.  Apparently, calcium intake is very important, hence the cheese...I'd gladly drink more white milk instead.

The construction noise sure is annoying.  I just finished my stretching and that's it for today.  Now that I think of it, today might be the first day I don't leave the room at all.  Usually, I would have either a massage or a shower but that ain't happening.  One week from tomorrow... and I am up!

Lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich along with pretzels, cookies, and a glass of milk.  Michelle stopped by to give me a gift: an astronaut pen!  (Yes, like in that Seinfeld episode)... it writes upside-down and underwater, in both freezing and boiling temperatures, and it's made here in the USA.

I've been watching movie clips, reading various blog posts, listening to film score samples, etc.  It recently occurred to me that I could've asked to be wheeled out to the common room, but I'm managing just fine in here.  I logged onto Hulu and played an old Dragnet episode… yes, really.  I don't know too many other quarter-lifers who would give the show a moment's notice, but I've seen clips here and there and I get a kick out of Jack Webb's monotone delivery.
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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009     07:28 pm
Dinner consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce, along with the usual greens and peach cobbler and a glass of grape juice. I called home and, just as I thought, nothing much is going on… a couple of aunts and uncles are flying down and the first night of Chanukah begins tomorrow.  I see from the schedule that I have the SmartPill again in the morning... I'm getting into the homestretch now.

So I got out of the room after all.  I played Uno with Jerry and one of our games lasted almost thirty minutes. I won three games to his two.  Michelle and Amanda showed up to watch a movie: My Sister's Keeper.  Michelle kindly asked if I wanted to stay and watch the film, but I politely declined.  I felt bad for doing so but I really wasn't interested at all.  However, I told her I'd join her tomorrow to make a Christmas tree ornament.

Another BM… thankfully, only another week of using a bedpan.  Tierra told me she spilled her coffee on the way to work but, much to her relief, I could barely see the stain on her scrubs.  All is well, for now… my Thursday night comedies are on right now but I'll catch them tomorrow… it'll give me something to do while the SmartPill navigates its way through my innards.
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009     06:25 pm
I could feel the SmartPill as it scrapped its way down my esophagus.  I believe it's more difficult to swallow during bedrest since I am forced to lean at an angle and can't sit upright.  Camille and I had another one of our great, all-encompassing conversations.  Breakfast consisted of pancakes with syrup, yogurt, a bowl of fruit, and a glass of OJ... I also watched last night's 30 Rock and now I’m going to move on to the other shows... 

I'm starting to feel the effects of not showering since Tuesday.  Thanks to the SmartPill, I couldn't shower today even if the construction guys were finished. I have a massage later today and that's it.  I've had a headache for several hours, but also thanks to the SmartPill, I can't take any Tylenol today.  The nurses gave me a damp cloth and later, an ice pack.

Lunch was spaghetti with chicken, a slice of cheesecake, garlic bread, and a glass of milk.  UPDATE: I can have Tylenol!  I just took two tablets and I have two ice packs: one under my neck and one on my forehead... I probably look ridiculous.

Astrid came by, wondering, "Are you the one with the cheese problem?"  Ever the diplomat (first time for everything), I decided to start off by saying that I had no problem with the food quality itself, and insisted that I didn't want anyone to have to put in any extra work on account of my various food OCD issues.  I also complimented her on the Italian dishes and the turkey sandwich, as well as the inclusion of ice cream and cookies.  She said she couldn't simply take the cheese out (which I already knew) but that it would be possible to make a switch later on… obviously this doesn’t fix the problem but it might help, depending on how she does it.

No religious talk during an otherwise ordinary massage.  Dinner consisted of chicken, fries, broccoli, apple sauce, Famous Amos sandwich cookies, and grape juice.  I just started my second pitcher of water so I have some work to do.  Right now, I'm watching A Muppet Christmas Carol on YouTube… some kind soul uploaded it in ten parts.  I haven't seen it since I was a kid, and I remember thinking the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was kinda scary...

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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2009     11:57 am
I didn’t want to "get jiggy" this morning but the wake-up music told me to.  I had to urinate during the night, but this time I simply took the bottle and did my business under the blanket; then I called the nurse who picked it up.  Doing it this way expedited the process, and I didn't need the curtains drawn or anything.  Jorge informed me that the construction guys aren't done yet, and that my first shower since Tuesday has been delayed until tomorrow... bummer... 

And the SmartPill is out.  I forgot to push the "Event" button last night before I went to bed.  The subject monitor failed to remind me and I simply forgot myself... oh, well.  I suppose it was inevitable I'd miss it once… at least bedtime occurs at the same time everyday, so it's not like a BM which can happen anytime.  Breakfast consisted of raisin bran with nuts, yogurt, fruit, a dab of peanut butter, a glass of OJ, and a glass of milk.

I got a shower after all, before the workers arrived.  Much appreciated.  I could tell they weren't done with the tilework just yet.  I also asked for a scrub top to go with the pants; they had stopped giving me the top after I told them it was difficult to get off, but I just had to try one more time.  I managed, even though I really thought they'd have to cut me out of it.  I'd call this a good Saturday morning so far... 

Carmen persuaded me to come out into the common room and decorate a Christmas tree ornament.  Naturally, I drew a menorah and Star of David on it (the irony is not lost on me).  I had access to pens, pencils, markers, glitter, glue, etc. I used a couple of Crayola markers and some marker/crayon hybrid (this stuff has changed a bit since I was a kid) but was not happy with the end result.  I had to decorate it whilst on my back or on my side, and I couldn't make any straight lines.  I also couldn't stay in the same position for too long.  I currently have a blue thumb.  Carmen said I can do another one, so once I'm ambulatory, I will do just that... 
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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2009     08:36 pm
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 spoke to both Sanjurjo and my folks on the phone and I've simply been surfing the net for the last couple hours.  I also watched the last episode of Fringe... freaky stuff.  I'm on my second pitcher of water and it’s pretty quiet around here (and pretty foggy out there)...

Dinner was chicken, broccoli, carrots, a glass of punch, and a small bowl of Jell-o.  Right now, I’m watching a History Channel documentary on America's infrastructure -- who knew dams and sewage pipes could be so interesting?  My schedule has been posted for tomorrow, and I see have another shower. Quindy is supposed to be back tomorrow for the massage.

I briefly spoke with a friend of mine from Los Angeles, James, who was one of my classmates at Full Sail.  I told him I'll be moving to New York City and not back to L.A. and, as I expected, he was cool with it...

More net surfing.  I finished what I thought was my last pitcher of water (half a pitcher, actually) but it turns out Carmen didn't fill it all the way, so one of the other nurses had to bring me another half pitcher to drink.  I must've urinated at least four times in the last hour.  I read online that flights out of Houston were delayed earlier today on account of fog... man, I hope the weather cooperates on the 31st.  I'm looking forward to an uneventful flight back home.  I'm hoping it's not a full house, and maybe I can even get some sleep... and if I'm really lucky, I'll have a whole row to myself...
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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2009     03:51 pm
My last weekend in bedrest is half-way over.  "Almost there, almost there, almost there," I keep telling myself.  Breakfast was waffles, sausage, scrambled eggs, a bowl of fruit, OJ, and milk.

I'm watching last night’s SNL hosted by one of the Twilight heartthrobs… meh.  Jorge did my laundry, and I told him I still feel weird having to ask but, thankfully, this is the last time anyone else will have to do it for me.  Amanda passed by, and said "Hi."  It looks like another dreary day outside...

I'm doing much better with my water today than the last few days.  I just finished watching Muppets from Space online… what can I say?  I was in the mood... not the best Muppet movie in the world.  I did my stretches and I have a massage with Quindy in nine minutes
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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2009     07:45 pm
Quindy and I had some good conversations...she talked about her nerdy boyfriend (that gives me hope).  I talked to her about The One Who Got Away.  We talked 80s and 90s nostalgia: our first tape decks and CD players… clothes and hair.  Of course, I had to mention Old Flannel.  I told her about my year at FSU where I bought "cool shirts" just in case I went to "clubs" ... yeah, that worked out.  I wore a shirt with the line "We didn’t start the revolution" emblazoned across the chest... and I wore it on September 12th, 2001.  It was not my intention to make any kind of political statement but in retrospect, I have no idea what my fellow Seminoles were thinking as I strolled along my merry way to the Chick-fil-a in the student union.  

At the end, Quindy took a swig of her Dr. Pepper and I scolded her: "How can you drink that in front of me?!"  It was just meant for a laugh; if it was a Coke Slurpee, I would've had to ask for a sip.  We also talked old movies and TV shows and how today's kids don't know what they're missing.  Of course, if I were eight years old today, I'm sure my room would be covered with Harry Potter memorabilia; personally, I prefer how it happened in real life where my room was covered with Ghostbusters memorabilia...

Dinner consisted of quesadillas with rice, corn, salad, and a glass of grape juice.  I hadn't mentioned it yet but this meal also includes a helping of refried beans… I hate it… I hate looking at it.  It took me forty-five minutes to finish the meal, which is a record and not a good sign at all. I swear my brain is already starting to forget what this stuff tastes like in anticipation of my return home.  I’m watching a History Channel documentary about the White House… very interesting stuff.  I'm almost done with my pitcher of water and I might have half a pitcher to go... I'll need it to get the bean taste out of my mouth...

Man, I wish I had paid more attention in Hebrew school.  Tierra asked me what a dreidel is, and I had to look it up on Wikipedia.  The only thing I could tell her was, "It’s like a top."  Apparently, it's also used for a gambling game called Teetotum (who knew?).  She also asked me about bar mitzvahs and the menorah… again, I had to turn to Wikipedia though I did give her a website (jewfaq.org) and the name of a book, The Jewish Book of Why, should she decide to research the subject further.  I showed her a couple photos from Facebook of me at my bar mitzvah party back in 1996.  She seemed genuinely curious (and she's so sweet) so I felt bad for not being able to provide her with sufficient information... 

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MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2009     07:01 pm
I had another headache last night but it happened kinda late and I didn't tell anyone. Tierra is a tad peeved that I didn't ask for her help... I don’t know why I didn't.  Thankfully, the headache is gone this morning; in fact, I woke up once during the night and realized, "Hey, it's gone!"  For a while, I also thought the refried beans would come back up but they didn't...

Breakfast was oatmeal, one large peach slice, some raisins, OJ and milk (less than one inch).  Theresa told me something useful: when I get to the airport, I can always ask if there's an earlier flight available and, if possible, they could bump me up.  If I get to the airport at 2:00 or 3:00 and my flight doesn’t leave until 7:30, why not?  Mike the IV guy snapped a few digital photos of me in bed and I sent one to Heather to use on the blog...my facial hair growth leaves much to be desired.

It's raining outside.  For the last week or so, the view out the window has looked like Soviet Russia ("In Soviet Russia, view looks at you!")...fog, rain, very monochrome.  My shower was fine and uneventful (which is a good thing)… it was also my penultimate shower while horizontal.  I assume I'll get to shower on Friday after I'm ambulatory, but I'm not sure.  I spent this morning watching a stupid movie that someone uploaded to YouTube called Speed Zone! with John Candy and a few other familiar faces.  I remember watching it years ago… it's okay, but nothing special.  I also perused the Sun-Sentinel's website and I see that Fred Phelps and his minions will be picketing in Palm Beach County -– my county!... I really wish someone would put those sickos out of their misery...

Another BM... still on my first water pitcher but almost done.  I won't lie: I can't wait to get up… but whenever I mention that to people, I feel like I have to be careful.  I don't want to appear ungrateful, nor do I want to give the impression that I didn't read the fine print beforehand.

Dinner consisted of brisket, along with greens, mac and cheese, dinner rolls, and two Fig Newtons.  I'm on my third (and hopefully last) pitcher of water, and watching last week's episode of Have I Got News For You.  I spoke to both Sanjurjo and my mom on the phone; Sanjurjo saw the photo of me online, and said it wasn't what he was expecting… my mom, on the other hand, laughed and said I looked okay...both agreed I looked heavier, but I'm sure it was just a bad camera angle since my weight has remained more or less the same.
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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009     07:40 pm
Breakfast was French toast, eggs, sausage, a bowl of fruit, and a glass of OJ.  I had some really weird dreams last night and, as a result, woke up more groggy than usual.  I can feel the whiskers on my face and, depending on how much they annoy me later, I might just shave completely once I'm ambulatory… nothing major going on today, just a massage.

An anonymous commenter on Heather’s website indicated that George Clooney is producing and/or starring in a movie about the bedrest study.  Heather sent me a link to a New York Times web page, but the only thing listed is the logline... no cast, crew, start date, release date, etc.  I shall take it with a grain of salt until more information comes to light.

I surfed the net for several hours, watched funny clips from old game shows on YouTube (I know it sounds pathetic but some of this stuff was hilarious!), watched clips from the Police Academy movies on YouTube (the first one has dated horribly, the seventh one was so bad it went straight to video here in the States, but a few of the sequels are still entertaining), spoke to Sanjurjo, did my stretches, finished my second pitcher of water...

The massage was okay; she actually thought I went to sleep, even though we're not allowed to take naps during the day.  She did mention Chanukah and thought we had twelve nights but was confused by the song "Twelve Days of Christmas."  She also said I looked more grown up with my mess of whiskers… I can't say I wasn't flattered.

Dinner consisted of turkey (smothered in whatever), rice, greens, a small bowl of Craisins, a small bowl of nuts, and a glass of milk.  I think I went over by a few minutes but no one said anything.  Dr. Seton hasn't paid me a visit this week, but hopefully she'll stop by tomorrow.  I don't have anything specific to talk to her about, but her presence is reassuring.

During dinner, I thought I dropped a nut but I couldn't find it...turns out the nut was in my shirt... man, that works on so many levels.  I'm proud to say (to the best of my knowledge, which is limited since I can't look under the bed) that I have never dropped an ounce of food, nor have I spilled a drink.

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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2009     08:43 am
Tierra just rolled up my sleeve for the blood draw and her response was, "Lord, have mercy!"  Apparently, my vein is still good.  She said I must get comments like that from the blood bank all the time; I said, "No, but I’ve heard it from everyone here!" and I’ve never been to a blood bank.  I was, however, guilt-tripped into giving blood by the bloodmobile people in front of Best Buy.  The finger-stick lady returned to work her magic.  On the way out, she said, "I'll see you around the campus" and I was tempted to say, "And tell Otter I'll be at the toga party" but I wasn't sure if she'd get it...

Breakfast consisted of bacon, one and a half hard-boiled eggs, and three-quarters of a bagel, lightly toasted, with cream cheese, along with OJ and milk.  I watched last night's episodes of Scrubs and Better Off Ted.  Eric stopped by to say Friday is going to be very busy for me and that it will take a little time (no more than a day or two) for me to adjust to my "new normal."  I mentioned my headaches and he said it could be related to the weather; even though the weather never really affected me like that before, he reminded me that my head has much more fluid in it now.  I joked that I would have to recreate the study back home to prove his hypothesis -- he laughed at that.  I saw the nurses wheeling Brian down the hall, no doubt for his Tilt Test.  He's up today, and the new theme will be "And then there was Scott."  I may or may not be showering today; the grout guys are coming, but they might be able to squeeze me in, we'll see...

Another BM... I'm almost out of Bedpan City.  I have to admit, as someone who has never had to use one before, there's a certain euphoria that comes over me after the deed is done... the whole "job well done" thing, I guess.  The feeling of, "Well, if I can do that..."

On the other hand, it's a necessary evil and I could never be on the other side collecting bedpans.  Tia had a somewhat difficult time opening my curtains... it's not a smooth ride along the metal rail, and she wasn't the first to notice.  She said she might have maintenance come in while I'm doing my tilt test and grease them up a bit.  My first impulse is to ask for a ladder and some WD-40 and do it myself but, alas, I'm stuck in bed... and they'd never let me do it anyway...

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Continue on to Scott's Journal : Part Thirteen


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