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stardust holiday
chronicles of the chronically (and voluntarily) bedridden

reflecting pool

28 February 2007
hi! it's been awhile, hasn't it? it has in fact, been over a year since i got into bed last february.

and wow, since then, i have (in no particular order)

met astronauts/higher ups in NASA
met with tons of doctors
knit in simulated zero gravity
been suspended 60 times (give or take)
got 30+ full body massages
met a lot of really nice volunteers/nurses/people involved in the study
got tons of internet publicity
been on CNN twice (live!)
gone through physical therapy
had muscle biopsies! ouch!
had MRI's, CT scans, DXA scans, blood tests, balance tests, strength tests, tests of patience
learned how to walk all over again
played amazing rock n roll shows
met awesome rock n rollers
went to a shuttle launch
canoed in the middle of the night to learn about bio - luminescence
bought an imac and an ipod
realized the importance of friends and being a friend
realized most of my "friends" weren't friends
realized when i wasn't being a friend (and tried to change)
performed no less than 5 random acts of kindness
saw/met/hung out with some of my favorite bands
found the joy of listening to albums while doing nothing else
taught myself a lot of knitting techniques
saw jenn for the first time in three years (it was almost like nothing had happened!)
found out my brother was in the navy
found out my mom was in iraq
went to my first "festival" type concert
made beautiful posters
turned 22
discovered and fell in love with new bands
made christmas better than the year before
got 12 years of birth control "installed"
had a way fucking far out new years
joined a union, got a raise and a "promotion"
learned how to play a decent game of poker.



i had no idea what i was really getting into when i got into that bed. but what i got out of it was a heightened self awareness, paired with a complete severing of reality. weird combination. it took me a long time to get back to everyday living, physically and mentally. i got a lot more: understanding of: my sleep habits, my body, all bodies, gravity, my lack of discipline; revelations on love, life, friendship, family, scientific achievements, deep depression, my priorities and the occasional lack of ordering among them.

people still ask me about it and i'm almost embarrassed of how much it takes over conversations when it comes up. if people at the next table or standing a couple feet away hear about it, they say "that was you?! tell me about it" and then it starts all over again.

looking back, i would most definitely do it again, but i'd do it very differently.

1. i would have saved more money before i went into the study. granted, this wasn't really an option for me, as there was little more than a month between the beginning of testing and getting into bed. whew! whirlwind.

2. i would have been far more disciplined in my exercises. when i got out of bed, i HURT. everywhere. for weeks. i would have had a much easier time relearning how to walk if i'd been more diligent with my stretches.

3. i would have followed the sleep schedules a little more closely. although, to be honest, my sleep schedule has always been totally screwed up, so it's hard to fight something i've somewhat come to accept.

4. i would have backed up all of my files. regularly. in multiple places. i lost weeks of work on album/poster artwork (for an album that was never released, but i digress) because i didn't save it regularly, and didn't burn it to a backup disc.

5. i would have been more scientific in my documentation of the study. most of my stuff is day to day babble, how i'm feeling, etc. i should have been more specific on how my body was reacting to the study.

6. i would have stayed off the internet more. jesus christ on a pogo stick, i'm a net junkie. i lost days to shit like stumbleupon or notcot.org.

7. i would have finished more projects. see above. i wasted so damn much time during the study.

8. i would have set more realistic goals. or, rather, been more attentive to the goals i set. when i got out of bed, i felt like i'd wasted three months of my life that i could have used to further myself or at least accomplish SOMETHING.

9. i would have read more books. again, see above. i could have done quite a bit academically in three months of mostly uninterrupted time.

10. i would have requested fewer volunteers. when it started, i was lonely as hell and wanted tons of people to come in and talk to me. by the end of it, i was frustrated because i couldn't get anything finished, because there was so much extra stuff to deal with in my schedule.

11. i would have learned to appreciate my loneliness. being alone does wonders for your powers of reflection, and self-awareness. by the end of the study, if i hadn't had so many distractions, i probably could have gotten a lot farther in my goals. but, to be fair, i met a lot of really nice people through the volunteer program at the cleveland clinic.

12. i would have completed more of the physical therapy afterwards. it was really hard for me to get over to the east side in the days after the study, either not being able to drive a five speed, or the (what felt like an) incredibly long walk to the bus stop. so i used that as an excuse and didn't get a lot done.

13. i would have been smarter with my compensation. i'm not going into specifics, but holy cow, it went fast.


but, as always, there are things that i don't regret as well. by no means would i have changed:

1. how close mike and i got during the study. absence makes the heart grow fonder? absolutely. but i also learned to love my time away from him. if only so i'd get more excited when he came around.

2. the number of things i learned about my body. wow. the body's an incredible machine, and i have first hand evidence. everything from my toes to my bladder, my stomach to my brain, everything worked a little bit differently in the head down tilt position

3. the awesome people i met through the study. from astronauts to volunteers, people were so cool throughout the entire thing.


ok there's a lot more i'm sure, but it's late and i'm tired. if i think of anything else, i'll let you know.

sorry it's been so long!

erin
22:23 :: 3 comments :: permalink


Home

27 October 2006
Well folks, I/we are home. I slept in my own bed last night, went to the pantry and grabbed a snack at 10:00 pm. Burshed my teeth in a sink, washed my hands in a sink, ordered food off a menu, and so on. Being "out" is great and life is just as it was when I left. Although we did change apartment while I was in bed. The new one is great, smaller then the one I left, but I like it a lot more.
I'm going to PT in an hour or so to get it out of the way for the day and who knows what will follow.
09:37 :: 0 comments :: permalink


Last day

22 October 2006
It is our last full day in bed. Would I do it again, yes. Would I do anything differently, without a doubt.
I'm glad I brought at much stuff with me as I did, even though I brought more then what I needed. Being as overly prepaired as I was allowed me to almost never need to look for something to do.

I had hoped to update this blog all day, but fell short sometime before noon.

Today has seemed like any other day really.

Tomorrow, I walk.
09:58 :: 1 comments :: permalink


21 October 2006
Two days left to go. Oh. My. Goodness.
08:53 :: 0 comments :: permalink


almost...

16 October 2006
A week from now, I will be upright. I can't wait.
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09 October 2006
I've started to drop a little bit of weight, on some days I'm down to 116 pounds. Normally this would be great, in bed, however its anything but. Our weight needs be consistent through out the study. I'm just getting rather tired of the food It is becoming harder to eat and I'm getting full faster. To help bring my weight back up, I've being given extra dessert. Today, for example, 3 large rice crispy treats. Yesterday, 2 pieces if pound cake. Also, today I got scrambled eggs, something that I wasn't expecting but was pleased with nonetheless. That is, at least, until I tried to eat it. The eggs were scrambled so hard I could cut them info perfect squares and stack them. Yes, I played with my food.
As of this writing there are; 13 days left. 9 runs, 6 massages, 1 more turkey dinner/pizza lunch day, 2 episodes of Lost, 2 weekends. And a partridge in a pear tree.
11:40 :: 0 comments :: permalink


Even closer

05 October 2006
We are getting even closer to the end of this experiment, on Monday there will be just two weeks left. I'm begining to wonder, down the road, how these past few months will affect my life. Am I going to be a different person because of it? How much understanding about the world or myself have I gained? When I am an old woman, how will I look back on this part of my life?
22:47 :: 0 comments :: permalink