For the first time in a long time my body hurt this afternoon from running. Also, for the first time ever, I didn't feel like eating lunch. I tried to eat as much as I could, but became full very fast leaving an entire sandwich, chips, and a rice crispy treat. I ate a lot of my dinner, but still left more food then I usually do. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully I'll be up for more food then.
After running the other day my right arm broke out in a huge rash. A nasty thing to deal with, but most of it went away after a quick washing.
The sweater is coming along, but I haven't made much progress in the past few days. I wanted to have it done by now, but in bed it is very easy to get sidetracked.
So this is the view from my window. Becca's right next door to me, so her view is pretty similar. As far as scenery goes, it leaves a little to be desired. However, the only time I really look outside is while I'm eating. That little orange thing on the roof to the left is a windsock, so if I can't be outside in the wind, I can know which way it's blowing. The landing/takeoff pad for the life flight chopper is just beyond that, so I get to hear/see it a few times a day. Inside the circled area are the only trees I can see. So that's how I get to watch the fall start to happen, in those trees way off in the distance, across Carnegie Avenue. It's my favorite time of year, and though I'm a little bummed that I'll miss the beginning of jacket weather, it'll still be nice when I do get out, just in time for Halloween.
Been battling vertigo for a few days. I had to cut exercise short on Tuesday and skip it altogether on Wednesday. It's a lot better today, after a few doses of Antivert, and I got through exercise today without incident.
I finally finished my first book, I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe. I can't say it wasn't great, but I do wish it didn't occupy me for a whole month. I'm starting tonight on Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor.
In other goals, I've been studying lots of 7-letter words for Scrabble. there are 1,219 of them in the group that I'm studying (Type II 7s, which are the words that come from high probability letters [ADEGILNORSTU] but don't come from any of the top 100 bingo stems.), and I'm doing them 100 at a time. I really hope to have them under my belt by the beginning of October.
Finally, a note to those of you who have sent e-mails: The firewall here at the Clinic, for some reason, does not allow us to send e-mail to AOL addresses. So, if you've sent one to either of us, we're not ignoring you. We're just unable to write back.
A few nights ago, just before I went to bed, I pulled out my sweater. Stitch by stitch, row by row it became nothing more then two large piles cream colored yarn. I was fooling myself really, there was no way I could have ever made it fit properly.
Running/walking on the ZLS is getting easier, almost too easy, and this isn't good, Unfortunately, unlike exercising "in the real world" where we can run farther and faster as we craft our skill, here, there is only so much we're allowed to do. Maybe in the end, post bedrest, its a good thing. The better I do here, the better I'll be running out there.
Friday was a great day. It was my favorite meals, egg sandwich, pizza, and compleate turkey dinner, I ran eight minutes straight on the ZLS, and I got Tic Tacs. That just made my day.
The rest of the weekend was so so, my sweater still isn't done and I'm getting angry at myself for not compleatly understanding the pattern.
This sweater of mine is without a doubt going to be too big on me. Every time I start to freak out though,, I remind myself that the yarn I'm working with is 85% wool and I can felt (shrink) it. I'm just worried about over doing it and have it end up being to small. I just get mad at myself when I look at what I've done already and see how huge this thing is. I checked the gauge but thought it was going to be on the smaller side, so I went up a size. As things tend to go, I have a feeling my next project is going to be too small. I know some of my posts have been boring and not all that study related, but I don't have that much study related information to update. I'm still doing well, but going to the bathroom still sucks, I want a home cooked meal, a pack of Tic Tacs, chocolate, and the ability to get up. When things get tough, I just have to tell myelf that this is something I wanted to do, I knew ahead of time that parts of this were going to be hard, I have to relax and let go and allow other people to take charge for a few months.
Last night I had an interesting dream. I was out of the hospital, but still in the study and still on a strict diet. How that came to be, I don't know. Anyway, I was at university but the had one of those office setting coffee pots where everyone wants a cup can have one. Unlike traditional office coffee, this was a very high quality brew, with several different kinds of sugar and sugar like substitutes, and a milk selection that is comparable to Starbucks. Then there was a large selection of Torani, cookies, chocolate, and other assorted snacks. Nothing compared to the 20 year old powered coffee most schools and hospital waiting rooms have.
The chocolate was on the snack side, but I dropped a few small pieces in my drink and then added a little extra 2% milk before running off to class. Strange though, the building was just like the largest building that was actually on the campus I attended, except there were lockers and a bell.
I go to my locker, just a few down from the door to my next class, when the bell rings. Crap, I thought, this professor hates it when people are late. I end up grabbing nothing because I can't find the notebook I bought for this class.
I run into the classroom and no one notices that I'm late so I go to my desk/computer to find someone is already sitting there. That is when it hits me, I've had a dream like this before, and the teacher gave everyone assigned seats. I approach the person as the lesson is starting but end up sitting in a seat near it to find my notebook. This is when I turn on my computer, it sill works in DOS, and take my first sip of coffee. It was so good I could taste it, and it was good. It wasn't until the cup was gone did I start to freak out. I just drank chocolate. I can't have chocolate in the study. Never mind I also can't walk, drink coffee, or leave the Clinic in the study, none of that mattered in this dream, the big issue was that I had the chocolate.
I finally started reading again today but am finding it hard keep the book open for more then a few minutes at a time. I guess it doesn't matter all that much, as long as I finish the book in the next week or so. It isn't really a hard book per si, it just takes some adapting to get used to the language.
The sweater is going well, provided I have enough yarn, it will be done by Monday. I'm a little worried about knitting some of it. I understand the bulk of the pattern, but am getting confused with the neck instructions. When I started the sweater I cast on what I thought was enough, but after a few rows it looked to big, so I frogged the inch or so I did and started over again, with the same number of stitches. Smart, right? I decided in the long run to keep the extra few inches, the stuff I'm working with is mostly wool, and I may want to put something on under it for extra comfort.
Even though this project is going to be a bit of a challenge, it is the first sweater I've ever made after all, I look forward to finishing it. If nothing else it will give me even more reason to try something even harder. There must be at least 6 or 7 other patters in just one of my knotting books that I'd like to try.
I'm finding that the ZLS is becoming less and less of a challenge much faster then I ever thought it would. I'm already asking to run/walk for longer periods of time, the weight doesn't seem as heavy as it seemed just two weeks ago, and I have a feeling I'm going to ask to go faster one of these days.
As expected, food is my biggest issue here. Most of it isn't bad, it just isn't what I love to eat. Or if it is something that I normally love, turkey for example, it isn't prepared the way I like it, with the kind of turkey, bread, or condiments I'm used to. There are just some places that I go to for lunch that make it so perfect, anything else is blah.
I've been spending a lot of time listening to pandora.com when the TV isn't on. It is really great actually, all you have to do is type in the name of a song/singer/group you like, and with in seconds it plays songs like the one you requested. Best of all, it is free, the sound quality is great, and the selections it has played for my have been exactly what I was in the mood to hear.
I'm still not being as productive as I could be, but I did finish the baby blanket I've been working on. A picture will be posted as soon as I can get one. I'm also started my second knitting project, a white sweater with purple skull and cross bones on either arm. Obviously, this is something I won't be able to wear to work when I get out of here, but it will be ready for chilly weekends.
I've been getting so caught up in knitting, personal issues, and the randomness of the internet among other things, that I have yet to read those first 200 pages of Great Expectations. I'm sure I'll get around to it sooner or later.
Today marks 3 weeks in bed, and while that is a lot, the end still seems to far away to start counting down the weeks/days left. I want to look at what I've done already, instead of looking months into the future at what's left. I'm not even really looking forward to my birthday in two weeks. If I just look at it as if it were any other day the lack of chocolate cake and great dinner may not seem as bad. Not to mention, I'm planning a great trip to L.A. in November that will more then make up for it.
As for more study specific issues, I'm still doing fairly well. I get sad every now and then though. I would love to pig out on pizza, chicken wings, and breadstix. I miss my bed, apartment, and walking. I miss Stitch and Bitch, shopping, and a bathroom and everything that comes with it. I have dreams once in while where I'm walking, and I feel like I'm doing something I shouldn't, like I'm breaking a big rule or something. Physical, other then a bit of a back ache here and there and running related issue, I'm doing well.
Another lazy weekend. Even lazy for someone who lies in bed 22 hours of the day. Did some reading yesterday, and played a lot of Scrabble. I didn't realize it until now, but I've also been watching the news a lot more since I got here than I have in the past year or so. This John Mark Kaar guy will no doubt haunt my nightmares for days to come.
Visits this past week from some good friends kept me in high spirits. Not that I would have been low otherwise, but having people come visit helps me keep my eyes on the prize. I know I haven't been forgotten, which makes me comfortable enough to lie in bed for another 9 weeks. I know they'll be there when I get out.
Lately I've also been having strange food and drink cravings. There are a lot of foods I would normally eat that I can't have in here, and only over the past few days have I started thinking about them. I know my first meal when I get home will be Las Enchiladas Verdes from Cozumel, my favorite Mexican restaurant and one of my favorite restaurants overall. Another thing I've been wanting is a bloody mary. I'm not much of a drinker, and I only had my first bloody mary a few weeks before coming in here, but I would pay large sums to have one right now. It's not even the alcohol that I want, it's the strong taste and spiciness that I haven't found in any of the food I've been fed here.
I'm going to stop teasing myself now, and get back to my reading.
Day 14. Time is flying by. As of tomorrow morning at 11, I will be 1/6th done with the study. That may not seem like a lot, but I was gearing up for something that was going to take forever. I'm starting to think I set my sights a little too high as far as goals go. I don't have as much time as I thought I would. For example, if I were on pace with my reading goal, I would have 5 books in the bag by tomorrow. Instead, I'm barely halfway through the first one. Granted, it's almost 700 pages long, but I should be way ahead of that mark. I'm purposely not turning on the TV until 8:00.
Lots of visits in the past few days, including my friend/college roommate Jimbo and his girlfriend Claire, my good friend Smotey, Mike and Brian Dortley, Erin, as well as my parents and my grandmother. Visitors are a nice way to break up the day, and it's good to see people from the real world to remind me that there will be a real world for me to return to in a couple months. The only strange thing is that the mood always seems a bit somber, because hospital visits are rarely fun. I don't think it sinks in with everyone that I'm not ill, just horizontal. Still, there isn't much to do in this room as far as entertaining goes. Well, dinner is here...
I've been kinds anti-blogger for the past few days, and for no real reason either. This past week went relatively fast and I found myself looking forward to the weekend where I'll be able to rest. Yes, rest. Strange as it may seem, same days are so busy, I don't get a lot of time to myself to blog. People are always in and out of the room, there is lots of food to be eaten, water to be drunk (3000 ml +), and, well, several bathrooms breaks due to the aforementioned water.
Going to the bathroom here is, well, an event that sometimes involves three different members of the medical staff. There is no way to really get into it with out loosing tact, so I'm going to skip the details.
When I do get free time, I wonder around online watching You Tube and various other things, reading, knitting, and watching TV. I just finishe a poorly written "chick-lit" book who's title I won't even bother to repeat. Next on my list, Great Expetations. I hope to have 200 pages read by Monday. Though, I've never read it, I already know the ending.
The meals here are more of less repeating at this time with just a few modifications here and there. I was really excited about today, bagel day. When I got it though, it was rock hard having been microwaved. So my breakfast consisted of raisins, an instant breakfast, an orange, and cranberry juice. More then enough to tide me over for 4 hours until lunch, but small food pleasure mean a lot to me, and the lack of bagel bumbed me out. Luckily, an extra was found.
P.S. Do you know that the word blogger on Blogger shows up as a spelling error on spell check? Same can be said for th word blog.
Finally settled in, I think. I've been able to start concentrating on the things I came here to do. I've been hammering away at Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons and studying some new bingo stems in Scrabble. I got through my whole intended exercise today too, which was nice.
One thing that surprises me is that I haven't yet had the impulse to get up, or even sit up. Once I was down, my body accepted it. Hopefully that means that I have nothing but smooth sailing to look forward to. The first 9 days really flew by. I almost feel a sense of urgency, like I have to hurry up and start getting stuff done before the time runs out. Maybe that will go away around day 20 or so...
Even on Day 7, I am still waking up and thinking, "where am I?!" before it settles in. That realization is getting less and less disappointing every day, and that's called progress. Erin said the weekends were really boring and lonely, and they are, but it's exactly what I needed after a pretty turbulent first week.
Out of all the things that will happen in the real world while I am in here, the only one I wish I could have gotten to experience is the U.S. Scrabble Open. It started yesterday in Phoenix, and, though I doubt I could have afforded to go, I think I would be faring pretty well if I were there. I've been following the tournament online, though, and paying close attention to the progress of my friends from the club. Most of them have won 3 or 4 games out of the first 7, but it's still early in the tournament. I called up Scott, my Scrabble mentor, to wish him luck before the second day of play began.
One of my best friends, Mike, came to visit yesterday and brought some DVDs for me to watch.
And it made me realize how little I've been taking pictures. Here's one of Becca and I before we went to bed. I think she's on her tiptoes.
I have so much I'd like to do while I'm here, that I feel rushed to get any one thing finished. I'll be reading, when I remember I could be knitting the blanket I'm working on, when I remember something I wanted to look up online.
With one week down I think the whole thing has finally set in. Now, I don't have the desire to get up, but I will have split second flashes where I think of something I have to do/want to do but then instantly remember where I am and what I'm doing. Oddly enough, I had a dream last night where I got up out of bed. Alarms went off, a disco ball fell, there was a laser show. weird.
Lunch: PB&J an orange and celery. Yummy Dinner: Chicken and pasta, pound cake, salad, and more corn then any one person could eat in a sitting I think it was like two cups worth. Yes, I am on my tip toes in the picture below. My over 6 foot tall younger brother got the height in my family.
Things are starting to get better. I can look at food without gagging, and I have actually eaten some of it. I still can't concentrate on much aside from Scrabble, but I am going to try reading something later today. I've been watching a lot of TV, which I was hoping I could resist, but I'm just using it to get me through to the time when I feel like writing more than a few paragraphs at a time. Apparently I have had some kind of stomach bug that I must have caught before coming in to the Clinic. If that's so, I think I am over it. Yesterday's bath/massage/visit from Erin catapulted my mood back to where it should have been. Also very unexpected and welcome was finding out that Pat from Scrabble club had bought me Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon Days. It arrived yesterday at my parents' house and they're bringing it tomorrow. Thanks, Pat!
So hopefully by this time next week I will be fully "settled in," and ready to start being productive.
I wanted to take a bath today, a simply request usually. Today, however, it turned into such an ordeal that once it actually started, I wanted it to end. To make a long story short, they couldn't get the bath inflated for a long time. On the upside though, I got a chance to shave and wash my hair, two things I needed to do badly.
I'm very glad that George is doing better and hope to have him kick my ass in Scrabble soon.
Breakfast: Scrabbled egg, pears, slice of cheese, and and english muffin. Everything excepet for the pears were turned into a sandwich. Lunch: French bread cheese pizza, salad. The pizza, per usual, was a frozen dinner. Dinner: Cauliflower in a cheese sauce, butter, roll, turkey, stuffing, gravey, and mashed potatoes. Normally a great meal, but this version was so-so at best.
I've given up waking up at my wake up call, instead of before of it, as I woke up early again today. Its only minutes, and I doubt it makes a difference in how alert I am through out the day, but first thing in the morning it leave me with a small sense of incompleteness. I'm told to sleep until 7:00 but am up earlier then needed.
Did some knitting today, some reading, and playing online. I still feel fine more of less, though my shoulders and back ache a little.
Twa come to visit today, which was wonderful. The meeting lasted only a few minutes, she had to get to work, but it was nice to have her with me.
Erin also stopped by, bringing a plat. I felt like such a dork, I asked her how she was doing 3 times in the 2 minutes she was here. How've you been, been up to anything, how are you. looking back I just have to shake my head at myself. I had just got back from the ZLS and was about to get my massage not to mention Twa had just left moments before. I think it was just an overload of people and activity in a short period of time.
Breakfast: About a cup of cinnamon Toast Crunch, milk, 2 cranberry juices, banana
What? Again with the waking up before I have to with the sunrise and the dewdrops, and all the little bird-i's. Ok, so I can't hear birds from my room, but I couldn't think of anything else to put there. When I wrote it, Jackie Mason saying it came to mind. That, or the scientist from The Simpson's.
This morning; another visitor during breakfast, this time from behavioral health, checking up things to make sure all is well. She saw that I was knitting and is going to try to bring needles who's size is better suited for the project I'm working on. That is if I keep working on the project. I have 6 110 yard skiens of Alpaca with a Twist, 4 red and 2 white. I want to make a baby blanket, but am open to other options or suggestions as there is no baby to speak of to whom I can bestow said blanket.
Before lunch more people came to say hello. This time from NASA, both Cleveland and Huston. The same people also came to watch me jog/walk on the ZLS. They all thanked me, and I would assume George also, for doing this and explained how important our contribution is going to be for NASA and space travel as a whole. The entire meeting made me feel really important.
Running on the ZLS is hard, even walking can pose a challenge. I can't stress enough that it is nothing like a regular treadmill. Imagine yourself on a standard one at your local gym. Now picture yourself wearing full rockclimbing gear, in spandix, in a room full of onlookers, having little choice over what speed you are going to run and for how long. Now they aren't trying to kill me, if I really want to stop or make adjustment to the speed, it can be arranged. See the picture? You are sweaty, the cuffs are chafing you everywhere because they are too tight or are falling to high or low because they are too loose, you can't see all of your surroundings because of the helmet you have on, someone else has to bring you water every time you need it. Not to hot, is it? There are 2 pulleys hooked up to each arm and leg tugging while you are trying to walk what used to be forward. Now, try to imagine yourself doing this wearing a rock filled backpack that weighs literally as much as you do. You can feel every lump and bump and know there is only so much that can be done to alleviate the strain. Now, what about doing it on your back, suspended in mid-air. Not to easy, is it?
My calves hurt like crazy and I keep sliding down the harness until it starts to poke and prod at my arm pits. So, after every walk/run, usually 3-5 minutes at various speeds, three people get to pull and push me upward a few inches. As hard as it may be though, I really push my limits with this. I tell myself; if I can walk 3 minutes without much problem, I can easily go 4. If 4 is only a little challenging, why not press onto to 5 before wanting to quit.
So far though everyone, myself included, is baffled at how well I'm adapting. I have a bit of guilt that George isn't doing as well as I. Things with me are far from perfect though. I still have some pains here and there, but am still able to function rather well considering. The biggest issue I'm having this week actually has nothing to do with the study and is to personal to tell the whole world.
Breakfast: One slice wheat bread, one hard boiled egg, milk, orange juice, butter, granola, blueberries, and vanilla yogurt.
Lunch: Apple sauce, broccoli, a lean cuisine, again, of fettuccini alfrado, fruit like water drink, and 2 pickles. Why pickles with pasta, I do not know. But they are one of my favorite foods, well condiment I guess, and a small comfort in such unique surroundings, so I quickly ate both.
Dinner: Chicken (dry again), mixed vegetables, a handful of peanuts, plain cheese cake, and sweet potatoes. The meals could be worse, but today's combination of foods is just odd. Peanuts?
I woke up a few minutes before my wake up call. Again. Groggy and very sleepy still I had a few wet and soapy wash cloths brought to me that allowed me to wash my face and give me a quick pick me up.
At this time, I am still adjusting to everything really well. So well in fact, I'm not getting my hopes up. Sooner or later my body is going to have to realize what I'm doing to it and that I'm not going to stop doing it for very a long time. Then, I have a feeling, the revenge will come. Other then a back ache, for which I have a heating pad to help elevate, and some slight stuffiness, I'm doing swell.
The biggest complaint I have is the food. It isn't the best, but it isn't bad, I've had worse. Also, its hard to eat when people keep bothering you. We've all eaten with other people before, but this is very different. Putting cream cheese on a bagel is an effort, and not very pretty. I have to pay attention to how I am laying down, and make sure I'm not to high as to break protocol, but not so low its not possible to eat. I only have full use of one arm and about 50% use of the other. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the visitors, they are all coming for my benefit and comfort, but I just want a chance to start and stop my meal when I want.
ZLS today was a bit harder, I was pulling into the treadmill at 75% of my body weight verses yesterdays 50%. In the middle of the regiment Twa came by, and that just made my day. After my walk/run she met me back in the room, helped with a bath, and we had a chance to talk. Then was the massage. The most amazing thing ever.
Breakfast: Orange, cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. Milk and cranberry juice.
Lunch: Carrots/cucumber with ranch dressing, chicken with rice, another lean cuisine.
Dinner: Fried fish, a little bigger a deck of cards, 6, count en 6, tater tots, milk, and Cole slaw, with cherry crumb cake.
The first few days have been a little rough for me. Day 1 was easy enough, because it hadn't really hit me yet that this was real. That hit when I woke up on Day 2. My body is taking it pretty hard. My appetite has diminished greatly, but some meds are on the way to hopefully nix that. Exercising is easier than I thought it would be, but I've been really tired during both sessions.
I know I can't look forward to the end, because it's just too far away. Instead, I'm looking forward to all the little plateaus that I know are coming. I'm looking forward to the time when I can wake up, feel rested and eat breakfast. I'm looking forward to being able to focus on my goals. I'm trying really hard to keep my mind off how I feel and stay trained on the reasons I wanted to do this in the first place. I guess that will all come with time, and I know I've got plenty of time.
My first night in the clinic went well considering. The bed isn't the most comfortable, my body isn't used to the angle, and it is far more narrow then the bed I've slept in for a while. I woke up several times in the night, my body almost falling off the bed, but once I repositioned myself sleep came easy. Tonight they are going to place the bars on either side, almost like the ones you have on the top of a bunk bed, to help. So far, things are going just as expected. I'm a little stuffy, craving junk food, my body is slipping down the bed all the time. This morning I awoke with my pillow nearly off the bed. Working out on the ZLS today for time first time since going to bed, wasn't that bad. I'm surprised at how much more I liked the jogging workouts verses walking and hope my enthusiasms doesn't die when the exercises get longer and more vigorous. I've never been a runner. In school I was always the first to start walking during the 1 mile run. I was also the first to give up on sit ups and push ups. Don't even ask about the pull ups. I can still remember just hanging there, with the entire class looking on, pulling and pulling as hard as I could to no avail. I would simply hang. I can still remember my tiniest girl in the class would get on there and just fly. She could do far more then any one in the class. And it was great too, because she was so modest about the whole thing. She was modest about everything though. In middle school she took math and science at the high school, was in band, got big roles in the school play. She was even in Les Miserables in The Netherlands, where she lived before coming to Michigan. She was proud about all of her accomplishments, who wouldn't be, but didn't feel the need to make a big deal about any of them.
Over all though I'm doing well. My head is stuffy, but I'm getting very used to the angle and once my entire body gets familiar with this feeling everything should zero out.
Breakfast Four waffles, the small toaster kind you can pick up in the frozen food section of Giant Eagle, a small pad of butter, fruit yogurt, 2 % milk, a small cup of apple juice, it almost looked like a tiny bowl you get when you go out to eat and ask for something extra "on the side". Oh, and Purple grapes. There were so many people in and out of my room though it was hard to enjoy any of it. Everyone said they don't mind if I eat with them in the room, but doing so was hard as single one of them needed to speak with me about one thing or another. It is hard enough having to eat on my side, answering questions about my mental health and well being while doing so is even harder.
Lunch Tuna salad, 5 crackers, they were somewhat Ritz looking, but without the buttery taste people like so much , raw carrots, spinach raw, stemmed broccoli, fruit cup, and crystal light. The raw veggies were also served with a great asian sesame dressing. This too was hard to enjoy. The transport team came a few minutes in to take me to the other end of the hospital for the ZLS. They just kinda stood outside in the hall walking back and forth. I was told not to feel rushed, but in that kind of situation it is hard.
Dinner A few ounces of very dry and tasteless chicken, rice, mixed vegetables in a sweat and sour sauce, I think. There was also a fortune cookie and peanut butter on whole wheat. The spread come in one of those small one use dishes, and I was so hungry at the end of the meal I liked the inside of the package.
This blog is maintained by past, present and future subjects of a NASA sponsored bedrest study at the Cleveland Clinic. These are the chronicles of three full months of bedrest, in addition to the craziness leading up to it, and the who knows what afterwards. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author/blogger and do not in any way necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Clinic, NASA or NSBRI.
Any and all postings on this site are my own opinions and do not in any way represent the position, strategy or opinion of the Cleveland Clinic, NASA or NSBRI.