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
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!
Good to have you back. A year is a long time. A lot happens in a year. When I look back at where I was a year ago, I don't regret any of the things I've done since then. My only regrets are for things undone. That's pretty good, I think. It means I'm on the right track at least, I just need to take action more often.By sombrero11, at 21:29
Hi Erin,By , at 14:34
Good to hear from you. Love the update. WOW! Didn't know you had so many experiences from just going to bed. So tell me, how many Lean Cuisine dinners have you had since you left? Best wishes to you.
Now that is what I call a really interesting year.By Lord Jim, at 11:24