As a research participant at NASA's Flight Analogue Research Unit, I have been in bed for 40 days and I will be in bed for 30 more. Under strict bed rest, I spend my day at a head-down 6 degree angle. Researchers are using me to study muscle and bone atrophy prevention through an exercise regiment that they are considering for a future Mars mission.

For more details, check out the story I wrote for VICE: http://www.vice.com/read/nasa-patient-8179-100

or follow me on Twitter @andrewiwanicki and Instagram @drewherenow

Here's my proof: http://instagram.com/p/u_LcbbFWjO/?modal=true

EDIT: I'll be back in the morning to answer more questions. My strict 10:00pm bedtime is coming up!

Comments: 257 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

ChoppedNscrewdriver71 karma

Okay, what about masturbation? Discouraged?

nowhereweare76 karma

Gotta be sneaky. I'm on camera 24/7...except for in the shower and when I'm pissing/pooping. And the camera can't see through my blanket ;).

halfpakihalfmexi30 karma

So do you have to go off of memory, fantasy of the cute scientist walking around, or you go like regular and whip out the porn?

nowhereweare58 karma

Memory mostly, which is a nice change of pace. I really think that porn can be bad for the brain in excess.

Subzerowindchill4 karma

So in bed head down how many hours a day? (the word hours occurs too often to find the answer)

nowhereweare6 karma

All day except for 30 minutes on a modified row machine for weight/cardio/interval exercise. When I'm in an MRI machine ~once a week, I am lying flat rather than at the negative 6 degree angle.

Subzerowindchill3 karma

If you have a future similar endeavor of a scientific guinea pig return for another AMA

nowhereweare2 karma

I likely will. It's good money w free time.

alogicalfallacy45 karma

Can you describe how your amazing, over-achieving sister has influenced your choices throughout your life?

nowhereweare26 karma

Sis???

I'll never beat her in the straight rat race. So, I'm always on the look out for the short cut or worm hole.

Nessie2240 karma

How did this happen !!!?

nowhereweare70 karma

I saw a blog that said NASA was paying people to lay in bed. At first glance, I assumed it was just BS click bait, but it's real! So, I filled out some long health questionnaires and went to Houston twice for physical and psychological testing before I was accepted for one of the 55 spots out of ~25k applications.

Twinkie_Zombie18 karma

Any chance you can continue on into later studies, such as long term isolation with a crew for testing travel to mars?

nowhereweare38 karma

This bed rest research has been going on for more than a decade, but, unfortunately, it's closing at the end of the year due to reductions in NASA funding. I am currently researching other projects that I can be part of.

During my time here, I've met a few guys that have participated in all sorts of research studies. One dude has been living off money from being a test subject for 5 years or so.

Specifically, there is a ton of experimental drug research for which they need health subjects to study how the medication is metabolized, if there are any unexpected side effects, etc.

I looked into the HI-SEAS project going on in Hawaii, but it looks like they want people with PhD's and the like. http://hi-seas.org/

Aken4237 karma

As a very restless person, I would go absolutely insane having to lay in bed for that long. How do you keep yourself occupied?

nowhereweare50 karma

I usually start the day with 30 minutes of meditation and read a good book for a while. Then, I study for the GRE and LSAT for a bit. Then, I spend the evening watching some TV, a movie, or playing some Starcraft or Halo. Throughout the day, I usually have some kind of testing (MRI, ECHO, spacial reasoning tasks, isokinetic strength measurements, etc, etc) and have one or two exercise sessions 6 days a week. So, I'm not JUST lying in bed with nothing to do.

Aken4223 karma

The lack of activity must be taking its toll on you. How much weight have you lost? Do you find it is taking mental toll?

nowhereweare59 karma

I haven't lost or gained any weight. The diet is custom tailored for my weight and metabolism so that I maintain the same weight. I asked them to make me lose 5-10 lbs before I leave, but they won't.

Most days, I feel really good. I'm had such a lack of free time the last few years that I am really enjoying the empty hours. Every now and then, I have a little mental freak-out moment when I wake up in the middle of the night mashed against the headboard (due to the 6 deg angle) or some nurse is telling me that I lifted my head to high and I need to stay down.

Also, I'm bummed that I missed one of my best friend's weddings and my uncles funeral while I've been here. That's tough because I feel like I'm making somewhat of a selfish decision by being here.

thenoob11730 karma

Hey, you're not being selfish. You took an engagement; you didn't know things would happen in those 70 days.

nate80034 karma

A best friend's wedding is usually planned out more than 70 days in advance, but to be selected as 1 of the 55 from 25,000 is crazy

nowhereweare40 karma

Yep, I had planned to be in the wedding for months, but I could only accept the spot in this research study during this exact period since they are shutting down the whole project at the end of the year. I couldn't pass up the once in a lifetime opportunity.

eJollyRoger5 karma

What did you study in college? What are you trying to study in grad school? Any particular school or program?> @andrewiwanicki

nowhereweare14 karma

I majored in Philosophy, minored in Music and Religion at Emory U.

I'm not certain what I want to do for grad school yet. So, I figure while I have the free time, I'll study for the GRE and the LSAT.

If I stay in music, I'll go to law school eventually.

Psychology has been a life long passion. Specifically, I am looking into programs with an emphasis on developing psyche-friendly technology and psychedelic therapy. We're only going to spend more time in front of computers in the future; so, we should invest in understanding how it affects our brains and how we can optimize the relationship. I truly believe that psychedelic therapy could provide groundbreaking insight and progress many sick people (lots of interesting research surrounding end-of-life care, PTSD, and autism going on these days).

eJollyRoger3 karma

That's cool. Look into the MSTC program at the University of Texas.

I have been dreaming of getting into that program, and just need killer GRE scores. How do you go about studying for the GRE? The new format produces lots of anxiety, in my opinion.

Do you play poker?

nowhereweare6 karma

Magoosh has a good free vocab flash card program that I've been using. Otherwise, I'm just doing a ton of practice sets. Vocab is what is going to hold be back from a good score.

I'll have to check out the MSTC program.

I love poker. I keep saying it's such a shame online poker is illegal in the US. I'd be playing all day if I could.

ChoppedNscrewdriver2 karma

Race in Starcraft?

nowhereweare6 karma

Protoss

yikingyocks31 karma

have you seen that episode of Even Stevens where Louis (Shia Labeouf) tried to do something similiar in the display window of a mattress shop? I can't remember what exactly happens, but you should look it up if you have time to kill

nowhereweare27 karma

Well, I certainly have time to kill....so, I'll look it up!

rms_is_god11 karma

Even Stevens - Season 1 Episode 10 "Easy Way"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuaOAVHcUKE

nowhereweare3 karma

pretty spot on.

Thereminz27 karma

Do you just reddit all day?

Don't they let you up to shower or go to the bathroom?

nowhereweare46 karma

I usually read all of Reddit at least twice a day.

For showers, I am wheeled on a gurney to the shower room. In there, there is a plastic bed (also tilted at -6 degrees) and a handheld shower head on a hose.

For the bathroom, I have urinal jugs and a bedpan. My bed is my bedroom, living room, dining room...and bathroom :(

Twinkie_Zombie21 karma

70 day science beard?

nowhereweare28 karma

That's how I'm measuring the days! I came in clean shaven with a buzzed head.

DerekJetah19 karma

What would you do for one day of pick up football in Central Park right now?

nowhereweare27 karma

Oh maaaaaan! I'd trade my Netflix account for a good game of pick-up football.

shift_or_die18 karma

How often do subjects in this study get bedsores? You have any yet? Do nurses rub ointment on your bedsores? Have you named any of your bedsores?

nowhereweare17 karma

No bedsores. Since we are able to turn on our sides and our stomaches, our blood shifts enough to prevent bedsores. We also have a daily exercise regiment that keeps us moving.

McSippy15 karma

Are you allowed to get visitors? How many people do you get to see?

nowhereweare20 karma

Yes, visitors are allowed. My parents drove down from Dallas one weekend and my girlfriend flew in from LA for a weekend. I don't expect any other visitors before I leave.

shinerai20 karma

How is the experiment affecting your relationship with your girlfriend?

nowhereweare46 karma

Beforehand, I thought it might be the end of it. We had only been together 8 months and my gf has gone through a ton of transitions in my absence: month of travel, moving to new apt, starting grad school, etc.

That said, I was optimistic. Ours feels like the only truly healthy relationship I've ever been in and I can see us sticking together for quite some time.

We've been able to grow through the process. We skype regularly and talk daily. Since I don't have the usual distractions of life, I'm able to listen more closely and we're able to have conversations about some of the bigger things that we often ignore during our busy days.

So far, our relationship feels stronger than before I left. I'm not one to be sentimental, but I fucking love that girl.

robdevildoc15 karma

Does it hurt to lay in bed that long? If I'm in bed for more than a day I start to get sore spots.

nowhereweare17 karma

I experiences serious back pain for the first 5 days. Now, I just grapple with the occassional head ache or dizziness. It's really not as bad as I expected.

Jebus45915 karma

Do you ever get sick of being in bed and say to yourself, "this is my dream job ever since I hit puberty?"

nowhereweare38 karma

The only times I've really been frustrated about staying in bed are:

  • when I missed my friend's wedding
  • when I missed my uncle's funeral
  • when my girlfriend was here and I couldn't stand up to kiss her, have the privacy for some sexy time, or even take her out to dinner

thechemX15 karma

You're living my dream.

Do you get to pick what you eat/is the food good?

nowhereweare29 karma

No, the diet is strictly regimented. Every participant eats the same food (amount adjusted for body weight and matabolism). The project has been going for 3 or 4 years and it's been the same 11-day cycle of meals since the start. The food is decent, equivalent to a mediocre cafeteria. The diet is low in salt and spices; so it can be a bit bland.

dcmeza6 karma

do you ever wonder if there is some other hidden agenda type of research going on with you too or is it pretty straight forward... they just want to see how you do laying in bed all day??

nowhereweare8 karma

I cannot imagine there being any secret agenda behind the veil of the project. Most of the staff are just average folks trying to make a living, not masterminds burning the night oil to fulfill some sneaky goals that they must keep from the public eye. Many people give the government have far too much confidence in the government's ability to be effective.

khreper10 karma

Head down 6deg angle? Does that mean feet higher than your head?

nowhereweare13 karma

Yep! My feet are higher than my head. It's a bitch because I continually slide towards the headboard until my head is turned sideways...every time I wiggle or turn I slide another inch or two.

McSully424210 karma

What is the most productive thing you have done with your time so far?

nowhereweare14 karma

I have been learning about the stock market. I opened up a Roth IRA and developed an investment/retirement plan.

I also am really happy with the article for VICE. I've been a fan for a long time and am proud to be a part of it.

Time will tell if my GRE and LSAT studies are productive :/

NapCaptain10 karma

at least we know you're not going to leave in the middle of this AMA. cool gig. Can you have friends and family visit? Have you found the end of the internet yet?

nowhereweare15 karma

As for the end of the internet...it was a bit of a letdown really. It all ends in kitten porn just like you'd expect.

nowhereweare6 karma

Yes, my parents drove down from Dallas to hang out for a weekend and my girlfriend flew out from L.A. for a weekend. It was a bit strange "hosting" them, but not being able to offer them anything. They aren't even allowed to eat food here. So, basically, they just sat next to my bed and we chatted for hours.

nate8002 karma

conjugal visit?

nowhereweare10 karma

No such luck. My gf wasn't even allowed to lie on the bed with me, which was incredibly frustrating.

molly1118010 karma

Are you in the same sheets & clothes from beginning to end? Do you get to interact with any of the other patients? What do you think it will be like when you get to stand up for the first time?

nowhereweare14 karma

They change the sheets every two days. So, it's much cleaner than my bed at home!

I do interact with the other patients a bit, but we mainly hang out in our own rooms. Since we need to be wheeled everywhere, it's strange: call for a nurse and tell them to see if the other patient wants to hang out, have someone wheel me over there, if I need to pee, I'll call to be wheeled back to my room, yada yada. We all find our solitary ways to stay busy: writing, playing video games, watching sports, reading, etc.

I'm really not sure what to expect when I stand up. I'm psyched to find out though!

molly111804 karma

Interesting. Glad to know they let you keep a reasonably good feeling of hygiene. So...follow-up question: do you feel you're helping further science and research? You said it's a long-running study, do you feel like you're part of anything bigger than yourself?

I myself was in ONE study once, and it wasn't anything big - it was just a makeup testing, and all I did was switch out my makeup and they looked at my face once a week to see what it did to my skin. And I STILL quit after half the time because it made me break out and I was too vain since I had an event to attend. So I'm in awe of your willpower.

Has anyone quit the study? I can imagine myself doing it after 2 days - I spent too long on the couch on Sunday just being lazy and my hips are still in pain.

nowhereweare5 karma

I do feel that this is important research. We already have astronauts that spend more than six months in zero-gravity and I believe we owe it to them to properly research the potential dangers and methods of minimizing the negative effects. I believe in investing in safe space exploration.

Earlier participants in the project worked out on a vertical treadmill that was adapted for use in the International Space Station.

Surprisingly, none of the 55 participants requested to leave the study early. One participant had a short temper and bad mouth and was asked to leave. A couple other people had some negative responses to the bed rest and were forced to leave due to doctor's recommendations.

jmk8162 karma

What happens when you can stand up again? Do you remain at the research center? I would assume you would have to acclimate slowly for awhile.

nowhereweare3 karma

I will remain at the research facility for another 2 weeks for reconditioning.

Redrakerbz3 karma

Can you do another AMA when you get out of bed to tell us what it's like?

nowhereweare6 karma

Sure. I'm going to write another bit for Vice when I'm done too.

DanielFdC9 karma

What do you miss most? Or beter yet. What is the first thing you will do when it is over?

nowhereweare11 karma

When I get out, I am going to eat some Waffle House: egg and cheese buscuit and hashbrowns smothered and covered. Then, I'll head to Dallas to see family for a couple days.

From there, I am going to go on a road trip with my boo for a week or so. Probably chill out in the forest or on the beach and go for some nice walks/jogs/bike rides.

Then, I'll start searching for my next career move.

hollywoodtlb5 karma

I'm surprised sexy time with gf isn't #1

nowhereweare10 karma

Oh shit. Add that to my list. Def #1.

zane3149 karma

Has anybody in these studies gotten sick? How does having a cold change in this sort of environment? Or do they control for germs pretty well?

nowhereweare7 karma

No one has been sick while I've been here. Since we don't have any direct contact with the outside world, we don't have much exposure to germs.

Earlier in the project, a bunch of guys got ear infections due to showering horizontally and having water stay in their ear canals. Now, we all wear earplugs in the shower.

In at least one case, they asked a participant to stay in bed past the 70 days until his ear infection went away. They thought the infection would alter his data on balance related tests post-bed-rest.

spencersss8 karma

Hey! Thanks for the AMA - I'm very curious about it as I'm reading the site (I never heard of these researches/study's before) and I got a couple of questions! Nice site by the way, I like the way you write! Sorry if it's too many questions - answer the ones you'd like to answer!

  • Are you comfortable? I mean, as you're lying for 40 days now already, how does it feel to lay down? (besides that you have to do everything in that 6 degree angle)

  • So far you earned +-$10k, is it worth it so far for you?

  • How much do you want to train again? (and wow, you did the iron man race, nice!)

  • What (life-changing) realisations have you had from this 40 days of lying down?

  • How did you get into this study?

Thanks a lot in advance :D I'm really curious:) Good luck with the next 30 days. If you feel like talking or getting something off your chest feel free to message me!

Edit: some words Edit 2: Darn... too many questions?

nowhereweare13 karma

Comfort: Yes, for the most part, I am very comfortable. I occassionally get anxious or question what the hell I'm doing with my life, but overall, I'm enjoying the free time. Physically, the first week was horrible. The spine isn't used to staying horizontal. After the first 5 days or so, it's been a breeze. I occassionally get head aches or become dizzy from increased blood flow to the head.

$ - Yes, it's totally worth it. Being here also means cost free living. So, it's basically just $18k straight into my bank account. I just pay my cell phone bill, health insurance, and my student loans. When I take into account all the expenses I avoid here, it's like having a six figure job.

Ironman - I think I'll do more Ironman races. I like to stay fit, but I'm horrible about just exercising for it's own sake. I need to give myself artificial goals. I may do the half ironman in Oceanside, CA in March to get myself back in shape when I leave in December.

Realizations - I'm going to let that marinate for a few more minutes.

Thanks for the support!

spencersss5 karma

[deleted]

nowhereweare16 karma

I think my greatest realization has been my refocus on the basics. I have spent years pursuing abstract career goals and generating all sorts of unnecessary stress for myself.

Life is simple, but it's all too easy to get side tracked and buy into the illusion of seriousness. Maximize pleasure and minimize pain in all ways possible. Catalyze peace. Die with dignity. Enjoy the game along the way.

Ram Dass has been a great guide for me. Whenever you have an hour, watch this lecture of his. I've already watched it 3 times while in bed rest and it's one of my greatest inspirations (the 5 pts are mislabeled on youtube, watch 3,2,5,4,1, ok to watch in 15 min chunks):

3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aby6sD_Nu3o&list=UUnXA5htGOTCxc67ASZkPtcg

2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdy8J8GdSys&index=317&list=UUnXA5htGOTCxc67ASZkPtcg

5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ES3dFUEtQc&index=318&list=UUnXA5htGOTCxc67ASZkPtcg

4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmTcwsjDIJE&list=UUnXA5htGOTCxc67ASZkPtcg

1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDx8e6TVLOg&index=320&list=UUnXA5htGOTCxc67ASZkPtcg

DragonflyGrrl3 karma

Thank you for the Ram Dass links! That man is and has always been a true inspiration. I met him when I was about 17 years old, he was sitting on a blanket at a Rainbow Gathering. I sat with him and just talked for a while, it was a highlight of my younger years for sure. I happened to be carrying my copy of Be Here Now at the time. If you haven't read that yet, you really REALLY should get a copy to read while you're lying there. Good to hear you're using this time to ponder such things, you're really in a unique position to still yourself and your mind and step outside the rat-race and find some Truth. I read in another answer that you meditate daily and that made me happy. :) anyway, thanks for this AMA, and the peek into your world, it's been interesting!

nowhereweare2 karma

Wow. I would give almost anything for a few hours w Ram Dass. I have my copy of Be Here Now with me as well :) I'm just glad that I can contribute something interesting to the continually awesome reddit community.

pb0b8 karma

Do you prefer Zerg, Protoss or Terran?

nowhereweare15 karma

Protoss. I'm not quick enough to micro well. Find me on battle.net most days, username: Pbob.

CurtM3 karma

Pbob

Which region?

nowhereweare6 karma

United States, probably registered to Los Angeles, CA. I'm currently in Galveston, TX at the UTMB Hospital.

jonnichols8 karma

Couple of questions:

What do you miss the most about normal non-bed laying lifestyle?

Are you afraid of what your life will be like in the days/weeks after the study is over? Specifically, do you think your brain will have trouble adjusting to standing again? Your inner-ear?

What is the plan for you after the study ends? Do they have you on 0 degree incline for a few days and then let you get up for short bits? I mean, will you be in the hospital for a few weeks after the official end of the study just to get back to normal?

Do you play any games on Steam? If so, can I add you? LOL Steam ID: jonnichols

nowhereweare9 karma

I miss being outside in the sun. I am pretty dependent on regular exercise outside to stay centered. I also miss hanging out with friends and having a beer. I skype with many friends, but it's just not the same. The world keeps turning and I'm outside of it for the most part.

My fears are a bit more long term. I don't know what my career plan will be when I leave. I've been working in music, but it's a shrinking industry and I fear that staying there will mean that I always have to work long hours for little pay. I will probably go to grad school in 2016 and just find some filler work in the meantime.

When I complete bed rest, they will put me on a table that they flip vertical quite quickly. Then, I'll stand still for 20 minutes (if I can, spotters on all sides). I'll have a blood pressure cuff, electrodes on my heart, and an ultrasound machine looking at my heart and veins. They are very interested in what occurs in those first few minutes back in gravity. They want to understand what to expect when astronauts are reintroduced to gravity after months without it.

I'll be in the hospital for two weeks after I get out of bed for reconditioning.

I don't play anything on Steam, just Starcraft and some Halo (not hooked up to xbox live though :(. If you play Starcraft, I'm Pbob.

LogicalTimber7 karma

You mentioned daily exercise - how do you manage to do cardio while lying down?

nowhereweare12 karma

Also, I'm part of the lucky group. Past groups testing other equipment NEVER sat up. They did cardio on a vertical treadmill: http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn13268/dn13268-1_600.jpg

LogicalTimber3 karma

That's awesome. Gotta admit I'm amused by that crash mat. I do /r/aerials, and we use mats like that one when risking 20 foot falls. It seems like more than a little overkill for someone strapped in in a dozen different ways by freaking NASA. Still, safety first!

nowhereweare8 karma

They are absolutely NUTS when it comes to safety. Any time that I do exercise where I am aiming for my maximum heart rate, there is a doctor observing to ensure that I don't have any problems.

On one occasion, the project shut down for a few months. During a weightlifting session, a participant felt a sharp pain in his leg and was convinced that he was seriously injured. By the time the staff determined it was a muscle cramp, someone from Washington DC was already on a flight down here, an ethics review board was convening, and everyone was freaking out.

The safety protocols surrounding human research are pretty outrageous.

nowhereweare8 karma

It's a modified row machine. While on the machine, I do sit up a bit. This is the only time that I'm not lying down.

AllGunsNoButter7 karma

Do yourself a favor and watch Red Vs Blue from Roosterteeh great show. What has been your weirdest dream?

nowhereweare4 karma

No specific dream stands out, but it's worth noting that I have been having much more vivid dreams. Without all the usual distractions of regular life, I have more time to recall and consolidate memories of my dreams.

Also, I have been reading The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda for the second time. Reading that book and focusing on dreaming intensifies the experience. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in lucid dreaming.

shouldbeworking237 karma

If you get up and walk around, do they can you? Also, what if you sleepwalk??

nowhereweare9 karma

Another participant stood up after one week in bed. He was using his bedpan for the third time that day (weak stomach and lots of problems with the food) and became super frustrated and anxious. Furious at all the shit on his ass, he decided to stand up to clean himself up.

A nurse saw his feet on the ground under the curtain and yelled at him to get back in bed. He complied.

Considering all the paperwork around this place for anything and everything, I can only imagine all the bullshit that set off. I know the principal investigator spoke with him personally, a psychologist came to speak with him, and there were multiple phone calls and meetings among the staff.

They warned him that if he got up again, he would be kicked out. He stayed in bed for the rest of his two-week stint.

On a funny side note, late that night, he awoke needing to shit again. Tired and pissed, he just decided to toss a towel in the back of his pants and go back to sleep.

As for sleepwalking, that would certainly cause some problems, not sure how they'd deal with that.

two_off6 karma

What are your reviews for the worst TV show and worst book you've read while in this study?

nowhereweare13 karma

Hm...I've watched a lot of great stuff. Since I didn't have much time for reading and TV before, I had a long list built up.

I've watched: Trailer Park Boys, House of Cards, The Wire, True Detective, Eastbound and Down, Arrested Development.

Ohhhh yeah...the 4th season of Arrested Development is by far the worst. What a tragic disappointment, didn't even finish it.

No complaints about the books I've read: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (for the 5th time), Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Paths to God by Ram Dass (my spritiual hero: Harvard psyc professor, gone psychedelic enthusiast, gone panreligious guru), The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read

xeglar6 karma

What's the best thing that's happened to you so far, while lying in bed?

nowhereweare9 karma

Hm...that's tough. There have been several great parts of participating in this study:

  1. Having time to relax, reflect, and refocus - I've been working in the music industry for the past 4 years. My career goals have consumed most of my waking hours since I graduated college. It's really refreshing to step back and take a look at my life path with fresh eyes without the usual distractions...while making enough money to buy myself sometime when I get out too!

  2. Writing for VICE - I used to really enjoy writing, but I ditched it when I spent too many hours working. So, it feels awesome to share some writing with the world. Also, I'm a huge VICE fan and I'm honored to be a part of it.

  3. Seeing my girlfriend - My girlfriend came to visit a week ago. I hadn't seen her in over 2 months and that's been tough since we've only been together for 10.

acamu56 karma

Writing for VICE

Keep doing it! Your article was solid :)

nowhereweare5 karma

I appreciate the support! At the very least, I am going to write another article at the end of the study.

dalkor6 karma

You have 2 more days to go. How do you feel?

nowhereweare7 karma

I feel pretty good. I just had my second and final muscle biopsy, which isn't much fun and I am feeling a little stir crazy, but all things considered, I feel remarkably positive and relaxed.

How did you hear about my story? I just received a ton of new twitter/instagram/reddit interest and I'm not sure why.

ChoppedNscrewdriver6 karma

Do you have a nice computer set up?

nowhereweare7 karma

I have my Macbook Pro with me. If participants don't have a laptop, NASA will supply one (a newer Dell of some sort).

I have a bracket that extends from my bedside table that holds the laptop above me. Honestly, now, I want one for my bed at home. Similar to this: http://www.broadenedhorizons.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x800/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/r/o/robo_arm-_extreme_positioning_example_overhead_while_reclining_2/[MtR0738.a]_Robo-Arm-Mount-Kit-for-Wheelchair-or-Bed.jpg

thomasberends1 karma

Is it easy to type when the laptop is above you?

nowhereweare1 karma

My arms get a bit tired and sore after 30-60 min.

cebt5 karma

As a test subject, are you provided with cake when the testing is done?

nowhereweare6 karma

Hm...I don't think I get any special treat at the end. I'll certainly treat myself though.

Luckily, some meals come with dessert. I probably have cheese cake once a week and apple pie w ice cream once a week. So, it's not all bad.

VirginClosers5 karma

How do you deal with the blue balls? That's the deal breaker for me. Also, what's the bathroom situation like?

nowhereweare7 karma

I abstained for the first two weeks because I thought it would be healthy to try taking a break. Then, they started to physically hurt...I hadn't gone that long since puberty. Luckily, there's no camera when I shower or when I piss/poop.

Here's my bathroom: http://instagram.com/p/u_LcbbFWjO/?modal=true

stayonthecloud5 karma

Will you be in physical therapy after this is over?

nowhereweare8 karma

Once I'm out of bed rest, I'll be here for another two weeks for "reconditioning." Since I exercise daily (weight, interval, and cardio), recovery should be easy. The only recovery that takes some time is returning to full bone density, which can take up to six months.

HeyYouAndrew2 karma

Just curious on that - you've mentioned that diet and exercise are taken care of, why does your bone density decrease?

nowhereweare3 karma

Bone density decreases from lack of use. Even though I exercise daily, that doesn't fully replace the usual stress that leg and back bones incur during daily use. Whenever you sit, stand up, or walk, you put stress on those bones, which encourages the body to maintain a certain level of density. Since maintaining bone density requires energy, the body will not continue to exert energy maintaining high density in bones that are not in use.

acamu55 karma

What process would you need to go through to rehabilitate yourself after your bedrest?

nowhereweare5 karma

Rehab will be pretty simple. Luckily, the exercise regiment and equipment that they are studying is quite effective and minimizes the bone and muscle loss that would occur if I were JUST lying here for 2 months.

greggors5 karma

What food/drink do you miss most?

nowhereweare14 karma

Pizza. Beer. Scotch. I'm a simple man.

In a more general sense, I miss having salt and spice in my food. Everything here is pretty bland. Apparently, the zero-gravity environment exaggerates some negative effects of salt in the body, so they keep salt intake low.

I would kill a kid for a bottle of Cholula and Tony Chachere's

smellycoat4 karma

Are you not allowed to lift your head at all?

I was stuck in bed with back problems for a while and couldn't lift my head for days. The relief was immense when I could.

Am I helping?

nowhereweare4 karma

I can only lift my head during meals. I am allowed to prop myself up on my elbow for 30 minutes to help with swallowing and digestion. Otherwise, I have to keep my head down.

enternets4 karma

Do you get paid upon completion or do you get a pay check? Are you at JSC on site or near JSC?

nowhereweare5 karma

I get paid every two weeks, $10 per waking hour, 16 hours per day.

Some of my testing is at JSC, but my room and regular exercise is south in Galveston at the UTMB hospital in the NASA Flight Analogue Research Unit.

bobvila24 karma

Are they ok with a light rinse only policy for cereal bowls?

nowhereweare2 karma

If you review all of the light rinse bylaws, you'll find that the policy is only for personal cereal bowl use; one cannot light rinse a bowl for someone else.

User40113 karma

Wow, still bedridden , glad to be out in a couple days? See the sunshine, not be monitored 24/7, eat and poop where appropriate, stand up with the humans you love! Oh, and also reap that sweet cash!

nowhereweare3 karma

I am SO ready to get out of here. It's been a pretty positive experience over all, but I am very excited to return to a more normal existence. Sunshine. Girlfriend. Food. Booze. Walking. FREEEDOM!!! I stand up on Friday. Then, I have another two weeks of reconditioning before I leave the facility.

PappleD3 karma

What's been the most difficult part of your experience in the study so far? What's been the most rewarding?

nowhereweare7 karma

The most difficult part is not being available for my friends and family. I know that this has been difficult on my SO...at least I'm getting paid and I made the choice, she's just stick with my choice.

I also missed one of my best friend's wedding as well as my uncle's funeral (passed away from cancer unexpectedly).

It makes me reflect on the selfish nature of my decision to be a part of this project. By being here, I cannot fulfill my obligations to those I love.

shinerai3 karma

Do you chat much with the other participants of the study? Made any good friends in there?

Are you in a private room or a shared room with a bunch of other people?

When you get out with your $18k, what is the first fun purchase you're going to spend it on? :D

nowhereweare3 karma

We all keep to ourselves mostly since we are pretty immobile. I have become good friends with some of the staff, epsecially the guys that run the exercise program. Going to daily exercise is my little escape and man-cave sanctuary.

We each have our private room. If enough people show up, we may have one roommate, every room has two beds.

Pizza, Bloody Mary's, and travel.

scurius3 karma

how horrible does your body make you feel right now? do you know how much weight you've lost? do you have trouble sleeping? do they give you any drugs to make it easier?

nowhereweare5 karma

Right now, my body feels good. I have a little bit of a headache, I usually get one or two a week due to increased blood to my head.

I haven't gained or lost any weight. I am weighed on a bed scale every morning and they tailor my diet to keep me at the same weight.

I do have trouble sleeping due to the 6 degree angle. I wake up 3-6 times during the night with my head mashed against the plastic headboard.

I am allowed to take over-the-counter pain meds if I want unless i have certain testing within the next couple days. For heart scans and MRI scans, I can't have any meds for the 2 days prior.

I regularly take Colace stool softener (digestive system is slow w/o gravity) and Vitamin D (no exposure to sunlight).

TheFilerofNails2 karma

How much are you able to move around? You mentioned being able to roll over earlier, and exercises. So can you wave your arms and legs around, as long as your spine and head remain in place?

nowhereweare2 karma

Yep.

There is also a little more leeway when I do my twice-daily stretches. I grab my foot with my hand and kick above my head. I do circles with my neck. I put on leg on the other raised knee and pull my leg to the opposite side.

Smuey2 karma

I see your Instagram posts all the time and I see you like StarCraft!:) I'm a pretty big gamer, so I was wondering if you play any other video games?

nowhereweare2 karma

A bit of Halo. I also started playing Red Dead Redemption when I need a change of pace (I beat GTA a few months ago and figured I'd give another Rockstar game a whirl).

shouldbeworking232 karma

Holy shit, man! That's awesome! How many movies have you watched? And what do you do when you need to.... ya know

nowhereweare3 karma

I've watched at least a dozen movies and have completed at least 8 TV series in the past month.

ItsMeIsaac1 karma

Watch Prometheus and Pandorum if you haven't. Great movies

nowhereweare2 karma

Love Prometheus. Haven't seen Pandorum, will scope.

TheOffTopicBuffalo2 karma

Have you beat candy crush yet?

nowhereweare5 karma

Somehow, I have never played. I play a ton of Starcraft and some Halo.

hockeyscott1 karma

Can you decide to quit at anytime? Do you know of any subjects that quit before the 70 days was up?

nowhereweare2 karma

I reserve the right to leave at any time. That's a national research ethics standard for studies like this.

No participants have requested to leave before the end of the study. Crazy, right?! I assumed they would have a high drop out rate, but I suppose they do a good job of screening candidates.

Tallest_Waldo1 karma

Any hot nurses or attendants to hit on?

nowhereweare2 karma

...a couple, but it's pretty slim pickin's

valtambok1 karma

How are the researcher treating you so far?

nowhereweare2 karma

They're all pretty friendly. Occasionally, I feel more like a pile of data than a human, but that's inevitable in this gig.

vilent_sibrate1 karma

Do they have you on one of those automatically moving/adjusting beds to protect against bed sores?

nowhereweare2 karma

Since we are able to shift positions in bed and exercise daily, there little to no risk of bed sores.

patrickhandali1 karma

Whoa, this must've somewhat been a very interesting, albeit weird, change of pace in your life. What was your family/gf's first reaction when you said you'll be going for it?

nowhereweare2 karma

My girlfriend was pretty shocked and a bit concerned.

My family was surprisingly mellow. They are used to me making all sorts of odd decisions in life.

Mighty_Muscle1 karma

Sorry to ask, but when you have to poop..are you allowed to sit straight up? Or do you have to lay down on some sort of bed with a hole in it or anything?

btw, thanks for the AMA!

quastra1 karma

What can I do to get that job?!!!

nowhereweare1 karma

Bedreststudy.JSC.NASA.gov