The doctors are talking about releasing me today. 37 days, 2 organ transplants one thrombectomy, an EGD with variceal banding, a trip to the ICU, plenty of needles, IVs, drugs, and poking and prodding and both mental and physical pain. I’m hoping for a graceful discharge from this Hospital Space Station, and a graceful landing back in Manchester, NH today. I will report status once liver profile numbers come in, and I get confirmation from ground control on their plans to send me back to Earth on this daily rotation around the planet’s axis.
I was explaining to a friend my best analogy with was being an astronaut at this hospital substation. I was sent up in a capsule on April 14th, and expected to return home soon thereafter. Some complications arose, and my capsule has been kept in space for an extended period while ground control, the doctors, and everyone else makes sure it’s safe for me to return to Earth. While I’ve been secluded from normal Earth activities, I can see things out my capsule window. I can see spring happening – grass turning green, leaves popping on trees, the sun coming up earlier and setting later, but I have no other physical senses that can interact with Earth – I can’t smell the fresh grass, touch the trees, or hear the birds. On the rare occasion when I’ve been taken on a wheelchair adventure, it feels like a projected holographic image or movie. There’s a half hour or hour window where i get to experience a version of Earth, but I’m still restrained in a wheelchair from trying to do anything and need to return to my substation capsule for further monitoring.
I remember watching Chris Hadfield and Expedition 35 crewmates being extracted from a Soyuz capsule last year and being amazed at how frail they were upon returning to Earth.
I have a much better appreciation now. My muscles have atrophied from being sedentary – my weight has dropped from about 165 going into surgery (at 6’0″), to around 148lbs today. I’ve struggled with nutrition and my body is aggressively trying to recover from all the surgical procedures. I may be landing the capsule back on Earth today, doctor’s willing, and very much look forward to some of the normalcies of living on Earth. My first objective is to take off my shoes, and walk through the grass. Then, I’ll promptly wash my feet in antibacterial soap, find a nice comfortable chair or bed, and take a nap.