Hospital Astronaut To Ground Control, What’s My Status?

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.

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13 thoughts on “Hospital Astronaut To Ground Control, What’s My Status?

  1. Yey, BIG time. and when you take that nap, after walking barefoot on the grass, I hope you have dreams of flying like an astronaut and or the man of steel..

  2. Stan says:

    And this Earth will be a much better place with you and Col Logan back together on Terra Firma

  3. Brian Foley says:

    you take that nap and may visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head. we love you Derek!

  4. bradycarlson says:

    I bet I know what comes after the walk through the grass and the nap… WHITE CASTLE

  5. C.G. says:

    Welcome back to earth sir! A lot of people have been viewing your capsule and willing you back.

  6. Aunt Barb says:

    Have a safe landing back to earth, no bumps,a great long deserved nap. Looking forward to seeing you and Logan at your home. XO

  7. Kristen says:

    Welcome home. And you picked a beautiful day for a barefoot walk! We are excited to have you back. We have been following your journey and thinking of you often.
    Love, Kristen and Paris

  8. jim steenson says:

    Fire the retros!

  9. n2ulf says:

    An excellent analogy. Here’s hoping that this daily rotation around the planet’s axis is THE rotation that sees you back at home.

  10. Daria T says:

    What great news! The beautiful blue spring sky was smiling at you today… nothing like the comforts of home to make you feel better! So happy for both of you, what a long road you have traveled, now just breath! Lotsa l
    ove to you both, Daria xo

  11. Br Shawn says:

    Great and amazing and wonderful news…All the best. Hope to see you soon, Derek & Logan. Love you both. Br. Shawn

  12. […] year ago today, Derek left the hospital. He was weak, yellow, about 30 pounds lighter than when he went in, but he was alive. For the first […]

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