Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 8 A New Hope

Today was a great day especially compared to yesterday.  After going to bed around 5:30am due to staying up all night watching the walking dead marathon getting up at 11 was a little harder than I would have liked but a half cup of coffee later and I was surprisingly awake and feeling good.  I spent the first hour of my waking day just relaxing in the common room looking at a menu trying to figure out what I wanted to order for lunch since I had at this point already missed breakfast.  Before long one of the nurses comes into the common room to discuss the "rumors about going for a walk".  At first I assumed this would be very depressing news, and that we would be told that we would not be able to leave until our bodies were free of the dangerous bacteria, but this was not the case.  The rumors of a walk, were rumors until today. At this point she informed us that if we wanted to go for a walk we should meet her at the nurses station in 30 minutes. I took this opportunity to bathe as I was finally going to bee going outside for the first time since October 6th, and the thought of possibly interacting with people whom I hadn't heard intimate details of the frequency and consistency of their stools was enough to motivate me to look like a real person again.  Thirty minutes later and I was clean, dressed, and waiting at the nurses station ready to go, along with 6 others.

We left the hospital through the McClure Lobby entrance and for the first time in 8 days stepped outside into the fresh air and sunlight.  We were informed that if we were to "happen" to run into one of our friends that the possibility of future walks would be severely reduced.  This frightened me a little having just graduated from UVM I still know a decent number of students and our walk would take us right through the center of UVM campus.  Buuuuut oh yeah its Sunday, so everyone I know that I would likely run into is most likely still very hungover.  We proceeded to walk through and all around campus giving us a solid 45 minutes to an hour where we were able to meander around campus enjoying the beautiful 67 degree sunny weather.  Even though this tour was guided and with two chaperons who were keeping a very close eye on us it was still a dream come true. Hopefully today's dose of vitamin D will keep me going as the forecast is not so nice for the coming days, but I will continue to go for walks with my master....errrrr... I mean nurse, whenever I'm given the opportunity.

Upon returning from our little field trip with much higher spirits I realized I never got around to eating lunch and proceeded to do so, ordering the grilled pesto salmon with a side of carrots a side salad, bruschetta, and a pudding.  Well someone in the kitchen must be reading my blog because they sent me up my meal which contained everything but the side salad.  They sent me a container of salad dressing but absolutely nothing to put it on.  This seemed a little TOO suspicious so I'm now working on a way too infect the kitchen staff with cholera while I still carry the dangerous bacteria in my bowels.  Okay this may or may not be considered bio-terrorism but they have just pushed me TOO FAR! (Guys, guys I'm kidding, relax, I'm not going really do anything like that I'm just trying to be entertaining.) But for realz, this alleged "mistakes" are getting really annoying.

At this point a delivery arrived for me, which my roommate Steph so graciously delivered despite being incredibly hungover, containing some cash (in case I wanted some extra food from Leonardo's) as well as a frisbee and a few surprises she threw in. "Poop Pup" and the world's most underrated candy bar.


Next up one of the wonderful hospital staff made a delivery for us, containing more controllers and a couple more games including Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword which I've heard is AWESOME.  We also at this point decided to order pizza from Leonardo's for dinner as there was enough money left in the budget for 2 large pizza's as well as for enough supplies for an ice cream party.  Fast forward 5 hours and we have large Maine potato and chicken basil pesto pizza's which were both amazing (don't ask me specifically what was on them because I don't know. Look it up on Leonardo's site).  Once we were finished with the pizza we moved on the the icecream which I finished just in time for the season premier of Walking Dead, giving me just enough time to run back to my room and wheel my recliner, which I realized today is an ACTUAL LA-Z-BOY, into the common room for the viewing party.  After walking dead ended a few of us proceeded to play Zelda for a couple hours which, like many games, started off a little slow but did start to become really cool after we go into it.


Daaaaayumn them eyes is sexy.
Whoever made fun of me for claiming this would be my vacation inside the hospital, BOO YAH!  When was the last time you, slept in until 11, went for a walk, ordered lunch, had delicious FREE gourmet pizza for dinner, followed by a free ice cream party, then watched Walking Dead in an incredibly comfortable La-Z-Boy, followed by some cool video games, ALL THE WHILE being paid to do so? Yeah, That's what I thought.  After today I'm  not sure I want to leave. After volunteering (begging) to be in the next cohort of subject as I would happily be paid to do all of this again I was informed simply that "No, it doesn't work that way".  Minor details, I think I'll keep pushing the subject.

Point of the story, it was a great day, I'm great, cholera is great, and this study was probably the best thing I could have done with my past week. Definitely the most profitable.

Now that its almost 4am I think I should go to bed.  The nurses come check on me every hour, and I'm pretty sure they're beginning to think I'm nuts.

Current Pudding Tally 17

Oh yeah. Today's "Data" was of type 2 consistency.

I'm Pooped.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 7 Spirits Fading

For breakfast this morning I ordered a bagel with cream cheese, banana bread, Cheerios with milk, and an apple juice. When my food arrived I excitedly opened the serving platter to find this.  Banana bread. They gave me the two containers of cream cheese I asked for but no bagel.  After a brief complaint with the delivery girl she called the kitchen and 10 minutes later they rushed up a fresh bagel for me.  Okay it was cold so maybe it wasn't actually fresh but the receipt it cam with did read "Rush Order".  I like to think this was because I left my shirt off when confronting the delivery girl.  Banana bread was great as always, while everything else could simply be described as bleh.  I thought I ordered honey nut cheerios but I can't be sure so I guess this time I will have to let it go.

Lunch was again a chicken caesar salad with red pepper humus, pretzels, a pudding, pineapple juice and the brand new addition of carrot cake. The carrot cake was delicious. Highly recommended.

Dinner today consisted of macaroni and cheese, a caesar side salad, a side of cottage cheese, some banana bread a chocolate pudding (Current Pudding Tally 15) a cheesecake brownie and 3 dill pickle spears which someone downstairs felt the need to shove into a tiny little bowl making them far less than appetizing.  I imagine this was their retaliation for me requiring that they actually bring the bagel which I ordered for breakfast.  The mac and cheese was bland at best while the brownie was very good.  I'd tried one before during my other experiences participating in research and I was not let down today.
Needs salt
If my time here in the GRC has taught me anything it is what it feels like to be a 2 year old again. Never would I have thought that at 23 years old that full grown women would be thanking me for pooping in a poop receptacle.  For a toddler the "thank you" or "good job" they receive could be very encouraging.  To me I found it to be somewhat unsettling.  "You're welcome?"  and "Thank you?" Have been my typical responses thus far but nothing feels quite right.  Thankfully since they are no longer collecting my urine it has become an interaction that I have far less often.

Today was a day much like the last.  Wake up. Vitals. Antibiotics. Rounds. Netflix/naps/video games in no particular order.  My days are beginning to blur together, the only thing allowing me to keep track of the days is the TV schedule.  Sadly Friday and Saturday were low on shows that I wanted to watch so it became very hard to remember exactly what day it is.  Things are now moving very slow and I sometimes find myself ordering meals because it's either that time I usually eat and I have nothing else to do or because I fear I might get hungry later after the kitchen closes, regarldless of my current level of hunger.  I am beginning to wish that I had gotten very sick very early as those individuals were given the antibiotics early, and will complete them early, and thus should be able to leave the hospital early.  I can only hope that I wipe out all of these bacteria ahead of schedule in which case I might be out of here as early as Wednesday, possibly even Tuesday evening if I am very lucky.  Those who started the antibiotics early may be even able to leave Monday.

I also could go for a haircut.
Boredom has set in.I am getting stir crazy and begging nurses to take me for a walk. I will willingly accept a leash if need be.  Tomorrow is supposedly a ice cream Sunday evening which will hopefully raise spirits.

So little is happening that I have nothing to write about. Maybe I can turn this blog into a dream journal so I can record all of my weird and inappropriate thoughts of my subconscious and put them out for everyone to read.

I ate dinner too fast. My belly hurts. I will go lay down now.

I'm Pooped.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 6 The Antibiotics Begin

First off, I want to start off with some great news!  As of this morning my urine samples are no longer being collected as I have been without symptoms and am in no danger of being dehydrated my fluid levels don't need to be monitored anymore.  The most exciting thing about this news is I FINALLY get to flush a toilet again! Since I first drank the cholera infected water this past Monday morning every single urine and stool sample I have produced has been meticulously collected and documented.  Even the toilet paper I used has been collected all week in a special receptacle.  I imagine this is done to ensure that none of the cholera bacteria escape out into the environment potentially infecting other people, as unlikely as that may be. Since I haven't actually been flushing the toilet the same water has been sitting in there for nearly a week. Flushing it down today was a very rewarding experience.  Despite being able to pee freely, my stool samples are still ALL being collected (today's consisted of half type 3 and half type 4).  This is to ensure that the antibiotics are working as I won't be allowed to leave until my stool has been clear of cholera bacteria for 72 hours.
Week old toilet water
Poop paper receptacle. Ignore bottle of urine......
Today was more or less the same as yesterday. Wake up, breakfast, nap/Netflix, lunch, nap/netflix, with random bits of wii thrown in here and there. Later on I ordered some dinner and had some light conversation with all my new friends until it was time for Legend of Korra, at which point I went back to secluding myself to my room as I could not handle the distraction of anyone else while I watched what is easily the best thing nickelodeon has done in the past 13 years. I'm also beginning to think that my love of such show such as New Girl and Legend of Korra, is information that is better kept to myself. Although I will readily share with the masses not only the number and consistency of my stool samples over a week of time, perhaps my taste in television is too personal.  Few of you reading this will likely go on having not judged me.  To any pretty girl reading this, I'm really cool I swear! I simply have come to enjoy all parts of life.  If it helps I also really loved Breaking Bad and Dexter! Perhaps I'm just trying to fill the void left by the absence of those shows as they were two of my favorite shows which both came to a dramatic ending within a mere week of one another? Nahhh, who am I kidding? New Girl and Legend of Korra are both just great, and if you watch them you're great too.

After playing with the Wii for a while one of the other volunteers and I became a little bored and realized the Mii's were hysterical if we made it look like they were playing with their Wii Wii's.  Others may not find this as hysterical as I did but try spending 6 days in a hospital in perfect health with nothing to do and then get back to me. Also there is chance this video wont work which I will find very upsetting. I may have to upload this to youtube later and provide a link.

Eastern view
Later in the evening I looked out the east facing window of my bedroom to find that the sky was very pretty having been lit up with shades of pink.  I figured if the east facing window looked this good than the west facing side looked even better. At this point I snuck over to the other side of the floor through a door that is technically for "emergency use only", although as an avid sunset watcher who has been 6 days without seeing a sunset despite having nothing better to do with my day I deemed this venture an emergency and made my way to a small conference room on the west side of the building.  Although it wasn't quite what I hoped it was definitely worth the effort to see the sun setting over UVM campus. At this point I am beginning to forget what if feels like to be outside but I hear the forecast for the coming days is amazing and hope that it remains that nice until I can devise a way to break out of his place.

The west and one of the reasons I love Burlington.
To be honest I'm getting a little tired of doing the food reviews but since I never had the pleasure of having "rice water" diarrhea or even getting an IV in my arm to drag behind me all day there isn't a whole lot else to talk about.  On the bright side I guess I'm getting paid for a nice staycation, but on the downside not only is my blog less interesting, but later in life when I tell this story at parties, (yes I intend to tell diarrhea stories at parties) or to kids (who knows if they'll be mine or just some strange one I find on the side of the road) it won't be nearly as entertaining. Since I never got sick can I even claim that had cholera?  I definitely drank cholera, so I'm going to pretend that is close enough to count, I'll ask the doctors tomorrow during rounds on their opinions of the semantics related to this experience.  Also I've been severely limited in my opportunities to make puns due to my good fortune.

This morning for breakfast I had a plain bagel with cream cheese, honey nut cheerios with milk, a banana and an orange juice. While this was all fine the bagel wasn't even warm anymore by the time I got it, which I imagine I am somewhat to blame for because I didn't even order breakfast till 9am at which point the kitchen is pretty backed up. Maybe tomorrow I will order one sooner and maybe it will be hot.  Note to self. Order extra cream cheese.  Also I forgot to add banana bread to my order so I kicked myself for that.

Lunch today consisted of another fruit platter with cottage cheese and some banana bread (I had to makeup for my breakfast mistake), some steamed carrots, a side salad, a chocolate milk and a pudding.  Everything with lunch was very good, the strawberries were even much more fresh so all of he fruit got eaten, (don't worry Steph nothing was left behind to "feel lonely"), although they seemed to be skimping on the cottage cheese today. Maybe they were too lazy to open a new container? Or perhaps the kitchen simply hates me, although I don't see how that could be possible.

For dinner tonight I tried to get real crazy and ordered a chicken caesar salad with half a turkey sandwich, some red pepper hummus, a chocolate pudding (Current pudding tally 13) and some pretzels.  Somehow the chicken caesar salad turned into a chicken quesadilla with black beans and cheese which was annoying but not too horrible, until I realized that I wasn't given any sour cream or salsa to go with it. Other's were suggesting that I call back and get them to give me the correct food but I decided I'd be better off to let this one go. You win this round kitchen. Before I escape I will have to find a way to exact my revenge. Also I said no tomatoes.....Those bastards.

Despite being slighted by those monsters downstairs I survived to live another day with my spirits up.  Tomorrow I will begin the plan to get outside and get some fresh air.As you can see by my face I am becomming more and more desperate everyday. Please send help.  I was able to find a silver lining today in that I may be able to leave the hospital earlier than I had originally expected.  As soon as I am able to produce 3 stool samples that are clean of cholera bacteria each 12 hours apart, then I will be allowed to go on my marry way. This could allow me to leave as early as Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how well the antibiotics work for me.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that I am able to survive until then.

Hope everyone is enjoying reading about the terrible conditions that I am experiencing here as I lounge around all day and continue to be waited on hand and foot. What a struggle they put me through now expecting me to flush the toilet whenever I pee! Also they are still looking for more people to participate in 2 more rounds of this study happening over the next few months so if you are interested give a call to the UVM Vaccine Testing Center at 802-656-0013. Tell them I sent you and you are sure to have the same experience I did. Or not. Time will tell. Do it! You won't! (Peer pressure works every time B-)

I'm Pooped.

Day 5 The Shitty Week Bet

So I'm sorry to Matt Blanchard that it looks like you may have lost the bet. As of 9:30 this morning the typical time frame for symptoms of cholera is now over.  Although this is likely indicator I will not definitively know whether or not I received the actual vaccine until the study is completed in about 6 months.  Secretly I'm hoping that I actually got the placebo and that I'm such a manly rugged badass, that I was able to beat cholera with nothing more than a few sporadic stomach cramps (yes I know this is absurd, but it's how I get through my days). As for settling the bet, I guess you are well within your rights to wait until my inpatient stay is over, although you might want to consider setting some money aside for that tequila.  Congratulations to Jason Parker for what appears to be a winning bet in the "Will Mitch have a shitty week?" game.

So last night I found myself a bit hungrier than usual and ended up ordering two entrees.  Sadly they refuse to let you do this so you have to order one, finish it, and then call down and order a second, this was the largest struggle of my day (not sure if I get to call this a "first world problem" considering I do have cholera). For my first meal I decided to go with something simple and got a simple turkey sandwich with lettuce, onions, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise. Sadly they didn't have any miracle whip, which is without a doubt the best sandwich dressing to have ever blessed a man's sandwich.  Again I went with the cheese plate, garden salad with a pudding and a bag of pretzels. The sandwich meat was a bit dry but otherwise good, and everything else I'd already had and would rate similarly to how it had been before.
The second meal I went with my go-to of the chicken caesar salad.  Tonight the kitchen failed me, probably because I ordered it right before the kitchen closed but the salad they sent me had very little chicken, and what was there was dry and bordered on crunchy. Besides the less than desirable chicken the lettuce and dressing were still pretty good.

Today was the slowest day I have had since coming here. I woke up at around 9am this morning to have my vital signs checked followed by doctor rounds and then began watching Netflix. After an hour and a half of Bones I finally decided to order breakfast which might not have even been worth the effort.  The "breakfast sandwich" here at Fletcher Allen (FA), does not even deserve the name. When I removed the top off of my little platter I stared at an english muffin with a large yellow egg like material sitting in a puddle of yellow fluid which I can only hope drained out of the thin slice of cheese resting on the lower slice of english muffin. It only tasted slightly better than it looked but I still managed to choke it down.  Luckily I also ordered a piece of banana bread which is the only thing that saved the meal, especially since it was still hot. What a delight.

After breakfast I went back to Netflix and spent the vast majority of my day going back and forth between Netflix and napping, sometimes so fluidly that I'm not even sure which I was doing myself.  Thankfully they have given me some options here for my lounging purposes here at FA and I bunkered down in a leather recliner that sits just next to my bed.  This chair allowed me to lay completely flat with my computer on a movable table top in front of me. Add an awesome superhero pillow for some added comfort and the next thing I know it was nearly 2pm and time to order lunch.  Today I went with the cheese tortellini with marinara sauce which I feel falls into the category of what most people consider hospital food to be like.  It gets the job done, but definitely not anything to write home about.  That's funny because I'm actually writing home about it right now.....although I refuse to attach a picture to help get the idea across, (okay I forgot to take one but I clearly had a VERY busy day and my thoughts were elsewhere).  

Following this mediocre lunch I returned to my chair dwelling to get back to my busy life of Netflix and lounging. I know what you're thinking, "what a horrible existence it must be, to be stuck in that terribly uncomfortable place, in such horrible conditions."  Well it has been an incredibly rough 5 days but I have a strong will to live and am confident I will persevere. I hope this strain is not showing through on my physical expressions as I try to maintain a sunny disposition.
A little later on I decided to venture down the hall and I found some information that I realized I forgot to tell you guys about, the dreaded yellow slip!  Has anyone ever seen Muppet Treasure Island? What am I thinking? You have eyes and a soul don't you? Of course you have seen it! Well in Muppet Treasure Island one of he characters fears "The Black Spot" more than anything else in the movie. Well here on Baird 7 we fear the yellow slip. If one of these has been placed on the door to your room it means that you have reached stools of consistency 7 and from then on your fluid intake as well as output is monitored closely which seems to be quite the pain in the ass. If you fall too far behind then you have the pleasure of getting a needle shoved into your forearm and spending the rest of the day (only 1 day if your really lucky) with an IV bag and stand following you around the rest of the day.  This also means you get your vitals checked every 4 hours as opposed to every 8.  Luckily my door has remained yellow slip free which is much better than I was expecting considering I came into this stay with my super sensitive O type blood and no side effects from the vaccination, leaving me to believe that luck was not in my favor.  Well it looks like someone should be buying me a lottery ticket because I won the diarrhea lottery, so I could probably get some money out of this hot streak.

Next up it was time for dinner as well as a rousing game of cranium which I had been looking forward to all day. Okay so I really was indifferent about this game of cranium but FA has been bringing us in some "cruise ship hosts" which have been doing their best to provide us with forms of entertainment but with little luck.  Many of us have been, so far, much more able to entertain ourselves than the hospital staff had expected so while we did end up playing cranium no one really seemed dying to do so.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you this but after a hard well fought game of cranium my team came out on top and with the prizes being decks of cards as well as a pair of slipper socks, I strutted back to my room with the swagger of a champion and the pride of victory.

All and all it was one of the more fun games of cranium I've had the chance to play in my life so I guess tonight's cruise director was successful.  One interesting thing about tonight's game was that although the game seemed to be brand new (many of the internal parts were still wrapped in plastic) the game was still missing the sculpting clay required for some of the tasks involved. The curiousity about this strange occurance soon died off when someone pointed out that we were all currently carrying a pretty serious disease and someone probably didn't want us infecting this moist sculpting clay with the water born illness currently living in our colons.  We decided to just play the game and pick a new card whenever anything that involved sculpting came up. This was definitely beneficial to me as my art skills are less than stellar.
To the victor go the spoils
Try not to be jealous of my beautiful prizes, as everyone on the floor ended up getting a pair of the slipper socks and there were also more than enough of these old decks of cards (found in one of the staff's attics) to go around.  Supposedly the prizes for the next game night will be better as they did not want to give away the good stuff on a night when people may be too sick to participate.  Hopefully the higher stakes will raise the level of competition on the next game night adding to the excitement.

Well overall today was an incredibly relaxed day and although I did begin to feel a little stir crazy come the evening the act of simply getting out of my chair, walking around and interacting with my fellow plagued comrades was enough to settle the beast, at least for now.  Tomorrow is the next major day in my stay as I will finally get to start the antibiotics and begin clearing the cholera bacteria from my gut so I can finally leave this place.  That being said my stay here is only about half over so I imagine I will have more struggles in keeping myself entertained over the next week.  It's weird to think that I haven't been outside since early Sunday afternoon, although I guess it's even weirder to think that I haven't flushed a toilet since Sunday night, although that is a subject I will touch on more in my next post tomorrow night.

Sorry this post came so late, I was really enjoying having a lack of anything to do today and I promise tomorrow's post will come sooner although don't expect anything until after dinner.  Speaking of dinner I just realized I forgot to tell you about tonight's dinner. It was another turkey sandwich, this time on a bulky roll with a small chicken quesadilla side, a salad, a chocolate chip cookie, and a VANILLA pudding. Current pudding tally 11. Nothing has beaten the chocolate pudding yet so I think it will be my go to choice for the rest of my stay. Remember to take pictures of my food has become more difficult that I thought.

Okay its 230am now and I'm gonna go eat some honey nut cheerios.

I'm pooped.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 4 Getting Paid to Poop

Good evening everyone.  Let me start by apologizing because I completely forgot to take a picture of last night's meal. I ordered it at 6:30 and it usually only takes about 30 minutes but since the kitchen staff has it out for me my food was not delivered until 7:45. At this point in time my excitement overcame me and I was half done my meal before realizing that it needed to be documented. Luckily I took notes so you won't have to worry.  Last night I had chicken stir fry over rice with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, a garden salad, pretzels and (wait for it)......... a butterscotch pudding. My first mistake was ordering the butterscotch pudding. The chocolate has been tried and true and it will be a couple more days before I venture away from that again to give the vanilla a chance.  The stir fry was pretty good, a little heavy on the sauce and light on the chicken but the amount of vegetables, specifically red and green peppers which I thoroughly enjoy, was more than adequate. The mashed potatoes were not quite as good this time, as they were lukewarm (who knew that lukewarm was one word? Lukewarm, luke warm, luke warm. I think it should be 2 words) at best and the gravy was distinctly lacking in flavor, I definitely need to remember to request salt more regularly.  Again the salad was a delight as always and the pretzels made a great snack at 2 am. Now the entire time you've been reading this you've probably been thinking to yourself, "What the fuck is this cat doing in the picture below this food review?" Well, I felt bad not giving a picture of what I ate so I included a cute picture of my cousin, Tom Snowe's cat which I borrowed from facebook. Thanks Tom!!!
This is Lola. Isn't she pretty!? Thanks again Tom. Hope you're reading.
Moving on. So last night was another great night of sleep after passing out around 2:30am following a couple episodes of Bones on Netflix (great timing with uploading season 8 just yesterday).  I woke up this morning with a nurse hovering over my bed, she claims to have been there to check my vital signs (blood pressure and temperature) which they do every 8 hours, but I think she just enjoys watching me sleep. I am very handsome after all, just ask my mom. After my vital signs were checked about 6 doctors came into my room, for what is essentially rounds. They asked me about my symptoms which I was able to inform them for the time being have completely disappeared, in fact I feel better today than I did the day I was admitted to the hospital. I may or may not have been slightly hungover on Sunday as it was the first Sunday in 3 months I haven't had to get up early to deliver bread.

Shortly after the doctors left my breakfast arrived which consisted of pumpkin french toast with real Vermont maple syrup, an orange juice, an apple juice and a banana.  The french toast was very good, I'm not much of a french toast fan to begin with so I did find it to be a little rich as a breakfast item but the pumpkin flavors were definitely a delight, very subtle and not overwhelming on the palate.  I was also presently surprised with the amount of maple syrup they provided me with, definitely enough to cover everything but not to drench them.  The banana was fresh and the orange juice was clearly from concentrate, but I guess I am spoiled, getting fresh orange juice whenever I make it down to Florida. Overall it's a decent breakfast but I think tomorrow I'm going to give the breakfast sandwich a try, lighter sounds better for breakfast. If there is anyone is confused about the day number on the schedule above, that is done by days since vaccination, while mine day count is based around my admittance to the hospital.

After breakfast I made it into the common room where I had the opportunity to play some Wii Sports Resorts edition games with my fellow test subjects. The competition became pretty competitive especially when playing the sword fighting game which was much more responsive than I would have imagined, and once I started to break a sweat I decided this had become a little too intense and sat out for awhile, giving others a chance to try a kayak racing game.  During this time I also realized that it was nearly noon, and worrying about the nurses threatening me again with the dreaded cotton swab up my rectum I thought  a cup of coffee might do the trick.  Within 30 minutes I had successfully produced a sample of type 2 consistency. Proud that my main job for the day had already been completed I returned to the common room to order lunch and participate in more Wii activities.

I was feeling particularly healthy around lunch time today and decided to go with the cottage cheese a fruit platter which also comes with a slice of banana bread, as well as a cup of chicken noodle soup, a side salad, an apple juice, and the ever faithful chocolate pudding. Current pudding tally 8 (I managed to get one as a snack while I waited for lunch to arrive). The fruit platter was an excellent choice!  While I admit the strawberries were soft and should be avoided the pineapple, cantaloupe, melon, and oranges were all very good, although the grapes also weren't calling my name today so they remained behind to keep the strawberries company.  The cottage cheese was also very good and was a very good serving size.  The banana bread was without a doubt the highlight of my day, as it was moist, flavorful, hearty in weight, and importantly, without nuts.  If you ever need to have an impatient stay at Fletcher Allen, the banana bread is right up there with the chicken caesar salad, and the chocolate pudding on the "MUST HAVE" list. No one tell my mommy, but Fletcher Allen could give her a run for her money, and she might have to step up her banana bread game if she ever wants me to come back to Florida.  The chicken noodle soup on the other hand was oddly thick, sitting somewhere in limbo between a soup and stew as far as consistency, given this could have been caused by its tepid (look at this impressive vocabulary) temperature.  Probably worth giving another shot in the future, but only if I get around to it.  
There was originally a bit more fruit but hunger got the better of my and I had a few pieces before getting a picture.
After lunch I had the chance to catch up with some of the other patients to get updates on the general level of symptoms currently occurring within the 10 or so people staying here.  I believe 3 of us are currently in bad enough shape that they have been given IV drips in order to keep their fluids up, while a couple of us are experiencing pretty mild symptoms such as the abdominal pressure I previously stated, bloating and some nausea.  One guy in particular experienced a very rough night, experiencing multiple episodes of type 6 and 7 stools, some vomiting and a fever reaching as high as 102.  He was only able to get about 3 hours of sleep and word on the street is he might get the antibiotics early. Let's hope he does because I've been laughing at his misfortune so much I imagine karmic retribution is right around the corner.  Other than that for the most part we seem to be a relatively healthy bunch and I overheard a researcher, who was visiting yesterday as he traveled around the US to the multiple sites where this study is being conducted, that as a whole we are much healthier than any other of the sites he has seen so far.  Others have attributed this to us being hearty individuals as residence of Vermont, but my theory is the cheese rich diet which we enjoy is slowing our digestive tract down to a crawl.  The cholera might even be a little cleansing for some individuals.

The biggest issue I have run into lately is the use of the "hats" in the toilets. An unforeseen consequence of none of my excrement ever reaching the water is that is sits in the hat in the open air releasing a less than pleasant odor.  After......depositing the sample into the "hat" I wash my hands then leave the bathroom, closing the door behind me and page a nurse to come collect the presents I have left for her in the bathroom. Usually it is only a couple of minutes before they are able to come collect the samples but while writing this blog I left a second sample for the nurses, this time type 4, and they were a bit preoccupied with some of the other samples which required more immediate attention than mine.  This caused my sample to be left unattended in the bathroom for roughly 20 minutes. When they did have the chance to come collect the sample, the door to my bathroom was opened. In the short time it took the nurse collect my sample and leave the bathroom, shutting the door behind her my entire room filled the the unpleasant small. Overall this isn't much more than an annoyance but it's definitely something I could live without.

The culprits of the crimes to my nose.

Tonight for dinner I'm thinking about going with a classic. A nice turkey sandwich. Maybe I can get a side of banana bread? 

I felt like today's post was a little picture light so I here is my work station.
Also thanks again to Matt Blanchard for providing me with the GIF that explains my life in a nutshell right now.  If you haven't had a chance to see it on facebook today just check it out right here Getting Paid to Poop

I'm Pooped.

P.S.- Please stop reminding me that I haven't posted anything to the blog yet, by 12pm not a lot has happened to me yet and I do spend a considerable amount of time making these to make sure they are as fun and entertaining as I am (an INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT thing to do).

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 3 Settled In

So I finally decided to settle into my new home of Baird 785, and late last night I unpacked my bags and moved them into my dresser here. Naturally for anyone who knows me this means I also brought a number of superhero themed pajama pants since I won't be stepping outside for another 10 days so I might as well be comfortable. I haven't yet sported any of these incredibly cool and attractive pajama pants yet, partially because I haven't yet started to feel at home and also because I am afraid to intimidate everyone else on my floor with my superior fashion sense and cool factor. In time they will learn.
7 pairs superhero and 1 pair sweatpants
Don''t worry Mom, I even brought the forever lazy. Thank god for butt flaps!!!!
Thankfully I was able to sleep much better last night and woke up feeling well rested this morning. I started my morning with HIMYM, what better chance do I have to catch up? Needless to say I am now completely current.  Before long I begin to notice an interesting sensation in my lower abdomen.  The only way I can really describe it is as pressure.  It felt like it could have been just gas, but the thought of flatulence was terrifying to me, as trying to push out some gas and ending up with much more than I bargained for didn't seem like a great way to start my day.  I decided just to ignore this sensation for now, as I would find out one way or another soon enough. Before long the sensation dissipated and I ordered breakfast.

At least the fruit was good

This morning I decided to go with an omelette with cheddar cheese, onions, peppers and spinach with a banana and orange juice. The kitchen staff thought it would be fun to also add disgusting mushrooms as well as tomatoes to my omelette which made it watery and less than appetizing.

Those Bastards.

I've decided that the kitchen staff must just dislike me, because as you can clearly see they took my order correctly but instead decided to put two things in my omelette that I absolutely hate.  Regardless I picked out the mushrooms and ate it anyway, because it's still free food, and beggars can't be choosers.  All in all I definitely would not suggest the omelettes. I think tomorrow I'm going to go with the pumpkin french toast with Vermont maple syrup. It sounded too good to be true so I kept it simple today and that still failed.

After breakfast I decided to head to the common room to see what some of my fellow disease carriers are up to and assess everyone else's symptoms to see how I match up.  From what I've gathered, no one has had any severe symptoms such as the "rice water diarrhea" we have all heard so much about, although others did report weird stomach feelings as I had also felt earlier in the morning. I am once again clueless about whether or not I received the vaccine.  While in the common room, one of our activity coordinators here on Baird 7 dropped off a couple presents including a 32 inch LG LED TV, a DVD player and a nintendo Wii, all of which are brand new so naturally being #1 I was given the responsibility of setting everything up.
It's a black Wii.....I'm not sure what that means as I'm not sure I've ever seen one before. I also don't see myself playing too many games with my fellow residents, being #1 I hardly see how this could be fair for anyone. Also I don't want to see anyone become more ill as I dash their hopes and dreams, causing them severe emotional distress.

They seem to be putting a decent amount of money into keeping us entertained, by buying us a new TV for the common room as well as a DVD player, Wii and games. We were even asked if there was another game that we would like to see as apparently the budget will allow us 1-2 more games. I'm not sure what the intend to do with all of these new electronics come the end of the study but I'm really pushing for a lottery to decide where they will end up.

After setting up all of the new electronics I decided to return to my room to order some lunch. At this point in time a nurse took the chance to remind me that if I do not produce a stool sample by midnight every day that a swab will be inserted into my rectum to gather a sample, as explained in the informed consent that I was required to sign about 3 times before the study began.  Thankfully it was only around 1pm at this point so time was on my side, and I have since produced a very robust sample with a type 4 consistency.  After having such a disappointing breakfast I decided to play it safe and go with the tried and true chicken caesar salad for lunch and was not disappointed.
Sorry this picture is a bit blurry, I hadn't noticed until it was too late to take another one. Although the chicken caesar salad was just as good as it was the other day, the amount of chicken present seems to have dropped, again the kitchen staff must have it out for me, I will have to find some way to retaliate.  I did decide to switch up the sides a little bit today ordering the cheddar cheese plate which is described as a "variety of local cheddar cheese, served with crackers". Although the cheese was good, the presentation left something more to be desired and the portion was less than stellar.  Of course I also ordered another pudding, upping the current pudding tally to 5 and at the suggestion of another patient, also ordered the pumpkin custard.  The pudding as always was delicious and I would suggest it every time.  The pumpkin custard was also very tasty but I realized that I didn't love the texture and custards may not be fore me. Regardless the cup was still scraped clean. 

Pumpkin Custard
After lunch today I ventured around Baird 7 to find what beautiful views and sights it had to offer. Turns out there were none.  The closest I was able to come by was the view from my room which does give my a slice of Mount Mansfield viewable between two of the many different buildings that make up Fletcher Allen. I specifically asked for a room with a view when I checked in, and although they laughed my request off at the time, they obviously listened (guess they already knew I was #1) because as far as I can tell I have been blessed with one of the best views from my room, at least compared to everyone else here on Baird 7

As you can see here, all and all I still feel very well. The change in backdrop doesn't mean that I spent the day on the toilet, simply that I remained in my inclinable bed for most of the morning and decided to take my picture from there. Although it still isn't the most comfortable bed for sleeping, when it comes to sitting up and watching TV, I give it 7 poops out of 10.

Also I thought everyone might like to know that the planner I recently bought and had been using to keep track of meetings and appointments for my job in the research lab has been working wonderfully for planning out my entire week of TV watching to ensure that 1. I am up to date on any TV show I want to watch and 2. That I see as many shows live as possible in this brief time that I have with cable television. T-minus 3 hours and 50 minutes until New Girl.

I'm pooped.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 2 Ingestion of Cholera Vibrios

Today was the big day. After a terrible night of sleep and fasting since midnight, they came into my room this morning at around 9am to take a blood sample and give me one last chance to run; to run and never look back. Being the masochist I am, I decided to stay.  Next I was herded into a small common room with the 9 other participants who will be gambling the well being of their bowels along with me.  It was at this point in the day that the doctors here in the General Research Clinic confirmed for me what I have always known. I am #1. More specifically #001.
#1 Bitches
Back to the science. First I was required to drink around 4 ounces of a baking soda and saline solution in order to neutralize my stomach acid.  We wouldn't want any of this incredibly dangerous bacteria to be destroyed by my stomach acid after all. Next I was given about 2 ounces of a second fluid, this one containing the dreaded live Cholera Bacteria.  We were all instructed to drink this at the same time after which we were required to remain in this common room for 90 minutes so that we could be monitored.  On the plus side they did put on the Princess Bride for us to watch, which any sane person knows is arguably the best movie of all time.  Before it didn't take long at all for my stomach to begin gurgling and making noises, this was somewhat terrifying as this is listed as a typical first symptom of cholera, although I realized shortly after that I had been fasting since midnight the night before and this could just as easily be my ill timed reminder that I really needed to eat.  After the 90 minutes was up I was allowed to return to my room and order lunch.
Best Meal Yet
Today's lunch consisted of salmon grilled with pesto, a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, a garden salad with italian dressing and of course a pudding with a lemonade to drink.  Current pudding tally 3. This meal was delicious, the salmon was well cooked and not dry and the mashed potatoes were delicious. I'd highly recommend this to anyone staying in a Fletcher Allen inpatient facility.  Although the portion looks small, I was pretty content after finishing it and let me remind you, I can order food as often as I want between 7am and 8pm, fo' FREE.  After this meal I naturally watched some price is right, Drew Carey is no Bob Barker but damn has he lost some weight. Next I caught up on the most recent 3 episodes of New Girl, and I would like to take this opportunity to give this show my FULL ENDORSEMENT. I often find myself cracking up while watching it.

Until I ate this. New best meal yet.
The next thing I knew it was already around 3pm and I figured I should makeup for the lost time not eating this morning so I ordered a chicken cesar salad with a side of applesauce (I really wanted another pudding but I feel the room service staff will start judging me soon). This was again delicious and a much larger serving than anything I've ordered so far.  The chicken was still very hot and the whole thing was just great.

Due to popular request I will also be uploading a picture of myself that I will take every morning, a read leather chair in the background is a good sign, while a sign reading "DO NOT FLUSH" behind me will be a bad sign as an indication of my current state.  This will also be fun as it will allow me to track beard growth from day to day as I came in hear yesterday a clean shaven man.

Tonight I ordered a chicken and black bean quesadilla with sour cream and salsa, a small plate of bruschetta, a garden side salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, some baked potato chips, with pineapple juice and of course a pudding. bringing my current pudding tally to 4. The bruschetta was decent although the serving size was practically non-existent.  The quesadilla on the other hand was one of the largest servings I have had thus far although I was disappointed with the amount of actual chicken present. The balsamic vinaigrette was a pleasant change from the Italian dressing, although I'm not yet sure which one I liked more. Time will tell.  All and all the chicken caesar is still the best meal I have had thus far.

For those of you curious about the apparatus used to catch my specimen just keeping scrolling down to the bottom of the page, and keep in mind they are saving EVERYTHING that comes out of my body, even today when I was seemingly in perfect health all day long.  By the way I held steady with some more type 3 movements today. Don't forget to use the Bristol Stool Scale as a reference to track my bowel movements.

Supposedly holds 40oz of fluid....Maybe I can bring a couple home for drinking games?
These are referred to as hats and catch any fecal matter that leaves my body. The worst part about them so far is since nothing drops into the water, the small bathroom quickly fills with the smell of excrement. I do not envy the nurses who have to come collect this from me on a daily basis.

Seriously though, anyone up for a game of Edward 40 Hats?

I'm Pooped.