Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, October 10, 2017

  • Longtime readers may recall my blogging about my friend Allyson’s fight with cancer, which she lost back in 2014. She left behind a husband and three boys, ages eight to twelve. I often wondered what they are up to. Yesterday, I found out the answer from an old friend and instantly regretted I even asked. After her death, in the span of fifteen months, her husband remarried, was arrested, and killed himself. All I could do was think about those young boys, what they’ve been through in that crazy two-year span, and how it took me two years to even hear about it.
  • In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, chapter 19 of the book is just one sentence: “My mother is a fish.”
  • NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent almost a year and space and he wrote a book about it, which will come out later this month. Here’s some detail he provides about a dinner he had with family just two days after returning to Earth:
    • I contemplated what it would be like to eat this meal so many times. Now that I’m finally here, it doesn’t seem entirely real. The faces of the people I love that I haven’t seen for so long, the chatter of many people talking together, the clink of silverware, the swish of wine in a glass – these are all unfamiliar. Even the sensation of gravity holding me in my chair feels strange, and every time I put a glass or fork down on the table there’s a part of my mind that is looking for a dot of Velcro or a strip of duct tape to hold it in place.
    •  I start the journey to my bedroom: about 20 steps from the chair to the bed. On the third step, the floor seems to lurch under me, and I stumble into a planter. Of course, it isn’t the floor – it’s my vestibular system trying to readjust to Earth’s gravity. I’m getting used to walking again.
    • I make it to my bedroom without incident and close the door behind me. Every part of my body hurts. All my joints and all of my muscles are protesting the crushing pressure of gravity. I’m also nauseated, though I haven’t thrown up. I strip off my clothes and get into bed, relishing the feeling of sheets, the light pressure of the blanket over me, the fluff of the pillow under my head. All these are things I’ve missed dearly for the past year.
    • And then this part, not related to the dinner, stood out:
      • A normal mission to the International Space Station lasts five to six months, so scientists have a good deal of data about what happens to the human body in space for that length of time. But very little is known about what occurs after month six. The symptoms may get precipitously worse in the ninth month, for instance, or they may level off. We don’t know, and there is only one way to find out.
      • On my previous flight to the space station, a mission of 159 days, I lost bone mass, my muscles atrophied, and my blood redistributed itself in my body, which strained and shrank the walls of my heart. More troubling, I experienced problems with my vision, as many other astronauts had. I had been exposed to more than 30 times the radiation of a person on Earth, equivalent to about 10 chest X-rays every day. This exposure would increase my risk of a fatal cancer for the rest of my life.
  • James Avery creates Whataburger charm for sale
  • A great two-point conversion from last night.

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2 Responses to Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, October 10, 2017

  1. Alma says:

    I'm so sad to hear about your friend's husband. Those boys have been through so much. I hope they have a good support system.

  2. Craig Moore says:

    oh my goodness….Sad news to hear…Praying for Allysons boys.

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