Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Houston, day 1

So I had my first day of screening today and as far as I know, I'm still in! After realizing last night over an amazing bowl of Mongolian b-b-que that I had no idea when things began tomorrow or how I was going to meet the mysterious driver or what was going to happen, I woke up at 5:30 based solely on the blog of pillownaut who wrote that she got started by meeting her driver at 6.

At 6:30 I took the risk of calling the direct number of the nurse who has contacted me in the past. She was already at work and glad to hear from me. At 7, I met the driver and another screening applicant in the lobby, and it was off we go!

By 7:05 I had a NASA temporary badge and was on my way into the facility. There, I began a battery of tests.

I had a baseline EKG, blood pressure, and temperature taken first. Then a 4 vial blood draw for HIV, hepatitis, and iron count (because it was low the first time), among other things. The doc had trouble finding a vein. He stuck the left and got air. Then he stuck the right and had to wiggle the needle after the first two vials filled. Come to find out, I had to be restuck again, but more on that later.

Next came vision and hearing. Then, it was time for a 3-D image of my heart! I got hooked back up to the EKG machine a second time for this and had to regulate my breathing for several minutes.

After this, I'm told that they need another vial from me. No problem, I think, but when a new doc comes to take blood, she can't find a vein! She checks the left, then the right, then the left again, then the right, then the hand, then the forearm. Finally she sticks me and gets it on the first shot. No prob.

Finally, they take more urine for a second drug screen and second pregnancy test (ut oh folks, the jury's out again on my pregnancy!). I also had a breathalyzer test. Strange, since I'd been fasting for 12 hours before the blood draw and had been given juice and cookies by the nurses after the blood draw. Needless to say, I passed.

Last bit was the physical with a sweet ol' doc. Third doc of the day. They're well staffed there!

At this point, I'm sent by driver to another building for the written part of the psych eval. Boy, I thought that the multiple blood work was thorough! It consisted of 3 written forms, mostly about alcohol and drug use and two computerized tests with 200+ and 300+ questions each. The first was based on a scale of 1-5 and the second was T/F.

All in all, I suppose I'm not crazy. I couldn't say that I had ever heard voices or felt like people were trying to rob me, and I don't think people think that I'm cold and vindictive. I am not afraid of dust storms and I would be interested in a park ranger's job.

Time will tell, but so far I think I'm still eligible for the study. Tomorrow's the oral exam and the bone density scan.

I'm off for now! They've got me in a suite that's nearly as big as my home! I'm enjoying myself!

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