We're a little crazy, about science!

Day #219: The county is on lockdown now

stay home limit travel save lives

Finally. The county has asked that everyone shelter in place basically. Only go out if you need to go out. Everything is shut down and people seem to be taking this seriously (somewhat). While I am still pissed off about yesterday’s statements by the GOP, this is a good thing and I’ll take a win when we can get it. Unfortunately, there are some caveats to the lockdown and of course it affects me…

Somehow I am essential. I’m but a humble researcher studying spinal cord injury in the hopes of helping people walk. I don’t understand why, but the shelter in place order doesn’t apply to me because I am essential. So my research continues… well, that’s if we can get people. We had an experiment last friday, but the person canceled. Since this was an experiment with healthy subjects, I became the subject.

It was only the second time I’ve been experimented on, but it wasn’t bad. As I’ve said in the past, transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation doesn’t hurt. It isn’t comfortable, but it doesn’t hurt. I ended up laughing a lot, which was a problem since I needed to remain still while I was being stimulated.

I couldn’t help it, it wasn’t so much that it was tickling me, instead I couldn’t help but laugh as my limbs started moving like they had a mind of their own. I felt like a fish flopping around without any control because I had to just let it happen (so we could record the muscle activation). If I had moved or tried to fight it, the response would be different.

We have an experiment friday, my Co-PI has children so we have to schedule around when he is available since he needs to attend the study. As far as I know, even though we are sheltering in place, there is no change to our experiment. It still blows my mind, but this is a research hospital and obviously the research is very important to them. Hopefully it all works out and we get through this without working with someone who has been infected, but with the incubation time for COVID-19 being 5-7 days roughly, spreading it without realizing it far too easy. Hence the shelter in place, but apparently there are acceptable sacrifices that can and will be made.

Obviously the situation is changing day to day so for the foreseen future, you can expect more updates on how we deal with COVID-19 and how it impacts my research. We already have three people in our lab that are planning to do virtual PhD defenses and we’re all planning on not being able to go to the school for a long time. While I am still expected to go work at the hospital, I’m hoping everyone else does their part and stays inside and away from people. We can slow the spread, but it takes all of us to work together.

But enough about us, what about you?

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