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Day 1 – BLSA at NIH
This is a special 4-day account of what’s happening to me at the BLSA at NIH. If this is your first time reading Life Intelligence - this is not what I usually write about, but it’s a fun and educational peek into the science of aging and how we know what we know so far. I am sharing my experience as a subject in the BLSA. Thank you all, who donated to make this trip less financially stressful.
Today was a tourist day on account of today being a holiday and the NIH staff taking a day off until 2:00 pm. I had time to explore Fell’s Point, the waterfront area, the Mt. Vernon neighborhood, and in general, enjoy the summer day. Baltimore definitely charmed me. 18,000 steps later, I made it to the hospital.
Good news – I got my own room. Bad news – it is a hospital, and we are not supposed to eat at the cafeteria “for our own safety.” They ask us to grab food and go outside or in our rooms so we “don’t breathe hospital air.” Well, then… you draw your own conclusions about that. Thank God we have our own floor.
More bad news – the Wi-Fi is open and unsecured. So, I can’t be hanging out on the Interwebs too long or something could happen. So, no live streams. But I’ll keep publishing here using my phone and data.
To start with, they did my vitals, asked me a bunch of questions, and scored my answers. I only got 1 point. That’s good, though. The fewer the better. Like golf. The point I got was for wearing glasses/contacts. Someday, I’ll answer, “yes” to “do you walk with a walker” and score another point. But I am not there yet. Something to look forward to. LOL
I got my poop collection cup! They want samples to see about my GI Permeability, measuring GI absorption of nutrients. That one better be high points or else all the supplements I am taking are money down the John.
Fun fact: the human intestinal epithelium (lining of our intestines), is about the size of a one-car garage. The lining serves two important functions: it is a barrier preventing the entry of toxins and microorganisms into the body and it is a filter, helping to absorb nutrients, electrolytes, and water, among other things. Unfortunately, there is limited information on the effects of aging on the intestinal lining. Hence, I poop in a container. They sort through the poop. Who wants this job? I already got mine – I’m pooping.
Also tonight, I start a 24-hour urine collection. Every drop, they said. This one looks at how much protein passes through to the urine, testing kidney function. Too much protein can be an indication of kidney damage. Unless, after strenuous exercises or dehydration. Those can throw things off. Interesting to know that levels of protein in the urine can point to several other conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. This is one of those tests your doctor could order for you if you are curious about yourself and want to collect your pee in a jug.
I am getting a 5:15 am visit by the EKG person, so I better go to bed early.
Some pictures from my day.
Waterfront cute stuff:
Charming Baltimore :)
Remember 9/11 & Baltimore from “Top of the World.”
Welcome to the Hospital
You guessed it! There are tons more pictures from town. But I can’t put them all up :)
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