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GOOD NEWS!!! Tuesday

Posted by James Dubois in Luna, Ouch, Personal.
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I’m back to work! πŸ™‚

Doctor Flores (InfraCorp’s chief physician) said that I need to take it easy and keep on top of my supplements but I’m heading off Luna and returning to the office on Liberty. I have buckets of work to slog through and may be pulling some all-nighters so don’t be surprised if you see me posting less than usual. I have a lot less time on my hands. Can’t wait to see Qiong again and all my co-workers. By the time this gets posted to the Net I should be en route.

– Hersh


Hersh at the movies… Wednesday

Posted by James Dubois in Ouch, Personal.
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Because when you’re laid up in bed covered in plaster and steel pins, nothing passes the time better than a good movie.

Of course, I get a feed into the med bay here on Luna but it’s digital. Remember celluloid? Projection cameras? Sprockets and gears and motors? Jay and I were squirting messages back and forth about this subject. He’s a programmer so of course he sees the beauty of binary. I’m more traditional, a hands-on mechanical engineering type. I want to see the parts move, be able to take it apart and turn each piece over in my hands. Maybe that’s why I got into robotics?

Back when I was stationed at McMurdo we used to have movie marathons so that we wouldn’t go crazy(er). The favorite was the Thing double-feature… the old 50’s Thing and the remake from about 30 years back. 198? Anyway, that’s always fun.

Been watching a lot of movies about builders for some reason, maybe because I’m not working on CHOIRS at the moment. Bridge on the River Kwai is in right now (I know how it ends but it’s really good despite that!). Every time I think Bridge is about to jump the shark, it twists and I’m captivated. That lead actor’s freaking amazing.

I just finished McCabe and Mrs. Miller, which was recommended to me by my doctor. I have never seen a film like this and I suspect I never will again. It looks like a standard western, but it’s not what you think! I also have a film in the queue about a guy who hauls a steamboat up a mountain in the Amazon (that looks nuts… I believe it was actually done in the movie, no special effects).

I have access privileges to lots of stuff up here. Any suggestions from you lot? Please please please no science fiction. I’m on the moon for Pete’s sake! And I’ve seen 2001 about that many times already. πŸ™‚ BTW, thanks for all the letters and well wishes! They’re really keeping my spirits up. Qiong says thanks as well.

– Hersh

The accident-prone tourist Thursday

Posted by James Dubois in Luna, Ouch, Personal.
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First of all, to all my friends and family who haven’t heard from me: I’m okay. There was an accident while we were running some exercises out on the surface and now I’m recovering in a medical bay here on Luna. It’s nothing life threatening but my professional future is in doubt.

We were working on testing a docking system on the mining rig and something got all fouled up. I climbed up the gantry to check it out and I slipped and fell about twenty feet (I forgot to tie off). Thankfully, my suit, the low-g and the powdery surface lessened the impact and I just got the wind knocked out of me. Kind of amazing, really. The breaks occurred when one of the Garret guys helped me up to my feet after we did some initial, “Are you okay? Can you wiggle your toes?” kind of questions. He grabbed my arm in kind of an awkward way and when he pulled me up, I felt this stabbing pain shoot through my arm to my shoulder and across my chest. Honestly, I don’t remember much after that. They brought me inside, put my arm and upper torso in an inflatable cast and doped me with NOA. Long story short, I’m laid up with a spiral fracture in my humerus, some cracked ribs (I think from the fall) and a compound fracture in my radius.

Despite my mineral supplements and regular exercise sessions, my bone density has dropped by almost 17% in some areas of my body. Also, due to some genetic deficiency that went undiscovered, while my osteoclasts were eliminating old bone growth, my osteoblasts (esp. in my cortical bones) were not keeping up with the construction of new growth. In other words, my body was eating bone and not replacing any. The doc said a cross section of my arm looked like it had been attacked by termites. The other bones in my body have hairline fractures and microscopic stress breaks. Not terrible, but they’re not being repaired well or quickly. My spine and skull are fine but my load-bearing supports (arms, legs, hips) are swiss cheese. There’s no way I’d be able to go on a long distance space flight and continued orbital life is in question.

I feel like such an idiot right now. And I feel terrible for the guy that inadvertently caused the break. It’s not his fault at all and I know he’s beating himself for it. Just a stupid mistake, some bad luck and a pre-existing condition that nobody knew about (myself included). The docs have me on hormone therapy and calcium/magnesium to try and counteract the bone loss but I’m not sure InfraCorp will allow me to continue work on Liberty Station. I suspect someone else will end up taking the wheel from me completely once we start transporting construction modules and equipment. Then it’s on to the next project. Just not CHOIRS. My baby.

The worst part is that Q is on Liberty and can’t get clearance to visit me while I recuperate. I have a video monitor so that we can talk but the lack of physical proximity and the signal delay are maddening. It’ll be even more so when I’m in the gravity well and she’s soaring higher than the angels. That and the skin under this cast itches like crazy.

BTW, Jayesh has been a great friend over the last week. He helped me rig up a voice-to-text interface to my key implant so that I don’t have to type one-handed. The thing works like a dream, though I’m not sure how much he had to hack into the software to make it work (Jay: “Oh, it was an idea I had while on the john.”). He’s quite the character.

Thanks again for all the wonderful emails. I’d say “you can send cards and flowers here…” but, well… you know! πŸ™‚ I’m a bit sick of “Vermillion Sands” re-runs on the feed up here so send me email. – Hersh