because i took my pills so late last night (12:40am), it meant my first predict 2 study blood test would be delayed until 9am due to the requisite 8 hours of fasting beforehand. that meant instead of waking up at 8am like my original plan, i'd get to sleep an hour later. maybe i was nervous, but it took me a while to finally get to sleep. under the covers, it went from very warm to cold, to the point where i thought 1) i was getting coronavirus cold chills or 2) i was suffering a mild stroke and losing sense in my body. fortunately neither was the case, and when i finally did fall asleep, it was uneventful.
i woke up before the 9am alarm to start day 1 of the predict 2 study. kevin was already in the kitchen, eating his breakfast, surfing the web on his phone. i didn't mind that he had the lights on because it was dark this morning (because of the rain outside), but he happened to turn on the bank of recessed ceiling lights that had the most number of bulbs.
i gathered the blood sample test kit on the living room coffee table and reread all the instructions and rewatched the how-to video. there were all sorts of tips to get the blood flowing into the fingers, like soaking them in warm water for a few minutes (which i did), drink plenty of water (i downed a glass), and swinging my arms around to improve the circulation. finally it came time for the blood letting.
the last and only time i had to purposely prick my finger to do a blood test was 1992 high school advanced biology. that was 28 years ago but i still remember it like it was yesterday. that's because it was pretty traumatic, i had to use a lancet that was essentially a thin strip of metal with a sharp blade at one end. we were doing an experiment to find our blood type. i remember i could bare to poke myself, and tried to gently scratch my fingertip in one spot hoping to draw blood. in the end i never did manage to get any.
fast-forward to today, where not only did i need to stab myself once, but three times throughout the course of the day, and then repeat everything again on saturday. this was the thing i was least looking forward to, and if there was one thing that would've made me nope out of this whole research project, it'd be the at-home blood tests.
so i gathered up my courage (you're an adult, be mature about this) and went ahead and pricked myself with the lancet. these fancy spring-loaded single-use lancets are much easier to than the one i used nearly 3 decades ago, but the pain is no less real. i don't mind the pain, i actually have a pretty high pain threshold (broke my foot, walked around on it for a weekend but deciding i needed to go see a doctor); it's the thought of a sharp object penetrating my body that makes me queasy. i pressed the tip of the lancet against the right side of my left ring finger. click! pain! but it was over.
it took a few seconds before a droplet of blood formed at the puncture point. i could see already this was not going to go well, because it was just a tiny bead of blood. i had to double tap each of the 3 spots. by the time i got to the 4th and last spot, no blood was coming out, the well was dry, no matter how much i squeezed the finger like an empty toothpaste tube. i had no choice but to stab myself again with the spare lancet. that turned out to be a mistake as there was so much built-up pressure from all that squeezing, the blood was pouring out of the new wound. i quickly filled the final circle on the test card and ran into the bathroom to wash off the blood running down my hand. one down, 2 more to go (at least for today anyway). in hindsight, i think the problem was my hand was too cold and maybe i was slightly dehydrated from having just gotten out of bed.
i had to log the blood test in the predict 2 app, take a photo of the card (for confirmation) then scan the barcode.
the blood test was followed by a set breakfast. 2 tiny muffins that i warmed up in the microwave, and half a glass of chocolate milk made with cocoa powder and shelf-safe skim milk. the muffins for some reason were really oily. they don't reveal the ingredients of the muffins i need to eat for breakfast and lunch, but each one is specially formulated to test a particular part of digestive metabolism; maybe a muffins might be especially fatty, or others could have more whole grain ingredients. these ones i was eating this morning could be the muffins with the heavy amount of oil. the muffins were okay, nothing to write home about. the cold chocolate milk seemed like dessert though, it was so refreshing.
like the blood test, i also had to log my breakfast by scanning the barcode of the muffin packaging.
afterwards i got in touch with british nutritionist kirstin. she sent me an encouragement message this morning, i replied with my status. after breakfast i was to fast for the next 4 hours. the only thing i could drink was either water, black coffee, or simple tea. i fixed myself a tall glass of black tea, had to log that as well (the only "food" that doesn't require logging is water).
this coronavirus is making kevin crazy. i think he's doing less actually astrophysics work and more survival preparations. "have you ever bought groceries from walmart before?" he asked me. i didn't know walmart had a home grocery delivery service, but i told kevin that the nearest walmart from here is a 30 minute drive, so he wouldn't get his groceries anytime soon. he already ordered 5 bags of groceries yesterday, but it still wasn't enough. his anxiety over not being able to simply order his groceries online was palpable. "are you ever going to go outside?" i half-jokingly asked him. he said yes, but wanted to know his options in case the supermarkets were closed. as a millennial, shouldn't he be reacting with an aura of invincibility? why is he all crazy nervous while i'm the one who's only mildly concerned? yesterday i asked him: "if you could get a free coronavirus test, would you?" he said only if he was showing symptoms. "but what if you already have it and don't know it? wouldn't you want to know so you wouldn't be worried about contracting the coronavirus?" he laughed nervously, didn't give me a reply.
midway in my 4 hour fast (11:30am), i had to do my second blood test. i did so poorly on the first try, i was almost looking forward to this test, just to have a chance to work on my technique. i made sure to soak my hand in a bowl of hot water on the coffee table. this time i stabbed the left side of my right middle finger, having already stabbed both sides of the ring finger earlier. perfect! a large pool of blood began to well up on my fingertip. each test circle took just a second to fill, i was done before i knew it. i went to the kitchen to wash off, kevin saw the blood on my hand and thought i'd cut myself. i told him it was part of the research project i was doing (i told him about it a week ago, guess he wasn't listening).
because i started so late this morning, i couldn't have lunch until almost 1:30pm. once again it was another set meal, this time 3 vanilla-flavored muffins. there was no set drink so i just had my tea. these muffins were much better, not oily, softer, nearly perfect muffins. after this lunch i had to fast for 2 more hours before finally doing the third and last blood test.
while i was waiting for my 2 hour afternoon fast to end so i could 1) snack on something and 2) maybe go outside for walk (i'm not supposed to exercise during the fast period), kevin surprised me by suddenly appearing in the living with his jacket and backpack. "i'm going out for groceries," he told me. ah, so he finally came to his senses! i already told him there's hardly anyone at star market. but from the window when i watched him leave he was actually going the wrong way. people are so predictable. most likely he was going to his friend's house to drop off the stuff she ordered on amazon. i was trying to figure out how long he'd be gone, but a part of me knew he'd be back. as predicted, less than half an hour later he returned home. he went to his bedroom and a minute later came out in his coronavirus outfit: pink face mask, white latex gloves. was he going out to surgery or to the supermarket? i didn't say anything, but parked myself by the window so i could photograph him when he came home. not sure why he lied to me earlier though.
kevin was actually gone for quite a long time, nearly an hour. no wonder he's worried about contracting the virus from the supermarket, he spends so much time there whenever he goes! when i go to star market i'm in-and-out (even on non-coronavirus days); if i know exactly what i want, i can back in 5 minutes. maybe he hasn't memorized the layout like i have, and knows where everything this. plus, he's got all his protective gear, maybe he felt safe. i opened the door for him while before going to the kitchen to wash a load of laundry. he had all his grocery bags on my living room carpet as he sprayed everything with rubbing alcohol. "kevin, don't do that, use an alcohol-soaked paper towel if you must, all that alcohol is going to ruin my carpet."
kevin doubled the amount of supplies he had from yesterday. i know our paper towel was nearly out and as a test i was seeing if he'd buy some for the house. no such luck: when i went to the kitchen again, all that was left was the cardboard roll.
my fast was over, it was time for the final blood test. like the last time, i soaked my hand in hot water beforehand. however, i forgot to dry my hand completely, so when i did prick the right side of my right finger, the blood instead of dripping down mixed with the water and dripped down my hand. it was a real mess, as blood dripped all over the back of my laptop as well as the ottoman cushion. when i finally did have everything under control, too much precious blood had already been lost, and the finger was started to run dry again. i ended up having to squeeze out the very last few drops of blood. i used cold salt water and a small brush to remove the blood from the ottoman (worked like magic).
since the dryer was already so noisy, i decided to quickly vacuum the house as well. it got me so worked up that i nearly broke out in a sweat, and decided to log it in the predict 2 app as an activity. soon afterwards i went outside for my promised walk, just to get out of the house. really, it was just an excuse to hit some pokestops. i went around walgreens then on the way back i went by the harvard divinity school. there was a light drizzle, i had my umbrella.
when i finally got home by 5pm, my clothes were done from the dryer. while i was folding them in my bedroom, i heard kevin in the kitchen. the way he was hovering, it seemed he wanted to get my attention, but i ignored him. when i finally finished, he asked if it was okay if he put his utensils and glass out by the dining table. the reason was obvious: he didn't want his cookware to be tainted by my germs. half-jokingly i asked him, "do you think i'm dirty? is that it?" he stammered no. so he needs to protect his cup and knife and fork and spoon, but at the same time he still has free reign over my pots and pans and additional dishware? i don't know if he was trying to offend, but he definitely lacked the proper diplomacy. he backtracked, said he'd put his stuff back into "common circulation" but i told him no, if he wants his own parking area for his stuff, i'll make room. in another week rent is due again, his money makes me more generous.
i had an apple for a snack when i came home. i was told that ideally i want to space 2 hours before meals and snacks, which meant i wouldn't be able to have dinner until after 7pm.
in coronavirus news, governor charlie baker wants MA to be testing 3,500 people everyday for coronavirus. currently so far in masschusetts we've only tested 2,300 in 19 days. starting next week though, quest diagnostics will be able to handle upwards of 3,000 tests per day at their marlborough lab. elsewhere, the governor has california has issued a shelter in place order. and celtics favorite marcus smart announced that he'd tested positive for the coronavirus. finally, the chongqing woman who suspected she had the coronavirus but traveled from boston back to beijing? turns out she wasn't at the biogen conference, but worked at biogen, where she contracted the virus from a coworker. and she lives in belmont, just a few minutes walk from my parents' place (reason i know this is because the boston globe published her home address)! and rumors of her not getting tested in boston were wrong: she was tested, but left before she found out the result. upon learning she was one of their employees, biogen immediately fired her.
i didn't know what i wanted to eat for dinner so ended up with the simplest recipe: frozen cheese ravioli with readymade classico tomato sauce from a jar with some parmesan cheese. it was my first time logging in a meal. each individual ingredients had to be entered. it can be done manually, or try your luck by scanning the barcode. this means it's definitely easier to eat readymade meals, ones that have barcodes. i was surprised when i scanned the ravioli package it actually recognized it in the database. likewise the tomato sauce. but the market basket brand parmesan cheese? that was the biggest surprise, because it recognized that as well.
throughout the day i'd check my blood glucose level on the freestyle libre reader. after each meal my blood sugar level would spike, the biggest one being from this morning when i had those greasy muffins. for dinner though, my blood sugar entered the normal territory and stayed there for much of the evening. not sure what it all means, it's only day 1. i'll get more data to look at over the course of the 10-day study.