ESA title
Elisabeth and Dorota during meal time
Science & Exploration

Dorota Part 4: Back to normal life

354 views 1 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Research

Normal life is very different from life in the clinic. For 100 days we were virtually deprived of any kind of decision-making, even concerning very small things - we were told what to eat, how much to eat and at what time to eat. Suddenly I had to decide so many things! Not just about food, but also where to go (of course this problem never existed in the clinic), what time to go to sleep and so on. They are not big decisions, but I was surprised that there were so many of them.

Another funny thing was money: in the clinic I never used it; money simply stopped existing for me the day I entered the clinic (and I cannot say that I missed it!). But when I came out everybody wanted it from me: for bread, for phone calls, even for a bottle of water. Normal, isn't it? But I forgot that the world worked this way.

Visiting Toulouse

Even before the end of the study I decided to stay in Toulouse for few days to visit the town - I stayed there for more than three months without actually seeing it. It was a good decision; it was a kind of transition period before going back to normal life.

The first thing that shocked me was the huge number of unknown faces I saw everyday. In the clinic I knew all the people I could possibly meet during the day, and when I came out I had to deal with people I have never seen. It's strange; I never thought I would think this way.

It also took me a good few days to get used to the thought that it's me who can decide what to eat. In the beginning I wanted to ask somebody if I could eat, what I could eat and how much. Of course I rediscovered chocolate and that was a great thing!! And I could eat as much as I wanted!!


But it was exhausting as well. By now I was up and walking for 20 days, in the clinic the area was so small that I never actually walked more than a few meters. Even the rehabilitation exercises were nothing compared with the distance I had to walk sightseeing. I got even more blisters on my feet and was very tired every evening, going to sleep indecently early.

Now, as I'm back at home I try to get back into a normal routine. It's strange, because I feel exactly same as always, but every time I start doing some exercise I realise that that's not the case.

I went running yesterday, and after about one third of my normal distance I was so tired I started thinking about getting the bus back home. It's more difficult now to get me to do sports that it ever has been - I have always been very active and now I would often prefer to stay at home rather than go cycling or swimming, but I hope it's temporary and I guess it's only because I get tired more easily.


I still cannot get used to having all those different things to eat. And they are all around - in my kitchen, on the posters in the streets and even in the ads in the newspapers. Just waiting there, tempting me! I think if I continue "just trying" every food I see I will gain lots of kilos!

I'm trying to prepare my holidays now – I want to see Siberia, hike in Mongolia and visit northern China - so I got vaccinated against plenty of strange diseases and am trying to get all the visas now, which is a time consuming task. During the bed rest planning this trip was a very positive break from the daily routine.

Related Links