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Elisabeth and Dorota during meal time
Science & Exploration

Elisabeth Part 2: A typical day

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Research

The day started with a nurse awakening us to take our blood pressure, temperature and so on. Once a week, for us on Fridays, they also took a blood sample. We received our water for the day and tried to wash in a portable sink.


The rest of the morning we had to ourselves. Once a week, I had my French lesson in the morning. The rest of the week I started with reading the news on the Internet.


Early afternoon
Shower time. There were too few showers for the twelve of us and sometimes it took 1 to 2 hours to actually get in the shower. The shower itself, and going to the toilet, took me about half an hour…

Between 16:00 and 18:00
The physiotherapist came to give us our massage. Not meant for relaxation, but to keep the blood circulating in our legs, helping to protect us from thrombosis. At the same time we received our ‘collation’: for me milk powder for a coffee WITH milk and yoghurt with protein powder. This extra ‘tea time’ helped us to get our full protein ration. After this, before the dinner, the nurses came again to take our blood pressure and temperature.


Most of the time Dorota and I watched a movie together on one of our computers or we read.

Keeping busy

Regular blood samples were taken throughout the study
Regular blood samples were taken throughout the study

To keep busy during the study I set myself some projects:

  • French and Portuguese lessons - these were organised by MEDES.


  • I am a member of a ‘citizen’s movement’ in my hometown. We wanted to ask the local social organisations about the money they raise and how many people work for them on a voluntary bases. In Germany these things aren’t well researched. I promised that I would try to write a report about why this is important, not only for the local government, but also for the organisations themselves. I finished the report during the bed rest and sent it to the other members of my group.


  • My law studies: although I couldn’t bring all the books with me, I started to prepare myself for the exams in September.


  • I am member of several boards of examinators, for example for the chamber of commerce in Aschaffenburg, and from time to time I have to mark exams in economics. In April I had 33 exams to mark. It was a welcome change to concentrate on economics after all this law stuff.


  • I tried to plan my holidays and exams in September. My family and I plan to stay 3 weeks at Sardinia in September. Around the same time I will have to pass two final exams for my studies.


  • I had lots of books to read. I also enjoyed reading the comics one of the researchers brought us.


  • Finally the nurses and Dorota had things to sew or pearls to work with. We produced several bags and necklaces.

Contact with family and friends

We had four hours of free phone calls per week so we could call friends and family regularly. And we wrote lots of emails. From time to time it was difficult because they had problems as well. But from Toulouse we couldn’t change a thing. At times we had to try to distance ourselves from the situation. At the same time I couldn’t tell them everything that was going on in Toulouse. I think, sometimes, they would have told me to come back home…

Sometimes I found it difficult to be away from everyone. But on the other hand, I am old enough now and I no longer live at home. So it was more like working in another town. Easter was a hard time for me: it was just the beginning of the bed rest. I wasn’t used to having nobody to talk about ‘normal life’ and my father was really ill.

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