Looking back now, I'm a bit surprised how readily I jumped on the cast experiment. By no means do I regret it, but giving up a limb for a month does involve more sacrifices than are apparent. Some of these are rather external (as listed in the top five of my last blog), but it was really the more invisible ones that made me struggle. It strained relationships, meant a fair chunk of sleep lost (which could have been the real reason for the strained relationships), and led to pools of guichana (Korean term for simply not having quite enough energy to do anything).
On the other hand, there were things I loved about wearing the cast. To equalize things out a bit, perhaps a top six is in order:
6. An injection of empathy for others (who isn't wearing a few metaphorical casts?)
5. Being forced to slow down and take a break from the computer
4. A free, no-energy ticket to extroversion (other people starting conversations to ask about the cast)
3. A chance to find out some cool things about my neuromuscular system and its peculiarities
2. The generous monetary compensation
1. A step outside my ordinary routine to see the world in a new light (was this really the number one highlight? Honestly it was a close call between this and number two, but I'd feel superficial if I listed money as my number one!)
It was also timed nicely with my first-ever application to the IRB (Institutional Review Board; they screen and approve - or reject - all proposed research involving human or animal subjects). My project, which I'll get to in a future blog, was seemingly innocuous in comparison to the cast study. However, having the viewpoint of someone being experimented ON made me much more sympathetic to the subjects in our research and I reflected that in the research design. Perhaps because of that, in part, it was approved within hours of submission.