We were finally able to start the first part of our exercise intervention using the DAQ Air Pressure Pillow (a device created by the lab) on healthy subjects (members of our lab plus Kat and Brendon). We also performed everyone’s “pre” test on a Biodex machine that we’ll later compare to their “post” test to evaluate the change in quadricep strength following the exercise intervention. This week we gave a presentation on a journal article that is related to our topic. Although, this presentation was very “relaxed”, I am glad we shared an article that conducted a similar intervention with CKD patients. It also helped solidify my understanding of how we should format our final research paper and what background information to include in our introduction. No CKD patients have been recruited, so I have a feeling there is a big chance we’ll only be testing the exercise device on healthy participants. There are only 4 weeks left here, which may not be enough time to see a change in muscle strength, so we’ll have to wait and see what direction this project takes.
We ended week 5 with a lovely afternoon at Kelly’s house (a grad student in Dr. Li’s lab). It was nice to have a delicious, home-cooked meal, drink hot tea and eat fruit, play games and laugh a lot. Saturday, we took a trip to Tainan- a city just North of Kaohsiung. Here, we visited Chimei museum (a museum of Western culture that our lab mates really enjoyed). We then went downtown to Anping Fort, a colonial fortress built by the Dutch in the 1600’s, where I learned a lot about Taiwan’s colonial past. We relaxed with another trip to Cijin beach on Sunday and had dinner at the largest mall in Taiwan — Dream mall!
The exercise intervention with our healthy subjects kickstarted this week. Dr. Guo held a lunch conference to welcome all of the new members in our lab. We had some of the most delicious Pizza Hut pizza I’ve had! I did not expect pizza topped with clams, squid and fish to be so delicious! Another highlight of this week was our lab taking us to a shop with home-made ice cream after lunch. Three small scoops were only 40 NT ($1.30), and I tried the lemon, pineapple and papaya flavors. Not only was the ice cream tasty, but the owner was very nice and gave us all a free slushie (that was also so good). We ended the work week with a presentation on our progress, thus far.
Friday evening we relaxed on my lab mate’s, Rachaels, couch and watched an intense episode of a Korean drama. Although it was dubbed in Mandarin and the plot was a little convoluted, we found ourselves screaming at the screen and shedding tears during some parts of the episode. We were so hooked that we looked for the rest of the season on YouTube. The next day we traveled to Northern Taiwan and visited a small town called Shifen in New Taipei City. I loved visiting Shifen Old Street, releasing a paper lantern (even though I felt guilty for contributing to pollution) and seeing a beautiful waterfall there.
We stayed at a great hostel for only 11 US dollars that night! We went on a tour to Thousand Island Lake and Pinglin Tea Plantation the next morning. The tour was very simple, however, I was glad we booked it because I don’t know if we have been able to get around in the mountains. My favorite part was the tea ceremony and tasting towards the end of the tour. That is something I wish I could experience every day!
Our halfway mark was filled with so many great cultural experiences, it was hard to fit everything into one post. Leaving Kaohsiung, getting on multiple modes of transportation and planning our activities for the entire weekend was a real test for Team Taiwan 2018…but we did it! I can’t wait to share what’s next.