Friday, April 26, 2013

Self-care versus obligations

Two circular x-rays showing vertebra, 4 screws, and two rods
My surgery x-rays showing the screws & rods

I'm at my "day job" all day today, my fourth 8 hour day since surgery on 1/16, and my third full work week.  I'm a 3.5 month old cyborg, and my body is telling me, in one of the most fierce ways possible, that I'm doing too much.  It's almost finals week, and I have been wracking my brain all day (in between my job duties of answering the phone and greeting people at the reception desk) trying to work on something that is supposed to be due by email in less than an hour.

I started the day with severe fatigue that didn't decrease after two cups of caffeinated tea, extra B-vitamins, and a prednisone (to help my poor adrenal glands out since my pituitary gland doesn't know how to do "proper" stress responses).  The severe fatigue left my brain just barely able to get to work and be at work, and every attempt at working on a project left me with my eyes trying to close (combined with the fact that I'm trying to do a non-traditional project, and the feedback left me wondering if I had enough time to either fix what I was doing or scrap it and do something completely different but in the realm of more traditional scholarship).

I'm left with a lot of panic, both panic at the project itself and panic at my body/brain's inability to actually do this work right now.  I feel like my body is trying to tell me that I shouldn't have taken classes this semester, that I shouldn't have gone to work, that I should have listened to the surgeon's advice to take 3-6 months off both work & school (note:  I really don't know why I split work and school these days.  At the doctoral level, my schoolwork is my work;  however, since I don't receive departmental funding, I have an outside graduate assistantship (what I usually refer to as formal work right now).

I'm trapped between academic time and crip time.  I'm petrified of the aftermath of sending an email saying that my work is going to be late, partially because I know that it probably won't be sent until tomorrow as I'm working on a wicked sinus headache (hello North Carolina pollen....or a cold that I may have picked up with my overtaxed, underperforming immune system).  The intellectual work that I have done on this project is all in my head.  There has been a lot of labor done, but it's not tangible for an instructor to grade.

I apologize for having a string of blog posts that are less-than-perky about my situation (I promise that there is a happier post that will be up after the semester is over about my weird home mods to make this recovery more manageable!).  This healing-while-having-faulty-physiology thing is a rough road filled with potholes.  Hopefully the fabulous people in my life will continue to be patient with me :-)

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