Betcha I wasn’t the only one absent

I was going to attend the free seminar on chronic pain,

but my backache was too severe that night.

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Welcome to the Ivory Tower, Internet

My daughter shares this story:

Research is to English majors what coffee is to the general college student. Essays are ramen and reading material naps, if you’re curious. (Note that literal naps often overlap with these figurative ones.) So caught up in the glee of primary sources and minutia of MLA, we forget that not all of our academic brethren are blessed with this area of education.

Also, people are stupid.

So I’m sitting in my philosophy professor’s office, chatting breezily about feminist interpretations of Aristotle and (conventionally enough) existential crises in modern films. A flustered gentleman comes crashing through the doorway pleading for an audience. She invites him in, and he begins his protestations before I have a chance to vacate and thus offer privacy.

“Why did I get an F on this paper?” he whines, gesturing to the scarlet letter like it were the very knife Brutus plunged into Caesar’s back.

“Because it was a research paper,” she answers, “and you only had one source.”

“And?”

“And it was Wikipedia.”

“And?”

“And that’s not a credible source.”

“Nu-uh!” he cries, despondent in the face of life’s cold injustice. “I know it was! I posted the information myself.

Seated on the bridge of the Enterprise, Captain Picard does a pained face-palm

Seated on the bridge of the Enterprise, Captain Picard does a pained face-palm

Getting there … or, Not.

The other day, my daughter sent me a link to this post by Xenakis, which describes the wonderful side of Universal Design. In other words, build something right from the start, and you won’t have to go back and tack on ugly access structures.

plaza in Robson Square, Vancouver, with long flight of stairs and ramps making diagonal switchbacks up the hill

plaza in Robson Square, Vancouver, with ramps making diagonal switchbacks across the long flight of stairs up the hill

There are a few problems I can see with this approach.  One is that it might be too easy for a wheelie to get off-ramp — perhaps there are guiding impediments that I can’t see in the image. Also, someone commenting on Xenakis’ post, points out that people who walk up ramps often need hand rails, and the rails are only along the stairs. Personally, I would also like to see some kind of contrast striping between the stairs and the ramps; can you imagine going up or down this in a rainy, dark night?

Nonetheless, it’s still a really cool advancement over the traditional Deep Flight of Stairs Up to an Official Building.

Next up in today’s post on accessibility:  some pix from the Fail Blog. When access is SO BAD that everyone but the installer can tell that It Sucketh, Big Time:

Stucco building with Female and Male bathroom signs over two doors, and between those, a Handicapped sign over a shuttered window

Stucco building with Female and Male bathroom signs over two doors, and between those, a Handicapped sign over a shuttered window

Escalator with a wall neatly built right at the first moving step up/down

Escalator with a wall neatly built right at the first moving step up/down

A man in sandals demonstrates the futility of trying to climb up a concrete doorway ramp (marked with Handicapped emblem) that is at least a 30° angle upwards

A man in sandals demonstrates the futility of trying to climb up a concrete doorway ramp (marked with Handicapped emblem) that is at least a 30° angle upwards

And last but not least (just for grins), Teh Dumb from a hospital somewhere. I’m not fond of MRI machines from the comfort perspective, for all they can make great pictures. The last time I was in one, I wore ear plugs and they gave me the clam-shell headphones to help block out some of the noise. But I have hyperacussis and tinnitus, and 45 minutes later my head was ringing so badly, I slithered off the padded bench and crumpled to the floor.

Powerful MRI with metal hospital bed pulled off the floor and stuck to opening

Powerful MRI with metal hospital bed pulled off the floor and stuck to opening

12 Days

Man, but July just oozed by in a protracted mental fog.  One of the huge blocks to regular bloggery was the incredible 12-Day Headache.  It got slightly better at times, and it got worse at times, but the “Ten Kilos of Lead Atop Me Head” pain just would NOT go away!

It made working the three jobs worse, despite my adamant determination to not miss more than a day’s work from the para or grocery jobs.  I couldn’t even consider missing a day from the professor job, because summer semester runs at twice the speed, and we had no wiggle-room in our schedule for covering everything that needed to be covered.

As before, putting thoughts together was like stringing beads while wearing heavy ski mittens.  But this time I didn’t have a handy excuse, other than, “I’ve had a headache for over a week now,”  Being in pain means not sleeping well, and increases stress, and all three of these factors combine into a viscous circle.

  • I tried acetominophen (paracetamol), in addition to my daily naproxen sodium that I take for arthralgia.
  • I tried soaking in a hot bath in a dim room.
  • I stood under a strong shower and let it beat upon my head.
  • I laid down with cold compresses.
  • I took two-hour afternoon naps because I could not keep my eyes open.
  • I took a vigourous 1-mile walk and gardened, and avoided afternoon naps in hopes of getting better sleep.
  • I had a hot toddy at bedtime.
  • I ate cold ice cream to the point of “brain-freeze”.
  • I massaged my head.
  • I vigorously brushed my hair.
  • I took Imitrex, my migraine medication.
  • I did Tai Chi Chih-like stretches.
  • I layed with my feet higher than my head.
  • I massaged my feet.

I thought to myself, “This can’t keep going on!  I can’t live like this.”  But of course it can, and people do.

Initially, I kept saying, “I’ll do that tomorrow when I feel better.”  But the mañana list kept getting longer and longer.  After a week, I finally came to the grips that for whatever reason, I was going to have to deal with The Damn Leaden Burden of Pain as a chronic issue, whether long-term or short-term. It forced me to pare down my Daily To Do lists to the merest essentials:

  1. This morning I will shower and shampoo.
  2. After a nap, I must write at last 75% of an exam.
  3. I will eat something nutritious for dinner before working tonight.
  4. I will set out a complete change of clothes before I go to bed.

What hellish demands upon my time and energy!  That was of course, a day when I wasn’t teaching a class, just doing the morning para job and a few hours of stocking groceries after tea.

Oh crap, I forgot one:

5.  I will refill my daily pill minder.

You know you’re exhausted when dosing out a few bedtime pills is too much of a bother.

Finally I gave up and went to my GP.  “I’m exhausted.  I’m even falling asleep at work, and at dinner, even though I’m sleeping seven to ten hours a night, with two hours naps during the day.  My joints and muscles ache.  I keep getting bruises, and cuts heal slowly, and my gums bleed when I brush my teeth.  My hands and feet are cold.  I’m sensitive to light, my ears ring most of the time, and I’m having dizzy spots.  I get disoriented, and have the worst mental fogginess, despite taking my ADHD meds. I have dry mouth, and am thirsty all the time and drinking two or more liters of water a day.  AND I’VE HAD THIS HORRIBLE HEADACHE FOR TWELVE DAYS.”

I mentioned a family history of diabetes.  The doc sent me down to the lab for blood draws, also checking my thyroid and some other factors.  Additionally, he gave me a heavy-duty pain reliever that I took when I went to bed.  The next day was much better, although I could still feel headache lurking around the edges, so I took another pill the next night.

The Damn Leaden Burden of Pain finally went away.  My blood tests all came back normal, thankfully.  I don’t know what caused such an intractible headache, but I sure hope it doesn’t return.  Or if it does, I’ll smack it down a lot quicker with the pain med.  The pain-exhausted-stress cycle gets so hard to break.

Where P = 0

Where P is the momentum, and P = mvv = velocity, naturally.  But the m = inertial mass.  As in, if something doesn’t act upon and force the m, then there is no v and no P, and certainly no W of work!

I’ve not been blogging much lately due to the Jobs, but even after the education-related Job #1 and Job #2 finished a couple weeks ago, I’m still finding it hard to get back into the blogging groove.  I’m still working Job #3, which is only part-time, but grocery stocking is giving me the most inconsistent hours and days, ever. It’s getting to the point where I’m having trouble remembering what day of the week it is.

The Geekling has yet to sleep through the night; I’m not feeding him at nights, but apparently Grandma Ears are the same as Mom Ears, and hunger cries in another part of the house will still awaken me.

Furthermore, my watch battery died, so I can’t even tell when I am, aside from night and day.

But most of all, I have a bad case of Inertia.  I have a bazillion things to do, but struggle to complete the most time-sensitive ones.  I am working on some posts, but stringing thoughts together is like watching syrup ooze down the bottle.

What do you do to get over Inertia?