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May 30, 2012

Poorly me and the place of plan B – by Bernie

Well, there's been something of a pause since I last blogged. I have been a bit unwell. Actually, quite unwell. Well, to be honest, it's been a tricky couple of weeks...

I have an ongoing annoyance in the form of a cardiac arrhythmia, which has caused me problems in the past few years, and in fact was one of the reasons I felt a need to leave shift work behind. I really don't like taking medication, partly because I don't enjoy side effects, but also because I seem to be less 'me' when I'm taking drugs to suppress symptoms. I expect that sounds quite odd, but essentially I've tried to embrace my crazy and unpredictable heart rate and use it as a form of creativity. And it's been very successful, over the past two and half years, as I have done a lot of adaptation in order to keep the problem at bay.

However, in the past few weeks, it's all caught up with me, as my new and wonderfully frank cardiologist has told me it was always going to. I've been having a whole new set of symptoms, which have been quite debilitating, to the extent where I had to spend some time in hospital a couple of weeks ago. What was a bit of an annoyance has become a complete pain, and has had a significant impact on my day to day life. While we play with technology and try to get to the root of the problem, I'm taking a new medication. From what I've said above, you can probably guess that I AM NOT HAPPY with this situation. But life is carrying on, and I have things to do - marking for one, and A THESIS TO WRITE for another. Oh, and you know, a busy and exciting life at home. So for now, I'll take the drugs. Although in fact, for the first time, these ones don't alleviate all the symptoms. I'm struggling a bit to keep my normal life going.

Anyway, the upshot is that I'm considering the prospect of a plan B. This makes me a bit sad, because I was having such a lovely time counting down the weeks until submission and constructing a beautiful thesis. Now, I'm like a robot marking, and the rest of the time I sit around feeling sorry for myself and falling asleep in the garden. Like a proper old lady, I am. But as my daughter pointed out, 142 years is a long time to have been alive.

Plan B might not be too bad, as it involves some well-paid work and longer to finish the thesis (depending on the support of my supervisors), but I really don't like this feeling of the best laid plans going wrong. Am I a control freak? Maybe, or perhaps I was just enjoying my life and am now massively frustrated at having to consider an alternative end to the PhD bit of it.

There is good in all this, though. As ever, my friends and my little family at home have been a bit marvellous. I've said it before, but my favourite thing about this life is having friends from within and beyond the academic world, who between them offer me the various perspectives to help me get through this difficult bit with a massive grin on my face.

Talking of massive grins, I'm off now to the Graduate School's poster competition in the Research Exchange, where I will plaster my smile on and talk intelligently about my latest poster. Lucky I'm taking the drugs, really!

massive grin


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