Monday, December 06, 2010


It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Enough so that my ability to get out of my own way has been severely affected, at least for now. As I attempt to pull it together enough to finish the semester I’ve discovered a couple of things that I’m not terribly happy about.

First, as I go through the work of fulfilling academic requirements I find that I don’t always have enough time. That’s difficult because the demands on my time – work, my family, classes – are heavy. I understood that going into this, but I often wish there were more hours in a day. Today, for example, I was out of bed at a little after 5:30 this morning after being awake for about an hour. From 6:30-ish until a little bit after 2:00 I sat at my desk, studying. At 2:30 I left the house to come over to the campus to continue, and I have been here since. This is the first real break I’ve had today and I am using the time to catch up on writing. I think that writing about it here will help, mainly because it will take the stress away for a few minutes.

Last Tuesday I went to a work-related class at the VA Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts. I wasn’t feeling especially well, and that made it challenging for me to sit through the lectures. Plus, there was an overwhelming amount of material and an instructor whose delivery needed lots of work. But I’m re-reading the information I took away from the course (an awareness-level class on responding to terrorist incidents) and finding some of the pearls I missed in the lecture. I’ll spend some more time on it this week and continue to attempt absorbing the stuff that I should have gotten the first time around.

As I said, I spent some time last week not feeling well. Actually, I was downright ill. No idea what it was that was ailing me, but it was unpleasant. A lot of abdominal discomfort. I initially thought that maybe I’d gotten an intestinal bug, but the symptoms didn’t resolve 5 days into it, so I went and saw my doctor. Had labs drawn. All normal with a negative assessment for a hot appendix or for symptoms of diverticulitis or even a urinary tract infection. By the weekend I felt fine.

So I guess I can chalk that up to a virus of some sort. Not a classic intestinal virus, but something that shouldn’t have been there, to be sure.

The other thing, even before I had a bout of illness last week, is that I feel like I’m always tired. There is a lot going on around my house these days, and I’m sure that stress contributes to the fatigue. And I don’t get to work out like I was before – I’m planning to change that over the next couple of weeks. A new fitness center is opening up within walking distance of my house, and I think it will make me have no excuses for not getting back on the fitness wagon.

Another reason for the stress, I’ve realized, is that the material we’ve been covering has made me very uneasy. I’m doing fine, but I have to really work to pin this stuff down. It is definitely out of my comfort zone. And I have another semester of it starting in January. At the same time, stressful as it is, I’ve discovered that I can indeed understand the concepts as we go. Definitely a far cry from where I was the last time I took a Chemistry course. That was a little over 20 years ago. But the approach this time is different. At least it seems to be. It is more mathematically oriented than I remember from the last time I did this, and to be honest, I find that quite helpful. My mathematical skills are pretty good, and having that in my toolbox has made it easier to get through this time around.

Next semester I expect the load to be heavier with a second class on my schedule. I hope it doesn’t sink me like an un-seaworthy boat. And for now I think it’s time to head to the classroom.


TOTWTYTR said...

Hang in there Walt. The reward will be worth the effort.

Susie Hemingway said...

Oh Walt it does seem like you are working so hard and sorry to read that you have been unwell also. It must make all this extra studying so hard! I don't know how you manage it.
Sill as TOTWTYTR says - it will all be worth it. Keep strong and focused on the goal.
All very best wishes.