Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Pain and Joy

Just a quick note today, to say:

- I am editing and re-writing all the chapters of my PhD, one by one, in order. this may prove to be a problem once we get to chapter 4, which lies half-done and which was abandoned during the Great Depression of January 2013 (cf previous depressive posts). I have also created a file called 'introduction and literature review' where I begin to gather my thoughts on all the books that have been written on my topic and which I shall have to review (this bit I have not been so excited about; I am not the most confident of mortals at the best of times, and the thought of me passing comment on the work of esteemed professors, comment which then has to go into my PhD in a sensible-sounding way, makes me want to go hide in my room and sit there, in the dark, eating cereal out of the box and wearing a cardigan with egg on it.)

- the Procrastination Bible is still my joy and my happiness, and I find myself these days correcting people when they say 'i have to do XYZ, it's going to be horrible', and telling them, 'NO, [insert friend's name]! please do not say 'it's going to be horrible'. please try saying 'i choose to do this and I am going to keep starting on it whenever I can today', and then I go on about treats and breaks for a while. people have taken to replying 'OK! you are right, I shall do this!' - I suspect they may just be trying to shut me up. I seem to have turned into a well-meaning, do-gooding, motivational zealot.

- slightly scary news: my right wrist/ forearm seem to be packing in. I did a lot of typing yesterday and at the end of it was in a bit of pain. I have had trouble with this wrist ever since this summer, when it started aching. The nice doctor lady had a look at it and told me to stop doing yoga, to have a break from typing, and put me on the waiting list for the physiotherapist; she then watched me as I prepared to leave her office by picking up my rucksack and carrier bags full of books and attempting to sling these on to my shoulders / somehow distribute them about my person; and she thought for a bit and said 'you should probably stop carrying such heavy bags around with you.' 

Thing is, i was convinced that I NEEDED the fifty or so books with me every day just to get by, but now I realise - too late - that I didn't. I realise now that, being a serial hoarder, I have spent most of my time over the last few years doing things like carrying heavy books around, convinced that I will get around to reading them (when I clearly won't); filling suitcases up with treasured possessions and carting them all back to my home, filling my room to bursting with stuff, only to throw most of it away during the next house move; filling my basket up in Tesco's until I can barely lift it, and then lugging it all home, massive bag dangling off each hand (poor, poor wrists. those poor things), mostly just for it all to sit in at the back of the cupboard for two years. My love affair with 'stuff' has turned around and bitten me on the nose, in a most unpleasant way. These days, you see me only with a light canvas bag, containing a pencil and a notebook, and maybe an apple; but alas, it is too late. 

TO ALL OF YOU READING THIS BLOG, WHO ARE DOING A PHD: don't carry heavy bags. don't attempt to open jars. do not scrub pans. FIND OUT about appropriate work session lengths, comfortable chairs, monitor positioning and proper keyboards now, before you run into trouble like I did. Look after your wrists and hands, because, as it turns out, once they go, they are quite tricky to repair. 

(the conclusion of my story was: I went to the physio. they gave me a list of exercises to do, with which to strengthen the aching wrist. i did them for a bit and when I returned to the physio, they gave me some more. Not being the most organized and Zen-type person at that time in my life, there were many days on which I forgot to do the little wrist-saving exercises. TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE WHO HAVE BEEN TO THE PHYSIO AND HAVE BEEN GIVEN WRIST EXERCISES: do them. set aside an hour each day where you do nothing but Guardian-reading interspersed with wrist exercises.)

I fear another appointment with doctor/ another wait list for physio might be in order. in the meantime: no chopping of carrots; no opening of jars; no scrubbing of bathrooms. (it's not all bad, really, this life, when you put it like this.)

And now back to work.

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