Western education 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

....... a reminder that superwoman does not live here anymore....

...... came in the form of an energy crash and an afternoon nap.  I have a ton of things to do and I want them all done before chemo this week.... so, I cleaned all the bathrooms (3) including steam cleaning the floors and showers and then steamed all the floors.  I also threw in 4 loads of laundry, cleaned my room and ironed a few dozen shirts.... perhaps this should come as no surprise that by mid-afternoon I was feeling worse than I had in weeks.  I began to sweat profusely and felt nauseated.... Max was simply not amused and sent me upstairs to nap...I managed to get in laundry folding before laying down.  As Max would say "are you happy now??" 

Later I would create lecture materials for the week now that we are in full swing of the semester in week 2.  The students should be ready to go to start their first project.  It has been months preparing for the content and now the lectures.  I still have a lot of work to do but most everything is done including the latest instalment of marking rubrics for their first project.  For those who still believe that teachers have these wonderful holidays and tons of free time, clearly have no concept of what a good instructor does for their students.  I spend about 2-3 hours a day in prepping for classes and labs.  Never mind the marking that will come my way for each student project.

This week I will be getting back the results of my CT scan I had last Tuesday and will be heading into the chemo suite for round number 4 if I am cleared to go.  I feel better but am still tired.  I have to remind myself to pace my way through each day and organize tasks to be done which leaves me plenty of time to rest in-between.  I just feel that I have more to do in a day than time to do it in. Part of me keeps busy to forget sometimes that I am in the midst of treatments and maybe to keep busy enough so I do not have to worry about my results.  Probably a good 50/50.   The wound from the CT scan IV has finally healed but in the process, the vein is no longer prominent in the bend of my elbow....likely meaning that she damaged it enough to render it unusable.  My arm stopped aching yesterday.  I think back to a conversation I had with my doctor about installing a pic line or a port... I regret not considering them as viable options.  A pic line or port are installed into a vein and are used each time for drawing blood and injecting the chemo.  While I hope there is not a next time... it would be a choice to make instead of the inconvenience of collapsing veins.  I am unable to use my left arm for any injections because of edema resulting from the surgical removal of most of the lymph nodes under the arm.  I just stopped appreciating needles this month...... sigh.....I now tense up so bad before they put it in that I think i am causing my own problems.

The students were very receptive to hearing the news that their instructor has a chronic illness.. I let them know that I am the one they know about but in a population the size of Fanshawe, there are other faculty members and students with compromised immune systems.  It is a great lesson for them to be ever so mindful of not bringing their illness into the classroom.  This year I have a hearing impaired student who has two ASL assistants who sign for him.  I have encouraged the other students to please feel free to approach him and that he can text with them to communicate.  This will be a pivotal year in teaching the students by example the soft skills of inclusion and respect for others in the classroom.  The last class on Friday is a little rambunctious but easy enough to understand when they have spent already a long day at the school.  I will endeavour to always make this class as engaging and interesting as the other ones.  As always, I love to have fun in my lecture classes.

The weather is changing dramatically enough that the plants are sure it is late fall.  The tomatoes have slowed down their production, all the apples from our tree have been converted to applesauce and the mums in the garden are beginning to flower.  The plants are so huge now that they have been in the garden for 4 years.  They are almost the size of bushes!!  The squirrels are making their annual deposits in my flower pots and tearing leaves off the trees to build bigger nests to hibernate in.  The one this morning is chatting away and has been for over an hour.  I stand beneath the tree and watch the small branches fall away to the ground as it chatters loudly overhead.  The cat hears it and meanders over and the squirrel decides its best to travel via rooftop to the tree farther away.  It is finally peaceful and you can hear the cardinals making their way from flower to flower.  The front garden is overgrown but colourful and happy.  Next year..... we hope to finish building the walkway in the front and putting in a winding garden to extend what is already there now that the crab apple tree is gone.  The leaves are changing with the cooler nights and the pool is far too cool to jump into without bracing yourself.  I have only taken in a few swims this summer when the water was  warm enough for me to enjoy. Certainly something to look forward to next summer when I get through this year.

The cat scratch is finally healing but will remain until the chemo rounds are finally done and even then, it will take some time afterwards to disappear.  The wound on my ankle from a mere rub wound took almost a year to fade off after chemo.  I am breathing easier but sleeping poorly these days.  It is hard to slow down when I feel a burst of new found energy and use it up as quickly as it came.  I will have to just learn to pace myself and admit to when I am unable to run around scrubbing every inch of my house when I have a chance.  It can wait until Christmas holidays.  My friend Kelly has bought me a day of cleaning as a gift.... so wonderful and thoughtful and so timely. 

Mandi and I went shopping for a short while at the local Home Depot just to see what was there for her kitchen DIY reno.  I love looking at tile, and getting ideas so it was a perfect match up activity.  I will see her again soon when she drops in with dinner on Wednesday....

I wish to dedicate this blog entry to the family and friends of Sue Forster who passed away at the age of 55 after spending time in the intensive care unit at UH.  There was a memorial visitation held for her on Sunday but I was not well enough to go.  My heart, prayers and sympathies go out to her three children and lifelong soulmate Tom.  It is hard to believe she is gone and what a wonderful mom to her three kids.... Our oldest children are the same age...only days apart.  I am grateful for having known her and am deeply saddened that my illness and busy life kept us going in two different directions.  It didn't need to be that way and as I sit here quietly, I realize all too late that it would have been a simple matter of picking up the phone and chatting more often than we did.  If anything, its a reminder to be thoughtful of others despite being 'too' busy.  Pick up a phone or text a friend today just to let them know that you are thinking of them.... life is short.

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