When last I wrote, I was in the throes of trying to get to December 1st. I almost didn’t make it, literally.
The week after Thanksgiving, I caught a nasty strep that nearly caused me to go into respiratory failure, twice. The first time was IN the doctor’s office, and since it was the allergist office, they had the necessary equipment to keep me from dying. After getting a load of medications to open my airways, I begged the NP to keep me functioning that week because I had accreditation going on at work, and I rather like my job and wanted to keep it.
Having been through her fair share of accreditation processes, she gave me twice the dose of steroids than we typically give even the worst patients, a massive dose of antibiotics, and was kind enough not to admit me to the hospital. I went back to work that day, trying to avoid people because I was still contagious, and I went back the next. In the midst of the that day, someone’s perfume or something in the air ducts triggered my lungs. I called Ken to come and get me because I knew it was too serious for me to drive. Other faculty and students came to my aid, and fortunately gathered together enough medicines to keep me alive in spite of my bluish tinge (which is usually the last thing that happens before I lose consciousness and my airways close).
Now, of course, after nearly dying twice in two days, which is probably more exhausting than it seems, of course I was able to rest and relax. Of course not! Ken had Upward Sports sign ups in the evenings that week, so I had to take care of the kids. Not only fixing dinner, doing baths, story time and the like, but the new massive amount of homework that the kids now have.
Yes, it was also the week that the kids skipped grades.
Palmer was coming home with 2-4 hours of homework. Not because it was really that much for an English-speaking child, but because he doesn’t speak English or read, his homework requires 100% supervision and parent involvement. Addie has such poor fine motor skills, she can’t complete her tasks at school, and what she doesn’t do, her teacher sends home. So every night, we try to help her improve her skills (remember the OT says she has the motor skills of a 3-year-old) cutting, coloring, writing and even just sitting still. I was getting notes home from her teacher almost every day about her lack of behavioral control and motor skills. So she works for 2 hours in the evenings as well.
Did I mention I had almost died twice in the midst of all this?
The day after I almost died the second time was the accreditation site visit. I took my nebulizer to work with me and smoked it like a peace pipe in between interviews and the frantic scurry to pull whatever documents they wanted. And I taught class in the midst of it all, and arranged guest lecturers for my former boss’s class — oh yes, remember that my boss was diagnosed with a brain tumor and suddenly retired 3 weeks before accreditation. He had been a part of the program for somewhere around 30 years, so he knew everything about the program. His presence is missed in many ways.
I made it through accreditation week still breathing, and found that the next week was prospective student interviews, and since I was now back to working full-time, I was leading an interview team, teaching on lunch breaks, and trying to get the rest of my job done in spare moments, followed by running home and starting the homework parade with Palmer and Addie.
I was in sad shape. Such sad shape that my poor busy PA students started making meals for our family in spite of it being the week before finals. Our family surely would have starved otherwise. I have never seen students take care of a professor like that. I am blessed that our program is indeed like a family.
At the end of interviews, I found that there were massive amounts of information and reports to be compiled before the end of the year. And I had to write and grade finals, coordinate the rest of the grades for the program, grade research presentations for the second year PA students, and on and on and on.
December 1st was just a mirage. All the things I had put aside to get to December 1st came tumbling down around me in a heaping to-do list.
Then came the Christmas party list. In the first 17 days of December, we had: One preschool/Kindergarten party, one kids party, one college work party, one youth ministry volunteer party, one staff/board party, one college student party, one neighborhood Christmas party, one staff Christmas party, one college ministry party, one children’s church program, one adult church program, one youth church program, one school program. Every evening was either an activity, or making up for the fact that we were out the night before. Thirteen events in seventeen days. On top of the two hours of homework every night.
And of course I still wasn’t well. (I’ve now been sick for over 12 weeks straight.) The NP started wondering why I have no immune system. So we took advantage of our already-paid $5000 deductible, and I had a slew of immune studies, a chest CT, a sinus CT. There were some interesting findings which open up some new treatment options for me, but in the end, essentially I’m sick because I’m exhausted. We all are.
So that’s where I’ve been: in survival mode.