Saturday, February 6, 2010

Still Sick

I was going to write everything in bullets, but then I realized that everything sort of bleeds into one another, which probably means that while my life might be particularly messy, most likely it's that I'm unable to divide, organize, basically control or make sense of my life. Yes, that is definitely true. I am definitely feeling my life is happening to me, wave upon wave crashing over me. It's not a great feeling.

First and foremost, I am sick. Really sick. I'm sure I have an ear infection because I'm hearing all sorts of weird sounds in my ear. I got it from Absurdist Tot, who got his first ear infection and is on antibiotics. I am not thrilled about his being on antibiotics because of the merry-go-round of sick-antibiotics-sick that so many kids end up on (where's the preventative medicine, dammit? but I guess that's all the good nutrition we're forcing on him). Anyway, since he's on antibiotics, he's actually fine, going to his second day of daycare on Thursday. They sent home three artworks of things he was working on (I don't know how they did this, because he's fifteen months and super active) on "four" and "yellow" and when I saw them I just started bawling. His first artworks! His first lessons! I'm weepy just thinking about it. We don't do anything like this at home. I mean I point and say things and try to get him to make connections between the color red in the book and the red Elmo doll, but all this really leads to is his throwing the Elmo over the gate and trying to bite the book. I confess I haven't really done enough to try to figure out educational activities for him. Mostly he runs around and plays and eats. I'm already exhausted, have very little time to read, and have no extra money to get books on development or games. But clearly I need to at least know more about how to teach him things. I don't know. The thing I'm really trying to encourage with him right now is communication. I want him to learn more words, since he's only really got two down. But I guess it's okay that I'm not doing the same thing as the daycare.

We took him to the eye doctor because one eye looks in toward his nose, and they want him to wear glasses all day every day. I just don't think this will ever work. He likes to pull my glasses off my nose. And he can't get at them all the time. Absurdist Lover and I haven't officially discussed it yet because I'm too sick right now. I'm sick still because not only have I been doing search committee work that has had me running around and because I don't have a doctor and when I tried to find one, first the local provider list on my HMO's website was completely wrong, listing doctors at locations where the people had never heard of them. Then I called doctors in the booklet. One number was disconnected. Another was taking no more managed care patients. Two more were closed that day. Finally, one is taking new patients but schedules a meet and greet so she can explain her policies. Why do I, who already distrusts medicine in general, have a bad feeling about someone explaining her policies to me? I just want to say look: you work for me. Not the other way around. But I've got an HMO and the real plain fact of managed health care in this country is that the doctors work for the insurance companies. Anyway, I'm still sick and am going to beg her to please look in my damn ear rather than just tell me her damn policies.

There's an unbloggable situation at work concerning other people, not me, but it's completely inflamed my imposter syndrome. Now I think: are they going to remember that I wore jeans come promotion time? I swear I really think this, often freaking out about clothes and how I present myself and what the full professor who wears suits and ties everyday (and, while nice and reasonably friendly, is sort of a caricature of a professor type) must be thinking about me. I feel like I'm just not presentable. And let's face it: with bunched up snotrags in my pockets, I'm probably not. I should not be at work. Of course, the head of the committee wants us to meet again on Monday. And though I think it's important to have my voice in the mix, I think I may bow out. Everyone who sees me says I should be at home (except my colleagues on the committee, of course). OY.

What else? I pretty much have a bleak and dire outlook on everything right now. Much of our lives seems hopeless. Of course, it is February. There's a reason why February is the shortest month. But it's probably really that I'm sick and that AT's two days a week at daycare (we can barely afford that right now) end up getting taken up with committee stuff. I've been trying to get work done on my scholarly projects. But I'm now so sick I really can't do that. Today, I got a nap because AT needed a long nap after waking up early and being tortured by the eye doctor. Glasses for AT! We can't even afford to pick up my glasses, making it good that the frames are on backorder. And I'm so stupid, I didn't sign him up for vision insurance because I figured, ineptly, that what kids needs vision insurance and I was trying to save every little bit of money for our monthly living expense. Stupid stupid stupid.

I want to be one of those women who can't be defeated, like Julia Child or the women in Steel Magnolias (and what else? What else should I be watching and thinking about for inspiration??? Let me know!), but I'm thinking I'm not a strong person -- or the kind of strong I am is flexible, if at all. I want to be one of those people who are just determined and positive and optimistic when things happen, just fighters, unable to feel defeated and sorry for themselves and like the whole world is out to get them. How does one become like that? I'm thinking I need therapy or to get religion or something. Well, first, I need to get well. Except for today's nap, I haven't been able to take care of myself and sleep in. My life just doesn't allow me to do those things. I need to nurse. I need to get up with AT. Absurdist Lover does help and do a lot, but I still don't get left alone much (not to mention the one room where I could get away if AL watches AT is the bedroom, which has poor light and is very cold and without money to rectify those situations -- well, this is what I mean by everything seeming hopeless). I told AL that I want to sleep in, that I'd nurse AT, but then he could watch him and feed him yogurt, etc. We'll see what happens. I'm sure once I'm reasonably healthy, my outlook will improve. Right now, everything but AT sucks. And the poor boy has my eyes.

So my friends you can see that I'm not altogether here. Absurdist Lover is also sick, but doesn't seem to have stuff in his ear. Of course, he doesn't have insurance, since we're not married and he's unemployed, so it's good if he doesn't need antibiotics. I clearly do.

Still I recognize things could be worse, and I'm thankful they are not. I'm trying. I really am.


Maude said...

okay EE, I'm going to try to give you advice in the way that you give me advice, and maybe try to commiserate a little bit here, too.

This may be dumb coming from a non-parent, but duh, who would think to get vision insurance for a child at least under four? I've only known one baby in my whole life that ever needed glasses. He had them early, too, like 8 months. He got used to them. Actually, they were like the cabbage patch kid glasses. But still, I didn't know kids as young as yours would need to go to an eye doctor. Don't beat yourself up here. It's not like you had 18 kids already and would know. None of the other moms on here with babies as young as yours have mentioned anything like that.

Don't beat yourself up about the antibiotics. I know you don't want him on them, but again, as a non-mom, FWIW, however I feel your pain, it sounds like in this case they are necessary. I think the real danger with antibiotics is when we don't take the full and complete dose. I understand you don't want your child pumped full of medicine, but he's going to be okay. And you keep him pretty healthy anyway--you give him good foods; he's active. This is just a setback, okay? Of course, take this with a grain of salt--I'm not a mom, so what do I know?

RE: appearance/work clothes--one of the deans here told a colleague of mine that she though profs should dress professionally. He disagreed. He believes that it's what the person feels the most comfortable in (within reason, like no sweats) because if the instructor is comfortable in his/her clothes, then s/he is going to project a professional and competent image no matter what. If you are uncomfortable in suits and skirts, then your students will read that as incompetence. I know $ is an issue with the nice clothes, but maybe for meetings then you wear slacks and a nice-ish shirt. I can only afford one pair of jeans, so I buy really dark blue ones because they look "dressier" than lighter jeans, that way, when I want, I can teach in them. When I teach in them, I wear nicer shoes and a nice sweater or button down shirt to offset the jeans. I feel like class discussions go better when I'm in jeans because I feel more in my element.

This is long and obnoxious. Sorry. I'm trying to be helpful. Maybe I should have just sent an email?

Love you. Maudie. :)

medieval woman said...

Oh, EE - I'm so sorry about all the sickness and stress about vision! I'm sure AT will be okay - and glasses are cool, don't let anyone tell you different! ;)

As for the clothing thing, I agree with Maude - I "dress up" to teach (i.e., I wear black, J.Jill wear-ever cropped pants and an oversized cashmere sweater in various colors) every day. But, If I'm not teaching, I'm in jeans and a sweatshirt - even if there's a department meeting! I'm sure there are a couple of colleagues who look askance, but I figure that if my dossier is bullet-proof in terms of service, publications, and teaching, then I'll get voted forward.


Earnest English said...



I appreciate your good wishes and vibes so much. I know that everything is really not so bleak -- that being sick and poor is just getting me down. It turns out today AT is having a hard time being very fussy -- probably just picking up on my difficult vibe too.

My word is resso, which I figure means "I rest" like a Latin formulation (if I can remember back that far -- I took Latin in high school -- you know, that place whose reunion I can afford to go to -- okay now I'm really feeling sorry for myself).

My second word (what happened?) is persac, which is too dangerously close to Prozac. Forget it.

post-doc said...

Dear EE, I'm sorry you're not well. I've always thought you terribly brave and strong and am wishing you much positive energy toward feeling better, both physically and mentally.