Warm tonight, init? I’ve been putting off posting till I could get work out my new cellphone upgrade – Galaxy SII. I did the research comparing cellphones. Basically I got it because it’s slim, lighter than the other smartphones, and I needed to get a handle on Android – being up to my ears in Apple at the moment. Actually the camera was another temptation! So I was trying to work out how that worked and get some lovely pics before I posted. I took a fabulous pic of Kathy coming up the last hill in Bosse St (there are 5) two kms from the end of the Pinetown and Districts Athletics Club 25 km race. Unfortunately I pressed the button that took me back to the home screen rather than the shutter button! (How many in this generation will even understand the term shutter in relation to digital photography? There’s history in everything – I’m quite pleased to know that!)
Unfortunately, it’s taken me three days to work out how to make an actual phone call!
I have mastered messaging and even had a great conversation with Robyn, my niece on What’s App. I like Swype – my word but it makes texting so much easier than finger taps with fingers that have got a bit de-sensitised and clumsy from the chemo zings.
Hand/foot syndrome brought out another delight yesterday – skin peeling. I looked at my feet this morning and the skin is coming off in skeins! Probably had enough of trying to deal with the toxins. It’s just a light layer, like you get when you’ve been sunburned, and it doesn’t hurt. It just looks ghastly. The recommended treatment, according to chemo support blogs, is to slather your feet in aquaeous cream and where closed shoes until they get over it. So I apologise in advance to those who will have to deal with me and the odiferous presence of my takkies!
I’m chuffed that I’ve been to work two days on the trot. Ok, so yesterday was only 2 and a half hours in the sense of being present at the work place (as you know I’ve been doing most things electronically), but what a joy to be talking with the e-Learning team (the unit previously known as Ed Tech – a new identity but possibly more accurate) all in one place, all fit and all as enthusiastic as ever. After my absence, and I thought I’d kept up with stuff, it fried my brain to observe the layers of complexity that are involved in working at the university. It was a unique experience and one that’s worth thinking about more.
The institutional issues, the Faculty issues, the Centre issues, the unit issues, the personal well-being issues and the power plays and territories that go with these. And that’s even before you think about what students (and their families) are going through and what they are doing! Tis the season for protests about student funding and accommodation – I wish that issue would go away!
I’m particularly impressed by the e-Learning team’s way of commiserating with frustrations, facilitating each other’s growth and of dealing with things as a team in ways that are strategic and constructive. It truly is a blessing. It’s no wonder that people working at universities get stress-related illnesses and pick up bad lifestyle habits that are not understood by the people not in academia. They’re not really conducive to well-being. One has to do all that the 16th century scholars did, plus all the bits that have been added on by cnturies following.
I’m forgiving myself for being tired and understanding why in the third week of term – some people are already looking less well than me. No wonder I was tired, which probably explains why I rode up the curb on the way home via Bwalya’s! Thank goodness for Squashy’s big tyres.
Today, I went into work after having my blood tests. And was blown away by Liza’s work on her Masters. It was exhilerating to see her mastering her data and making it speak. What an honour to watch the process of quantum leaps that make up post-graduate study. I can’t remember where I read it but we tend to think of Quantum Leaps as big things, but they’re not. They’re quantum beyond microscopic, so the leaps I’m talking about are the tiny shifts of position that make these huge changes in thinking and articulating insights – changing the very being of the person as they do it. Elation – is the only way to describe my experience of being an observer.
So it was no wonder that I was bouncing when I had a lovely lunch with Delysia at Churchill House – what a delight of restaurant. I’ve now let the cat out of the bag. Very well worth a visit. We talked lots of Academic Development stuff – projects and ideas for projects that interlink and feed each other, peppered with anecdotes of people and things to celebrate and frustrations and obstacles to try and address. It was work as it should be – love made manifest. I’m wondering why I’ve always been a person who pretty much was tethered to my office 8 hours (or more) a day.
And from Churchill House I was ‘available’ in so many ways via my iPad and my new phone (except it ran out of battery life). I think this has to be my strategy for managing the weakness and tiredness related to chemo and to get things done. a) Schedule a max of two big work things a day – which means prioritising and dropping peripheral interests and distractions (email!) and b) making sure to enjoy mobility and company productively whilst experiencing Durban with remarkable people. I realise that I can’t do big thinking, reading and writing stuff at work. That I’ll save for the ‘couch days’ when I can sit in front of the computer without moving or lying in the new recliner (to be delivered tomorrow) with my iPad.
I can tell you that leave applications are a bugger when the side-effects are so unpredictable! Luckily DUT’s online system makes that aspect easier, no forms to fill in and to run around and get signatures. We’re gradually reducing the need for people to physically run around between campuses, in this heat, with pieces of paper and requisition books! Long may the improvements continue – good job to the IT team at DUT.
My goodness, this is my 50th post and probably the longest. I didn’t realise that I had so much to say – opionated git! – and not one pic. I think my next post should be a collage – and I’ll let pictures speak to save your eyes.
Here’s a pic – and looking forward to another ‘wheatgrass happy dance’ tomorrow, the 4b round of chemo and 6 hours to think deep thoughts in one place.