Pain and Writing; or, How a Heat Wave Took My Spoons

I want to start with an apology to anyone who bookmarked this site last week and started coming back looking for updates. It’s been over a week since I posted. There have even been things worth posting about! We had two highly visible apologies (both due to breaking Rule #1), a classic case of shifting terms from the Wall Street Journal, and more. (Posts will be forthcoming on these.) I was simply unable until today to write about any of these or anything else. The honest truth is that I spent the last week in too much pain and mental fog to put thoughts to keyboard.

This is a post I’d been thinking about for some time, and I’ve finally decided to try to get it down.  One of the (more minor) reasons I free-lance is because it allows me to work from home on my own schedule.  This is important because I suffer from chronic pain, and until recently had no insurance to see a doctor about dealing with it. Free-lancing gives me to the ability to work around my pain.  I work when I can be productive (like now), and I can take time off if the pain gets too difficult. I can move around, stretch my aching muscles, or even lay down to work because I can work in seclusion and at my own pace. If a client needs something more quickly, I can grit through it and then take some “me” time later to recuperate.

Of course, this is not my only job, and I have learned to balance a regular job with my pain.  It ends up sapping much of my will and energy juggling everything every single day, but I manage. (If you are not familiar with the “spoon analogy”, go here and read up on it.  The rest of this will wait.) I am usually quite adept at juggling my teaching, tutoring, editing, etc. duties, as well as the constant stream of emails from clients and supervisors.  I’ve been handling this problem for over 5 years, and have finished two Master’s and worked an assortment of jobs in that time. I do not let pain stop me. It is usually a matter of pacing myself and paying close attention to what my body needs. I figured I would have no problems maintaining this while spending a week in NYC for my fiance’s Masters graduation.

I did not realize how easily 95 F (and a heat index above 100!) would completely demolish this idea.  It did not even occur to me that a miserable heat wave combined with a lack of A/C would completely rob me of all of my “spoons” every single day. I was slightly zombie-like for much of my visit, barely able to pull it together for the required work and social time I had already scheduled.

On the one hand, I am frustrated knowing that I must now include A/C in my “necessity” column for all future residences.  (The only other option is to relocate even further north than NYC.  Anyone hiring in Manitoba? How about Svalbard?) On the other hand, it definitely reinforces my desire to do free-lance work. Short of a job that pays well enough (and has enough benefits) for me to see a doctor often, free-lancing gives me the greatest options for juggling work and pain.  I highly recommend it for anyone who has similar trouble.

So, again, I apologize for the lack of updates. It would be a stretch to say that it was due entirely to factors beyond my control, but it was unavoidable. Thank you for your patience.

If you are interested in keeping up with my site in a way that does not require physically checking to see if I posted, I recommend either an RSS feed (like Google Reader) or else following me on Twitter (@WD_Frosty).

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