2020 Week 16


I keep hoping things at work will calm down and I’ll be able to catch my breath. It’s just not happening. Maybe next week, finally? Surely, there won’t be another urgent emergency or string of related urgent emergencies or a completely new urgent emergency that must become the new focus…

I’m struggling to get everything done - back-to-back-to-back meetings that I need to be included in, for the entire day. Every day. Also, find time to do the actual work. I’m having to neglect my team because there isn’t time to do both sides of my job and the Urgent Emergency demands that I shift my focus to making sure a community of almost 40,000 instructors and students have the tools they need to finish the semester (and start the next one).

I booked friday afternoon off, to focus on PhD for a couple of hours and ease off the gas a bit. Turns out, that wasn’t possible. I wound up spending the afternoon responding to incident reports and pulling forensic data and writing emails. I had backed out of a couple of meetings, and wound up working anyway.

I’m officially off medical leave for my PhD, but am struggling to find the plot. I’m working on my thesis proposal - hoping to wrap up candidacy this summer so I don’t have to pay higher tuition for the fall semester - but it feels like I’m just not making any progress. My original idea for a research plan was too ambitious. My second plan feels like phoning it in, and it’s been done to death. Spinning wheels.

My oncologist phoned me first thing on Monday, so I wouldn’t have to make a trip to the cancer centre for our regular appointment on Friday. Basically, would I prefer to skip the next maintenance infusion to minimize my risk of exposure to COVID, or would I rather risk exposure to get the next boost so the cancer doesn’t have a chance to recover? I’m going to the hospital on Monday to get the boost - with a mask and lots of hand sanitizer.

Also, there’s a goddamned pandemic going on. And there’s an outbreak at the long term care facility my parents are at.

Every day feels like a week. Every week feels like a month. It’s been forever since this COVID stuff ramped up. I barely remember the before-time. I’ve got stress-brain - I forget the names of people I’ve worked with for months. I get confused about which meeting I’m in because they all blur together in my head. I’m dropping the ball. I’m dropping so many balls. It’s just not possible to do it all.

Each week, I think “well, next week it will start to calm back down again.” I said it again this week. I have no reason to believe things will calm down for some time. It’s going to be stressful and exhausting and constant feeling of not doing enough. I had a medical stress-related thing last night. It was an eye opener. This shit is not sustainable. It hasn’t been sustainable. It won’t be sustainable. It shouldn’t be. We’re all going to be paying down a cortisol debt for months to come.

But. Do more. Be more productive. Do it all.


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