Monthly Archives: July 2010

RA Diaries: Bedside manners

I’ve been dealing with more doctors than usual lately. This isn’t out of choice, but necessity; there’s a major joint replacement in my future. I’m really not thrilled about this, but have accepted it. It seems you can’t really expect to have RA for 30-plus years without parts wearing out, and my number is up.


The toughest part — well, apart from accepting the fact that major surgery and recovery is going to be disrupting my life and finances for a while — has been picking the right doctor to do it. Now, my rheumatologist recommended a couple of names, and, since I’ve had this doctor for many years, and like and trust this doctor, I felt compelled to consult these guys.

The thing is, though, that my doctor, and these surgeons, are not in my city, but in a city 30 miles from my current home, a city I lived in and worked in for quite a few years. But this is Southern California, and here a 60-mile round trip is not considered a big deal. Still, getting stuck on the freeway with a healing joint is not my idea of fun, and any follow-up visits or rehab would eat up the entire day.
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Mathochism: An unexpected response

One woman’s attempt to revisit the math that plagued her in school. But can determination make up for 25 years of math neglect?

It’s been a few days since I sent the Algebra II evaluation to the Brofessor, and frankly, I doubt I’ll hear back from him. I suppose I might, but a cursory glance at comments on show me that many of his most annoying mannerisms — such as the constant digressions — go back as far as 2003. Seven years of such behavior is not an anomaly but a pattern. Patterns are hard to break, especially if the person who’s fallen into them doesn’t recognize the problem.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I got an e-mail last night from the Chair of the math department. Well, to be fair, maybe it’s not such a surprise. The college has a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence, and has a high transfer rate to prestigious four-year universities. Besides that, of the six classes I’ve taken there so far, this was the first dud. I picked far fewer winners in the last election!

But back to the Chair’s e-mail. Out of respect for this person’s privacy, I will not reproduce it here. But to summarize, the Chair was sorry I had had such a bad experience. The Chair also assured me steps would be taken to tackle the Brofessor, the main one being sending someone in to observe him next semester.
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Mathochism: Brovaluation time

One woman’s attempt to revisit the math that plagued her in school. But can determination make up for 25 years of math neglect?

Between going on vacation and other issues, it took a lot longer than I expected to get an evaluation to the Brofessor. But I finally wrote it, and sent it, and, in a fit of evil, blind-copied the department chair. I do wonder if he is going to answer.

Dear {Name Redacted},
I didn’t get a chance to fill out the evaluation sheet you attached to the final on June 9, so I thought I would e-mail you my feedback now.
Before I begin, let me give you a better idea of why I took your class in the first place. I’m a journalist, and have been writing for various Southern California newspapers for the last 15 years. I have a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s from the University of Southern California.

Two years ago, I left a longtime staff position at the Press-Telegram in Long Beach to write a book and freelance. Last year, I decided to improve my web programming skills, and enrolled in computer classes at {college name redacted}.

While I was looking through the course catalogue, I saw that the math department offered high school level math classes. I have been a math phobe since junior high school, not only hating math but also fearing it. My math phobia has not affected my journalism career, but it killed any early dreams I had of becoming a scientist.
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