Mathochism: Sick days

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

Under the compass of Damocles It’s been a week since I updated Mathochism. I don’t usually go that long, but there’s a reason; I haven’t been feeling well.

All last week, I was exhausted and my muscles ached. I went to class, I tried to follow along, but it wasn’t easy. I did homework, and things that normally made sense felt very very difficult. This was not good, since we were scheduled to have a quiz on Thursday. Speed makes all the difference between passing and failing, so taking 20 minutes on one problem was simply not going to cut it.

I hoped against hope that I would feel better by quiz day, but when I awoke Thursday, it was 10 times worse. I’d sent an e-mail to a friend over breakfast, only to realize later that I had left out entire sentences. I stood by the shower for several minutes, getting more and more annoyed by the lack of heat and water pressure, when I realized I had never turned on the hot faucet.

After my shower, I felt worse. My face felt like it had been punched, and it hurt to wear glasses. My body felt pummeled.

I decided to stay home. I was in no state to try and learn. For that matter, I was in no state to drive myself to school.

I e-mailed the professor (reading it over several times before sending), telling her I realized I would miss the quiz, but that I hoped I could get a copy anyway on Monday to practice.

I spent the rest of the day feeling awful, and woke up a lot that night hurting. The next day, I felt well enough to haul on some sweatpants and go to the pharmacy. My husband and I had a special event planned that evening. We still went, but I was wiped out when we got home.

On Saturday, the facial pain went away, but sciatica set in. Over the past two days, I’ve been alternately icing and medicating it. Regular painkillers don’t work, so I’m taking the strong stuff. This leaves me woozy and messes with my innards in other not safe for blog ways.

So, Calculus has not been a priority. I tried to sit down with my textbooks at different times this weekend, but I was either too stoned from the meds or too uncomfortable from the pain.

Happily, I didn’t miss much lecture. Even more happily, my classmates have persuaded the Calc professor to give us the next test next Monday. I now have some serious studying to do. I need to wrap my brain around optimization and Newton’s equation. Optimization involves word problems, so that will be a challenge.

I’m still learning, and that feels like everything right now.

All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.

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