Tag Archive for msc

Answers on a postcard to…

My college has been brilliant.  I’m studying part-time for an MSc and trying to catch up whilst trying to go back to work is a bit of a challenge.

The faculty I work with are being massively supportive, and pitching for some things to be made a bit easier for me to do that.  For example, in December I was supposed to submit two essays and sit an exam.  Yep, that was never going to happen!  Instead they pitched for one essay to be double weighted so the exam could be skipped and for both essays to get extensions, with one extension being later than the usual overdue allowance.

But we have one more obstacle.

A somewhat surprise exam popped up a few weeks ago which would throw out my carefully planned proposal to catch up in time to do the dissertation on time.  So we’re again going to pitch that they double weight an essay so that I can skip the exam.  And I had to write the proposal myself!!! Luckily I could include my current doctor’s note which, incidentally, says my workdays have to be limited to 8 hours. (Yes, I know that’s normally what people are contracted to do anyway: I think it’s a deliberate reminder to me and anyone else who’s involved that it’s not quite over yet.).

So what I keep saying is true.  The hardest thing about a stroke isn’t about having a stroke, it’s about all the things one missed and all the things one has to do next!

One of the things I included was a link to the statement below.  Those of you who actually know me may know a close relative had some serious problems with depression and I’ve always had a fear of it!   Thus I’m determined that this won’t be me.

So I give you the statement below and ask you to view it with a question in mind… why?  And why are younger stroke patients more likely to succumb?  Answers on a postcard to…

Do most stroke sufferers end up suffering depression? Approximately 50 percent will become depressed at some time during the first two years after the stroke. The majority of patients, approximately 40 percent, will develop depression within the first one to two months after the stroke. There is another number of 10 to 20 percent of patients who will develop depression at some later time during the first two years.


It’s nearly 11 December

Tomorrow lunchtime, because we’re getting half a day off, marks the end of the residential element of my MSc course.  It’s been two years in the making.  Over the course of 8 residential weeks I’ve learned a lot, enjoyed the idiosyncrasies of the unusual residential facility, made friends, and… other stuff that I’m not blogging about!  At the beginning of this, I think if you’d told most of us all the things that would happen over the next couple of years we’d not have believed it.  Particularly if you’d told me I’d end it by having a stroke 7 weeks before the final residential began.  For tomorrow doesn’t just mark the end of the final residential, it marks 2 months since the first infarction.  Remember that Kate?

This week has been interesting.  It’s been nice that some people – those not on my cohort – have not known that there’s anything out of the ordinary in play.  It’s been humbling to see how accommodating the usually strict facility has been, and how kind my friends are. I don’t think there has been a moment when a thought of, “hmmm, I think I might be knackered,” hasn’t been followed by Karen or Jim or Stephen saying, “how you doing,” or, “do you want a lift back up to the mess.”  It’s been a privelege and I shall miss my cohort.  Not that it’s over yet, as we have reunion lunches and dinners to organise, a vague plan to descend back here for a week in June when the cohort following us are back for a week so we can knock out some work and have some fun, oh… and dissertations to do…. and maybe a graduation… in 2012!

In terms of the after-stroke effects… Well I guess it’s the compound effect.  Day 1 was fine, Day 2 was fine… in fact most of it was fine, but I’d notice that my walking is compromised in the evening and by today, when faced with a final afternoon of working but – and this was the killer – on something that won’t be assessed, I could quite easily have cried.  But I didn’t and we did it and all we have to do tomorrow is deliver a presentation that is mostly written and then we are done.  The end of the residentials.  It’s slightly annoying that I have 2 essays to catch up on (in addition to the work given out this week, due in March) but thems the breaks.  Other people have to do whole modules so I guess I’m lucky… it’s just that having to catch up is not usually the way I roll.

There is one more thing I have noticed, and my friends may disagree with me.  For you I point out that the Leave Comment button is below…! I make reference above to being slightly annoyed.  There are other things that have happened this week or in the past few months that have been slightly annoying.  Except they haven’t been.  Not in the way I used to get annoyed or, perhaps more descriptively correct, irritated.  I know I’m not thrilled about something but it’s almost like I can’t be bothered to work up the energy for the emotion to be actually annoyed or overly bothered about it. There have been a couple of examples this week where my cohort has been bothered enough about an issue to do something about it: in the past I’d have sorted things like those out way before any of them would be annoyed enough to actually say something.  Even the issue about she-who-shall-not-be-named (type that into the search box if you have no idea what I’m on about) didn’t annoy or anger me, it was a different emotion altogether.  I’m not complaining, I don’t think. It’s quite nice not to get irritated.  But I wonder if it’s actually a useful emotion that I need restored. Or not.  Thoughts?!


Day 4: The Accumulation

Interestingly I’m in the classroom, but I’m sitting on the floor so I can quietly have my head up against the wall.  Four days accumulated.  I did think of taking the morning off, but this works. Luckily, those who are not on my cohort already think I’m a little bit of a rebel anyway (me??!!) and I’ve just chosen to be a bit different.  Still, when you compare week on week, each week is like a new era.  I remember saying to Dr D that I had no idea how it would go but I was scared of being lazy: how do you know when you’ve tipped from ‘can’t’ or ‘no point at the moment’ to ‘lazy’?  He said, essentially, go find out!

Though, given I’m writing this, I’m obviously not completely concentrating on what is being said from the front.  I’m not sure the some of the others are either though, so…

:-) :-) :-)


MSc Residential, Day 1

Well, I’m still alive, so it must be ok..!

Everyone here has been brilliant.  The staff said there are now two timetables for when work is required: the official timetable, and my timetable.  My timetable is utterly flexible.

As some of you know, I’ve been preparing to put off the dissertation element of my MSc until next year, thus completing the work and graduating a year later than my cohorts.  However, it seems there might be a way around this.  If they will really sign off on my late essays being delivered by March, and let me do the full dissertation proposal – which will likely be the basis of chapter 1 – by, say, June instead of March. If this is so then, possibly, instead of knocking it out by September as I had planned, I could then move to the more relaxed timetable of submitting in January 2012, or possibly February 2012.  Basically, it could work: I might be able to relax the timetable yet stay on track overall.  Interesting.  We are talking about it more tomorrow.

In terms of how I am?  Well, I am sitting in an armchair in the bar, tired but holding my own.  There were times this afternoon I could have happily curled up in a chair and had a snooze.  But I’m not sure I was the only one, so is that post-stroke-tiredness or post-lunch-slump?  Who knows.  Seriously?  By the end of the day I could tell my walking had deteriorated to the point it was at two or three weeks ago, though I don’t think anyone else would have particularly noticed.  I knew I needed to rest my head when I was standing still but, again, I’ve become rather adept at being able to do this without its necessity being apparent to anyone not aware of what’s going on.

So its an interesting time.  In some ways, everything is completely normal again; in others, it’s just a little bit different.  My brain still seems to work on an intellectual level (though the others may debate this!!!).  All I have to do then, is get through the next 6 days too!  Oh, and open and read 50 or so academic papers, and an academic book or 12 at some point in the next few weeks!  Which is funny, because I haven’t opened one yet… not even of fiction.  No… actually, that’s a lie: Suzannah left me two chick lit books in Hospital Number 3 and I made it to page 27 of one, but it took me a week and then I gave up on it.

I know there was some debate – some of it behind my back (in the nicest way) – about whether it was a good idea for me to be here this week.  But it is absolutely the right place to be right at this time.  And, well, I’d forgotten how living is so easy in the mess.  No travel, no bed making, no having to look after me whatsoever, and the most amazing hot showers on the planet (bar none), and friends and cohorts also in residence.  If one is going to try to get one’s brain working again, I thoroughly recommend this as a very decent place to give it a go.


Anyway… the bar is opening, my friend Aaron has bought me a drink, while Karen taps away finishing the presentation I’ve started for our group work. Supper will be served in the mess hall in an hour.  I hear that crumble and custard is the ‘hot pudding’ option tonight, and the cheese board is already in situ, coming up to room temperature, which is nice to know, even if I am avoiding it like the plague!

As I said, this is a good place to work the brain bit out.

image stolen from www.jksbar.com


[Edit, two hours later: Famous last words?!  My walking deteriorated by about 3 weeks from the moment I pressed send!  So it’s an extra early night tonight.  But still, I’m sure all will be restored by morning, and I think it’s worth it.]




Off to my residential….

I’m off to my residential MSc course in about 4 hours.

Before then i have to iron, pack, wave the guest off to the airport, and feed the parental unit (who’s driving me up) coffee.  i have to find the books for the coursework I haven’t done so I can renew them, and prep myself for a week away about which i’ve been in denial.

It will actually be easier on a practical level.  Someone else will make my bed (which sadly is not my bed), cook and clean.  I know I can walk around the site without an issue.  I am sure I can survive most, if not all, the day sitting upright, if I have a table in front of me (on which my hands can rest my head).  But i haven’t yet read a book – of any kind – or an academic paper.

This could be tricky.  And fun.  Or both. Or neither.  We shall see….


Can she do it? (Yes she… will find out!)

My life is about to begin again, and I’m looking forward to it.

This began on 11 October.  I left my office for 10 minutes and haven’t been back since.  I haven’t opened an MSc book. I haven’t done a normal ‘go out with my friends’.  I haven’t been any in busy/loud places for any longer than it takes to get out of them.  I haven’t been away (except to hospital).

In the course of the next two weeks, the following is happening.  On Tuesday a friend is coming to stay until Sunday; we will most definitely pace it, but we will not be housebound.  On Wednesday I’m going into work for the morning, to be present at an event that I usually mastermind but didn’t quite get to finish  before I disappeared for 10 minutes.   I’ve a plan for lunch at Borough Market on Friday.  And on Sunday, as my friend leaves, I am departing to do the final MSc residential week.

[click link to see image owner]

Have I mentioned I haven’t read a single book yet (neither non-fiction, nor any of the gorgeous books of stories stacked up in a lovely, chaotic pile of adventures)?  Yesterday, I pulled my MSc papers out.  Today I shall look for the sheets of paper with the essay questions on them.  Tomorrow I will pull old essays so I can draft a page for a group presentation we’re doing at the end of the week.  And I printed out lots of research papers for each essay before this happened; so I will aim to match the papers and books with the essay questions on Monday.  Somehow I don’t think I’m going to read anything much beyond that this weekend… but it’s a start.

I don’t know how this works, all the stuff that happens next, but I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ll blog more on this later, and may include some (anonymised) excepts of some things people said when I first said I was going to do the residential.  I don’t know how this plays out, but I have a feeling it’s all going to be fine.

I’m looking forward to Tuesday very much.  And then I’m looking forward to Wednesday.  And then… You get my point.

In other news, my friend Mark, who made so many posts earlier on (because he’s such a star at showing up at all the right times), fell over on a mountain the other day and banged his head.  The BBC even reported it: “During the operation a rescuer slipped and suffered a head injury.“!!!!! He escaped with concussion.  He assures me he’s home and he’s perfectly fine, bar the concussion… But I just wanted to publicly acknowledge, given our competitive natures, that he wins – hands down wins – on modes of emergency transport.  His helicopter airlift, during a storm that meant they could only touch down a the 4th hospital they tried, utterly trounces land based ambulances.  It’s just a shame your head hurt too much for you to enjoy it.  But I am glad you’re ok.  Thanks for not being too dramatic on that front.  Though I see you’re not listed yet?  Well hey ho… get listed and I’ll link straight to the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team donation button…!

To keep in touch with new journal entries:
I don't share email addresses - spam is evil!