16 March 2010

Breathing again

Sorry I've been so quiet lately.

Last week, JUST as I was getting my essay wrapped up I called the admissions people just to make sure I would be DONE. Nope. They also needed a writing sample. WHAT? Yeah, a writing sample. Anything that was 5-30 pages would do. It could be anything that had been submitted while I did my Master's work. Okaaaaay. Deep breath.

I decided to just turn in my thesis. Then I decided on a paper I'd turned in for Dennis because I remembered that I had a paper he said he was going to keep as a sample of how to do that assignment. Then I dug it out and realised that the reason he said that was because I'd done the final exam as an outline and he thought it was creative and original and I'd thought outside the box. And if one didn't have the final exam question, the outline really made NO sense. Then I found another paper in the file I'd kept because he'd really liked it. So I decided to use that. Except it was too short. So I decided to turn it into a longer paper.

Then I went out with my friend Rachel to celebrate her birthday. And I caught her up on the Application Debacle. At this point, it's Thursday evening, and the application is due Monday morning. She felt that I should NOT turn in the Dennis paper and that I should turn in my thesis. She was pretty convincing. So I went home, called Mom, discussed it with her (for the THIRD time), woke up on Friday, and sent in my thesis.


In the meantime, I've had two doctor appointments and both of my cats have had doctor appointments. They no longer think that I have early onset osteoarthritis of my pelvic joint; the new theory is that I somehow managed to tear my hip labrum (the cartilage on the socket part of the ball-and-socket of the hip joint).

My new PCP (who isn't really all that new since she filled in when my former PCP was sick or on maternity leave or otherwise unavailable) saw me for the first time and we had a great visit. I caught her up on my endo and GI appointments from last month, and the 6-day migraine I had a few weeks ago. She's referred me to someone for that since my former neurologist retired and I haven't found someone since who I like as much as that guy. The nurse practitioner I saw last time wanted me to schedule a physical, but the PCP said she doesn't think it's necessary since her plan is to see me every 3-4 months anyway, and she'll continue to coordinate my specialists, just as Mira did. And my next visit, we get to talk about My First Mammogram. Even though I'm young, since I also don't know my family medical history, she wants me to think about it.

As for the boys... Felix is healthy and Dr. Kurpel was impressed with how healthy his teeth are. We talked a lot about his increasingly aggressive behaviour (both toward me and Ocs), and she was really helpful and understanding, and she gave me a lot of tips on how to deal with him. As for Ocs, his thyroid levels are looking great and we've adjusted his meds slightly. But his new labs showed that he's slightly anemic, which his last month's labs didn't show, so we now need to keep an eye on that, too.

I also talked to Dr. Kurpel about how difficult it is to pill Ocs and how he hates Greenies Pill Pockets, and it doesn't help that I have NO idea what table foods he likes since I don't give them table food. I did figure out that he likes Velveeta, but that wore off in two weeks. Now I'm getting away with dipping the Velveeta in his canned food gravy first, but I can tell the novelty of that is wearing thin, too. So I asked her (pre-emptively) what to try next (cause I bought some hot dogs and he was NOT interested in those). She suggested trying beef or chicken baby food and grinding the pills in that, so we'll be trying that next. Pilling twice a day is getting to be not so much with the fun. Wish us luck!

05 March 2010

I Should Be Writing...

but I need to vent.

I tendered my re-write to my friend Kristi last night. I told her that it wasn't COMPLETE, but I wanted to get her thoughts on it before I went completely down one road, only to find out that it was the wrong damn road. About half an hour later, she emailed me back, said my rewrite was much improved, made some suggestions, and had made a few edits.

I made supper, watched some television, and then I sat down to work again. Of the four things Kristi wanted me to work on, I worked on two of them. At 3:00 a.m., I finally called it quits, decided to sleep on the other two and finish them this morning. I figured I could do them today, she could review it today, we could polish over the weekend, and I could send everything in on Monday. Done!

So, right before I went to bed, I looked up the application checklist. And I discovered that the essay question has been changed from when the chair of the programme emailed it to me on 03 November. So... that's exciting. I had a dream about it this morning. In my dream, I went to the school to talk to the chair about it. But I ran into one of the deans instead. And she asked me about the Olympics. And I ranted about Team ROK getting screwed by the judges in speed skating.

Anyway, first thing this morning, I drafted an email to the chair, and then I called Kristi to read her the email. I wanted to make sure it didn't sound hostile or whiny. Basically, I'm just stating that I've nearly finished the answer to the essay question she emailed me, but just last night discovered the new question. So do I need to reposition the essay to fit the new question. I got an immediate response: She'll be out of the office until next Tuesday.

So Kristi said I just need to suck it up and start re-writing. We worked on an outline, and she gave me a deadline of Sunday to get her a good draft. We have a goal of getting this in the mail by Tuesday.

I'll start working when I finish crying. Mostly it's just sheer exhaustion at this point. I asked Kristi if getting the actual doctorate is this difficult every day (yes, I know it's difficult overall - duh), and she said it's different because if you miss on a paper, it's not as if they won't let you back into class the next day. This is to get in; thus, more pressure. Right.

UPDATE: I just received an email back from the chair. "The website is wrong. Please use the question I sent you."

I need a drink.

03 March 2010

Ball o' Stress

Woke up this morning to a strange sound. Turned out that my ceiling was leaking. And Felix was freaking out that water was coming out of the hallway (of course, as I told Cristi, this is the same cat who freaks out about his tail occasionally).

Called the maintenance guy. Haven't heard back yet.

Then, on some random whim, I decided to check on something on my doctoral application. Apparently, at some point in time, the school changed the application deadline from 15 April to 15 March. Did they decide to let us poor applicants know this? No. So those of us with partial application packets are now scrambling. And, of course, I'm one of them.

What does this mean for me? Well, I called the Admissions Office to find out.

After being told that they're experiencing a high volume of calls and that my wait might exceed three minutes, then waiting ten minutes, then being told I could leave a message, I hung up and called back later and got through to someone. He told me that they had only received one of my three letters of recommendation (and told me which one they'd received). But they did have all of my transcripts. They still need my portfolio and my essay.

But I had been planning on re-taking the GRE in about two weeks (Ria can tell you that I've been copiously studying for it lately), and I was actually going to pay for it this Friday with my last severance cheque! Good thing I found out today that I needn't do that! See, even if I took it TOMORROW, the scores wouldn't get to Drexel in time for it to count by the deadline. My current scores are fine, but I'm confident that I could have improved at least the quantitative portion.

As for the essay, I've been working on it for the past couple of weeks, with the idea that I could work on it, let it marinate, have my proofreaders have a go at it, rework it, set it aside, revisit it, lather, rinse, repeat until I was satisfied with the final product. Instead, now I'll have to eat, drink, breathe this until I'm sick of it. I don't have the luxury of setting it aside and knitting on some thoughts and letting things marinate for awhile.

As for my letter writers, I was able to successfully contact both of them today. One of them said he SWORE he sent it in December, but he'd send it again today. The other said he was aware he hadn't sent it yet, but he promised he would on Tuesday. I trust him. He's the Wonder Dennis who some of you might remember from my Master's days.

Speaking of, he's currently getting me through today. I didn't think anyone could make me laugh today, but he did. Here's the email exchange that just took place:

From me to Dennis:

Thank you very much. I remain very appreciative of all that you do for me.

This deadline change threw me for a loop. I had been planning on re-taking the GRE in two weeks, but I guess I won't be doing that now. I was actually going to pay for it this Friday! I'm polishing my essay now; I just got some notes back from my friend Kristi (you met her at my defense). She also sent me a Paul Farmer article to read to enhance my rewrite. She's funny; this is why I like her. Sorry for the babbling; I'm stressed.

Thanks again,
From Dennis to me:

well, calm down.
From me to Dennis:

Roger that.

Thanks :)