I don't normally blog about my other life. It wouldn't be fair to my students, and it's far from the focus of my blog. But they weren't fair to me, and I can't focus on much anything else.
If you think it's bad to get nasty comments here, try getting them on course evaluations.
I've only alluded to this in earlier posts.
As you know, I didn't travel, in part because I couldn't at that time get the required shots due to immunosuppression. I accepted that fate and hope(d) to travel next time.
You'll need to remember that in a minute.
In January I became very sick very fast. An unexplained high fever brought me to the emergency room (never tell your kids "It's okay, I'll be right back" if you're not sure. I was gone for two weeks). My wbcs, rbcs and platelettes were falling, and no one could figure out why.
By the time the bone marrow biopsy results came back three days after I was admitted, we were sure the news would be an aggressive form of leukemia. So were my doctors. But it showed healthy baby blood cells, even if there weren't many.
The fevers continued. So did the falling counts. I kept an 8x10 of my kids taped to the wall, and I pointed them out to every nurse, doctor, medical student, and aide who came into my room. "Make me better for them," I said at times. At others I pleaded: "She's already lost one mother. Please don't let her lose another." And I obsessed about what it would mean for our attachment. She hadn't been cared for by anyone else for the first six months. I told her I'd be back, and I disappeared . .
The next day, a preliminary answer for part of the problem. Gigantic splenomegaly. If I'd been to Africa, the ID doc said, he would have thought malaria. But I hadn't gone, because I didn't want to get sick. He said I was lucky I hadn't gone then. I said I'd almost died in Bloomsburg, and I should be glad I missed the trip of a lifetime?!
But at least then we had a direction. The CMV PCR came back elevated. CMV isn't usually a problem for healthy people, but I got really unlucky, and it suppressed my bone marrow. A few days later, I had EBV mono too, probably because the CMV had caused immunosuppression significant enough to allow our old college friend to return (more likely than a primary infection in someone my age, though I'd never been noticeably sick with mono before). By that time I was neutropenic and had to be isolated, because of the perfect storm of viruses that don't do much to most people (and don't usually happen at the same time). I had a PIC line put in (far less painful than daily sticks, also allowing emergency access, but still no fun) and we waited it out. Eventually I was discharged with home fluids through the PIC, then readmitted, then discharged again.
For a total of four weeks, then, I was on leave from life and from work. I came back to both too soon, but I wanted to return to normal as soon as I could pretend to, and I wanted to return to my students. Throughout the time I was on homecare, I stayed in email contact with my students and their very able sub.
I considered starting a blog exclusively about mono. I wanted to call it monospot.blogspot. But then I realized that there isn't much to say about malaise.
So all this is to explain why I'm so frustrated by this: After the end of the term, I get this as a student evaluation: Instructor strength: Very pretty. Weakness: Took four weeks off. The former was only one student's opinion, but several mentioned the latter. And also "Takes [her subject] too seriously."