This year, I told myself, I’m going to be productive. I can’t control my health, but I can get ahead with my work, and then when I inevitably have a health crisis in the middle of the term, it isn’t so bad.
Two essays due for early next/this week? Not a problem. I can do that.
And on Friday and Saturday, I did. I was woken at eight by a fire alarm, so I got straight on with the day: baked flapjacks, did laundry, dismantled a plug to borrow the fuse for my printer only to find it was the wrong fuse, reassembled the plug, nicked a fuse from a different plug, replaced the inks in the printer, took my bins out, washed up, and was generally a functioning human being. In the evening, I went to the library and did some work, before going to bed shortly after midnight which, for me, is a completely reasonable time.
On Saturday morning I woke up and went to the University Library to get some books before settling down to work. I had a decently productive morning and in the early afternoon, wrote the majority of my essay before heading out to audition for the Gilbert and Sullivan society’s production of Pirates of Penzance. Once I got back from that it was a while before I felt productive again, but I did at least finish the essay before I went to bed.
And then Sunday happened.
I woke up at about 1pm, which isn’t unusual for me, although I was sure I’d set an alarm. It took me until 2pm to drag myself out of bed, and I didn’t stay out of it for long. I had one of those horrible pressure headaches where I generally felt dizzy, I was nauseous and every time I ate I felt sure I was going to throw up, the sore throat that had been lurking for a few days finally came out in force… and it was miserable.
I thought as a second year I was meant to be immune to Freshers Flu, but it turns out that I’m not. While I haven’t yet thrown up like I did when I got it last year, I’m still feeling horrendous. I slept through most of Sunday, which of course meant I was awake all night — I think I eventually went to bed at quarter past five in the morning, not a time I ever want to see again from this side or the other. I’m pretty sure I’ve irreversibly screwed up my body clock, bringing new meaning to my oft-repeated claim that I’m nocturnal.
Needless to say, the second of those two essays is still very much in the theoretical stages. I’ve read the text it’s based on, but that’s about all I can say. I haven’t read anything else on the reading list and have no clue which of the questions I’ll answer because I don’t have any ideas for any of them.
I don’t have a due date for it yet — I’m meant to talk to my supervisor at my lecture this afternoon to discuss it — but my plan had been to get as much of it done as possible before that meeting so that I could be flexible with whatever he suggested. That clearly isn’t going to happen. My plan to have two essays done and out of the way within eight or nine days of being back in Cambridge has failed.
I guess I always knew I couldn’t control my health, but I thought it wouldn’t kick in quite this fast.
At the same time, I’ve already won. I got that other essay done, even though it isn’t due until today. It was finished on Saturday, footnotes and all. I was productive and focused, both in terms of work and in terms of domestic chores. I fixed my printer. I discovered I quite enjoy DIY. I baked flapjacks.
I can’t be productive every day. Sometimes, I need to stay in bed all day, reflecting on the unfairness of flu and watching a few old episodes of Brooklyn 99 on Netflix to cheer me up. Sometimes, those essays won’t get written. The important part is making sure on the other days, I do get them wrong, so that it doesn’t matter so much and I don’t fall behind.
Hopefully, having flu this early in term mean it’ll pass quickly and be over and done with, rather than coming back to bite me when I actually have important deadlines. At least it came at a time when I have lots of tea, soothers, painkillers and food stocked up. You win some, and you lose some.
Okay, so my mood wasn’t improved by suddenly realising (at around 4am) that I never fixed a plothole in The Knight Shift and then being even less sleepy because I was trying to figure out a possible resolution, but that happens whether or not I’m ill.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to bed so that I have a chance of eventually reading all the library books I have out at the moment and maybe making it to that lecture this afternoon.