Posts

Showing posts from August, 2011

Horror

A recently tenured young professor at my university (not in the school of public health, but in a closely related area) was stabbed to death by her boyfriend this week. News reports indicate that she had confided to her friends that she was "worried" about him. In this state (or perhaps county, I'm not quite sure of the level of the regulation), you cannot get a restraining order unless there's been a previous incident...well, it's easy to see that sometimes, like in this case, you can be killed in that first incident. This state constantly ranks in the top 10 for most  murders of women.

What will it take for this to change? It's a widespread, heartbreaking problem. I have ached as my former students have told me about the violence and abuse they've experienced from their former partners. These young women inspire me in so many ways- as African-American women, as single parents, in having the courage to leave violent relationships and fight for their educ…

Admittedly....

it's a little scary. What started out as a normal visit at student health turned into a referral to a gastroenterologist, and perhaps a cardiologist, depending on how the nurse practitioner feels at my next followup visit. 3 appointments later, and all I know is that no one knows what's wrong with me. It's been a week of tests, and there are more to come. That first visit at student health I weighed in at under 110 lbs, for the first time since 8th or 9th grade. I've been sick for a long time, and it's probably been a month since I've slept through the night. I want to be well, but the simple approach of "rest, and let my body fight off whatever this is" is obviously not going to work.  And, y'know, when a doctor says that what I thought was just me aggravating a high school injury looks like rheumatoid arthritis to him, well, that's scary too. Particularly when he follows that statement up with a barrage of tests he wants run, including one t…

Sickness

This is my momentary pity party.  I'm presently facing a rather unpleasant health challenge which has culminated in: two trips to student health this week, a round of antibiotics, 4 separate bloodwork orders (3 trips to the lab), and a trip to a specialist, who tentatively scheduled me for a colonoscopy next week (about 20 years early). I'm exhausted. I have 100s of pages to read, writing assignments to complete, and students to find service learning placements for.  It feels completely unfair to get hit with this at the start of a demanding program, when I need to be building momentum and making progress (and getting things out of the way before the semester becomes completely unmanageable).

If you know me in real life- please keep this bit of information to yourself. I've shared it with exactly: 2 classmates/colleagues, 1 friend, and 1 family member (in addition to my husband). I'm trying to not turn into "the sick girl," especially when new doctoral studen…

decisions

In January of 2009 I moved here and enrolled in an MPH program, in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior. I didn't really have a clue what I was doing, except that I had to do something, and it had something to do with this. I was scared, unfunded, gutsy, terrified. Social science wasn't an easy transition. It's fascinating, and I love it now, and I think "heath decisionmaking" will ultimately be the one overarching theme through my body of work. But at the beginning....I would have told you there was no objective way to measure things like that, and people who thought they could describe/influence those processes were crazy and arrogant. I vaguely remember saying that "qualitative research" was an oxymoron - that qualitative work was the necessary, preliminary work people did as a precursor to real research, which is controlled and experimental. When I started, I didn't know what would happen, how long I'd stay, what degree I'd get (MPH,…

Irony

I'm in the kitchen, spreading basil from the pots on the front porch onto paper towels to dry in the oven (my hope is that by starting to harvest + dry basil early, I'll encourage the plants to produce more, and there will be enough to share with my husband's mother and grandmother) and hovering over the washing machine, to dump vinegar (fabric softener) in as soon as it hits the rinse cycle, while my husband is assembling the particle board "organizers" we picked up at Target. After perusing thrift stores in the area, it became clear that our graduate student income wouldn't stretch far enough for secondhand furniture.

We do our best- cloth napkins and cleaning with vinegar and baking soda. I've successfully grown a couple herbs for cooking, and removed pretty much all phosphates and sulfates  from my daily hygiene routines. We don't cook with meat- not so much because I don't believe in eating it (though I do believe everyone should incorporate …