On the crazy pills

A few days before we left for last week’s Pittsburgh trip, when I was feeling totally overwhelmed with home and Mommy and wife-y duties and starting to beat myself up about ‘what is the next step with this dissertation…. hmmmmm??‘, I decided to join NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  This is an agreement to blog each day for the whole month of November.  I rationalized that I could publicly track my progress daily.  Either it would be a motivation for me to do better each day (sort of the ‘Weight Watchers’ idea of accountability), or, be so publicly humiliating that I am shamed into progress in December**.

I look back at this and think, “WOW. I thought all of that and I wasn’t even on the crazy pills yet!”

Part of the treatment for my bronchitis/cold/can’t breathe mess is a short course of steroids (“I want to pump… you up!”)  Thankfully, this is a quick in-and-out treatment where you start to taper at the first dose, not the several month taper I endured for almost half a year in 2001.  If you knew me during that time, you remember that I was one big hunk of crazy on steroids.  Couldn’t sit still, couldn’t listen, couldn’t sleep, always hungry, and way emotionally raw… in short, completely manic.  That is pretty much how I feel now.

I’m not sure what I can get done, if anything, until I’m tapered off these drugs and better recovered.  But what I can do is make some plans.  This is what I want for the month of November.  Here are my goals:

— To review the transcripts

— Translate relevant parts

— Decide if more interviews need to be done

— Complete any additional interviews (okay, this one involves many forces outside my control, but there it is)

— Send them to Angela and Monica (in Peru) for transcription

— Announce that I am done with interviews, and BE DONE WITH THEM.   (This could be the hardest step of all!)

There is one potentially fatal flaw in the plan, and that is I did not include a ‘meet with committee for input’ part.  This is somewhat strategic… getting feedback from a committee member is a hopeless process that takes months, is wrought with conflicting information, and typically leaves me feeling lost.  In other words, I could do all of this work and then have it all shot down.  But I’m going for the ‘forgiveness not permission’ route here.  And hoping that what I do have is strong enough to build on.

So that’s my goal.  The second goal is to post progress here.  Just how much work can one woman complete on her dissertation in the midst of illness, election day school closures, home renovations, a husband who works three jobs, her Schweitzer Fellowship retreat and project obligations, school committee meetings, Board responsibilities, her first child’s 5th birthday, Thanksgiving holiday, and general holiday preparation?

May the force be with me.

** Hey… I was not the only one to feel this way!


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But…. some good news!!!!

IRB responded!!

My research went through full board approval — and no big changes required! NO changes to protocol, questionnaire, or outreach materials. I have to make 6 minor changes to my consent form and turn in the final consent for final approval. The changes include changing “subject” to “participant” on one line and adding a running title to the header on each page. The other changes involve phrasing/wording, which is a little funny to me since, most likely, the consent will rarely (if ever) be given in English. But this is NOT a complaint… I’m very excited!

… and a bit freaked out because now I actually have to officially hire staff and start doing summa’ that primary investigator stuff!


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