I started school two days ago, on the Tuesday of this week. That was a challenge because I am in the middle of a serious RSD wave. I spent the first school evening--and I had two classes, so I was in school for about five hours--at a seven, maybe an eight, out of ten on a pain scale. That is hard to do gracefully.
And yet, I think I managed very well. I talked about my pain when it was necessary to explain something, going with the plan that if I was confident and OK with my situation, other people would be, too. Obviously, that doesn't work in a professional setting--when doing fieldwork or student teaching I intend to hide this completely--but in the classroom it is different. Besides, once I can't take notes on my own, or do stairs, this is pretty obvious.
I had an interesting moment when I was talking with the young woman who signed up to be my note taker for my first Tuesday class, Language and Literacy. (The Office of AccessABILITY--yes, it is really capitalized like that--found me a professional note taker for my other two classes, but we had to go with plan B for that third one.) We were getting to know each other in the way students do, and she asked if I was a full time student (a fairly typical question). I answered honestly, that no, I wasn't. She asked what I did with the rest of my time (also a fairly typical question). I thought about various ways I could answer, but I felt like just being honest again. So I said "The rest of the time I be disabled; being disabled takes up a lot of time."
Finally, I am so proud of my homework strategy, so I need to put that in here, too. It is so simple, but for someone in pain, it works. The strategy is start in the morning as soon as I finish my morning routine (eye exercises, medication, PT, clothes, organize/straighten up room, Judaica, breakfast somewhere in there) and just plow through until the work is done. However bad I'm feeling physically w hen I get done dictates what I do with the rest of my time until I go to school again. Yesterday, that meant I read for five hours straight, and then had the rest of the day yesterday and most of today free. It won't always be that easy--I can look ahead at each syllabus and see that even starting next week it will be tougher--but for now I am enjoying the down time.
So I can do this, I really can. I can handle school, and growing, and learning, no matter how much pain I am in. I think that's pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.