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 I'd given up programming years ago because I didn't like the Rapid Application Development tools that were available at the time. I know I don't have much artistic or graphic design skills, and this is where the apps were heading. This is no longer the case.  For the classes I'm currently taking, I'm running into some problems with computer math. This is not surprising. Math has never been one of my strongest academic areas, and I was always surprised by my ability to maintain a straight C average consistently in High School. However, getting the right answer -- while important to this class, isn't about what the class is about. It's about understanding how to get the right answer. Knowing how to get the right answer will always be more important for IT professionals than finding it. After all, it is finding the answer that IT professionals get paid for.

To get back to the point, I was having a hard time understanding how to convert decimal numbers into hexadecimal numbers. I thought the easiest way to do get the process down was to write a program that did this for me. I thought that since I enjoy using Pascal and I'm familiar with it that I'd download Lazarus, the open-source equivalent of Delphi, and come up with a graphical utility that does this for me.   I began writhing.

If you read either of the above paragraphs, you might be surprised that I did not actually write a program that did what I intended. The now-finished program converts a hexadecimal number into decimal, which is a far simpler task. During this time, I spent a great deal learning aspects of Pascal and Object Pascal that I had forgotten. The process of discovery excited me. Oddly enough, I don't feel this way about writing. My feelings about writing my come from simple burnout; I spent years doing content mill work to survive.  Content mill work doesn't pay well, isn't exciting, and you have to produce a lot of low-quality output to make a living.  There's also trying to please people who aren't always interested in ethically marketing their product.  

So, I think I've found a new hobby for a while. It's much more suited to my actual talents than cross-stitch, crochet, or doing silly things like building things out of PVC pipe.

Now, if I can just find a way to get the extremely spoon-draining classes that are designed to get students technical certificates out of the way. I went to bed around 8:30 last night and slept until 8:30 this morning. I'm still tired, even though my Synthroid kicked in shortl;y after I took it this morning.

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I wonder if going back to college at the rate I'm going isn't tilting at windmills. I'm not adverse to tilting at windmills.  It could be said I've spent a long time doing it, including the once held assumption that I could make a living as a writer. I have, of course, done that, but things were different when I managed to do that.  In the world of the Internet, things change rapidly.

Going back to college full time is a bit different than my attempts to do something extremely difficult in the past. This time I knew I might have problems with time and energy. I'm not surprised when I encountered them, but I'm having to wonder if continuing this pace for the next two years is a good idea. My body can't take standing for more than two hours, according to Indiana's disability determination board, and they're not known for being generous with their estimates. I know that sheer stubbornness will cause me to press on regardless. I've wanted to finish a college degree, even if it's just an associate's degree for sometime. 

There are things I've discovered since going back, including the rules of being female in any technology related endeavor.   I'm going to repost these here sometime, after fixing some formatting issues I have with them. I also have one teacher who seems to be stressing that any student with a disability can ask for accommodations in my presence. (Thanks. I got the message from you and all the other professors on the first day of class when they went over the syllabus.  If I know I'll need them, I'll ask for them.)

While all of this is interesting to me, it's probably not interesting to someone who is not going back to college in their late 30s. Instead, something else has been on my mind. I've been thinking about disability as an identity versus disability as a medical phenomenon.  I'm not sure where I stand on this. If someone called me a person with a disability or a disabled person, I'd probably me mildly surprised. I do not have a preference for either one. I might have a preference if it came to me earlier in life.  My surprise comes from still not thinking of myself that way. This does not mean that I fall into the only disability in life is a bad attitude camp. It means that I still suffer from internalized ableism most likely. This should not surprise me. Internalized transphobia still haunts me even after forty years.  The teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the attitudes of my father towards LGBT people explain the transphobia. I cannot explain the ableism quite so easily.


True, society does bombard us with messages that having a disability -- even a mild one -- is a disasterous occurrence. The only character on television who suffered from chronic pain was miserably misanthropic, even though he hated people long before he suffered the infarction that forced him to use a cane.  There are few other examples. When we do see people with a disability in the media, it's often about how they overcome their obstacles to achieve some incredible feat. In the past two years, I've learned that this is called inspiration porn.  As much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I still succumb to this way of thinking. It's deeply ingrained. It may not have the force of religion behind it, but it has decades of enforcement through media messages.

So, I'll probably not decide whether I follow the medical or sociological model of disability. It may be a while. The fight is a lot like the one i faced for being transgender. I knew I was transgender, but I also knew that voicing these opinions led to negative social consequences. At least with being transgender, I eventually managed to say, "This is making *me* miserable. It's time to screw society and do what I need to do."  The fact that it took 36 years says something about the anxieties I have over it.  At least I've come to the point where I've gotten used to some of the new normal.  There are some things I'm still dreading, but these are things that have not happened yet, and they may not happen at all.*



*I believe I'll soon have confirmation of having some form of dysautonomia, however, I know that I might be wrong. I also know that anxiety tends to amplify problems to be greater than they actually are. The fear I have over not being allowed to drive is an example of this, and it's something someone would have to be from a small town to understand.   Not being able to drive in a small town as an adult greatly curtails an individual's freedom.



 
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 I came down off of last week feeling slightly better. I was eager to start school and I had enough of resting and doing nothing for a long time. I’m also faced with a question regarding my LARPing activities, since they are not pressing the issue much, but I will get to that later. Right now, I’m just happy not to be sitting in the house and moping all day.

 

Almost all of my class materials have been bought, except for the one the teacher decided to spring on his students the first day. Even though there should be some sort of policy against this behavior, IvyTech does not seem to have one. Coming up with $48 for the code would not be slightly difficult under normal circumstances, but my circumstances are not normal. As I write this, I am sitting in the Wi-Fi study lounge, taking a quick break from doing some of the coursework. It’s been a busy week and I have a lot to cover. The book does not come with a code in the bookstore.

 

The first item is public transportation. I’m not overly impressed with Terre Haute’s bus system, but I am glad it is there. Bus trips take longer than car trips, but they must accommodate all the stops in between. I even managed to get to physical therapy yesterday without having to be driven there. (Note: The roommate isn’t letting me drive while the arm is healing; I decided not to drive at least until two days after the tilt table test. While I strongly suspect POTS* or some other form of Dysatonomia, I would like confirmation if possible. At least I know I’m not the first spoonie to be cheering for a medical test to come back positive. We know something is wrong; Our doctors think we’re nuts or doing it for attention. One thing that seems odd to have done at 39 is to set the alarm for 5 pm and miss the bus to get to classes. Fortunately, even though this event happened today, my roommate took me to class. I really wish I could do something to properly thank Cathy for all she’s done through this.

 

I think I’ve rediscovered my love of computers, programming them, working on them (somewhat – I’ve never been too thrilled with hardware issues. Some of these repairs require coordination.) I’m not sure that server administration is right for me and part of me really wants to switch to software development. My primary objection to coding so many years ago was the Visual suite of programming applications and look-alikes like Delphi. These programming environments have been replaced by programming for the web. I’m perfectly fine with doing that.

 

The first week is over. I’m a little nervous about whether or not I can keep down assignments. The idea some professors have of skipping the lectures and putting the information down as PowerPoint presentations bothers me, but I’ll get to this over the weekend. At least the school has provided lunch from a local barbecue place for the past few days. Eating it outdoors yesterday was a nice break.

 

As for the Mind’s Eye Society, I need to pay my dues, and I’m going to do that anyway. Now that I’m not mad, I can see where they are coming from. They wanted me to be in better control of my actions and emotions. I believe this attitude comes from the games itself where someone can spend willpower to temporarily override what the game calls derangements. Real life does not work this way. Suppressing something temporarily only causes it to pop up somewhere else later. If the Changeling storyteller hadn’t been the target that night, someone else would have been. Sadly, the only person who gets any of this is the person with Graves’ Disease who had his own melt downs about a year ago before taking medication to suppress his thyroid. I don’t know how many of them also have the attitude that people get better. No one has any idea that people with Hashimoto’s get put on an emotional rollercoaster, whether they want to be or not. I think they’re getting that idea now.

 

Before I ramble too much, the issue is this. I can come back. These meltdowns are going to happen continuously until my immune system kills off my thyroid. (I hope it doesn’t go searching for something else to attack after it’s done, but I’ve only seen a suggestion that it automatically happens on extremely pseudo-scientific websites.) If I am concerned about not hurting people over this, the best thing to do is quit. It is no different than a baseball pitcher who has to give up his career after a rotator cuff injury. I may have no choice but to be on an emotional rollercoaster, but I don’t want to take everyone around me with me. I’m not even paralyzed by anxiety over this; I simply don’t want to do it. No matter how many times I tell myself it’s the right course of action, I just can’t bring myself to believe it emotionally.

I have not asked for accommodations, but it does not seem like I'll need the school to do anything so far.
 

 

*It may be okay to just say I have it in casual conversation. The same might be true for EDS. It’s just telling doctors what I have should be avoided unless it’s already been documented or they need to know. That makes them suspicious. At least I have confirmed Hashimoto’s Disase.

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sinisterporpoise

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