Following up on my last post, I think maybe the strategy of putting all of my eggs in one basket, mono-tasking, didn't work. I figured this out while I was sitting in the emergency ward.
I had just returned from some meetings in Victoria with this project I am working on called Landscapes of Injustice. I was upstairs on the laptop sending off some reflections of the meetings in an email, and I noticed that my hands were feeling a little tingly and numb, like they were going to sleep. I thought the cuffs of my sweater were maybe cutting off the circulation to my hands, so I pulled the cuffs down and finished the email. I went downstairs and was lying on the couch watching TV, but when I got up to get a snack, I was a little wobbly, like my feet were going to sleep. I was trying to tell my wife about the sensation, but my tongue was all numb, like it was going to sleep.
Without going into all of the drama, that was probably for nought, I went to Emergency, had a few tests done, and ruled out stroke and tumours. Originally, I self-diagnosed it was a stroke (which was incorrect because my symptoms happened symmetrically on both sides of my body), and I further diagnosed it was due to overwork (also incorrect, according to the neurologist later). While I was sitting in Emergency, I was going through how many side projects I was involved in outside of my normal classroom work. On a good year, it is one or two, but I stopped counting my side projects when I got to 11 and the meeting I had that day bumped me up to 12.
I stayed home from work the next day. My symptoms went away before I left the hospital, but staying home allowed me to get caught up with my sleep. I also sent some emails to withdraw from some of these side projects. Some were interesting and I had some regret in stepping down. I still hung on to a few pet projects because they were fun, intriguing, sporadically timed or not too taxing.
So as much as I tried to group all of these projects together to make them manageable, something in my body told me to slow down. It was funny though. I was very busy, but did not feel stressed, and the neurologist did not correlate this level of activity with my symptoms. But I still took it as a sign that maybe I was spreading myself a little thin.
It was a good way to end the school year: take stock, prioritize, and ride back and forth on the new SkyTrain line to the hospital.