Ph.Ds Can Seriously Damage Your Health!

So this has languished for a week. But not without reason.

It appears that this Ph.D is seriously bad for my health. Since I have started I have been back and fore to the doctor with numerous ailments, stress related disorders and health complaints. I seem much more prone to chest infections, stomach complaints and viruses than at any other time in my life. Stress obviously is a big factor in these matters – and that can be hard to prescribe for.  Since starting my academic journey I have been hospitalised 3 times, operated on once (with another in the offing) scanned innumerable times, been prescribed antibiotics more times than I can count and been plastered (and not in a good way) once. Impressive track record eh! That’s not to mention the recurring incidences of tennis elbow caused by typing for many hours on end and the terrible weight gain, caused by comfort eating (caused by deadlines)  and prolonged periods of sitting and being unable to find time to exercise.

The latest in this long line of maladies, and the reason for my non appearance last week (no doubt my two followers and my random commenter* were distraught) was a sudden excursion, in the middle of the night, to the local A&E department with what has since been described as Biliary Colic. It was rather painful and extremely sudden and resulted in hospitalisation for 3 days after which I made a break for it.

Things ain't what they used to be in the pre MRSA days!

And my primary thought whilst I was lying in my sick bed was … yes you’ve guessed it, “shit I am losing time on my PhD”. Have you ever tried working on a hospital ward? (and I don’t mean as a nurse!) It is impossible. Even reading the kind of trite drivel you can buy from the magazine stand becomes a feat of determination. I am beginning to feel like a walking (or in the case of the broken leg last January ‘sitting’) disaster area when it comes to health matters. I am not denying that my age is also probably a factor – fingers crossed I submit before I succumb to the dreaded menopause!

I did dread telling my supervisor that ‘yet again’ I had been ill and that my work was ‘yet again’ liable to be slightly delayed. Luckily she was pretty supportive and understanding. It is far better to have these things ‘on the record’ in case at some future date questions are asked such as:  ‘So Ms Pimpernel, why has it taken you twenty years to complete your Ph.D?’ 

The irony in all this is I have been advised to follow a very low fat diet – which is what I have been doing since August! Having talked to fellow sufferers it appears that one of the triggers for biliary colic is weight loss – go figure! Does this mean the more weight I lose (surely a good thing) the increased risk I have of biliary colic attacks (a VERY BAD thing)? 

So you see, dear reader (for by now I have surely lost half my audience of two), I send out this warning to anyone thinking about embarking on a prolonged course of advanced study – Ph.Ds can seriously damage your health