That's how long I've been home - almost a week. It's great to be back, and that first breath of fresh air as I left the hospital was so exhilarating. Wonderful.
It's been a strange old time since I got home. A bit of a mix of doing very little and being incredibly busy. The busy bits have mainly been passive busyness - paperwork. Lots of OU paperwork - application for financial assistance for my final course with them (to begin in September) for my undergraduate degree; gathering and sending medical evidence to accompany my extenuating circumstances form for the ECA (short dissertation-type thing) for the course I've just done; final bits of form-filling for my application for Disabled Students Allowance (yes, I'm only just getting round to this now after all these years); and writing a regrettable letter of complaint to the OU about the way in which my request for an extension for my recent course's ECA was dealt with, and the situation it put me in. The OU are usually brilliant in supporting students with disabilities and/or health problems, but in this instance they severely let me down, and their previous record of excellence makes there response this time almost worse. Anyway, it's been a difficult decision to make - to complain - and a difficult letter to write, but it is written and has been sent so now all I can do is wait and see what response I get. I don't want anything for myself, other than an apology, but I think some of their policies need re-evaluating and changing, and that's what I've asked for in my letter. Anyway, I probably ought not to say too much about it until it's been dealt with.
The other thing I've done is finally submit my application for the Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing at Newcastle University to start in September. It's been on my to-do list since I had that meeting with the prof at the university in April, but I was rather busy with my OU course and needed to put all my energy and brain power into that. Since my meeting with the prof I've been umming and ahhing about what I needed to write in my personal statement on my application form, because it's a heck of a long time since I've had to sell myself on paper like that and I wasn't sure what to write, but I managed to write it a day or two before I left hospital. The application itself was an online one and not being the most computer-literate person in the world it took me a while to work out all that was necessary to get the page to work and then how to fill in all the bits of the form as it wasn't completely straight forward. I did it though, and by Sunday night my application was winging its way to Newcastle University. Now begins the wait.
Yesterday I had a meeting at the Open University Regional Centre. The OU has its own students association (OUSA), which has regional groups in addition to the online OUSA groups. OUSA in the North has been dormant for a long while, but now there are a couple of us who have decided that we'd like to regenerate it, and this coincided with the North Regional Committee meeting, which is a collaborative meeting between Regional Centre staff, Staff Tutors, Associate Lecturers, the Regional Director, and Students/OUSA representatives. There haven't been any students at recent NRC meetings simply because there hasn't been an active OUSA group in the region, but as students interested in regenerating OUSA in the North, C and I were invited to attend the NRC. It was interesting stuff and interesting to get a little more insight into the running of the OU and the 'hot topics'. I'm slightly disappointed that I've only got involved now as I only have one year left with the OU, but it'll be good to be active and involved while I can, and maybe give students in the North a bit more of a voice. I was knacked after the meeting, but good knacked. Knacked from having done something. Knacked with a kind of invigoration. Stimulation.
And today I've been exhausted and have done very little indeed, which is exactly what I've needed to do. This evening I was going to go to a poetry reading by Paul Durcan but the friend I'd been going to go with isn't too well so couldn't make it. To be honest, I'm glad she's taking care of herself, rather than pushing herself to do too much and ending up more exhausted and ill. We'll meet up another time, and there'll be other events to go to together.
The only thing I have planned for tomorrow is a hospital appointment :o( It's with an ENT consultant. Not that there's anything wrong with my ears, nose, and throat. No, it's to see if they can do anything to help with my chronic dizziness and imbalance. Although it's caused by the POTS and there's nothing ENT can do for that, they have a lot of experience in dealing with dizziness and imbalance, so my GP thought they'd be the people to refer me to for advice if nothing else. It'll be great if they can do something, though I don't know what that something might be, but I'll let you know if they come up with anything.
So there ya go - almost a week. Lots of bits and lots of nothing. Next week is looking busier, but with lots of good things. Stimulated, active, happy exhaustion here I come.