Thursday, February 7, 2013

Myositis, Bureaucracies, Professors Who Derive Pleasure in Complicating Students' Lives, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Bowels of the University Administration

Thus far, all available lab reports indicate benign acute myositis rather than infectious myositis. This is is a major relief. The downside of it all is that I have one of the more pervasive cases of benign acute myositis that most of the doctors checking out either me or my lab reports has seen. They're concerned enough that they're re-running the tests, but I'm not particularly worried, nor is my dad, Myositis is not necessarily within the scope of my father's area of  expertise, but staring through the lens of a microscope is, and he's probably as good as anyone else at differentiating between one abnormal blood cell and another blood cell that is abnormal but in a different way. in defense of my dad, as much as I sometimes complain about my dad, in his defense I must say that he's done enough reading and speaking with experts concerning any injury, illness, or other anomaly that has come my way that he qualifies as something of a de facto expert of any condition or anomaly concerning my health that I probably would be six feet under or reduced to ashes were it not for his expertise concerning me.  He's confident that my aches and pains are of the benign variety, and I'm inclined to agree. Most of the other doctors seem to be increasingly leaning in that direction, although one of them did order a new battery of test, , which involved depleting me even further of my rapidly dwindling blood supply.

What it's all looking like is that I'll be virtually incarcerated (albeit in a really comfortable, almost luxurious room) for a period of closer to three weeks than the seven days  originally predicted. As far as most of my classes are concerned, this poses no problem, as all professors have agreed to allow me to skype, and all work of significance has been completed,  anyway.

The outcome of my gymnastics and tumbling courses is in greater doubt. In theory, the courses are  attendance-  and participation-based.  How well a person does when he or she is in class is of far less significance than whether or not he or she is physically present. One of my doctors is involved in negotiations with my professor. Were the problem not a medical concern that should resolve itself in a matter of weeks, it would be a non-issue. At this point the proposed options are for me to put in more time once I have medical clearance to do so or to submit written assignments for each class period missed. The course professor would prefer that I drop the classes. Each class is only worth half of a quarter credit, and it would not greatly impact my progress to lose a total of one unit this quarter, particularly in  non-academic courses. On the other hand, I've already devoted a few weeks to each of  the classes, and I'd just as soon get them out of the way.

My doctor has the option of waiving my "exercise science" (AKA "physical education")  requirement for the entirety of my university enrollment, but it seems silly to carry it so far. Furthermore, I would like to have the option of going into the gymnasium to hone my gymnastics and tumbling skills at my leisure even after this quarter has ended, and doing so would raise a bit of a red flag if I were under a medical excusal from all university exercise science courses.  The bottom line is that I don't really care, but it seems that since the excuse for the next three weeks or so is perfectly legitimate, and there are enough staff members present in the facility at various hours to verify that I've put my time in to compensate for the missed class periods, it should't be an extreme inconvenience  for the department to allow me to make up the missed hours.

Furthermore, this is an activity in which I actually want to participate. Many of the people enrolled in the class typically stand around trying to appear inconspicuous, all the  while doing as little as possible in effort not to be noticed yet to gain credit for the course. The professor and his associates should be more than willing to accommodate a student who will actively participate and will work with their schedules so that one of the appropriate professors or teacher's assistants is present to verify my attendance and participation. I'm not asking for them to alter their schedules so that they will be available to document my presence and participation at my convenience.

The  line even further below the standard bottom line is that I have in my support a 504 Plan (from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which is federal law and to which the university is absolutely required to adhere) related to various past and present health concerns,  which I could, if necessary, invoke, the invocation of which would result in copious amounts of paperwork for the Exercise Science  Department as well as for the Student Support Services Department and for the Department of Campus Support for Students with Disabilities. I'm not really much of an "I know my rights and I demand every one of them" sort of person, if only because I'm not proud of health issues that cause me to be different than my peers, but I'm not above demanding my rights when various university officials refuse to accede to the most benign of requests, If the professor would prefer a written make-up assignment for each class period I miss, I'll gladly do the paperwork. If he prefers for me to make up the missed time with additional in-gymnasium time, even at the rate of two make-up hours for each hour missed, I'll do the work without complaint.  It's not even a matter of principal for me. I simply want to complete the course this semester in order to ensure that I'm not stuck with a schedule in any future quarter  so unwieldy next year that I jeopardize my GPA.  my senior recital in piano performance will be next fall. I don't need to be required to put on a leotard and perspire my way through fouu hours a week of a mere formality when I'm facing something so challenging as a senior recital, which will be adjucated by the most exacting music  professors the music department can persuade to take on the task. The four hours each week would be far more productively spent sharpening every single note of music I will be expected to perform.

I detest bureaucracies. Before my most recent dealing with the bowels* of the administration of my university, I didn't believe that universities were bureaucracies  Before this most recent situation, I wouldn't have said that a university falls into the category. of  a bureaucracy. I suppose the opportunity to learn something new is available every day if one keeps his or her eyes and ears open to available learning opportunities.

For now, most of my learning will happen from whatever I can glean by watching reality TV from the comfort of my bed. It's riveting on occasion to see how the other half lives, although I cannot accept that it's actually  anywhere even close to half of the population who lives in the way the particpants we see on Steve Wilkos, Jerry Springer, Judge Alex and his judicial counterparts, and the participants of "Cheaters" and "Repo" conduct their lives.   Perhaps a more representative proportion would be to say that it's intriguing to observe how the remaining five per cent subsist.

*This is not entirely a random choice of words. It's an only slightly less crude manner of suggesting that there is a great deal of bull$hit involved in the decision-making processes of universities as said decisions apply to students.

1 comment:

  1. At the moment, on behalf of my friend, I am equally frustrated with the arrogance and self-importance that to which some in academia feel entitled, in an environment that encourages that sort of entitlement. It is ironic that the joy and gratification in teaching comes from seeking opportunities in such situations, rather than the obstacles and inconveniences. Forge forward! Thanks for the inspiration, as always.