Sunday, October 29, 2006

Aches and pains

One of the things they don't tell you about pregnancy is how susceptible you become to pulling your abdominal muscles with the slightest movement. A simple sneeze, getting out of a chair the wrong way, or even walking too briskly all put me at risk of abdominal pain.

Friday morning saw me in a hurry to get to my aqua aerobics class. I was walking across campus, and I must have done something to displease my muscles, because I started to notice a pain in my right side. An hour in the pool only intensified the pain, and by the afternoon every step caused a grimace. Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day, and I couldn't resist a quick hike in the woods with NewGirl and the Princess Pup. All was going relatively well until we headed down a hill. By the time we got back to the car, I had exclaimed out loud several times. I spent the rest of the day very quietly, and I sent fish out with the dog this morning. This afternoon I dared to make a trip to the store (bad idea) and just before sunset, we took the dog for our "short loop" (~1/2 mile). At exactly the half way point, the muscle pulled again and I limped home, stopping to bend over periodically, and noticing that my back was getting rather sore to compensate for the bad posture.

Other than not moving at all for the next several days (sure!), I'm not sure how to make things feel better, so I guess I'll give the doctor a call tomorrow when I get a chance. I'd like to know if its okay to use a hot pack on the abdomen or whether that would raise the baby's temperature too much.

The other main ache of the weekend came in the form of fish's job stress. I haven't blogged much about his job situation, but basically what started as an ideal career job has degenerated into a lousy retail position with a sort-of title but no responsibility or authority and long hours on his feet. There's also no promotion potential within the company because everyone in the store has more seniority than him. This sounds like the recipe to start looking for another job, but because of where this one started, he actually makes more than he could in retail elsewhere and the career-type positions for which he is qualified are almost universally require 1+ hour commutes each way. So he feels dissatisfied and trapped, and I feel like there is nothing I can do to help make it better. We can't go without his income; we aren't making ends meet as is. Which of course is another big source of stress for both of us right now. At this point our options are for fish to get a second job, trim expenses significantly (and all the easy trimming has been done), or to deplete our savings indefinitely.

Which is why I spent my afternoon/evening applying for jobs. As far as I can figure at this point, I've got until about June to land a tenure-track or other permanent job in academia or government research. At that point, I'm going to have to call it quits and start looking for industry jobs. It seems sort of harsh, but we sure as hell as can't afford to stay here and getting another post-doc somewhere else would only put fish in limbo for another couple of years. And that's not fair to him.

So it's too bad that the job ads seem to be slim pickings this year. Ideally, I'd only be applying to places that were a good match professionally and/or geographically, but instead I feel like I've got to go after anything that wouldn't make me miserable (I am not meant for a 4-4 teaching load somewhere in the hinterlands of Texas). So today finds me revamping my cover letter and research interests to fit into with the liberal arts college philosophy and pondering how I would contribute to diversity on campus.

This coming week is a busy one, so at least I've gotten a jump start on prof. me's "all complaining monday."


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry it is difficult at the moment. Hopefully your doctor can suggest something to make you more comfortable. Good luck with the job applications.

Shrilatha Puthi said...

take care Doc, hope everything will be okay soon.

Anonymous said...

Sending lots of support your way. You are so good to think of fish -- I'm in fish's position right now while my partner completes a PhD in a town where there's literally not a job in commuting distance for me. Right now, we're living off his stipend and loans, but I'll be heading home soon to work if nothing comes up. The fun starts all over again when he lands a postdoc. Gotta love academia, right?

brother said...

Ouch ... sounds like a fine few days. Can you think of anything that fish can do for me remotely? I have one idea... I'm way overworked and am literally a few days away from calling an employment agency and hiring a temp.

Sicilian said...

Science gal. . . Texas ain't so bad. . . well if you can take the language. . . however the cost of living is not to bad. . . wages are not to high. . . . but then it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to live. . . there are mountains. . . flat lands. . . and I live in a the hill country. . .beach. . . big cities. . . little cities. . and in between cities. . . never say never. . . you might be surprised at what is gong on down south.

mirabel said...

Just wanted to say that I am thinking of you. I hope that physically, your pain is easily fixed and financially, things get better soon. I think that the whole "can I find a tenure track job that I won't make me miserable (as opposed to one I love) someplace where my partner can also be employed" is, in my opinion, one of the most frustrating things about being an academic. Hang in there.

Writer Chica said...

I read this hours ago, but am just getting around to commenting due to all the stuff i finally wrote about on my blog. Been thinking of you and your situation. I know you will find something that works for both you and fish.

Just a question: Is there any possiblity of fish trying a different line of work?

I'll talk to you soon.

sab said...

Suggestion: What about Canada? I'm not sure about your field exactly (not sure what your field is exactly! ;) ) but my impression is that things are a bit easier for young scientists here than in the States. If you're even slightly curious about why I think it might be better here, or how we don't really live in igloos, leave a comment ANYWHERE on my blog and I'll get back to you via email. :)

My heart goes out to you and FISH. I'm terribly afraid of putting my hubby in the same position. He has a job doing research with my same supervisor right now, getting paid something... but... it's temporary and I feel like he could do better if he wasn't stuck where we are now... AND we really have no plan for him for when I do a post-doc and beyond.