I worked just hard enough on campus today to convince myself that I'm absolutely unprepared for classes to start next Monday. Earlier this week I copied my syllabi, prepared the first-day activities, set up my class Moodle pages, and prepared as much as I usually prepare, but today I spent a mere 30 minutes leading faculty in a discussion and then I had to go home and lie down to recover my strength.
Not only am I tired of being sick, but I'm tired of hearing myself talk about how sick I've been and I'm tired of thinking about being sick and I'm tired of wondering when I'm going to be done being sick. I'm not coughing so much any more and I'm sleeping much better, but my ears are still so stuffed up that every conversation sounds like it's coming from the bottom of a deep well and my head feels disconnected from the rest of my body. I may appear to be fully present and accounted for, but it takes every ounce of concentration to figure out what people are saying and to keep my head from floating off into the atmosphere like a lost helium balloon.
So today I faked my way through a pedagogy discussion and I fear that I'll be doing the same in all four classes next week: speak with an artificial sparkle in my voice and look lively while internally scrambling to hold body and soul together. Of course, I've got three days to recover fully before classes begin. Maybe by Monday I'll be a whole new person and all this January crud will be a dim and distant memory. Or maybe the whole week will be a train wreck followed by a dumpster fire followed by scenes out of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
However next week turns out, I think I'll be happy to write off the first two weeks of January as a dead loss. Let's just forget this ever happened and move on, okay? Preferably without coughing.