Full speed ahead
Neither rain, nor sleat, nor pandemic, nor freezing to death stop us from moving forward. I think that’s how the PhD motto goes anyway. Since the past week we’ve been struggling to simply live, we’ve had the whole city sort of on pause. That pause has come to an end, there is no recovery period here, it’s straight back to work. That’s a feature of capitalism, not a bug and it isn’t limited to getting a PhD, but we’re definitely included in the back to work group.
Normally I would do a whole paragraph to introduce myself. The short version is, I’m a third year neuroengineering PhD candidate trying to change the word by helping people with spinal cord injury, hi! This blog is my journey through that process, I started this challenge two years ago, before that the blog focused on finding people who needed a prosthetic. Anywho since starting we’ve had the pandemic hit and now we were left without power for days in temperatures that reached a low of around 11 degrees and a high of under 32 degrees (ferinhight) so really freaking cold. It’s been a struggle to survive on top of a struggle to survive. Between the loss of power and the loss of drinkable water, the local government is trying to kill us and doing a damn good job of it judging by the news I’ve seen.
Now that we’re up to speed we can take a slight shift back to school. Unfortunately, no one cares. That isn’t to say school wasn’t cancelled this week, you know the week we were trying our best to not die, because it was. There is just no pause, no time for reflection or to pick up the pieces from the disaster — and let’s be clear it was a disaster of governmental proportions, like most disasters.
If I had lost my house due to flooding from a broken pipe, or my roof caved in because of the snow, or I ended up in the hospital because I was desperate for water and drank from the tap because there was no way to boil it, I wouldn’t be able to recover from any of that. Monday we’re right back to work like nothing happened, like we didn’t just sleep in the literal freezing cold without power and water. It’s an odd thing not to be given a chance to mourn the dead, the loss, the struggle to survive on top of the already struggle to survive.
I wish I could convey just how frustrating it is that we have a pandemic killing thousands of people a day, a fucking day! And yet we just go on like nothing is happening. Hell we have people actively saying that it’s not real and that’s just… I don’t even know what to say about that. With the added stress of everything going on, for people like me who have mental health struggles even in the best of times, this has been exhausting.
Unfortunately, starting Monday classes are back in full swing, experiments are starting again, assignments will be due soon since the deadline for those got bumped (thankfully) by a few days, and I have yet another writing assignment given to me! This one will be short so it’s not a huge issue, I just wish we could hit pause for a moment to decompress a little bit before we start back into things like none of it really happened because we’re through it (mostly, I won’t have drinkable water until Monday at the earliest).
Overall I don’t think I have a whole lot of right to complain. I survived, some weren’t so lucky. I made it through without damage to my home (hopefully, there are some concerning pipe noises) while my Co-PI had both pipe and roof troubles. And for the most part, my cats were blissfully unaware of what was going on. I made it, they made it, we all made it. Still, this was a failure of the people who were supposed to take care of us. The same people who are now suggesting that it’s our own fault and if we died it was because we were lazy and wanted a government handout. The same people who have so much money they don’t give a shit because they were fine, would be fine, and had no real concern no matter what happened.
I guess more than anything I’m angry about the way the local government treated us and treated the weeks leading up to this. They knew this was going to happen, did nothing, then made millions from the suffering and death that followed. How do you fix a system that incentives murder and is run by those who care more about profit than they do people?