Pumping The Breaks

To avoid an accident, particularly in the winter, you’re supposed to pump the breaks. The idea is that you’ll slow down enough that the car will stop.

A long time ago I was watching a TV show when I learned that “pump the breaks” was also a term used in skydiving, and it’s used in the worst possible situation. If your chute doesn’t open or if the lines get tangled, or maybe both, I honestly can’t remember. You’re supposed to “pump the breaks” in the hope that you’re able to land safely, or at the very least, as safely as possible.

I think about that TV episode whenever I feel overwhelmed or if I’m headed toward some kind of less than ideal outcome.

Do I need to pump the breaks? Is it even a possible option?

Soon I’ll be starting my 3rd year of grad school, and the novelty has worn off. I’ve gone from being surprised that I was accepted to back into academia to wondering when I’ll finish (if ever).

I haven’t taken a break in my course work since the 1st day of my 1st class. I’ve taken as many classes as I’ve been able to, until now.

When I sat down to make my course plan in the fall I had intended to take an intensive class between semesters. But it just didn’t feel right for many reasons.

I took it as a sign that it was time to pump the breaks.

To work on projects I had intentions of working on this summer. To enjoy my family and spend time with friends. To take a break. Then I had a relaxing vacation only to arrive home to fight off sickness.

A confirmation of my decision to pump the breaks.

My laptop died a quick, yet anxious, death within hours of my getting it up and running after unpacking.

Yet another confirmation, because there’s no way I’d be able to complete any classwork of any quality on a tablet.

I had 2 separate follow ups with two different specialist about my nagging hip injury. One of which I’ve been putting off for a year, because I didn’t think anything would come of it so why bother. At least that was the plan.

Both appointments were on the same day with doctors in the same department, although different subspecialties, so it was booked as a “complex appointment.” Although this may not seem like a positive development it’s been something I’ve been trying to organize for years. It’s much nicer to have consulting doctors down the hall from each other or a phone call away rather than waiting for notes to be transcribed or emails to be answered.

Even though there was a level of excitement about finally having the luxury of a complex appointment I was uneasy, emotional, and in a bad funk on the drive up.

Another sign that I needed to pump the breaks now rather than later, when it probably would’ve been too late.

Good news is one doctor has bowed out of consulting on my case since it’s not his area of expertise. However I thoroughly questioned him on why, potential differences, and when if ever he would come back into the picture. I’m not happy that he doesn’t have an answer but it is nice to have one less opinion to take into account.

Not so great news is I’m still in a trial and error phase with potential treatments. However I appreciate her honesty (not to mention her ability to see though my vague answers to her questions).

The timeline for my movement and exercise restrictions was increased. Although I negotiated that down to a shorter period, for my own physical as well as mental state. I think the fact that I’m more inclined to lower impact sports helps. The hope is that more rest will yield more and/or longer lasting benefits.

Even people who have no idea what my day to day life is like are telling me to pump the breaks.

So here I sit fighting off germs, writing away on a tablet while on a steady plan of ice and pain killers, and trying not to feel so restricted.


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