Performance review

pencil and eraser on paper, by Shawn Campbell on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

A couple days ago I talked about goals. About what I had to do this week and how energized I was and I can’t even remember what else.

Since I shared this with you, it’s only fair I show you my self-evaluation, aka my performance review. This was always the most excruciating piece of my work life, the need to annually self-scrutinize, self-aggrandize, and/or self-flagellate, and then hand that document in to the boss so she could put what I’d written into her own words (if she agreed), then decide how the merit increase pool was going to be allocated among the staff, and situate my performance accordingly.

Self-evaluation: Deborah Wassertzug

This week, Deborah had a number of stated goals. She emailed them to herself and in an effort to not lose the email, kept marking the message unread. Judging from the weak progress towards these goals, it may be that the email actually was unread.

EATING: The stated goal was nominally achieved. Scale results are not forthcoming.

EXERCISE: Excellent progress towards this goal, with three gym visits, and the purchase of a monthly pass instead of a class card. Deborah intends to “get to at least one exercise class this weekend.”

READING: Exhaustion from exercise continues to plague Deborah’s attention span for much beyond laundry, grocery shopping and cooking, but a long wait in a doctors office did yield some progress in this area.

WRITING: One critical email sent. One poem written. (Poems were not in the original goals document.)

RESEARCH: After sending email to her collaborator regarding lack of progress in this area, Deborah did make progress, finding audio recording software that is available across Windows and Mac platforms.

TRANSLATION: The stated goal of “finishing half the job” was exceeded by the power of two – job completed. Deborah seems to be learning that having a paying gig will trump anything else that needs attention.

CONCLUSION: Deborah is a cheerful, though easily distracted, person whose goals could stand some fine-tuning. She could cut herself more slack. She is trying too hard to rebound. Or, she is not trying hard enough, she still doesn’t know the first thing about writing goals, and she hates self-reflection.

My point is, I feel like I’ve done this to myself many times. Lists are fine. Goals, maybe not right now.

I’m going to go ahead and give myself a 2% cost of living increase, and a firm handshake.

I can see clearly (for) now

Fly's Eye, by Pascal Gaudette on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

In other news, my eyes may be better. I saw my ophthalmologist, Dr D, this morning. After the de rigueur infuriating hourlong wait, he checked my eyes, and my vision is back to 20/20 and there are “no cells or [somethingorother] in the vitreous.”

This is good. But I’m just a bit startled and horrified to see, looking back at my posts here, that this episode has lasted seven months. Seven months not wearing contacts. Seven months of a daily eye drop regimen. A brief period where my pupil was deformed, into a kidney shape. (If you want to really freak someone out, take something they think they can rely on – like their pupils always being round – and mess that up.)

This morning, the pressure in my eyes was still elevated. Which is secondary to all the steroid eye drops I’ve been using. Which were to treat the condition of uveitis which is secondary to my cancer meds. Which are secondary to the cancer. Which going all the way back to its origin, could be blamed on the Sun. A medical mise en abîme.

Because the pressure is still up, Dr D was not going to be the one to tell me to stop taking the eye drops. Instead, I went out on a limb and told him I intended to stop, and he reluctantly agreed. I’m continuing on the beta blocker drops once a day, which should lower the pressure.

This is the thing about being a cancer patient treated with drugs too new to be widely familiar: you find yourself telling your very intelligent and highly qualified doctor or specialist that they don’t know enough, and they have to agree. “Between the two of us, we make one brain,” I told Dr D, regarding my current situation. He can worry, but in the end, they’re my eyes. I’m ready to try to go without the drops, and he can only stand on the sidelines ready to treat me if something flares up again.

In the meantime, the cancer drug combo is the ostinato, the constant, on top of which everything else can sit. Maybe one day I’ll stop those, too. For a good reason.

In the meantime, the legacy of this long episode with my eyes is a floater in the left one – a small transparent circle that rises and falls and whirls around my field of vision, only resting when I sleep. For seven months I have needed to use extra brain processing power (which I can ill afford), to discriminate that floater from actual things in the air. It’s a small spider in my vision, perpetually bobbing up and down on invisible string. I wonder if this is why I can’t seem to concentrate on anything.