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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Social club meeting

Last week I was feeling a little bit better and I managed to host the annual social club meeting on the Tuesday. It was a 15-minute meeting to get through the agenda. Afterwards a senior scholar gave a speech about his experiences in the Middle East, particularly Jerusalem. It was an entertaining speech. We also had a meal in our lunchroom and we continued talking there, of course.

I have done some short excursions this past week. One day I took the train to Helsingborg, just to have lunch. I have also been to the nearest mall to go shopping. I have been told to keep active but it's not easy. The weather has been pretty bad with high winds and rain recently.

Last week my hair fell off, so now I really look sick. I made an inventory of my scarves and decided to use some of them for headwear. It works ok. Tomorrow it's time for the next injection. Not something I look forward to.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hell started

My last working day for a long time was April 5 - my birthday. This fact was not celebrated much. I bought a cake for dessert, that was it.

The next day hell started. It is necessary for me to get chemotherapy. No one who hasn't endured this can understand what it's like. The first week after an injection it's a matter of surviving from one minute to the next. The side-effects are horrible. They stuff you full of extra medicine and that has side-effects too. The first five nights I didn't sleep. Chemo messes with your entire body. It affects the digestive system, blood, nails, hair, skin, immune defense, etc. I had to go to the hospital because I had a blood value that was hardly measureable. I was isolated at two different hospitals for a couple of days (and one night). Incredibly boring. There is not a part of my body that hasn't ached. After 12 days I have started to recover but there will be more problems ahead.

My mother came to help me for a few days. She is surprisingly energetic. She planted flowers on the balcony, cleaned floors and windows and cooked for me. It was very nice of her. She didn't get to see much of me though, since I had to go to hospital several times.

Monday, April 3, 2017


I have been busy at work with lots of meetings. Last week there were four. I have also spent the weekends at work but for personal reasons. Mostly to do research but also to host a visit from my sister and her friends this Saturday. There were six of them who had made the trip, organized by my sister. She had not told any one in advance what they were going to do or even where they were going, so it was all a surprise. I showed them the library and told some of the history of the university, which celebrates its 350th year right now. I had gathered a sample of our vast collection to show. There were pamphlets, catalogues, children's books, postcards, ads, an 18th century newspaper, some of Carl von Linne's dissertations, a journal for ladies dating back to 1862 and a few other items. Some rather weird. This was well received and one of the most fun presentations I have done. They all seemed to be interested in books, which was great. After this, I joined them for lunch at a restaurant. It was a very nice brunch with a generous selection.

Today I have also given a presentation but it was slightly different. I showed my colleagues from the ephemera department some of the un-catalogued material we have in the stacks. Normally this would be placed in the ephemera collection but for some reason it was never moved there. We have a fair amount of this "grey" material and I thought it would be a good idea to tell the staff at the ephemera department about it. They agreed. I had made a list of this material and brought a few items to show. It turned out to be a varied selection with material on math, medicine, political science, law and fiction.

I still have to go to several doctor's appointments a week. The after-care will last for months.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Back to work

It was very boring to stay at home those two weeks after the surgery. My colleagues missed me. At least I think so, because they sent me two large bouquets of flowers and two boxes of chocolate. Very nice of them. The wound is healing the way it should and the doctor is happy about the result. My biggest problem is the fact that I'm allergic to plaster of all kinds. I have tried about five different kinds but it doesn't help. The kind of sticky tape for sensitive skin I was recommended was itching so badly I removed it after only a few hours. You are really supposed to have some plaster on the scars for three months afterwards but the doctor told me to ignore that instruction. The itching would have made me crazy.

I did get some things done during my sick-leave. I went to a mall once and visited the archive center twice. There are always projects to do there, this time I looked at sailor's records. My great great grandfather sailed the seven seas but I have never looked him up in the sailor's lists. It wasn't as difficult as I thought, but the information given was meagre. The only thing I didn't already know was his listing as a cook onboard. I also asked for some old tax records and managed to write incorrect information on the call slip. It meant that they couldn't find the material. Slightly embarrassing. I hope the staff didn't understand that processing call slips is a large part of my job...

Today I returned to work. It wasn't overwhelming. I have just done some minor tasks like talking to people, making plans and answering e-mails. I was given three requests my colleagues hadn't been able to process and solved two of those cases. Heavy lifting is out of the question, so book retrieval is not possible right now.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Last week I worked Monday and Tuesday, basically tidying up my desk. I managed to hand in a report also, which my boss had asked for. Tuesday evening my father arrived. This was not the plan from the beginning but my mother got health problems and couldn't come. Early Wednesday morning my father dropped me off at the hospital. After a long series of examinations, tests and medicine I was wheeled in to the operation room around noon. It was quite an experience. They sedated me and I was completely out until a few hours later. I was of course in pain when I woke up but that was all. I thought that I would be wiped out for days afterwards. This was not the case at all. The surgeon came and told me everything had gone according to plan. My father came to get me at 6 PM and we went to the pizza place in my town. Not something I thought we could do either, just a few hours after surgery. But I was not so affected by this experience as I had anticipated. Thursday afternoon my father left again, after watching a (according to him) very interesting reality show about American loggers in Maine on TV. My father hasn't had a TV in about a year, so he doesn't know what there is to watch these days.

Since then, I have tried to take it easy. This Friday I went to the hospital for a check-up in the morning and stopped by work to join my colleagues for the morning coffee and sandwiches. Everybody was surprised to see me. I can understand that, since I had given warning I would be away for some time. Apart from this, I have mostly spent my time watching TV, solving crossword puzzles and reading that book about the DNA background of Europeans. It's quite interesting, I have to say.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Train trouble

I didn't get that much done this past week. I had three doctor's appointments. It takes a lot of time. Most of the week I tried to clear my desk and get at least some of the many projects done. Success was limited. The high point of the week was Thursday evening, when we had After Work at a nearby restaurant. It's nice to talk to the colleagues outside of the workplace.

Friday was a bad day. When I got to the train station at 7 AM I learned that all the trains were cancelled. Not only the next five departures or so, but all of them the entire day. Part of the track had a large crack and it was in a very inconvenient place because they needed to make all the train tracks in southern Sweden powerless before they could fix it. They didn't have any parts for it either. They had to do the repairs overnight. I was able to get onboard one of the regular buses instead. It was extremely crowded but we made it. I arrived about an hour later than normal. The janitor gave me permission to borrow the storage round car that evening. I made good use of it and transported some of my research home (those files with paper tend to get heavy). I also made a stop at the grocery store. Saturday morning I had to drive the car back again. So I spent the day at work to do more research (and yes, it produced even more paper documents).

In just a few days it's time for my operation. It may take a while before I get any writing done here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New stove

My father returned this past Sunday. We had to visit two different malls before I could get the stove I had decided on. It was a long drive to Malmö but it was a fairly smooth project. It's not difficult at all to spend a lot of money, apparently. The biggest problem was to get the stove up three flights of stairs (there is no elevator). We also brought the old stove along with some other junk to the big recycling place in my town. Already the same evening I tried the new stove when I cooked for lunchboxes. It works very well.

The week at work was no big deal. This week it was school sports break and the amount of visitors was rather low. The new temporary worker is learning the job fast and is asking for more tasks. She and I did some book moving. I had discovered that about 20 meters of books were misplaced so we corrected it. I also took the time to show her the section with books from the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. It's much more challenging to retrieve books in that section because of a complicated call number system.

Speaking of books, I have actually bought a book at the annual sale at the bookstores. It was an interesting subject; the DNA background of Europeans. I haven't started on it yet.

I did write to the person who had posted one of our old family photos on his website and received a very short answer back, thanking me for the correction. I don't think this photo had anything to do with his family (but perhaps he thought so because he had attached incorrect names to it). He has his ancestors posted there also and they are not connected to mine.