Yesterday I had the strangest of experiences: a GP who, despite the lack of obvious physical symptoms (like a broken arm!) didn't tell me it was "all in my head" or pooh-pooh me. In fact, he was actually kind and helpful! I've been waking up more and more often (twice this month) in excruciating pain in my shoulder, neck and all down my arm. It makes it hard to do anything for a day or so, and goes away in about a week. Hardest of all is computer work, which sucks for obvious reasons.
I had another attack on Monday and was starting to get worried, so I reluctantly hied myself to the surgery (which is what they call doctor's offices here). I was all geared up for another bout of "you're-fine-why-are-you-bothering-me?", but instead I got the lovely, incredibly Welsh-named Dr. Rhodri Wyn Owen. He listened to what I had to say, did a quick check of my range of motion and told me I keep getting a pinched nerve down the side of my neck. He said one of my discs is probably slightly out of place and occasionally pinches the nerve. It's the neck version of sciatica. Didn't mom have that at some point, or am I confused? Anyway, helpful Dr. Owen gave me some stretches to do that will help the pain a bit. Sadly there's no preventative measures to be taken, although my supervisor has recommended a memory foam pillow. I shall look into that when I return to the homeland.
My supervisor has been full of helpful advice these days in general. Last week it was how to have a long and happy marriage (always let the man think he gets to decide, but if he decides wrong subtly guide him to the right decision, apparently) (seems to work for her!) This week it was how to get on with a new supervisor. Congruent goals, that's the key. You both need to want the same things, as everyone is essentially selfish and using everyone else to get their goals. They will happily be altruistic, as long as it also advances their own goals a little. I found this hilarious and refreshing to hear, as I'm willing to bet most people operate on this system but no one would ever say it aloud. She's completely right, though. Both of us want the same things (to do well with our projects, to get me through my degree successfully, to publish if we can) and we're using each others' skills to get there. Luckily I enjoy her company as well. My mate Jo's supervisor won't answer her emails, rarely meets up with her and generally makes her feel like an extraneous pest. I'm pretty sure I lucked out.