Question: Welcome to the list. I’m sure you will find this a friendly bunch, but I’m sorry you have to join us, so to speak. I think that now is the time to ensure that your physical problems do not impede your studies. You should find that there is a disability coordinator in the university whose job it is to assist students with serious difficulties. Amongst other things they will be able to assist you in explaining your needs, e.g. for special arrangements in exams, to your tutors and lecturers. I’m sure that the teaching staff will be very willing to help you as far as they can. Don’t worry, but take action! You’re fortunate in that you know about your problem well in advance of your final exams – there should be enough time for you to learn new skills and adapt, and for the system to adapt to you, and to sort out any bugs in the technology you may have to use.
As for writing, it is a good idea to avoid large amounts of writing in the near future-your tissues may be going through a tender period. Use a Dictaphone rather than write in lectures. Ask for printed notes from your tutors. Tell them why you need them. Enquire if a note taker can be found to sit with you in lectures. Don’t feel that you have to write everything down-try and understand things as they are being said and write yourself short mnemonics. For written pieces of work, and possibly exams, voice-recognition software may help you. Ask the disability coordinator if there is any help available with funding. Although this software produces excellent results, I’m using it now, you may find that it takes time and effort to use this type of software effectively. If you make a start now it will be second nature in time for when you need it most. There are mailing lists focused on getting the most out of voice software – I can fish out the addresses if you need them.
As for the other things, stick with the exercises that the physio gave you to do, assuming that they did so. Consider doing some other gentle exercises, such as swimming, yoga or Tai chi (this list is full of plenty of people who can debate the relative merits of these). The waiting time for the scan is appalling. You can ask to be put on the emergency list so that you can take up a place if there’s a cancellation elsewhere, although be aware that many of these scans don’t show anything-the cynical view is that the medics have no idea what’s going and do scans on people just to show that they are doing something.
Answer: It is nice to know that other people are going through the same things as me. The biggest problem I have is that the injury is “invisible”. I stopped wearing my elastic support bandage when it got very hot, and when I recently put it back on again, everyone started asking me what was wrong! They don’t realise that it never goes away. I hadn’t told the university about my problem because I didn’t think it was a real disability.