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Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:34 pm UTC
by edsteen
I am a College Freshman currently taking CS 101. My high school didn't offer CS classes, but through robotics since I was 7 years old, I was self taught in a C based language. I love CS, and it is my intended major. Unfortunately, I am also battling a chronic pain condition. Pain flare ups are making it so hard to figure out assignments, and get any work done. I have spent 5 hours over the past 2 days in the lab, staring at the screen, trying to write very basic functions but being unable to get my brain to move fast enough to figure out how to actually do anything with them. This is what I want to do with my life, but if I can't succeed in even the most basic class, what are the odds of me ever doing well? My class allows for extensions, and I have some through the Accessability program on campus, but I hate relying on them. I am not sure what I am even asking here anymore, but... any advice?

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:45 pm UTC
by Derek
See a doctor?

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:49 pm UTC
by edsteen
As if it was that easy. I've seen probably 20+ doctors, taken every medication known to man... this pain isn't going away whether I like it or not. Stupid genes :(

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:50 pm UTC
by schapel
Including cannabis? You might want to try a mindfulness-based approach.

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:34 pm UTC
by Whizbang
I can't help with the pain, but I can recommend two awesome coding tutorial sites for beginners.

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:38 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Are you asking on advice on how to deal with the pain or how to succeed in school with a chronic condition?

If the latter, you need to be very communicative with your professors, and make absolutely sure you work ahead of schedule and stay on top of expectations of keeping them appraised your needs and capabilities. You need to communicate conflicts as far ahead as possible, be proactive about turning things in early where possible, or as close to deadlines as you can if you miss them. There are presumably services in place to help you navigate school with your disability, so, know them, use them, and don't leave anyone wondering whether or not you're doing things above water.

If you're asking advice on the former, yeah, see a doctor. We can't help you there.

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:25 pm UTC
by scarecrovv
If you're talking about wrist pain from frequent keyboard use there are numerous alternative keyboard designs that might help.

Re: Coding and Chronic Pain Combo

Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:19 pm UTC
by uviteru
I have had cronic pain from headaches since I was a teen and recently developed a wrist injury that makes typing more difficult (a year ago). No amount of medical care has been able to help (so far! I'm still going to doctors about it)

I just registered for this forum because I wanted to offer encouragement.

I was able to get my BS in computer science (with honors) about 10 years ago. I authored 3 peer reviewed publications and had 2 years of paid research experience while I was still an undergrad. I could not have done it without understanding professors who gave me incompletes when I needed them (medical reasons are very valid) and without relying on the universities disability services when needed.

After graduating I was self employed partly because managing my own time was easier due to not knowing when the pain would make it impossible to function and I was able to travel the world doing small software development type jobs for various companies and right now I am preparing for a PhD. I'm able to program proficiently in pretty much any programming language or architecture you throw at me in a short time but my real passion is research.

Some of your professors won't understand. Don't take their courses. Other professors will see that you are driven and passionate and will work with you. Take courses from them.

My advice is to focus on doing what you can when you feel somewhat okay. It may take you longer, you may not get as good grades, but it can work. Try not to take too many courses that require a lot of work within the same semester. It's okay to take an extra year to graduate if you need to. You don't need to be an expert now. Let yourself learn at your own pace, repeat a course if you must and focus on your strengths during the times you are able to focus at all.

Also... 5 hours staring at a screen for two assignments is not highly abnormal for some CS courses even for someone without pain. Try asking your TA or your professor if you are stuck. The problems you get are supposed to be challenging for you, and if they are not then the class is probably below your level.