..Let's see a show of hands. How many of you hate being sick? Looks like all of you. Yeah. Me too. I'm just, very slowly, getting over being sick myself and I'm telling you, it just doesn't suit me.
Last Tuesday I woke up after a very restless night of not much sleep to find that I had a terrible headache, which I suppose could be attributed to the lack of sleep, and an awful sore throat which was unusual. Every time I swallowed, I winced. Who knew that saliva had such sharp edges? I lay there in bed taking personal inventory for a moment and trying to justify anything that was not quite right. Finally I hauled my carcass out of bed and shuffled into the shower. I'm not a shuffler. I don't shuffle. But I did that morning. It seemed to be all that I could manage.
The shower revived me a bit, I felt more awake at least, but the sore throat wasn't improved, nor was the headache and then the cough began. Oh man. I already had a sore throat. The coughing didn't help at all, so I tried to suppress it as much as possible. While the effort wasn't entirely successful, at least I was trying. I decided that what I needed was some nice hot tea. It was while I was reaching up into the cabinet to get a mug that I realized how much my back hurt too. And I was so dang tired I just wanted to lay down on the kitchen floor and sleep. I gave up then because when I added it all up, I knew that I was genuinely sick. Dang.
Because I knew I was scheduled to work that day, ironically covering for someone else who was out sick, I had to make a decision very quickly about whether or not I should go to work.
I know, I know, it ought to be an easy decision. But I came from a generation where how you felt didn't matter. If something needed to be done, you did it anyway. Work Ethic was Everything! Unless you were in the hospital or deceased, there was no excuse for not showing up and doing your job whether it was a job outside the home or inside of it. You took an aspirin, grabbed some tissues and a few cough drops and you went in anyway. It was what we did. The obvious fact that all of us who were showing up to work sick were probably infecting everyone else in the workplace apparently never dawned on management. It was what it was, and we did what we did.
Eventually, the light dawned on Most people during a particularly hideous flu season that we were infecting each other. The response to that where I worked at the time, and other places too I'm sure, was that flu shots became mandatory. Nobody was missing work!! But I believe that that's where it began be start being a little more "normal" to not be at work or school if you were contagious in anyway. This was a huge step forward but not every work place adhered to this policy AND all of us oldsters who were used to working sick were taking a little longer to get on board with it.
And then Covid happened. February 2020 was when everything changed. Anything less that perfect healthy was suddenly terrifying. If you had seasonal allergies, people avoided you. If you swallowed 'wrong' and coughed as a result people would give you dirty looks. And the rule of thumb was, if you are sick stay home, stay away. Everyone was terrified by germs. With good reason, no question. But it was a big pendulum swing in a different direction than most of us had ever experienced.
When I was a kid, if another child in the neighborhood had chicken pox or measles, parents would deliberately send their kids to play with the sick kid! The prevailing thought was that the non sick child would contract the "childhood disease" and be done with it. Oh my! Childhood diseases were like a rite of passage I suppose. What a bizarre thought process! Now of course, there are vaccines for all of those things and they are (mostly) a thing of the past. And good riddance to it!
Things are different now and it's for the better. Still, I kept thinking of my responsibilities at work. If I call out sick, and I'm covering for someone else who is sick, who is going to cover for me? How inconvenient! How inconsiderate! I felt guilty. And then Tim reminded me that most of the people I covered for through November and December called out sick with Covid (because that doggone beast is still out there). I Hmmmm'd to myself and got on my trusty computer to research the symptoms for the current strain of Covid. Sore Thoat, Cough, Congestion, Body aches, headache, fatigue.......check check check check check check check....... damnit.
Tim remembered that we had a Covid home test in the linen closet so I got that out, read the directions a dozen times because I was having trouble focusing and tracking, did the test and the dang thing popped positive. Geez! After managing to avoid Covid for just shy of 4 years, it finally caught me. Ratz!
So now I absolutely could not go to work. I emailed the boss who made it Very Clear that I should stay home. And I KNOW it was the right thing to do, but now I felt guilty for being sick. Man, I guilt so well. Too bad it's not a paying gig.
But I couldn't think about it, or anything else too much, I felt too crummy and I felt worse as they day went by. For the next four days mostly I napped. Tim would wake me to see if what I wanted to eat. By then my voice was almost completely gone, I croaked out, "anything with no edges". He brought me mac'n'cheese and ice cream. I lived on that for 4 days.
Gradually I began to not be quite as tired, though I wore out quickly. Still. it felt good to be vertical. Eventually the headache faded and over time the sore throat diminished, the congestion is beginning to clear a little bit but the cough of course lingers. It always does. I retested and now I am negative. Huzzah!
Thankfully, Tim is still healthy, no symptoms at all and for that I am truly grateful.
I had to cancel working two days, hiking one day, a party, a get together with old friends and attending a City Council Meeting in the meantime. I feel truly awful about all of that. But I remind myself the advice my old College Philosphy Professor once gave me, "A hundred years from now, who'll know the difference?"
And I also have to tell myself, on a regular basis, that just because something is the way we used to do it, doesn't mean it was the only way. And it certainly doesn't mean it was the right way. See, I am still capable of learning. I'll never stop feeling guilty about Every freakin' thing, but I am learning how to see things differently. Change can be good.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.