Today, I am sick. I stayed home from school after four days of struggling through it. As a teacher, you know - staying home sick is often more work than going to school. So many substitute plans to prepare, especially when you are designing the curriculum for your students….
In any case, as each day of this malady (cold/sinus infection?) passed, and I hoped it would just subside, last night I decided to give up and stay home. I admit, my decision was made a bit easier by the fact it is an in-service day, so no sub plans. I just couldn’t imagine one more day of trying to remain upright. And though I still feel guilty, I was right; I feel worse today.
I hate being sick. Part of it is that I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. Part of it is probably anxiety left over from my voice major days, when a cold or sinus infection would render you useless as a singer. Or, if you decided to sing through illness, you could risk damaging your instrument. But that’s not my current reality - I just have a stupid old chest infection, so I am trying to just sit and rest and get over it.
But I hate it. Something happens to me when I am sick: I turn into the saddest sad sack you’ve ever seen. I cry. I thrash around on the couch or wherever I’ve taken up residence. I will literally sometimes think I’m dying and/or wish for death to end my febrile misery (this definitely has a correlation with a temperature above 100). I call family to bring me provisions: gatorade, soup, lozenges. I’m what you call “A Big Baby.”
My mother is the opposite. She thinks you can ignore illness and just let it pass, so when she taught, she rarely (if ever, now that I think about it) took a sick day. She relies on Dayquil and the mantra “This too shall pass.” She doesn’t understand why anyone would do otherwise.
As a result, growing up, we were never allowed a sick day unless our fever was above 99 degrees. When you have a fever, you are sick. That was the definition we went by (well, I guess vomiting was also included, but that generally would include a fever). No matter how you felt, if you didn’t have a fever, you weren’t really, truly sick.
I think there’s a happy medium between my melodramatic reaction and ignoring the illness. Medically, you need to rest, drink fluids, stay home (for others’ sake). That’s how you get better. No one wants to be stuck in a room with someone hacking and sniffling all day.
I know this, but I still feel guilty. Guilty because my temperature is not high enough to consider being sick by childhood standards. Guilty because I took a sick day and not everyone has the option of sick days (thank goodness for union contracts!). Guilty because I am just going to lay about, watching documentaries, drinking fluids, and blowing my nose all day, and not get anything done….except this blog entry! Haha!
Now I can feel a bit less guilty! Mission accomplished. Back to bed.