I’ve never been very good at taking sick days. I’m not sure whether it was bad bosses who would rather you infect the whole team than take any time off, or my overactive sense of responsibility, or an unreasonably inflated sense of my own contributions to the workplace (or a combination of all three) but I have always felt so guilty taking time off when I’m sick. I once came down with The Dreaded Influenza and went back to work after only a day and a half off, with a raging 102 degree temperature, and rather than send me home my manager gave me a lecture about missing some arbitrary deadlines while I was off. I am pretty sure I had some rather psychedelic hallucinations at my desk.
When I started feeling poorly on Monday evening (a sore throat is always a dead giveaway of an impending cold) I comforted myself with the knowledge that one good thing about Living In These Uncertain Economic Times is that business is slow enough I could take all the sick days I wanted without having to miss any deadlines or feel guilty. I could lay on the couch watching the food channel all week without any negative consequences. I could nap and drink tea and watch Family Feud with the dog. And I would be lying if I said a small part of me didn’t rejoice at the thought. I don’t sleep well at the best of times, and it’s even worse when I’m sick (there’s nothing quite like lying in bed all night, alternating between stewing in your own germy misery and enjoying brief yet extraordinarily vivid Neo Citran-fuelled nightmares) and I was looking forward to having the opportunity to convalesce as needed and recover at my own pace.
Now it’s Thursday afternoon, I’ve gotten steadily worse as the week has progressed, there’s nothing on TV other than the inexplicable Trivial Pursuit gameshow, and the night-shift pharmacist who promised me yesterday that the cough syrup he recommended had enough antihistamine in it to not only knock me out, but also make me groggy if I slept for less than 8 hours … well, let’s just say he lied and I kind of want to kick him in the face.