The Reality of the Sick Day

I remember waking up in the middle of the night and realizing I was sweating. I chalked it up to the fact that I was cocooned underneath a pile of sheets, blanket, down comforter and quilt. (And we haven’t even hit the really cold season yet!) This mountain of bedding is normally the perfect setting for a good night’s sleep for me. The problem, I figured, was the combination of bedding along with one dog nestled against one side of my body and one husband against the other. I wiggled around enough to gently encourage both of them to get out of my space. I pulled my arms out from under the bedding and promptly fell back asleep. It couldn’t have been much later and I woke up shivering. Lather, rinse, repeat until eventually the alarm clock was going off, signaling that it was time to get ready for work.

I thought little of the sweat-and-chill-fest I’d experienced last night and proceeded with my morning routine. It wasn’t until I was putting my make-up on that I realized my face looked akin to one of those famous movie vampires and in spite of the fact that I felt cold, I was sweating again.

Light bulb!

It occurred to me that maybe I was sick. Of course, it’s never that easy. I had to argue with myself for a while before conceding that I was, in fact, officially under the weather.

You’re not really sick. You’re just talking yourself into it.

But I have a headache.

You always have a headache.

I feel kind of dizzy.

No you don’t. You’re just imagining it.

I think I need to throw up.

What the hell are you even thinking??? YOU’RE not going to work!

I won the argument with myself and so it was decided. As an extra measure of reassurance, I imagined how happy my coworkers would be to know that I was keeping my germs out of the office rather than sharing with the group. Heck! I was doing them a favor!

Pats self on back at this point.

I thought about the vacation days I have accumulated and how it’s likely I’ll be cashing some of them out before the new year and realized it was a no-brainer. I was staying home.

Why is it that staying home sick is never as glamorous as it sounds when you’re actually not sick but fantasizing about staying home sick? In a perfect world, staying home sick would include a long, luxurious, restful day of napping. In the real world, the headache keeps you from accomplishing any beneficial amount of sleep. You find yourself restless and so you think, “Well, as long as I’m here, maybe I’ll just get the laundry done.”

Except you’re not getting the laundry done because as soon as you attempt it, you realize that lack of appetite has made you weak and unmotivated, and so it’s back to the recliner and the fleece blanket and episode after episode of Law & Order on the USA Network.

You think I’m kidding about the Law & Order thing, don’t you? I’m telling you. I’ve had the same channel on all day long and have seen nothing but Law & Order. Not that I’m complaining. I wonder if this happens every single day and who, besides us sick people, really wants to watch a marathon of Law & Order on a daily basis?

Besides the annoying lack of variety on television, there’s not much else of interest that goes on in my non-work world. The phone rings a lot and the caller i.d. display tells me there are a lot of phone solicitors not reaching their intended targets, especially if, like me, you don’t answer the phone unless it’s someone you actually want to talk to. And I don’t want to talk to many of the people who call my land-line.

The only other remotely interesting aspects of the day were the realization that my dog is hell-bent on finding a way through the barricade which keeps her from the cat food that she thinks should be hers for the taking and that she has a weird fascination with the ream of printer paper she discovered she can access if she tries hard enough. She thinks she’s a smart dog, but if her aversion to fake snowmen is any indication, I’m not so sure…

Anyway, I am feeling a little bit better and I think I’ll go back to work tomorrow. Being sick isn’t nearly as fun as Ferris Beuller made it out to be.

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23 thoughts on “The Reality of the Sick Day

  1. Had flu last week Terri, and I ended up watching the original Wizard of Oz, with Judy Garland. That’s even worse than Law & Order, don’t you think ;)
    I do hope you will soon be back on your feet! Take care!

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  2. Ferris and his crew accomplished more in that one day than I did my entire high school career. They were either totally awesome or the days were a lot longer in the greater Chicago area back in the early 80s.
    Seriously though. I agree … being home sick is not much fun at all if you really ARE sick.

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  3. There’s sick and there’s SICK. Sick is when I still go about my business, in some kind of floaty/miserable state. SICK is when I pull the covers over my head and curse humanity. And the only thing that makes me feel better is thinking I might lose 10 lbs that day. But it doesn’t happen.

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  4. I think the concept of taking a ‘sick day’ implies goofing off when you are actually feeling well…as opposed to actually being sick.

    Hope you bounce back quickly

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  5. Sorry to hear you are not feeling well. I think about taking a sick day just for fun, but I think everyone will know when I am faking it. I really don’t want to get sick, but I dream about taking a sick day. Thanks for reminding me that sick days are really not that great. Nice post! Feel better:)

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  6. You’r not sick. It’s all that post Turkey and triptophan and pecan pie withdrawal. But at least you are smart enough to stay home and get some rest. There’s not much good on tv during the day unless you go after some of the obscure cable channels (history channel – American Pickers).

    Lucy is such a brave/silly dog, but I see a solution to her cat food cravings – put the cat food behind the snowman.

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  7. Over here day time TV is:
    Dull chatshows.
    Jerry Springer or similar.
    Friends.
    How pencils are made.
    Documentaries featuring total nut-jobs talking about aliens.

    Love the video – has she destroyed the snowman yet? She will and it will not be her fault, she is just protecting you all!

    Glad you feel better now!

    Talking about keeping your germs to yourself, I remember a comedy sketch where a guy was retiring after 40 years without ever having a sick day. They boss then lists the various infections and diseases that he spread around the company including the tropical infestation that wiped out Accounts for 6 months. See? You did the right thing!

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    • She hasn’t destroyed the snowman yet, though I’m sure she will. Mark is mostly to blame, though I recorded it and had a good laugh out of it!

      That comedy sketch isn’t far off base. There are people who think they are being dedicated by coming in to work sick. I know. I work with one of them. Last time she kept coming to my desk to talk to me and I kept asking her to put some distance between us.

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  8. I’m with you … there are days we just long to be home .. but not sweaty with a pounding head and stuck watching reruns .. ugh.

    Poor Lucy-girl. Who knew that a snowman could be so traumatizing??

    feel better soon, MJ

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  9. Poor Lucy – you’ve scarred her for life now! Fake snowmen are right up there with creepy clowns!

    I’m glad you talked yourself into staying home, and the cast and crew of Law and Order probably is too. Hope you’re all better!

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  10. Poor Terri — feel better soon, OK? Being sick when I was a kid was so much better! Mom could pamper me, let me lie on the couch and watch TV, fix me chicken soup, and let me sleep. Those days were easier than having to do all that stuff yourself while you’re sick!

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  11. That’s a scary snowman! I’m with Lucy on that one. Ha!

    You’ll always perfectly healthy when you’re at work THINKING about being at home. You COULD probably sleep all day when you feel good. I work from home fairly often and have the TV on in the background, so I KNOW how bad daytime TV is…just awful.

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  12. What a crack up video.

    Sorry you were under the weather. If you were home all the time you would have lots of regular things to do, feeling well or not. But you are not used to being home during the day and TV seems like the only alternative.

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