Sometimes you just have to write…
There are basically two types of people with colds or flu:
Type 1 are the ones who call in sick at the first sign of a sore throat, the first cough, the first sneeze. They stay in bed, drinking tea with lemon and honey or whatever their favorite home remedy is, popping miracle cure vitamin pills, and generally wallowing. A few days later, they come out the other side, shiny and healthy – and often annoyingly espousing the health benefits of said miracle cures.
Type 2, the rest of us – yes, I’m in this group – stubbornly refuse to admit we’re getting sick.
Wake up with a sore throat like I did a full week ago? No problem: a few cough drops and the pain’s reduced enough to ignore it. Never mind that the sore throat goes on for a whole week, so painful at times that I find myself avoiding swallowing.
A cough or two, which started about three days ago? Same thing: drink some water and it stops. Never mind that it keeps coming back so I spend my days gulping water and tea and making frequent trips to the toilet.
Sneezing, with a stuffy nose, which started about two days ago? Oh, that’s just allergies. Never mind that it’s long past my usual allergy season.
And at the same time as I’m studiously ignoring all of my symptoms, I’m plowing through a regular work week:
The last straw was Friday. Instead of my usual short day of teaching (only one lesson, normally), I went to a teacher conference, something I always enjoy. Being a teacher at a teacher conference involves a lot of talking. There are just so many ideas to exchange!
By the time I got home on Friday evening, I was speaking a soft sort of croak that my colleagues jokingly called “sexy.” I think in reality it was more creepy than sexy.
So, a week after my first symptoms, I’ve given in. I spent all day yesterday lying down, not talking, drinking lots of fluids, not eating much, mostly watching the cult classic Twin Peaks series on DVD.
It’s Sunday now, and I’m feeling much better. I’m still coughing and sneezing, and my voice is still sexy/creepy, but physically I have a lot more energy. I have a full week of teaching ahead of me, including three more lectures, all of which I still need to prepare. I also have some grading to do.
So here’s the question I’ll be pondering all day: should I call in sick for tomorrow?
If I call in sick:
If I don’t call in sick:
Reading this over, I know that if someone else wrote this, I’d say “Call in sick. Then you can well and truly get rid of this cold, rather than carrying it with you for weeks because you didn’t treat it.”
Yet, as a type 2, I’m reluctant to do that. It all comes down to guilt. I’m paid to work, and feel guilty if I don’t. Where does that come from?
So should I call in sick or not? What would you do? I mean, what would you really do? Are you a give-in-to-it type 1 or a fight-it-till-the-bitter-end type 2?