I promise I’m not trying to turn this blog into a chronicle of my various health ailments, but last Thursday I woke up feeling pretty miserable, like maybe I’d been run over by a car in my sleep. I went to school and work anyway because I’ve already missed quite a bit so far this semester, but I ended up skipping my last class and coming home early.
I continued to feel pretty miserable for the next few days, with killer body aches and congestion bad enough to make me want to drill holes in my forehead to relieve the pressure. I was popping Mucinex and Ibuprofen like they were candy to try to get some relief.
I went home early from work on Monday, skipped all my afternoon classes on Tuesday, and went home early again on Wednesday after missing my morning class. I’m finally feeling almost kind of sort of back to normal today, even though I’d still rather be home taking a nap.
I hate being sick for long periods of time. After a few days I start to feel like a worthless lump of flesh, and I can’t stop thinking about how far behind I’m falling. And all the while, of course, I’m getting emails from the university and seeing flyers around campus urging everyone who’s sick to stay home so they don’t give it to everyone else.
Of course, everyone knows that this is the right thing to do, but it seems to be an awfully hard thing to do. Granted, the university has encouraged instructors to be flexible with those students who are ill, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very difficult to catch up after missing a week of school. The last thing you want to do when recovering from the flu is push yourself extra hard to make up for the last week.
And work is even worse. I’m essentially the sole income for a family of four, and I work part-time earning student wages. I have no paid time off when I’m sick, so if I stay home for an entire week to rest and recuperate, my paycheck is going to suck. I’m already broke enough as it is; getting the flu is a minor financial disaster.
So here I am, caught between a rock and a hard place. Do I drag myself to work, where my productivity will suffer and I may very well infect the entire office, but at least I’ll still get paid, or do I lie on the couch for a week straight while homework and midterms pile up and my bank account runs dry?
Well, unfortunately, money is a powerful motivator. I just hope that anyone I infected will forgive me.