18 January 2009

"Mom, I'm sick!"

I love that commercial where the woman is obviously very sick and miserable, but she is trying to get ready for work. She hesitates between yes, she will go to work, to no she can't go in, until finally she just crashes fully dressed on her bed in no shape to go anywhere. Well, that is exactly how I felt last week. I was sick with a cold and flu and felt just plain awful. It hit me so suddenly on Sunday night with fits of sneezing that I thought at first it was allergies, but by morning it was a full-blown cold. I did the whole "should I stay or should I go now?" routine, but finally dragged myself out of the apartment and went to work because I had an all-day meeting to attend that I really needed to be at. Or so I thought...

Once I got to work I realized the error of my decision when I started getting chills and realized I had a fever as well. The members of my team of course didn't want to even be near me because of the germs I was spreading and I not only felt sick, but understandably rejected by my co-workers. Finally, my boss announced that they were taking a vote and were voting me off the island. I resisted for a minute and then when I just couldn't keep my head up one more minute, took my leave and went home. Three days later I re-surfaced wondering where the week had gone.

Should we go to work when we are sick? This cold and flu that I picked up had been going around my office for the last three weeks so I wasn't the only one who had come in when I was sick. It is a hard call to make. You don't want to stay home for a minor cold, but you don't want to spread germs either and in my case, it was more than just a cold, but a fever as well. You try to make the right decision as you are pondering in the morning if you can get yourself into work, but ultimately the decision seems to be made based not on wisdom, but on what work you have on your plate and what responsibilities you have to fulfill that day.

I had things to do that day so went into the office, but when all is said and done I ended up not being able to perform my duties and was out of commission for the next three days and guess what? The office did not fall apart. My work did get done eventually and everything was fine. I did cheat however and peeked remotely after the second day off sick just to keep in contact and put out a few fires, but basically I was on the couch with a big blanket, a box of kleenex and my comfort food when I am sick: gingerale, chicken and rice soup and fruit cocktail. I don't know if they really help or not, but when I was young that is what my mother would give me as she tucked me into bed and took care of me. I miss my mommy when I am sick...sometimes being an adult sucks.

When I finally went in on Thursday I did have a lot of catching up to do, but by Friday felt I was back on track. I think sometimes we feel we need to go in, at least the first day, just to show everyone that we are really sick. Afterall, it was a Monday and you know what Human Resources people say about those who take off on Mondays or Fridays, we might be just extending our weekend. Well, I proved to everyone I was really sick, but unfortunately left behind my germs and two other people have now had to go home sick because of it.

I am not sure if me staying home would have helped or not, but if you are sick, STAY HOME! You are not doing your office, or yourself any good and when you think about it, what are you going to accomplish if you are feeling so bad. Best to stay home and get better.

I realize some people don't get paid when they are off sick and I feel for them. It must be horrible to have to drag yourself in and push yourself when you really should be in bed. I do get paid sick leave however so am thankful that I have the option.

Am I going to work tomorrow? I think so, but maybe I will get up and start again with the question "should I stay or should I go now?

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