Where Logic Meets Love

No Books Today, Just Sickness

Thursday, February 7, 2013

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Sorry, I don't have a 3BoT post for you today. My brain is kind of fuzzy and I don't have the energy to go through my book journal and bookshelves to put together some recommendations. Fortunately I already have a Friday post written and queued up.

If you follow me on Twitter you already know that this past week has severely kicked my butt.

Last week I started feeling sick on Monday night, and then woke up after midnight to spend the next few hours throwing up. At first I thought it was food poisoning, since I'm pretty prone to that, but once I got hit with a fever, chills, body aches, etc. it was clear that the norovirus going around campus had gotten to me. I spent Tuesday (which happened to be Mike's birthday) feeling so sick that I couldn't do anything -- read, listen to podcasts, talk to Mike -- without wanting to throw up.

Wednesday was better except my entire body hurt like I'd gotten beaten up and it hurt to breathe/laugh. By Thursday I was feeling mostly better, just tired, and decided to go back to work on Friday. I ventured out of the apartment Thursday evening for the first time to have a real dinner in the dining hall.

Having spent most of the past few days sleeping, I had trouble falling asleep Thursday night. After I finally did fall asleep, Mike woke me up to say that the fire alarm was going to go off in a few minutes because residents had smelled gas and the fire department was going to evacuate the building. So I got dressed and evacuated the building along with all the students, who spent the next hour in the dorm across the quad. Once they'd determined that there wasn't any gas leaking into the building, we went back to bed, but since it was foggy outside, the tugboat going down the river near our dorm was sounding its foghorn every 30 seconds.

So I went to work on Friday exhausted, and about halfway through the day I developed a cough and the beginning of a sore throat. I left work early, came home and took a nap, and then went to volunteer at a campus event I'd signed up for. I ended up calling bingo numbers, which of course is exactly what you want to do when you have a scratchy throat and are losing your voice. By the weekend, I had a full-blown sore throat, swollen glands, fever, chills, body aches (c'mon, didn't we just go through this??), and no voice.

So yes, not only did I catch and recover from the norovirus going around campus, but I then proceeded to catch the flu, which was also going around campus. (Did I mention how much I love living on a college campus?)

Thankfully, the sore throat went away by Monday. It was replaced by a sinus infection. I finally went to the doctor on Tuesday (who told me that everything -- my sinuses, my ears, my throat -- is inflamed) and got some antibiotics, but have had to cancel all of my plans this week. I've also missed more than a week's worth of choir rehearsals at this point, which means I probably won't be able to be in our upcoming concert.

The best part? I only get five paid sick days a year at work, which I used up in a single week, and I had used up all my vacation time to go the GCN Conference. So rather than taking a pay cut, I opted to go to work on Wednesday, pick up my laptop, and bring it home, where I attempted to work while blowing my nose every 30 seconds and trying to see through my watery eyes.

Can I just say how much I hate the system of sick days? I am a salaried employee. My responsibility is to get all of my work done by the various deadlines, and to do it well. So long as I accomplish that, then I should be able to take care of my health when I'm sick, not have to choose between health vs. money. I realize I am in a position of privilege to receive a salary rather than an hourly wage, and to work at a job where work doesn't have to get done during a specific time block, and to get paid time off at all. But given that I am, it doesn't make sense to me that by virtue of having the misfortune of back-to-back illnesses during a week in February, my choices for any illness I might get the rest of the calendar year are 1) come to work sick, 2) use vacation time if I have any, or 3) have money taken out of my paycheck. None of which is tied in any way to whether I'm completing all of my assigned work for my clients, which, you know, is what they hired me to do. /end rant

So that's how my week has been. At least my Twitter feeds have shown me I'm in good company -- Rachel and Kirsti and Dianna have all been sick and seem to be experiencing my symptoms right along with me. Yay blogger solidarity?

I hope you are all staying healthy!

11 comments:

  1. Yikes! Hopefully you're just getting all your illnesses for the year out of the way in one go!

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    1. That's what I'm hoping! Building up my immunity to everything at once...

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  2. Sometimes I wonder how I wasn't sick more often in college. Or maybe I was sick and just ignored it. That's a definite possibility. But go sleep, rest, and get better!

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    1. I had the same problem in college because I do tend to get sick slightly more than most people I know. So when teachers had a policy that you couldn't more than 2 days of class during the semester, I went to class sick a lot, even though I did just as well and learned just as much in the classes that allowed me to stay home when I was sick!

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  3. Ugh. We've been having that back-to-back-to-back sickness, too. Hope you get all the way well soon.

    There is an alternative to the sick day system. It's called being self-employed. You get the freedom to be paid for what you get done. But you have to take the risk of having no one to fall back on when you are sick and it still needs to get done, or of not having enough work to do when you have the energy to do it. Greater freedom and flexibility always comes with greater risk; in our current society, most people are willing to trade away a lot of freedom to contend with reduced risk. By giving a designated number of sick days, an employer is trying to quantify its risk and absorbing the risk that you will be unavailable at a critical juncture--even if you are sick that day, you will get paid. I have a project due next week (really it should have been done this week) and if I don't get it done, regardless of how I feel, not only will I not get paid at all, I quite possibly might not get any more work from that source, which is half my income. That's the risk I take for flexibility.

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    1. There's actually an alternative for those of who don't want to be self-employed, which is called a Results-Oriented Work Environment, and it's the work situation I'd choose if I could find one in my field and local area. The idea is that your job performance is evaluated based on 1) how much work you do and 2) how well you do it, not on the number of hours you spend in the office / doing work. Some workplaces are a partial ROWE, where they still have regular working hours but don't have a set number of vacation or sick days, trusting that their employees will make whatever arrangements are needed to see that their work gets done if they need/want to take time off. That makes the most sense to me.

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  4. Sorry you've been so sick! I'm impressed that you have posted anything at all in the past week.

    Everyone in my family has had a stomach virus, the kind that makes you really miserable for a day and after that is no big deal for an extremely healthy 8-year-old but drags on several days for adults. Today I decided not to drag myself through the snowy Land Between Bathrooms but stay home and work only on my blog. I put up two short posts. I was going to write a 3BoT, too, but I am getting tired now so kind of glad you're not doing it this week! Maybe next week? My 3 books are about civil rights, and it's Black History Month, if you need a theme idea....

    Get well soon! I agree that the system of sick days vs. vacation days, or even one category of Paid Time Off like I have, kind of sucks. I have often gone to work sick to avoid ruining an already planned and pre-paid family vacation. >:-(

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    1. I like the Black History Month idea! I will try to pull something together for next week if I've recovered from all this crap.

      My brother's work has the single PTO category too, for sick days, vacation days, and holidays. I don't know if I would like that any better since, like you say, my vacation plans would then depend on my not getting sick. I'd probably end up planning few vacations just in case I got sick and needed the time. Which, again, is completely unrelated to whether/how well I'm getting my actual work done...

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  5. Sorry to hear you've been sick, Jessica, especially on Mike's birthday!

    I agree, sick time policies can be really senseless. Until recently, employees at my office weren't allowed to use their sick time until the third day of being absent! Can you believe it? It didn't really affect me, since I (knock on wood) don't get sick often, but I felt really sorry for my coworkers who had to either come to work sick or use their vacation time for those first two days.

    I hope you feel better soon and that, like you said, your immune system will be all the stronger...

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    1. That's a pretty weird policy! I dislike policies that have a general sense of "We don't trust our employees to act like adults and make responsible decisions about their time."

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  6. Ahh :( Feel better! Here is a picture of someone with a baby walrus: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8005207138_411059077b_z.jpg

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