Friday, March 30, 2007

The Sick Day

Today I called in sick. Yes, I really am sick. I have been sick a lot this winter. I don't have a lot of symptoms, or at least not very acute ones, but they culminate in feelings of extreme exhaustion. That's how I know I am really sick - I can't seem to get up the energy to do much of anything, even things I enjoy. I know, that sounds like depression, but it's not. After a day or two of rest, I start feeling better. This cycle happened so often this winter that I stopped smoking what few cigarettes I smoked (I went cold turkey from 2-4 cigs a day - big whoop). About the same time, the mild winter turned bitter. I stopped getting sick every couple of weeks, but I don't know if it was from not smoking or because all the germs finally froze to death.

So I've been feeling pretty good, until the cow-orker across the aisle from me started coughing her germs in my direction, and my supervisor kept hanging over the partition between our desks, dropping his germs on me. It was just a matter of time. I found myself clearing the phlegm from the back of my throat a lot, and sneezing, and taking naps when I got home in the late afternoon. I thought about staying home yesterday, but the Big Boss was coming from HQ, trailing a bunch of little bosses with him, so I thought I should show up. There was even a work party last night, at a new bowling alley near my house, but I had to go home first to let the dog out, and once home, that was it, I was not going anywhere.

When the alarm went off this morning, I could tell I felt worse, because I kept drifting off again. My alarm clock has a feature that lets me set the alarm to "chime". This means that instead of making an annoying, obnoxious, sure-to-rouse-one-from-stupor noise, the clock chimes for about five minutes, then stops. About five minutes later, it starts again. So, if you just let it chime, you can drift in and out of sleep for hours. Usually, I get up during the second round of chimes. Even the dog knows this and doesn't start whining until then. But today I kept falling asleep, even during the chiming. After about 30 minutes, I did get up, only because the dog insisted on being fed. I drank some coffee, but I knew I was not going anywhere.

Taking a sick day is like taking a day off from your life. Ordinarily, when I am home, I can't relax because there are all these things I should be doing, or I'm thinking about all the things I will be doing just as soon as x happens. But today I was obviously not up for achieving anything on my to-do list except getting well. So I knitted a little, took a couple of naps, watched a movie, finished reading a book, etc.

I did clean out the junk drawer. I'm not sure why that seemed so important, but it is one of those small tasks, like laundry, that gives one a feeling of accomplishment: I may not have done much today, but at least I cleaned out that drawer that's been bugging me for God knows how long. And I did walk the dog, so the beautiful weather was not totally wasted on us.

And, as God is my witness, I will never be unhealthy again. I will go to bed on time, eat better, exercise more, even meditate. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.


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