Friday, December 01, 2006


I'm sick.

Not sick over world hunger and famine, or sick over a Yankees' free-agent acquisition. Sick as in cough cough, sneeze sneeze.

Luckily, I don't get sick very often. I attribute this to the fact that I don't work with many people, and I don't have any children. So I don't pick up any bugs from the office or Johnny's school very often. Teachers spend the winter sneezing; usually I'm the one usually dodging such problems.

This time, though, I wasn't so lucky. I came home from a Thanksgiving trip to Tampa with the chills -- I either blame Mom or the airplane, which is a great place to pass germs around -- and haven't felt great since. In fact, I've had three straight nights of waking up frequently with a coughing fit (which means a trip to the bathroom), to the point where I fled the bedroom for the sanctuary of a reclining chair in order to sit up while trying to sleep and letting my wife sleep in peace. I know, darn considerate of me.

Here's the tough part of about getting sick: What exactly are the rules anyway? They seem to be a little unclear, and I can't find them published anywhere.

Rule one is you don't miss work, at least in my circumstance. Some jobs have daily deadlines or no extra people, and I have one of those jobs. Which means that if there's a small doubt that you should go to work, you should still go to work. But where's the line? Of course it's better to miss a day or two rather than infect an entire building, but sometimes the only thing matters is that night. From that night's perspective.

Then again, no one likes to sit next to a sick person at work. You've done it. I've done it. I used to work with a person who, when sick, made all sorts of disgusting noises in the coughing/spitting family. It was torture to sit next to the person for eight hours. I don't want to have other people thinking those thoughts about me. Add in the threat of picking up or giving the bug to someone. But -- the night's work needs to be done. So, what to do?

Rule two is you don't call the doctor. Unless you're sure you have to do so. But when are you sure? Answer is, you usually aren't. So you don't. If you can physically call the doctor, you probably don't need to do so. With some exceptions.

Rule three is people who are sick always think they are bravely coping with the disease. Onlookers always consider that same behavior as evidence that a "big baby" has entered the room. It never fails. You answer the question "How are you?" honestly ("Mediocre"), and you're a big baby. The great thing is, people fall into those roles without any hesitation no matter how they act when they are on the other side of the fence.

I'd argue about where the rules should be, but I'm not in the mood.

After all, I'm sick.

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