Sick days: How does that work now?

fluWell, I’m sick.  It’s nothing serious … just a horrid cold.  Several weeks ago – just before Freida was born – I thought I was coming down with a cold.  Not long ago David and I discovered Zicam and it has helped us (we think … don’t burst our illusion please) avert many a sniffle.  I managed to hold the cold at bay for a while (okay … so maybe the cold I have now is a different one altogether; just humour me here – after all, I’m sick!) but last Friday it finally arrived.  It came with great fury; nose dripping, sneezing, aches and pains, snorting … all of those things that make us so beautiful when we’re under the weather.  

The weekend went by with me doing almost nothing.  Alright, those who know me know that my “nothing” and the generic understandingsweaters-for-nili-and-freida2 of “nothing” might be different!  Saturday I spent in bed.  I’ve just returned to knitting – something I’ve done little of for the past 10 or so years – and I’m working on matching sweaters for Nili and Freida.  I’m making them both in black.  Cool huh?  By the way, Knitting Pure and Simple is a great website.   It’s quite a challenge because these sweaters are done on a circular needle which is fairly new territory for me.  Anyhow – Nili’s sweater is now almost done … thanks to this cold I guess.  

Monday was a busier day.  Still feeling as if a truck was practising manoevers on my chest I had some things to do.  I was out the door by 8:45 because I had to get an injection of something radioactive so that we could do a bone scan of my right foot which has been hurting me a lot lately.  Maybe it’s just another aging thing but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go quietly into this arthritis business.  I was home by around 3 o’clock and back to bed … and knitting.  I actually had an emergency call from the Red Cross but wasn’t able to respond quickly enough … hopefully next time I’ll be more “on the ball”.

When I woke up this morning I felt a bit more human but definitely nothing even close to 100%.  I’ve taken care of a few phone calls (setting meetings for things I’d like to do … later in the week though), done some more knitting (I’m on the 2nd sleeve now and then Nili’s sweater will be pretty much done), reviewed a proposal from a Grad student I’m working with (this is a great joy in my life really), taken care of some emails, and enjoyed not one but two cups of coffee brought to me in bed by my sweetheart.  

Here’s the thing.  As a teacher I had 20 days/year sick leave.  That might seem like a lot to those of you who haven’t been teachers, but when you think about the reality of the environment in which teachers work it isn’t so much after all.  There are problems, of course, with the whole notion of entitlement to sick leave and that’s an issue for another long and likely heated discussion.  In my years at the Ministry I still had sick leave but in a different way:  now it was only 6 days/year at full pay and then another 124 days at 75% pay.  With the board I could cash in unused sick time when I left (yes, this is a really stupid idea) but not with the Ministry.

Anyhow, the notion – when I had a paying job – was that being sick was legitimate.  You still got paid.  You weren’t thought of as in any way abrogating responsibility.  You were sick.  Said and done.  

It’s different now.  Somehow I feel guilty for just staying in bed (ergo the overdrive knitting) and doing little.  I guess because I’m already dealing with some level of guilt for not working, taking this to a new height (depth?) is making me squirm.  At the best of times I don’t feel like I’m making a sufficient contribution to the world since I’ve retired.  In a feverish haze I’m feeling even worse about this.

Any thoughts about this?  Any wisdom to share?

While I wait to get your suggestions I think I’ll warm up another cup of chicken soup.


2 responses to “Sick days: How does that work now?

  1. I guess I could have warned you about the sickness guilt. While you are on paid sick leave it is your duty to stay in bed and do a good job of getting well, to concentrate on the nuturing, caring of oneself so you can return to your employment quickly. It is different now isn’t it?
    I have a friend whose advice is to NEVER get fully dressed on the first day you think you feel better then at least in your house-coat, dressing gown or what-ever you will not be tempted to run down the street for shopping or a meeting: you won’t even venture out of the front door. It works for her.

  2. Please read that as nurturing and I can’t believe I didn’t say I hope you are feeling much better.
    Take good care of yourself, you are special.

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