Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sick Days

I don’t get sick often (thank God), and therefore I rarely miss work due to an illness. I like to brag that my immune system is not easily penetrated, but like Achilles, everyone has a weak spot, a chink in the armor where viruses can get through.

Today (Sunday) I stayed home from church because I wasn’t feeling well. I have one of those colds that began without much fanfare. Earlier in the week I had an extra sneeze or two, then a cold-sore began to develop the next day which was followed with a couple coughs, a series of sniffles, itchy and irritated eyes, scratchy, sore throat, a headache and general irritability (a picture of health). All this can take several days until the full blunt of the invasion is felt, which for me was Sunday morning.

When I began to notice some change in my health earlier in the week, questions came to mind: Am I too sick to play with my grandson’s? A few sniffles and a controlled cough – I’m fine. Should I stay home from a party because I don’t feel well? No, it’s just a tickle in my throat – nothing to worry about.

By Sunday morning my cough was uncontrollable, and I had no desire to see anyone or leave the house. My wife went to church by herself, where she made my apologies and perhaps said a prayer for my well-being.  I was left home to suffer on my own.

I started a fire in the wood stove to warm the house and myself, read some newspapers, fooled with the fire and felt sorry for myself. For me, being sick can be a very self-centered experience. I began to wonder who got me sick. It’s never a question of just getting sick on my own – someone must be held responsible. I considered refraining from any future physical contact with almost everyone outside my family; the handshake would be replaced with a hearty fist-bump, high-fives with a knowing nod, and hugs with a wink and a smile.

Throughout the morning I come to the realization that I may never be well again. In fact I barely remember what’s it like to be one hundred per cent healthy. I have no motivation to do anything. I should practice my banjo, but I don’t feel like it. Actually, I don’t feel like doing anything; I drink some water, but not too much as I can’t remember whether it’s drown a cold and water a fever or something else like that.

About the only thing I can do is write this silly commentary about being sick at home – and perhaps I should have waited on that too, but the deadline looms and Monday comes whether I like it or not.

I’m not completely sure, but I think I am past the age (or stage) when I will use almost any excuse to get out of doing something like going to church or work. No one has adequately explained to me the number of sick days a self-employed person is allotted, so I suppose that’s part of the reason I rarely miss work.

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