For the last couple of days I’ve been sick.
I think this is a thing that happens when one spends time around the germ factories that some people call ‘children’. Here I am one minute, healthy as a horse, but the moment I come in to contact with anyone under five years old my immune system just sort of gives up. “We’re understaffed for this,” my white blood cells say to each other, shaking their heads and hanging up their hats. “Peace out.”
So on Tuesday I spent the day at home, bundled up on the futon in Taylor’s office, moaning periodically and feeling generally sorry for myself. I was trying to work from home, but between the waves of nausea and my distractingly sore throat, I was probably just doing more harm than good. I fielded several calls from my assistants and my boss about what to do if X happens, and yes, Y is normal, and don’t forget to do Z by 3:30 or we’ll get angry calls from the ABC office asking where the DEF is. It wasn’t what you would call bed rest, per se, or even any kind of real rest at all.
That evening I took a shower and proceeded to feel even sorrier for myself, if such a thing is possible. I had gone for the Big-Gulp sized serving of self-pity, and I was chugging it down like a champ. Taylor poked his head in the shower to tell me he was making me a cup of tea, and found me near tears.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. My lip wibbled as I half-heartedly shampooed my hair.
“I feel guilty,” I said. “I’ve really needed a day off, and now I’m getting one, but I’m not enjoying it at all, and I’m not even getting very much work done.”
“Wait,” Taylor frowned. “This isn’t a day off. This is a sick day. You’re sick. You shouldn’t be doing work anyway. You just have all kinds of contradictions going on there.”
“I know.” I rinsed the shampoo and pouted mightily. “I’m awful.”
“Get out of the shower,” Taylor said. “Come drink some tea.”
The next morning I didn’t feel any better. In fact, I felt awful. I went to go claim my sicky-spot on Taylor’s futon and opened my laptop again to work from home. By ten, I had received several calls from the office and with everyone I seemed to cough more, sneeze more, and my throat felt like someone had gone down there and set fire to it.
“You know, I think my body’s trying to tell me something,” I said to Taylor.
“Yeah. I think my body just got too stressed and it’s shutting itself down.”
“Can it do that?”
“Maybe? I don’t know. I guess so.”
Taylor went on grading undergraduate engineering projects while I stared blankly at my computer screen. Finally I stood up and shoved my laptop to the side.
“I’m going to go watch X-Files,” I announced. “I’m not doing anymore work today.”
“Okay,” Taylor said.
I went and flumped down on the couch, turned on Netflix, and spent the next six hours laying there and watching Scully and Mulder go to backwoods towns and convince people that there were werebears afoot or whatever.
After an hour, I was coughing less.
After two, my throat was feeling better.
After three, my sinus headache was starting to clear.
After four, I was sitting up and occasionally bounding back to Taylor’s office to see how his grading was going.
By the end of the evening, I felt like a human being again, rather than a wad of kleenex and snot. I went to bed with the assumption that I’d be coming to work this morning, and a rejuvenated feeling of enthusiasm for life and general physical adequacy.
Today I am sniffly, yet optimistic.
I guess sometimes we just need a break.