Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being sick and "wasting" a day lazing about can drive you crazy

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Editorial section

I'm writing this on Sunday and I just spent nearly the entire day on the sofa trying to get rid of a headache. I woke up with it. While I can usually nip an impending headache in the bud with over-the-counter medication, it's not so easy to get rid of one if I wake up with it. Those are usually doozies.

There's nothing wrong with taking the odd sick day here and there. I just hate wasting an entire day lazing on the sofa dozing in and out while the drone of the television lulls me in and out of various levels of grogginess.

I had big plans for today! I was going to read a book for a business book club I want to join. I was going to do a bunch of paperwork, filing, banking and planning. I was going to come up with some grand ideas on how to make more money, dazzle everyone who knows me and generally make the world a better place for you, me and baby animals too!

I can't stand not feeling up to par. I'm sure you know many people who've been sick lately. The flu seems to be going around. Luckily, I've never spent more than a day or two at home sick. I can't imagine not being able to work or live life for an entire week because of illness. The flu that's going around is packing a wallop and bringing everyone to their knees. I feel for people who've had it. I'm glad I haven't and I don't want it.

I'm not superstitious in the least, but I just knocked on wood after writing that. One can never be too careful.

If there's one thing I can't stand is when I visit someone and they didn't bother to tell me before I went over that someone in the household was sick. "Oh, little Jimmy's in bed. He's been sick for a week. We're pretty sure we've seen his soul leave his body a few times. If you hear him cough, just try to ignore it. Oh, and if you see his brains fly out of his mouth while he's coughing, just pick them up and stuff 'em back in."

I don't enjoy being around people who are clearly sick with a contagious illness like the flu or a cold. I just want to scream and run out the door. Luckily, my family is pretty good at that. If someone is sick, we tell each other. "Don't come over, I'm sick." Or if someone has a cold and - for some reason - wants to visit, we just tell them bluntly to stay home. There's no use spreading germs to everyone if you can help it.

My father's now living in a special care home. A sign at the front door bluntly tells visitors to get the heck out (well, not literally) if they have the cold or the flu. I'm paraphrasing, but the sign basically tells those who are not feeling well to come back another time because what may seem like a small annoyance to them could have serious consequences for the home's residents. A bad cold or flu going through a seniors' residence would be a nightmare for everyone involved - residents and staff.

While I've certainly gone to work while suffering from a cold, it's only been because I was in the middle of a huge project or had to meet an important deadline. It wasn't because I thought I was indispensable, that's for sure. No one is. Despite that, I don't enjoy having to deal with people who come to work while they're sick as a dog, but sometimes, you just don't have a choice! If you don't have paid sick leave or are working on a crucial document, sometimes working while you're ill is pretty much mandatory.

It's no fun, though. I've gone to work while being sick and can certainly attest to the fact that I wasn't the least bit productive. It's difficult to concentrate when you're head is about to explode like a volcano. Many of those times, I've tried like a trooper to cope, but just end up going home.

Today, while I was laid out on my sofa like a corpse in a casket, I couldn't help but feel guilty about everything I had to do piling up. I had to desperately catch up on blogging, not to mention write some columns, get some stuff filed and organized, plan for the future and manage the present.

But I guess there's value in just taking a day to laze around in one's pyjamas. At least you get some rest. You get to think. You get to catch up on recorded television shows you've been neglecting. And sometimes, it's just good to turn your brain off and relax. Sometimes, you just don't need to hop out of bed and be showered, shaved and ready for the day before 7 a.m.

Ah, who am I fooling? It drives me crazy to waste a day. I can't stand it. I don't mind taking the odd nap here and there, but this lying around all day doing nothing is a waste of time. All it ended up doing was stressing me out because I didn't get to the pile of work on my desk. Being lazy can be very stressful work.

I'm in good health, generally, so I don't have to worry about this very often. For that, I'm very grateful. Being ill for a long period of time must be horrible. The physical and mental stress must take a terrible toll. I commend those who maintain a positive attitude during periods of long illness. It takes a very strong person to do that.

I only spent one day on the sofa because I didn't feel great. I can't imagine feeling like this every day. If it ever happens, though, that I experience an extended period of convalescence, I hope I can maintain a good attitude.

Being sick is bad enough. Being sick and cranky is just an extra burden on your own psyche and those around you.

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