I could feel it coming on for a couple of days. Finally it hit yesterday afternoon and there was no mistaking it. I was sick.
Last night I tossed and turned and didn’t get a restful sleep. Instead I got mini-catnaps which produced a weird blend of reality and dream world. Thanks to my Blockbuster.com membership, the last thing I watched before going to bed was season one of Castle. I remember one brief dream which involved Richard Castle. For some reason, instead of being his romantic counterpart (I could totally be a Beckett), I was his daughter. I’m only two years younger than Nathan Fillion so I’m not even going to try and delve into my subconscious and figure out the interpretation of the dream. I woke briefly and drifted into another restless sleep. This dream involved my intense, irrational fear number two. It was “Can’t get enough of Titanic” on AMC this past weekend and in my dream I found myself on the doomed ocean-liner. Again, not as the romantic lead.
Needless to say, it was a long, long night. Close to the early morning hours, I decided there was no way I was going to make it in to work. Which meant, I’d have to call in sick.
I hate calling in sick. Maybe it’s the way I was raised. If any of my siblings or I missed school by playing the sick card, we were banished to our room for the day. This was in the days before there was a tv in every bedroom. Definitely no wii or even its predecessor the Atari. No computer or anything to entertain us. A treat was when I got to sit out in the basement living room watching tv. We definitely didn’t leave the house when we were sick. People who let their children stay home from school and were spotted at the mall later that day, well, those people just didn’t understand how to raise children.
So, I do not take sick days lightly. There’s always a mental test I perform in my head before making the call. Am I really sick? Would I mind staying in bed all day? Am I just trying to get out of something at work?
If I pass the test, the next hurdle comes along. When should I make the call? Do I call early while my boss is still at home and interrupt her morning? Can I leave a message with the clerical staff in front?
Once the timing of the call is decided, the actual call itself is a problem. I try to use a “sick voice” when I call. One that is hoarse and raspy is best. I plan out exactly what I’m going to say. Too much small talk seems to indicate I’m not actually sick. One that barely makes sense is best. Then I can laugh about it with my boss the next day with a comment like, “I was so sick, I didn’t even know what I was saying.”
After the call is made, I wait for proof I did the right thing. Some kind of symptom that demonstrates I made the right choice. If that symptom never comes, it drags into a long day of second guessing myself. If that symptom does come, then I get to spend the day being sick. Bemoaning my fate and wondering if my number is up because in the history of human suffering no person has ever suffered as much as I do with the flu. Those are the days I actually wish I was at work. Now, that’s the sign of a true sick day.