Today I’m staying home from work. I’m staying home from work because my oldest daughter is sick. She had a stomach ache and nausea last night after dinner, and she woke up with those two symptoms, and a headache and sore throat on top of that. It sucks, for her, of course, but also for me. As a father, I hate seeing my children suffering. Nonetheless, here I am.
The worst thing about it, other than my daughter’s discomfort, is that this is a bad time to be away from work for me. Next week is the paper mill’s annual maintenance down, and I have a million and seven things to do yet to prepare. So, I suppose I’ll have to take my lumps on Monday and hustle my big bum around the mill.
But, since I’m home, I figured it’d be a good time to write a post or two on this here blog before the dust gets too thick upon it.
Anyway, my daughter’s sick day got me to thinking – I hated to stay home from school when I was sick. I would much rather suck it up and get through the day so I wouldn’t get behind in my work. This habit has followed me into adulthood. I don’t like taking sick days. I’d rather go to work and get something done, even if it is only half my usual work output, than stay home feeling like sorry for myself. Maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s my work ethic, or maybe it’s subconscious masochism, but I have to do whatever work I have on my plate.
This reminds me of one day in high school. For a couple of weeks, I had been feeling like garbage – fever, headache, sore throat, drained of energy, you get the idea. My muscles ached! I had a hard time walking, picking up my backpack, heck – even holding up my head. One thing that I had never felt before this time, though, was my eye muscles. Well, the muscles that you use to move your eyes up, down, left and right. Even those muscles ached. I had never even given those muscles a second thought. But, I couldn’t ignore them now, not when even they were screaming at me for using them.
One event in particular I recall about this time was when I was talking to my friend Quigs in school. I told him about how crappy I was feeling, and explained to him how even my eyes were hurting. “What? That doesn’t even make any sense,” he laughed. “Well, if I move my eyes up, down, left, right, the muscles hurt,” I explained. “So, if I hold your head steady,” he said, mimicking with his hands how he would hold my head, “then say, ‘Hey, Mark, look over there,’ then you would be in pain?” “Yeah, Quigs, that’s right,” I answered. He laughed about it, and, I have to day, so did I. Granted, the laughing hurt, but I wasn’t going to let pain stop me from enjoying myself.
So, I guess that’s another habit I carried with me into adulthood – I ignore my pain and discomfort, and just plug along. Maybe it’s not the best thing to do. Oh, well.
So, how about you? Do you force yourself through work or school when you’re sick? Or do you take the day off to rest and get better?
I have never minded staying home sick. I love to do close to nothing anyway!
However, in a professional setting, if someone who works for me is sick, I will throw them out of the office to go home. I do not want you in the office when you’re sick. Granted, we might get at least *something* out of you, but you’re likely to communicate your illness to your fellow workers, and then even their output will be compromised.
I once worked at a company where the entire engineering staff ended up sick for weeks because one guy didn’t take a day or two off when he was sick. We lost, in aggregate, about four man-weeks instead of 2 man-days we would have lost had he stayed home. It’s not sound business sense to go to work sick. I wish every company got on board and didn’t track sick time.