Being Sick is Bitch

This past week has not been fun. I got sick on the first week of school and I’m the one who winds up playing hooky, partly because I felt horrible and partly because I didn’t want to be “incubus of the viral plague.” I had to call two schools to report absences, and I showed up to the Thursday night class only because it was the first night and I wanted to see who was present and wanted to crash. The session went on a little longer than I wanted due to some student questions. On some level, teaching is theater and I think my students had a perverse desire to see me die in front of them. Maybe not, but I can’t help thinking it as my voice rapidly deteriorated that night.

I’ve been resting and doing what you’re supposed to do when you have a cold: drink plenty of fluids. I have also been taking Airborne like candy, a habit that will stick around when I’m better.

People who work in public spaces like schools run the risk of getting all kinds of nasty bugs. I wonder how many times I was in college that I picked up some cold or flu from a fellow student or some super-sick prof. There was also the grocery store I worked for all through my college days and lots of people showed up sick and suffering. When I was in graduate school, I tutored students, which provided a one on one risk factor. I wonder how much of this could have been avoided if people helped themselves and others by not calling in sick when they’ve come down with the cold, especially early on.

I’m sure it’s worse in office settings, where people often have to be in the same room with each other for 8+ hours a day. Somehow, I don’t think cubicle walls provide that much protection. I could go on and on about the evils of the cubicle, but that would be getting off-topic.

I wonder how much germs get passed around in religious settings. When I was in a small evangelical church in my early twenties, people got sick all the time. When someone came down with a common cold or flu, they didn’t stay home on Sunday morning. They showed up and gave a whole new definition to communion with a gift that keeps on giving. Speaking of communion, I occasionally wonder if I’ll catch something drinking the wine during Episcopal services. I’ve been told that the chalices are made of silver and thus germ proof. I’ll take their word for it, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking about it every time I’ve gone up to receive the bread and wine.

I’ll get some rest soon. At least the worst is over.

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