Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sick Leave

     I'm finding that keeping up with this blog is a challenge for me, but I'm off the hook for the past two weeks. I've been sick. Really sick. Stay-home-from-work sick. Not-even-going-through-the-mail sick. And for two whole weeks! I've never been that sick for that long in my life. I'm usually pretty healthy, and for almost 29 years I've rarely succumbed to the various germs and viruses that circulate in the public school where I work, but wherever this one came from, it got me.

     It was a weird illness from the beginning. I can tell you almost exactly when it started: Robin and I were visiting my dad on Sunday afternoon, May 1st. We had finished lunch and dishes and were sitting in the family room. I was going through the grocery coupons that Dad faithfully saves from the newspaper for me. It was probably 2:30 or 3:00 when my throat started hurting. Not much, just a little soreness when I swallowed. I didn't give it much thought, figuring it would soon go away. Little did I know! By Monday morning I was coughing and felt terrible, achy all over. So, with plenty of sick leave built up at work, I did that thing that I almost never do. I called in sick. I stayed in the recliner all day, tending only to the new puppy as necessary. Tuesday morning came, and I did feel a little better and had no fever, so off to school I went. Shouldn't have done that. By evening I was full of congestion in my nose and chest, which thankfully, was loose and flowed freely. But I was definitely not pleasant to be around, and my cough sounded like I'd been a chain smoker all my life. And my throat was so terribly sore.

     Thus began my odyssey into what the doctor called a "monster virus." Apparently I had all the symptoms: severe sore throat, congestion, low-grade fever, extreme fatigue. When he said it would take 14-21 days to get over it, I didn't really believe him. After all, I'm the healthy one! But sadly, he was right. The mail piled up, along with the dirt on the floor. Dishes were left in the sink for someone else, that would be Robin, to wash. The necessary load of dirty underwear and socks got done, by the hardest. I always thought that if I ever got to stay home sick, at least I could read...not so. Almost no TV either. Interestingly (and thankfully) enough, there was no nausea and no headache to speak of. If you asked me what hurt, other than my throat, I couldn't have told you. But I was sick. Sick, sick, sick. Every night I went to bed thinking, "Tomorrow I'll feel better." Every morning I got up and found out I didn't.

     Oddly enough, one thing kept bubbling up to my conscienceness: I missed my mom. She's been dead almost two years now, but while I was so sick, I missed having a mommy.  Her passing left a big void in my heart, but I felt it while I was sick like never before. No matter how grown up we get, we're always a child in our mother's eyes, and mothers take care of their sick children. And I no longer had a mommy to worry about and take care of me. It was a lonely feeling.

     Finally, after 13 days, I truly did start to feel better. Today is day 15, and other than tiring easily and an annoying cough, I'm pretty much back to normal. I'm headed back to school tomorrow. I'm sure there will be a mountain of work to wade through, but I'll be well enough to tackle it. There's that sweet life peeking through: I may have been sick, but I'm better! Some people don't get better, don't ever feel good. And so I'm counting my blessings this evening. I'm back among the land of the living, and that's sweet indeed.

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