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Monday, January 29, 2007

Toughing it out: not for the squeemish 

I'm sick. I have what a person we'll identify as TL - not because he's at innocent but because his actual initials are kinda amusing in my medicated states - called "something in the lungs, sinus, and spirit." In my case it is more aptly called a "vile affliction of the lungs and soul."

I was getting better, I thought, on Friday (the deep, wet cough appeared Thursday morning), but Saturday night brought a shallower, wheezing cough and the fever. NSAIDs have pretty much no effect on me, and I worry about immune suppression so I don't take them anyways (I just load up on vitamin C, zinc, salt gargles and other likely placebos). Fine, I got a good rest Saturday night, but woke Sunday to little improvement.

I felt better that evening, but decided to go to bed early (9:00) to shake the last bit off. Sleep would not come. The fever intensified, and I sweat like hell all night, even after the Tylenol PM I took at 3 AM kicked in. I woke this morning with the fever and cough and aches intact.

But did I skip class? Did I ask for an extension on any of my millions of assignments due this week? Of course not. Because I am stupid. Like millions of others, especially in the US. That (besides the need utilize the boyfriend substitute quality of the internets for ranting purposes) is the point of today's rant.

Our culture is to the point where, even if you have them, taking sick days is viewed as weakness, laziness, or irresponsibility. Taking sick leave can get you passed over on interesting projects, promotions, etc. And that's if you have any at all, which apparently 47% of Americans don't.

At my last job,our sick, vacation, and personal leave came from the same (14 day per year) pool. If you got sick, you kissed that second honeymoon, visit to grandmother, or mental health roadtrip goodbye. Needless to say, no it was rare anybody called in sick, unless it was something spectacular - putting everyone's health at risk, and driving up the costs of our care.

This needs to be a priority in any political party's health reform platform. /Rant.

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