Friday, January 25, 2013

From Hamlet to Zombies - Sick Days

To write or not to write, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to appear more than human in powering through virus or bacteria, or to admit mortality in the face of such tiny invaders and to wilt, thereby defeating them.

Enough with butchering Shakespeare. The wisdom of sick days is in the eyes (and constitution) of the ailing. Some people can work through just about anything. I’m not one of them.

Pain? No problem. I cannot work through having my mental capacity impaired. Most illnesses only kick me in the teeth for a day then linger for a few more. I can usually get at least a partial word count out of that. Some bugs come along, though, and grab hold of my brain. This is a real thing. Pick up a copy of The Great Influenza for evidence. A flu virus at the end of WW I set the stage for WW II, all because the virus didn’t just infect the body of the US president negotiating the truce. It crossed the blood/brain barrier and infected his brain, leading to a treaty being signed that he’d been opposed to signing.

It’s a rare cold or flu that turns my brain to goo, but when one does, I am down for the count. There will be zero word count. There will be bad TV, tea, soup, and likely, an odd-tasting Chinese Herbal medicine to drink. I’ll always drink them, though, because those herbs kick viral backside and I get to work much faster.

My real problem, one I haven’t found a way around, yet, is migraines. They are the single reason I lose the most days per year of work. They are a perfect storm of neurological impairment and blinding pain that manifests as mental impairment. Sometimes, the blind part is 100% true. No writing through what amounts to an electrical storm in the brain. I have yet to find a way to push language and coherent thought through a migraine in order to muscle out word count. My best coping mechanism is to take my meds, go to bed, and get back at it when I wake.

Most of the time, this works out just fine. Now that I’m on deadline (and this is a migraine night – for the forensically minded, you might be able to detect a pattern by comparing my posts over time – I secretly suspect I make less sense and that posts written under the influence of migraine jump around) if I need to fold up shop early because of a migraine, I make up the word count on the weekend. My deadlines are figured without me working weekends. That allows for make ups as needed. It also allows me to remain married and acquainted with my family.

For the record, I’m not in favor of powering through your body's signals to rest. It doesn’t make you tough or virtuous. It makes you deaf to your body's ability to heal itself. Besides, if you’re going out in public while you’re sick, you're not taking your responsibility for preventing the zombie apocalypse at all seriously. Do you really want the CDC to identify you as patient zero? Oh. Wait. I guess if you were patient zero, you won’t care. You’ll be strolling the ruined remains of civilization looking for a tasty snack of brains.
From messing up Hamlet to zombies in one post. Do I win?


  1. I bow down to you! Last paragraph says exactly how I look at it as well.
    And Yay for zombies!

    1. For your edification, January 27 is Zombie Apocalypse day in my neighborhood. Seriously. It was in the paper. (Disaster preparedness at the local community center...)