I somehow felt driven to go to work yesterday — even though I felt illness coming on strong. Hours later, as I slowly scrolled through the documents I’m due to collate comments on, I seriously questioned my being there. The intent of my review was to familiarize myself with each of the nine documents so that when comments and edits came rolling in (at the ninth hour of course) I’d be able to quickly navigate though the documents and incorporate them all in a timely manner. But I could not concentrate.
In addition to feeling like my desk has been plopped down in the middle of a call center, the coughing and having to get up for more warm water (or to pee) thoroughly distracted me from my goal. I’d read and reread the documents, searching for my place. What was the point of my being there?
The mere fact that the culture I work in is compelled to come into the office in both sickness and in health has always maddened me. “Go home!,” I would tell them, “I don’t want what you have.” Yet here I was, in the office just because I felt like I wasn’t sick enough to justify a sick day — especially when the boss said she’d hardly heard me coughing. It made no sense.
During lunch, instead of joining the masses for the bi-weekly lunch, I grabbed my food and ate at my desk. I wished I’d had the energy to run but knew it would just push me over the edge. Although I was better in the quiet, this extra hour of work only served to wear me out even further. No surprise. I’ve always believed that walking away from my work mid-day helps to reset my mind for better efficiency and concentration. Generally, my body needs movement as well.
Not until I was leaving did I feel even remotely “sick enough” to be home. I grabbed my keys and said good-night to my colleague, murmuring “I’m taking my germs home now.” Much to my surprise, I heard a loud “GOOD!” come from her cube. Then I began to wonder if my perception of the cultural expectation to be seen in the office regardless of your health status was accurate. Perhaps I was still in denial that I was indeed sick.
Today, there is no denying that I am indeed sick. I will NOT be going to the office. I feel it is needed, if only to be able to cough as hard as required to get this gunk moved out. Since I’m here in bed, I may as well take a really long nap too.