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Thursday, April 14, 2011


There are dogs here that I am neglecting, at present.

There is a veritable trove of slightly off-beat films that I haven't watched in years, beckoning to be rediscovered.

There is ceaseless universe of reverse-cowgirl streaming internet pornography.

There is a gigantic, floor-to-ceiling bookshelf positively littered with all manner of literary offerings.

There is a smart phone and a computer and music on radios in the living room and in the kitchen.

There is dusty banjo that could be tuned at a moment's notice, resigned, though, to its fate, leaning helplessly against the window air-conditioning unit in the office.

There is tomato soup in the refrigerator. In all fairness, I'll probably get to that later.

I have to say that I'm more than a bit overwhelmed when I think of all the things I could be doing while at home, sick. If I'm honest with you, I may have been neglecting the books on the shelf, but I did manage to get another sixty-seven pages into Mark Twain's Autobiography, Volume 1. Still, it barely seems like I've made a dent, and his language and his wit are challenging to fathom when your brain feels like it is encased inside some sort of ghoulish Jell-O mold-- which it pretty much is, if you think about it.

I had to put the book down, though, because I am at the part where he is speaking of his daughter, Susy, who died of spinal meningitis when she was 24 years and five months old. And I just can't an elderly father's reminiscenses of his long-lost daughter when I'm not feeling well. It is too much.

On Tuesday, I had every intention of going into work Wednesday, even though I had been feeling ill all afternoon. I laid out my clothes for the next day, I made my lunch, I even put old clothes of ours in a paper bag marked "Donations" for the patients, and set it by the front door so I wouldn't forget it. But, after several hours of thrashing around in bed, simultaneously overheating and freezing to death, my sore throat making swallowing a very undesirable task, I leaned over, at 2:12am, and tapped Mrs. Apron on the shoulder. She jerked her head up, and hit me below the right eye-socket with her head.

"Ow!" I exclaimed.

"What is it?" She demanded.

"I have to call out for tomorrow," I replied hazily.

"Ok," she said, shmushing her head back down into her pillow. I got out of bed and turned on my BlackBerry. It made a ding that indicated some idiot had commented on a Facebook thread that I had commented on, about the movie "In Bruges," which seemed wholly irrelevant and annoying to me at 2:12am. I told the night nurse I was not coming in, and, for good measure, I texted my supervisor, and went back to bed.

Note: I went back to bed, not back to sleep.

There was no sleeping-- not for me, and not for Mrs. Apron. There was thrashing and tossing and the burying of heads beneath pillows and there was dog in between my legs, behind me, resting on my bladder. There was one point in the night where Molly had positioned herself so that she was dead center on my side of the bed, forcing my legs to dangle off the side of the bed, and I stayed like that for probably forty-five minutes, until my bare feet couldn't take the cold anymore. It was one of the worst nights I've passed in a while.

The day hasn't been much better. As a child, I can remember relishing being home sick from school. I stayed in bed all day and I loved it. As a thirty-year-old, I cannot stay in bed. Or in the office chair. Or on the sofa. Or anywhere, for any length of time. There is nothing to do, or at least there is the perception that there is nothing to do, which is powerful enough, and there is nothing in particular that I want to do. Sure, I'm blogging, but that is perfunctory and obligatory-- I'm not getting very much enjoyment out of it right now, sorry to say. The present experience certainly pales in comparison to the times when I stayed home from school as a little boy and took my meals in bed while watching "The Price is Right" on the little white TV brought into my room from the kitchen by my mother.

Just fifteen minutes ago, I actually threw a load of laundry into the wash, because I couldn't think of anything else to do. We'll see if I remember to put it into the dryer, and then if I forget it in the dryer entirely.

The most frustrating thing, perhaps, about being home sick is that I am not enjoying not being at work. I had the day off on Tuesday, and I didn't enjoy that either. Therapy, the dentist, the rain, and then I got sick. I am wracked with guilt over calling out sick, I know my department is going to be short-staffed, I know people were counting on me to do things that I'm not there doing, and I am obsessing over whether I could have slogged myself in, whether I was really sick enough to warrant calling out-- after all, what exactly is the threshold, what are the benchmarks for determining if one is sick enough to call out? I felt much worse, at 2:12am when I called out than, frankly, I do now. But could I have known that when I made the decision to call out?

Life was much simpler when I was a child and my mother made the final determination of I was sick enough to stay home from school. Although I sometimes disagreed with her decision, I at least liked that it wasn't me who was making the call. Because I don't always trust myself. And I rarely enjoy myself.

Even when I'm home sick.


  1. It's interesting to me that you say "calling out to work" versus "calling in to work", which is what most people say (not that it makes it right).

  2. Ahh! I hate it when you comment on someone's FB post and then you receive notifications on your phone each time a total stranger comments on the same post. It's one of FB's major flaws.


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