Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Should I Really Be at Work Today?

So here is the dilemma of health care workers since time began: "Should I come to work when I'm sick?" You would think that would be a no-brainer, but alas it is not. On one hand, we understand very clearly that when we have fever we are probably contagious with whatever is causing the fever. Our patients are already immunosuppressed and something as minor as a cold can throw them into a tailspin. There is also the obvious fact that we would feel better if we just stayed home and pampered ourselves and be more effective at work, sooner. But there is always the other hand, and on that hand we have policies and procedures and time off with and without pay. If you call in, you are penalized (like you actually got sick on purpose just throw the whole system off). But if you come to work with a fever then you get fussed at for not staying home. It's a Catch-22.

The sick leave policy should be more flexible and generous for health care providers. If you work in an office setting where you are more or less isolated to your desk or a certain area, you could feasibly confine your germs to one area with the generous use of Purell, Lysol and anti-bacterial soap. And even if you gave someone the sniffles, it wouldn't cause them to be admitted to the hospital or affect their immune system. Now before someone posts a comment about how everyone should be entitled and able to stay home when they are sick, no matter where they work...I completely agree. But we work in very close contact with our customers and while I might feel alright to go to work with a fever, I probably shouldn't.

So, the point of that whole tirade was that I feel like I've been run over by a train. I started feeling bad yesterday afternoon, it got progressively worse throughout the evening and culminated with a fever and a sinus headache that I couldn't get rid of all night. So here I am....fever under control by way of copious amounts of Ibuprofen, sitting at work. I feel terrible and want to go home, but I don't want to be THAT person. You know the type....they call in or go home at the drop of a hat and leave the work for everyone else. Plus I need to save my time off for when Trevor goes to China in a week or so in case the kids get sick. OK....the whining is over--for now. It's just a pet peeve of mine that the one industry that you would think would be understanding of illness, isn't. Not even a little bit. Now this is not a reflection on my boss....I do not catch any flack from her about calling in, etc. But she still has to follow the rules and tally up the number of days I call in or leave early. (I guess the whining wasn't completely over yet).

The nice thing about feeling awful last night was that Trevor took really good care of me. Now, that's not to say that he is a stump when I'm feeling good, but he went above and beyond last night. He got me a drink and then he got me medicine and then he rubbed my shoulders and neck.....and then he did it all over again. He was so attentive and sweet...he even kept the kids away from me for the most part so I could rest. I was laying there in misery on the couch, but thinking how lucky I was to have a husband like him. Sickness and in health. No matter what the circumstance, you should always be able to find the good in it. He made that easy to do last night, and I thank him for it and I thank God for giving him to me.

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