Tag Archives: sick

Maybe I’ll call in sick

I’m taking the day off. I’m going to call in to work and be like, “Sorry boss, I’m feeling pretty under the weather today,” and he’ll cut me off, he’ll be like, “You know Rob, if you can’t get your shift covered, well, you better bring a doctor’s note is all that I’m saying,” trying to discourage me from taking a personal day. But that’s OK, my wife’s aunt is a doctor, I could always just put a pinch of black pepper up my nose, and then I’ll call her up and be like, “Achoo! Oh my God! I’m so sick! My boss said if I can’t get a doctor’s note then I have to show up for work!”

And I know my wife’s aunt, she’ll get really worried, she’ll be like, “You know Rob, that sneeze actually sounds pretty serious. I’d like you to stop by my office in an hour,” and I’ll have already regretted calling her. Why wouldn’t I have thought this through before actually picking up the phone? I’ll try, “You know, I think I’m OK. I know my body, I just have to rest this one out, please,” and she’ll protest, “No, Rob, I’m actually very concerned.”

So, what, that’s not that terrible, is it? Getting to the doctor’s office? I’d still have most of the day to myself. Even though, yeah, I had really intended for this day to include me staying asleep, but now I’d be up, I’d have already taken a shower and brushed my teeth. I’ll think to myself, this actually isn’t that bad, I’m a lot less tired than I was before. Maybe I should just go to work.

But no, the call to my boss, I’ll have already involved my wife’s aunt. I’d have to go to the doctor. And I’ll get there much later than expected, by the time I actually make my way into the office, sneak into the bathroom to apply some more black pepper, realize that my nose must have developed a black pepper immunity since the morning, kind of panic seeing as how I’d have to sit down in the exam room, totally healthy, making up a bunch of vague sounding symptoms to which the doctor would kind of just look at me puzzled, trying her best to act sympathetic, but doing a terrible job at hiding the belief that maybe, probably, this guy is just faking it, like what kind of an adult does something like this, how did my niece wind up with this clown, but still, she’s family, and so she’ll prescribe me a bunch of antibiotics, sending me on my way, me having to remind her a bunch of times about that note, the only thing I’d really be there for, that doctor’s note, by the time all of that would be over, it would be way past lunchtime, I’d be starving.

And then traffic on the way back would be much worse than it was coming in, it’s always that way, and now, what, do I really have to go to the pharmacy and pick up a bunch of medication that I don’t need in the first place? It might not be a bad idea to have some on hand, in case I really do get sick. Like, I’m not stupid enough to self-diagnose everything. But I know what strep throat feels like. Why spend a whole day going to a doctor when I could just get started on that Z-Pac? But my cavalier attitude toward popping pills will alter my body’s microbiome, my system will develop antibodies so that, when I’m an old man, if I ever get pneumonia or whooping cough, none of the medication will work and I’ll die.

By the time I’ll have snapped out of my daydream, I’ll think, man, I should have just gone to work. This whole day off has been a total bust. And I’ll show up the next day and my boss will be standing there with his hand out for the doctor’s note. He’ll look at it and say, “Hey Rob, this doctor’s note says that you went to the doctor because you weren’t feeling well, and that she prescribed you antibiotics. That’s it.” And I’ll say, “Yeah? What else are you looking for?” And he’ll tell me, “Oh I don’t know, maybe a diagnosis, maybe confirmation that you were actually sick?”

And I’ll have no choice but to feign indignant, like, “What are you, a health care practitioner? I was sick. I went to the doctor. Now I’m feeling better.” Which is true, my boss shouldn’t really cross into my medical history, but he’s clever, he’ll be like, “All right, well let me see your antibiotics.” And I’ll realize, shit, I’m not taking those meds for real. I left them at home. I’ll call his bluff, “Fine!” and then make a big show of looking everywhere, pretending like I must have lost them, asking people if they’ve seen a pill bottle anywhere.

But my boss will get in my face, he’ll be like, “I’m writing you up.” And despite my protests, “But! Come on!” he’ll walk away, “You try anything like this again and you’re out.” Most likely I’d get really sick like a week later, for real, and instead of going through the proper channels, doctor, medicine, stuff like that, I’ll have already used my sick excuse for the year, and I’ll have to tough it out, work while I’m sick. Maybe I’ll develop an infection. Maybe I won’t make it. I probably won’t. I should probably just go to work. But I really don’t feel like going in today. Maybe I could make up a death in the family. Nobody close, just a distant cousin. One of my in-laws. A distant in-law. Someone close enough that I’d have to go to the funeral, but distant enough so that nobody at work would feel obliged to say stuff like, “Sorry for your loss Rob,” and I’d have to fake it, “Yeah … thanks …”

Good evening, ladies and germs

I don’t understand why viruses and bacteria and diseases always have to make us sick. Best case scenario, they lay dormant in your system for years not doing anything, just waiting for you to spread them to someone else, another more susceptible host body with a weaker immune system, one where they might get to do some actual damage. Worst case scenario, it’s Ebola, and an hour after you get infected, your intestines start swelling up and bleeding and then they start trying to escape from you’re your body all while the rest of your organs start to fail at the same time. Or, even worse worst case scenario, it’s that disease from that M. Night Shyamalan movie where everyone starts killing themselves, and then you realized that you just wasted fifteen dollars on the worst movie that you’ve ever seen in your life, and so you feel the same suicidal urges that the people feel in the movie, and you really can’t shake it for a while.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if, instead of getting sick, diseases could make us even stronger? Wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of like a SARS pandemic or an avian flu that threatened to wipe out half the population, we could have a disease where you gained the ability to run really fast for a while? Or maybe a little super strength? Maybe a fever where instead of running a temperature, you just got really happy for a while and food tasted even better?

If that were the case I’d say, please, let me get sick. Can’t we make these types of diseases a reality? Don’t we have the technology to bioengineer whatever type of simple-celled organism that we can imagine? I’m thinking up a microscopic worm populating my insides and, whenever I drink alcohol, they clean up all the nasty parts of the booze so that way I never get a hangover.

But then if getting sick turned into a good thing, we would lose our ability to take sick days, which would kind of suck, unless you could get some sort of flu that made going to work a really enjoyable experience. Or, if these types of good bugs start going around with enough regularity, then we could all be sick for a majority of our lives, and instead of taking sick days, we could just call out from work on the rare occasion where we’d be completely healthy, and we’d call those regular days, or healthy days, and your boss would give you five or six of them a year, and if you got to the end of the year, you might pretend like you’re not sick, even though you would be, but the regular days don’t carry over and, you might as well use them up, right? I mean, you’re getting paid for them whether you use them or not.

From a single-celled organism’s point of view, I don’t really understand the whole concept of infecting a host body and making him or her sick. You make enough people sick and all of the sudden doctors and scientists have to get involved. The next thing you know, there’s new medicines, public health awareness campaigns, and eventual eradication. Look at smallpox. You get enough people really, really sick, and some genius scientists goes ahead and discovers the vaccine. And now it’s gone. I’ve got to tell you smallpox, from an evolutionary point of view, you picked the wrong species to piss off. Maybe that whole oozing, bleeding, covered in deadly sores thing works on a bunch of gorillas, but humans are way too smart to let that kind of stuff go unnoticed. Or we used to be, anyway. Polio, smallpox, measles … all gone. But we haven’t made any new vaccine in a while. I’m looking at you, malaria, dengue, and AIDS.

Isn’t the whole point of any species or microorganism to be fruitful and multiply? How fruitful can you be if you just make everyone sick? Everyone’s just going to get annoyed and then they’ll take medicines and wipe it out. And what’s the end game? If you make something sick enough, eventually it’s going to die, and then, as a disease, you’re going to die too. The whole point of disease should be to make things better, a mutually advantageous situation.

It’s like if somebody comes over your house and just starts spitting on the floor, you’re going to ask them to stop. If they don’t stop, if they listen to your request and then, not only do they not stop spitting, but then they start going through your kitchen cabinets and breaking all the plates, and not even just the regular plates, but like the fine china and your grandma’s collection of antique teacups, you’re probably going to ask them to leave. But if you have a houseguest that doesn’t talk much and stays out of the way and also starts cleaning the bathroom and painting the walls with a fresh color that you wouldn’t have thought of by yourself but it really works, it really just makes the room pop, well then you might be less inclined to say anything if you happen to see them unroll a sleeping bag and start living in the basement, waiting for you to finish your dinner and then eating all of the scraps. If I were a disease, I would want the host body in which I live in to not only not mind my presence, I’d want it to be glad that I was there.

Also, if germs were good for you, then I wouldn’t have to worry about not washing my hands after I go to the bathroom, or not licking the poles on the subway, which, I always see these moms telling their little kids not to do, but it’s really hard to stop a two-year-old from doing something he or she doesn’t want to do, and so the mom’s either got to physically restrain the little kid, which might result in a crying screaming mess, or, she’ll just have to tell the kid to knock it off every once in a while, to give the appearance to everyone else that she’s doing her job, that she’s on top of the licking, but she’ll really just be ignoring it for most of the time because, honestly, this kid is way too much work, and if the kid wants to lick the subway pole, whatever, because if he’s not licking the subway pole he’s just got his hands all the way in his mouth, and then he grabs the pole and then puts his slimy, wet hands right back into his mouth anyway, and so, whatever, just ten minutes of peace, please, just five minutes of no screaming, please.