Shabbat Shalom Week 14: The Sickness Unto Work

I’ve been sick as hell all week. I’m pulling out of it just as my mate is going under, so this Shabbos is just the midpoint of all the fun we’re having over here. I’m fortunate enough in just about every conceivable way that this does not happen to me often, so part of me got excited when my throat started to hurt. “This'll be fun!”, I told myself, clearly suppressing every memory of sickness from my adult life. “Finally, an excuse to pull up the drawbridge, watch cartoons, and sleep all day!”

But I’ll bet you know what actually happened.

Clearly, feeling as terribly as I was, parts of my routine would have to go. First on the chopping block was the 2.5 hours of praying and meditating over the course of a day. That wasn’t even a hard choice; it was actually a relief (that’s a post for another time). I would’ve still made the daily long walk if I were physically capable, but nope. Couldn’t concentrate well enough to keep up the pace in my books, wouldn’t have to cook because of the humongous cauldron of chicken soup my mate made. The IRL blog could also go; I’d been feeling weird about it lately, anyway.

“And maaaaaybe I’ll take a little break from work!”, said a noble, cute little part of my mind.

I informed my co-workers via the most zeitgeistily-named productivity app of all time, Slack, that I was ill, and we did the “Aw! Feel better!” “Okay, thanks!” dance. I know their wishes were genuine, because they’re wonderful people. But I also know they were quietly, uncomfortably shifting the work burden to the other shoulder, because I’ve been on the non-sick side of the team much more often, and I know what it feels like.

I made it until 10:09 a.m. of day one. I checked in from my phone. It wasn’t their fault I got sick the night before Big Important Public Release Day, right? I just wanted to make sure everything was okay. Sure enough, one colleague, very apologetically, asked if I could proofread the Big Important Public Release one last time, only if felt well enough. I figured that wouldn’t be so bad. I’d read the damn thing three times already. So I held my eyelids open and read the whole thing one punctuation mark at a time, gave the all-clear, signed off at 12:41 p.m., and went to sleep.

The next morning, I felt exactly the same way as I had the day before. However, now I was Behind™. The threat of getting further Behind™ increased my heart rate to the point that, after three cups of tea, two bowls of broth-only soup, and a double-shot of pseudoephedrine, I was ready to open my laptop on the couch and clock in. I don’t even remember how I got to this point, but I eventually found myself tackling a fatty pile of drudgery I had been putting off for a month and realizing, “Hey, I’m already completely miserable. Not doing this won’t make me less miserable. I’ll just do this now.” And I did it all in one day! My not-sick-anymore self is going to thank me SO MUCH for that!

Then I slept for 14 more hours, and after another day of work, which I have record of but seriously cannot remember a thing about even though it was yesterday, now I’m finally starting to feel better.

Everything will be so relatively great come Monday! I won’t be Behind™ at all! I’ll be behind on my praying and meditating, on my reading and writing, but I won’t be Behind™. Because thanks to the glorious future that is the present, it’s no longer a biohazard for one to keep working right on through any workaday illness one might contract. So when I came down with The Bug, I withdrew all my emergency energy supply from the things that make me ME and rerouted them to my job.

I’m not actually about to take a Big Stance against this. Maybe this is just maturity. Maybe it’s messed up, I don’t know. I’m just glad I have at least one complete day off a week that’s completely defensible.

Shabbat shalom,
Jon