Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sick day~

Sick day~

I'm home from school today-- sick. I stayed home yesterday too.

I'm never sick. Hardly ever, anyway. I say that confidently, without knocking on wood. Years of teaching have given me a cast iron immune system.

While others manifest full-blown symptoms of the germ of the month, I get-- at most-- a day of feeling sluggish. I figure that's from my antibodies fighting, and winning. But barely a week into the school year, I've been hit by the prevailing virus.

Taking a sick day doesn't come easily to most teachers. For one thing, it's far more work preparing for a substitute than it is just to go in feeling lousy.

Plans and schedule need to be spelled out in detail. Extra work must be planned because kids tend to whip through their assignments under a sub's less demanding eye. There are loose ends to pick up when you return: work to correct, lessons to reteach because the kids say, "the sub didn't explain things good enough."

Teachers by nature tend to be a conscientious group. Getting sick isn't responsible. We're like parents; the show must go on. So when we feel the start of something, we discuss our symptoms around the copy machine.

"I have a tickle in my throat, and my stomach is kind of queasy."

"Oh, that's exactly what Ginny had last week. She was out for three days. Karen has it now."

"Really? Three days?"

"Yeah, the nurse sent home four kids from my class today. All stomach bug stuff."

"Really? I was thinking maybe I'm getting it too."

This is what we need-- the permission: "Stay home. It's better to nip it in the bud. Take care of yourself."

The call to the "substitute hot line" brings back memories of telling my mother in a croaky voice that I felt "wicked sick." Her response was to whip out the thermometer, shake it down, and slip it under my tongue.

No fever. I went to school.

The classroom is a caldron of germs. Kids fall like dominoes. Teachers aren't immune.

I'm thinking of moving the tissue box off my desk. I don't think it helps my cause any when students stand three feet away from where I sit, blowing their noses in my direction.

I told the students that they should blow their noses back at their own desks. "Please don't stand in front of me and blow in my face." I say it funny. I make a joke. I pantomime. They all laugh.

Later a sniffly little boy comes up for a Kleenex and . . . I end up staying home sick.
In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science. ~Martin H. Fischer


Janice Thomson said...

I always felt we mums used to come down with the latest school germs too, LOL. I think it is much more responsible to be at home when you are not feeling well than to pass on your germs. One is also not at their best at this time with patience being in short supply and the kids could suffer as a result.

Ruth D~ said...

Words of wisdom, Janice. :>)

Alice Folkart said...

New school year, new bugs - be well soon.

Rhea said...

You're right about teachers and sickness. They NEVER take days off!!! Not to make you feel bad about it, or anything.

Barbara said...

Making that call to stay home is always difficult in most every job. I went into work sicker than I should have been on many an occasion just because I was too stubborn to stay home. But it really is in the best interest of you and everyone else when you keep your germs to yourself. I've often wondered how teachers and doctors did it without constantly being sick.

rain said...

I prescribe a good book, some trash TV, a hot toddy and warm soup. Be better soon.

Voyager said...

The problem is, all the bugs you spent years building a resistance to are mutating and becoming immune to all medicine. Take care. For what it's worth, my Dad recommends Cointreau liqueur to cure colds. It's orange flavour. Oranges have vitamin C. Ergo...

Ruth D~ said...

Thanks for the well wishes. They worked.

Or was it the hot toddy courtesy of Rain, and the Cointreau from Voyager's Dad? Any good recommendations fro allergies from Doctor Dad? I like his thinking.

sc morgan said...

Boy, do I ever relate to this one. ER nurses have immune systems second only to teachers of the very young. Whenever I was sick they used to put me out at triage. If the people didn't act any sicker than I felt they waited their turn!

My daughter said she always thought she was some kind of immune compromised person because she always caught whatever I had. It wasn't until she moved out on her own that she realized that if I* got it, it was BAD.

Hope you are feeling better, Ruth.