I got my first ever sick note this week. Ok, Fit Note if you want the correct terminology but a Fit Note for unfitness never made sense to me.
It’s a novelty. I might copy it and frame it before I give it to the bosses at work on Monday.
Thing is, I usually work through feeling dodgy. Carrying on regardless has always worked before. When you’re self-employed you can’t afford to be ill anyway and since I’ve been an employee, I can isolate myself pretty well, slather my hands in antiseptic gel, take ibuprofen and swig fizzy 1000mgs Vitamin C to help things along a bit. Let’s not forget Dr Wang’s Amazing Pills from Hong Kong. Even if they don’t actually contain any active ingredients – and lacking Mandarin as a first language, I can’t tell – they act as very fine placebos.
This virus came at me straight out of left field and I tried to ignore it. I phoned my surgery, a doctor called me back and triaged me. He basically said “Yeah there’s nothing much we can do about that. If a rash comes out look it up on DermNet.nz and if it looks like the rash, yeah, then that’s what it is.”
DermNet turns out to be very useful for making yourself feel nauseous looking at horrendous images of skin conditions from around the world. If I hadn’t been feeling ill already I definitely would have felt bilious (oh my god, doesn’t the word alone make you feel a bit icky?) after looking at that.
So I blundered on with Life. Nice sunny weather so walks (too hurty to run) and.. “….are you sure you’re feeling up to cycling?”
“OF COURSE. I AM ALWAYS UP FOR CYCLING!!!!” …so a lovely dappled bike ride along the Wye on Sunday. A bit tired afterwards but hey, sunshine and pedalling is *always* the best restorative for me.
Turns out it isn’t. After a night of pain – and I can now attest to the accuracy of the phrase ‘racked with pain’ – and only about 2 hours sleep, going to work on Monday was a bit of a struggle.
I looked fit to work. I was dressed correctly, make-up applied, good hair, great nails, my hands worked, it didn’t hurt to sit in a chair and type things looking at a computer screen but I was hurting. Hurting, burning, aching. All those things.
But worst of all was – and this is very unlike me – the fact that I’d ceased to care.
I’m normally a calm, opinionated, bit loud, decisive, friendly, good-humoured, sympathetic, organised, ready-to-change-the-world, seizing the carp (carpe diem) kind of person. I’m never ‘don’t care.’ I might bitch about stuff but that’s because I care!
I care about my job and the service we give to patients and I set an example, expecting – and actually finding – that everyone who works with me feels much the same about their jobs.
I’m only indifferent to you if I don’t know you and even then, I’d probably give you the parking receipt I’ve already paid for or help you out with some change.
There was work that *had* to be done, so I was going to do it. But it was a struggle. I had absolutely zero interest in everything anyone said to me. I had to pretend like crazy. When a doc asked me to fix something for her, I did it but thought “Why does she think this is even important?”
In short, I shouldn’t have been at work. So I went home after 3 hours and slept, and slept, and slept. I saw a doctor, took drugs, slept, slept, felt a bit better, slept, slept and slept some more.
That thing I say to people “Oh yeah I’m saving that to watch/read/listen to when I’m ill!” ( I refer here to major re-run treats like The Wire, Mary Poppins, Top Gun, Lord of the Rings, The Undercover Economist #don’task ) …. Well, it turns out that when you are a bit ill, you don’t do any of that stuff because concentrating on anything just sends you to sleep again.
I’ve tried getting on with writing but as the late, great Norah Ephron said… (she didn’t actually say ‘Don’t write anything which is a well-known phrase’ I think George Orwell said that. You’ve probably missed that tongue-in-cheek thing anyway by now) …as she said (drum-roll) … “The hardest thing about writing is writing.”
That last par went all Ronnie Corbett but I’m leaving it in. So, to sum up, I haven’t achieved much and the other disappointing thing is that my meds haven’t given me brilliantly creative hallucinations or ideas. I was thinking “Hey man… I’m gonna be stoned on the good stuff… writing like a dream… playing guitar like Paul Simon” but nada. I’m probably a 9 on the Woozle Score of Wooziness which only encourages a Corbett-like ability to beat about the bush or curl up on something yielding – the cats have been useful – for a snooze.
But I’m feeling loads better, so there will be more blogs. Working, writing, blogging, cycling, running – I need to get back into shape for all those things. Blimey, that sentence sounds tiring to read, let alone *do*..
But hey, count this as a ‘limbering up….’
*goes for a nap