Not Fit For Work


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 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

About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Cats, Current Affairs, Cycling and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Not Fit For Work

  1. sabinaA says:

    Loved this, well something is working for you to write such an interesting blog! Hope you are feeling better. yes there are insufferable souls like you who never take time off,breeze in whatever the weather and keep smiling ,and keep the NHS going!

    • janh1 says:

      Haha… well I’m back tomorrow. They sent me a get well card saying it’s been too quiet without me! What on earth could they mean??!! :-)))

  2. Isobel says:

    Impressed by your lack of sick notes. As a self-employed person, I am bizarrely galsd when I am sick when I don’t have any work coming in. I had a virus a year ago and couldn’t pass my work to others for love nor money. The awfulness of those two days before I could sink into my bed and remain there for thirty-six hours (bar letting the cat in and out, feeding him and getting up for regular refills of water) is still vivid, so you have my sympathy. Good to hear you are recovering, take it slowly and get back on form, and while you’re about it, can I remind you that you said 2016 was to be your year of writing. Well?

    • janh1 says:

      Thank you Isobel and I sympathise with your virus suffering last year. Cats are great company when you’re nearly comatose though, I’ve found!
      Writing, well, there has been some, although not much here. I revived an old attempt at a radio script and made it into a potential sitcom for the Sitcom Trials but haven’t heard anything yet. To be honest, it was a good exercise to get me going and I submitted my piece ten minutes before the midnight deadline! 😀 Working on another idea at the moment.
      But yes, do keep asking the question!!

      • Isobel says:

        Interesting link. Thanks!
        My cats, both Cat and MasterB, have been great the first day of illness but after that not so good. Chief Nurse Freddy definitely thought a second of raised temperature was an exaggeration and clear malingering.
        Hope you are mended now.

  3. Isobel says:

    galsd = relieved

    • janh1 says:

      Mostly mended, Isobel, thank you and an extra-big ‘thank you’ for the bee-ootiful card which arrived today! 🙂

      • Isobel says:

        Glad to hear you are almost restored and that you like the card. I thought it ws rather lovely.
        Did you get the email saying we had a week or so to save anything we want to keep from MyT?

      • janh1 says:

        Hi Isobel! No I didn’t get any message about MyT! I need to find Roly’s award-winning Tour de France blog for starters… 😉 Could you please copy the email to me? Ta!

  4. theroyalist says:

    Hello Jan,

    Thought you were advertising the new Trainspotting movie when I seen the Sick Note reference. Not to be, instead a refreshing blog about sick notes/sickness. I’ll cliché you to death here- Get Well Soon. The remedy seems to be “Get on your Bike”. Take the right stuff and write stuff.



    • janh1 says:

      Hellooo! Nice of you to drop by and hope you are well! Clichés welcome thank you and I’m nearly back to normal. Went for a toodle/ blat this morning without any ill effect so should be ok for tomorrow, though will probably need cake..

  5. Darrel Kirby says:

    When you are sick – properly sick, not just a bit wussy – the best thing to do is embrace it, wallow in it and allow yourself to get over it. Fighting only prolongs the pain. Glad you are feeling more chipper.

  6. janh1 says:

    Thanks Darrel. Hope you’re well. Good advice actually. Proper poorly doesn’t leave you much alternative but to sleep, I’ve found. Perhaps sleep is restorative after all. Maybe I need to resist burning the candle at both ends quite so much! 🙂

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