Sick days used to be fun.

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This is the first time I’m sick since I was separated from the workforce.

What a difference!

All the fun is gone out of it.

I no longer wake up with the need to decide whether to drag myself in and muddle through, or stay home and coddle myself. The old checklist is moot: Can I walk without tipping over? Can I keep my bodily fluids in check? Am I glad I can’t tell how bad I smell? Do the pets look worried? Am I too contagious to go in and fight with a boneheaded manager who wants me to “get in there and play wounded?”

Now, I simply have to open my eyes and say, “I feel like shit.”

And I do. My ribs are too tight. Every time I cough they feel like they’re going to break. I don’t know what it is that I have… a cold, a flu, or pneumonia… but I do know I’ve acquired a strain of cooties that renders me incapable of doing anything more than watching excessive amounts of television.

In the past, I would use “sick days” to watch premium channels and catch up on movies… or catch the talk show ladies to see who had gained or lost weight/gained or lost spouses/gained or lost co-hosts. Now, I’m all caught up on them… that means I need to open myself to new interests. Shows based on body-painting and tattooing are intricate and interesting… so are those that feature the hardy souls who buy crap from hoarders or attend storage unit auctions. House flippers are endlessly interesting people, who make lots and lots of noise… and children who can cook desserts from marzipan, cow patties and geoducks are as praiseworthy as cherubim and seraphim.

The best thing about programs like these is that complete seasons are usually played back-to-back. You can fall asleep in the middle of one show and wake up two hours later without knowing you’ve missed a beat. That removes the wonderment of realizing how much sleep you need when you’re feeling poorly.  I often used to validate my decision to stay home by noting my need for excessive sleep. “Wow… I could NEVER have stayed up for eight hours. Good thing I stayed home.” Now, it doesn’t matter at all. If I wake up tomorrow with all the energy of an Energizer Bunny, I’m going to stay home anyway… and I’m still going to be watching Junior Chopped.

One thing I am NOT going to do is to go see a doctor. I’m not sure I would have gone anyhow… it’s been years since I’ve met anyone whose diagnostic abilities I could trust. However, it’s a pretty sure bet that I won’t have health insurance for another three months, and we can’t afford a coterie of inconclusive tests. What a scofflaw I am, huh? But the cheapest Obamacare plan costs roughly as much as two weeks’ unemployment. I am now surer than ever that we don’t need universal health insurance. We need universal health CARE.

Uh oh. I’m getting political.

Evidently, I’m also veering to the left! Well, that’s okay. I’m sick. I don’t know what I’m saying.

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