Page 7 - Scene Magazine 45-03 March 2020
P. 7

 The Way I’ve Scene I
   is still the rainy season there. Did I make a complicat- ed dessert recipe with 17 ingredients?
My husband mainlines chemo every other week, making his immune system questionable, and I have turned into
a germ freak. Do you have a cough? Feeling punky? Yeah, stay away from me, Typhoid Mary. Do not hug me,
do not step into my office, and do not breathe on or near me if you don’t need to. I cannot afford to be a carrier. I have a deep respect for colleagues who stay home with their sick kids. Thank you; you are a carrier too. You stay right there until the fog has cleared, by all means!
Of course not... I assign those to my friend, Wanda, and she does it! She
just makes us good stuff all the time. And, we all know I didn’t scrape snow off of my own car windows, so it’s not that! Give up? I stayed home sick for a whole week. Crazy, right? My employ- er takes excellent care of us, and they provide for us to stay home when we are not well. We also have the tools to work from home, so there is no reason on earth why I have always felt like I should drag myself into work when I’m sick. I just always have.
In nearly 30 year-end performance reviews, not once did any of my supervisors express gratitude to me for showing up sick. Not ONCE. The company onboarding materials do not feature my working half-dead skills as an exemplary use of our benefits package. Know why?
This week, I even went to the doctor to make sure I did not have the actual flu, and aside from that and a trip to the pharmacy, I have stayed home to recuperate. I currently reside in the spare bedroom. My colleague, Anna, is a caregiver to aging family members. She didn’t need me adding problems to their delicate balance, because they certainly cannot afford to be sick.
And frankly, no one else wants to be sick either. I finally get it. Working sick if you don’t need to is not heroic, it’s selfish. I stayed home this week, because I finally understand that since I can, I should, so I did.
Excluding the times I have had to be off of work due to post-surgical require- ments, I have not missed very many days during my 30 year career. And even then, I do have it on good authori- ty that I may have actually worked from home on a big project a few hours after I had shoulder surgery, but really, I was just propped in a chair enjoying a pain
It turns out, our policy is generous for two reasons. First, they just really take good care of the staff, but second, and more importantly, they TRULY don’t want us at work if we are sick, and this applies to everyone! Apparent- ly, that meant me too, but I never made the connection. Life, being the kaleido- scope that it is, changes my perspective
I did something this week that I almost NEVER do. What would that be, you ask? Did I ride a llama in the Andes? No, because duh, it
I Finally Get It
I have worked through too many mi- graines to mention. I would feel crappy at home too, so why not try to get a few things done? I have gone in voiceless and put my colleagues through what I call spackle coughing – which is just not a fine thing. I have justified working with fevers by promising myself to stay at my desk and away from people. Per- haps it is due to my baby boomer status or maybe my upbringing, but I have al- ways actually believed that toughening up and muddling through it mattered to my career. It didn’t.
constantly, and so the picture in front
of me shifts. The twists and turns of the past few months have brought those raw colors into new focus.
blocker anyway, so what’s the big deal? I think I have missed four consecutive days just two times over the years.

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