SARS, ebola, a serious case of missing legs. Growing up these were still not valid reasons to miss a day of school. Only once I lost the capacity to see, hear and write (and it had to be a compete set) could I think about staying home sick.
As an adult it’s a bit easier to self-diagnose the risk of going to work while incapacitated, perhaps because Mother G won’t have to look after me sitting feeling all sorry for myself. After a number of years of living alone I have been able to cope with not feeling great by just sitting sullenly in front of the TV. Should I allow others to take care of me, when I prefer to soldier on alone?
I don’t like feeling unwell. I have a certain dislike to the sensation that my fragile mortality is being tested by external causes. The fact that I can be brought low by a few single cell organisms makes me feel that my impending doom is ever nearer. Being a typical man who has suffered (yes SUFFERED) through the masculine strain of Orthomyxoviruses I would rather just sit and wait an illness out.
All I need is to be wrapped up in a duvet, given a constant supply of tea and a dose of daytime television. This has been the basis of the NHS for the last 50 years, it’s only once we started introducing fancy new ideas like medicine and surgery that things went to pot. The current buzzword is holistic treatment, that all aspects of people’s needs including psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole when they are ill.
So basically a cup of tea and a biscuit.
When I am ill I am more angry that I don’t feel great rather than any of the symptoms affecting my mood. With a cold I am upset that I can’t breathe, stomach problems I am angry I can’t eat properly, and with hay fever I am angry that I am allergic to flowers. Seriously what kind of illness is it when you get bleary eyed and sneeze at plants, a stupid one.
I don’t do being a patient well, and this feeds into my nursing as well. I can handle people being ill but I’m not the most empathetic of souls. If you are well enough to make demands for drinks, food or the television remote then you are well enough to get them yourself. If you can’t do any of these things then you should still be in bed (and possibly in another bed from me – so I don’t get ill).