Sunday, March 27, 2011

Aeger Eger, Gravatus

My nose and lungs are filled with more snot than the Arizona Republican party. I'm dead tired because I haven't been sleeping much due to coughing and sneezing. I haven't been able to use my wonderful CPAP machine because of nasal stuffiness.

(Not a picture of me. I stole it from the web.)

I am sick.

And because I am sick, I am guilt-ridden. Missing work causes me great anguish. Nurses are not the sick ones, you see. The patients are.

They let me leave work early yesterday. The only reason I even went in was because I was out sick on Thursday and I felt I should try to shake it off and show up.

Before I finished up a few things and left I told them how guilty, ashamed, and troublesome I felt for being sick.

Andy said "But what if it were me instead? Wouldn't you want me to go home?"

"Yes," I said.

"If I were still sick wouldn't you want me to stay home tomorrow too?" she asked, and again I replied in the affirmative.

Over the course of an average 12-hour shift I probably wash my hands a hundred times. But bacteria and viruses are sneaky and insidious. They can get around. I masked up and wore a gown for things like doing dressing changes. I always wear gloves if there's the least chance I might be in contact with fluids of any kind: body fluids, IV medications, tubing, whatever.

But I was recently out-of-state. Maybe I picked up something during the flights or while I was on the island. What if I contributed something new to the local Arizona germ pool?

That might be bad.

Yet still I feel horrible about missing work. I fantasize that my boss will punish me. Fire me, even.

In the not-so-distant past, American workers agitated for paid sick leave. They struggled for me. I thank them. I am fortunate to have it. So are the patients who did not have to have a sick nurse care for them today.

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