Sunday, April 6, 2008

I am contagion. I called in to work. I feel no guilt.

I cluster my workdays together, so I had a stretch off. Took a few days in Moab with a girlfriend, and her best friend from Germany (now, my new friend) and the dog, Miko. Our friend from Deutschland caught something on the flight over and was flu-y for four days. We came home a day early.

Then I got it. Hacky coughy achy chills. I'd gotten the flu shot, so this was either nasty quick cold or a milder version of the flu.

Calling in Thursday and Friday nights wasn't a problem. Genie was very sympathetic; Katie told me to feel better soon. Saturday's call-in was the problem. I talked to a nurse I like quite a lot, and who I believe is sensible.

I don't REALLY have to give you a rationale as to why an ICU RN should not report to work coughing her head off, spewing viral particles over intubated and immunocompromised patients right?

I mean.

For real. Right?

You're not one of those mad people who believes those little yellow paper masks does the trick, right? Or thinks a person having trouble breathing due to crud in their bronchial tract is gonna keep that thing on for over 13 hours straight right?

On Saturday, I got an icy "Wow. Okay. Talk to you later."

And the hellovit is, I do not feel guilt for calling in. I'm sure they were short Saturday night, because they are ALWAYS SHORT SATURDAY NIGHTS. And if I had come it and brought the spring flu from Deutschland, the whole unit would get it and everybody'd be calling in this week.

I just don't get this thing that nurses do. I grew up in a different field, and when you were sick, you called in. Remorse? What remorse. You sat your butt at home, on your couch or on your bed. You drink orange juice and water and soup. You crawl out of bed once to go to Blockbuster and load up on movies. You nap. Often.

This is what I've done for the past four days. I have gotten maybe an hour of productive quilting in. Made one productive phone call to a bank. Yesterday, I felt better and played a video game, which I haven't done since October of last year. (Quite possibly the last time I was home sick with a cold.)

Tomorrow I go back to work. The chills and aches are gone, the coughing is better by a large margin and no sneezing. Aren't my patients gonna be glad I didn't slime them with my virus?

I just don't feel the guilt. I don't get why we have a culture that seems so badly to want to require it.

Um....I'm here for a paycheck. I like to help people, yes. But, uh....I'm a lazy buddhist and there are no great martyrs among lazy people, and the handful of Buddhist martyrs had something really important to say that had nothing to do with flu symptoms.

*scratching head*


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Anonymous said...

Amen, sister/bro....nurses here in my ER come in sick all the time (as if we're not exposed to enough germs as it is) because if they call in they risk being written up! I'd rather carry the extra load than be exposed to their germs and whining and (often!) sitting on their butts because they're sick!

Judy said...

I need to print this for some of my co-workers.

My weird conversation upon calling in went something like this:

Me (12:05pm)I won't be in at 3. I have some kind of GI bug.

Secretary who answered: You know you're supposed to call in before 12, right?

Me: I just threw up. Sorry I didn't do it sooner.

Secretary: So what is wrong with you.

Me: I think it's one of those 24 hour GI bugs.

Secretary: How do you know it will only last 24 hours

Me: I'm an optimist. Maybe I won't be in tomorrow either.

muffinRN said...

I totally agree that if yur sick, stay home! I know it sucks to work short, but it sucks more if every single nurse ends up deathly ill. and the patients usually don't like it if you are dripping goo or have to run out to go barf!