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The Irish Times Magazine - - INSIDE - Do you have sug­ges­tions for what Do­minique should try next? Email your ideas to dm­c­mul­lan@ irish­times. com DO­MINIQUE McMUL­LAN

This week I took a sick day off work. There’s some­thing about sick days that brings out a deep neu­ro­sis in me, so this is maybe my third ever. I rang my mum. Sick­ness has a re­gress­ing ef­fect on most but re­ally I was ring­ing be­cause I wanted her to tell me it was okay to call in sick to work. Yes, I’m a 31- year- old mar­ried woman. My in­ner school­girl sat at the end of the phone as it rang. I looked for­ward to some sooth­ing tones and re­as­sur­ance.

I was due in work at 6am the fol­low­ing day. “Well dar­ling, you need to go to the doc­tor, but they don’t open un­til 9. So go to work as nor­mal and get as much done as you can be­fore then.” Oh. I got ready for bed and had dif­fi­culty clean­ing my face, as the skin around my ear was so ten­der. Through­out the night the pain grew, and the world be­came twisted and sweaty. Around 2am, as a dark Neu­ro­fen cloud passed, I made the de­ci­sion not to go to work. It was at that point I de­cided to email not one, but two of my bosses.

“Feel­ing a bit un­der the weather guys, might not make it in to­mor­row, will let you know.” I went back un­der with my phone clasped in my clammy hand.

Wak­ing again at 3am my sent mail reads, “Not feel­ing any bet­ter, un­likely I’ll make it in.”

Then at 5am, like a weather up­date for an im­mi­nent storm I emailed, “Only get­ting worse guys, re­ally sorry.”

By 6am my haze be­came de­mand­ing “Let me know you’ve got these so I’m not left wor­ry­ing.”

I woke again around 8am with the type of feel­ing re­served for nights when gin is con­sumed. A pound­ing headache and an un­com­fort­able ques­tion mark over­head as to what I’d been up to overnight. An awk­ward ex­change with the boss fol­lowed, as he con­firmed my overnight hys­te­ria. At least he saw the funny side.

My adult self took my swollen are- you- sure- you’re- not- fak­ing- it ear­ache straight to the doc­tor. I walked out hold­ing my an­tibi­otic pre­scrip­tion just like I held my Leav­ing Cert re­sults; with re­lief, con­fused pride and like I needed to sleep for a week.

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