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.