Have the Flu? Stay Home, the World Can Wait!


sickkid“Really, really, I can go to school. I HAVE to go to school!”

These were the words of my son petitioning me this morning from his bed. These words came from his mouth, which was attached to a head, a head as hot as coal. A head which could not be lifted from his pillow.

“Just give me some Advil, and I can go!”

His concern: An overdue tech project that needed to be completed in school. A CO2 car he has designed and engineered that still needed to still be sawed, glued, and painted.

This project counts as 60 percent of his grade. How do I know it is 60 percent of his grade? He has told this to me at least 10 times since coming down with the flu.

He is also worried, of course, about falling behind in math. And Science. And how will he ever catch up and HOW he will get ready for midterms.

He puts this pressure on himself to not to stay home and recover from the flu but to GET TO SCHOOL no matter how he feels. No matter the consequences to his own health or those around him.

My son is not yet in Harvard college or even in high school.

He’s only a 14-year-old kid.

He’s only in the 8th Grade.

If you can’t even stay home and rest up from the flu in the 8th grade with a clear conscience, then what does that say about our culture? Is there any wonder we are in the midst of an influenza epidemic?

Now, we all think we have THE most important jobs in the world.

Unless we are at death’s door, don’t even think about skipping work or school.

Even I have come under this delusion of mind over virus.

Last week, in I went to teach afternoon instruction because I felt I HAD to be at work to show my commitment. I was not hacking and coughing. I HAD a prescription for an antibiotic in hand (seems like, if you have flu symptoms and don’t rest them, the darned germs morph into something else, wouldn’t ya know?).

I was just a little stuffy.

Way stuffy.

And my eyes were sunken in because I had barely slept for two …. no three nights because my sinuses were killing me but

SO WHAT?

Life goes on and we muddle through.

At the copy machine my boss asked.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m just making copies for this afternoon. Then, I’m going to take my antibiotics. Then I’m going to teach. ”

Fortunately, I have a boss who does have the voice of reason.

“You will do no such thing. You look like hell. I appreciate you want to work but you shouldn’t be here. Now go home and get some rest.”

So rest I did and I am better now, a week later. Even so, my energy is not fully back.

So, when it was my son’s turn to fall ill, I did not let him succumb to our hyper-achievement culture.

He’s home. He has a fever that spikes back as soon as the latest ibuprofen dose wears off. But he is resting and doing his work and playing his guitar when he feels up to it.

Will he go back to school tomorrow? Don’t know. We’ll just have to see.

Fess up: have you ever went to work/school when you know you were too sick?  

Tags: , ,

About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

4 responses to “Have the Flu? Stay Home, the World Can Wait!”

  1. Sharon Cohen says :

    So happy that I grew up in the 40’s & 50’s when children were kept home when they were sick. I had the Asian flu in the 50’s and was sooo sick. I couldn’t even lift my head up. In those days the Doctor came to your home to see you. He gave me a shot of penicillin. Did it help? It probably didn’t help, but that is all there was to help besides aspirin for the aches & fever. My advice if you feel sick you are sick & need to rest and take your Doctor’s advice.

    • transplantednorth says :

      we had swine flu in 2009 and were actually quarantined. But it was the summer. There is just so much pressure to keep going in this generation.

  2. vandysnape says :

    Back when I was in School my mum would never let me go to school if I was too sick but I wouldn’t disagree with her. The thing I hated about not going to school is that I’d feel really guilty for missing the classes and it’s really difficult to rub off the guilt ….

    • transplantednorth says :

      I hear you there. Today is day three of my son’s flu-like symptoms but he says he feels well enough to go to school.He is really worried about falling behind. Confession: I gave him meds to relieve his symptoms and he is going to try, but I won’t be surprised if I get a phonecall asking me to bring him home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: