Being Sick In the Age Of Corona



About two o'clock this morning, I woke up with a cough. I got out of bed so as not to disturb my wife and my dog. I went downstairs, popped a cough drop, opened up a web browser and climbed down the COVID rabbit hole that is the internet these days.


I'm one of the fortunate people who is still working. I work in the transportation industry as a dispatcher. We are considered an essential business. We do not have a viable option to work from home, so we have been continuing to go to work.


Business has been quite slow, but we still have work to do. Our company also does a lot of medical deliveries; quite an important service these days. But even though it has been slow, the company I work for has been able to keep us all working. Millions of people have not been so lucky. When I go into work every day, we have a safe, clean environment to work in. We have lunch provided to us for free, to keep us from needing to leave our safe little bubble once we're at work. And even though revenue is down, they have been going out of their way to keep us employed.


I actually look forward to going to work every morning right now. Not that I dreaded going to work during non-pandemic conditions. Even though work is different right now — and it's always a bit stressful to go out and be around other people, trying not to get sick and all — it's been like an oasis. We get to be around people. We get to do something constructive. And most importantly, we don't have to worry how we will pay our bills like so many others.


That brings us to this morning:


After thirty or forty minutes, my cough subsided and I returned to bed. But when I woke up later, I still felt pretty bad. I had a tingling in my chest and heavy congestion. I figured it would be best to call in sick. If I were to start coughing at work, my co-workers would spray Lysol at me. And nobody wants to taste Lysol while they're trying to work. My boss was obviously understanding.


I couldn't get back to sleep, though. So I got out of bed and took a nice hot shower. I began to feel better. I called my boss back to see if they would allow me to come into work, but it was too late. I was now damaged goods. I was told to just stay home and if I felt fine on Monday, I could return to work.


So here I am, at home, feeling useless.


My wife is a teacher, so she's working from home. I can hear her working in the other room. I was hoping to discover that she wasn't working nearly as hard as she had been telling me, so I could hold it over her head. But to my chagrin, she is hard at work. Oh well. I guess I will have to find something else that I can use against her in the future. After fourteen years of marriage, you look for little things like that to keep the spark alive.


I think I will try to jump back into my writing projects today. They have been dormant for a while now. It's been challenging to delve back into those stories right now. I'm not going to blame the 'Rona for that. I'm far too prolific a procrastinator to get anyone to believe that lie.


As a writer, it would be easy to say something like: "I'm glad I can take advantage of this down time to get some writing done." But I won't. I can't speak for others, but I think if I were out of work, trying to fend off the stress that comes with the uncertainty that is surrounding us all right now, I don't think I would want to hear someone talking nonchalantly about how they are taking the lump of coal of having one day away from work and turning it into some shiny diamond. I am very fortunate. I have been thinking a lot about that lately.


But all selflessness aside, I am quite bored. Maybe I can find something on Netflix that can inspire me to write. You see how I did that? Now that's the kind of thinking outside the box that has earned me my master procrastinator status. For all you young procrastinators at home, take note. This is how it's done.





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