Sometimes, a day of rest is better for healing than the side-effect inducing medicine.

Sometimes, a day of rest is better for healing than the side-effect inducing medicine.

The spring pollen season started messing with my sinuses last Thursday.  By Friday, I was teary-eyed, scratchy-throated, and runny-nosed to the point of moderate to severe misery.  The symptoms persisted, with some ebb and flow of severity, over the weekend.  In spite of the discomfort and the general lack of pep, though, I succeeded in slogging through the days to keep up a more or less normal weekend routine.

Now to Monday morning.  I woke up early, tossing and turning with that achy lower back feeling common with viruses and colds. The debate began: Call in sick, or go to work?

In former days, like last year or any of the years before, the debate wouldn’t have lasted long.  I’d reason that I will feel as bad at home as I will at the office, so I may as well save my accumulated leave for a time when I may need it more.  For the past 26 years as an educator, I’ve worked sick dozens of more days than I’ve taken off.   I’ve been a model of dependability for showing up for work, in fact.

So what’s different now?

DROP!  (Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana Deferred Retirement Option Plan).  Yes, I am actually retired but exercising an option to continue working to reap some of the nicer fringe benefits (among the few fringe benefits, mind you!) of a career in public service.  So why not behave as a retired person?  The facts lay before me:

  • I have a legitimate illness that impairs my ability to do a normal day’s work.
  • I  worked all day Friday with these symptoms and the attendant discomfort (as well as volunteer service working for two baseball games Saturday, time given over to the institution that could have been invested in rest and healing).
  • I have almost 260 days of accumulated sick leave (that’s days, not hours), of which only a miniscule percentage are useful for post-retirement credit for either service or monetary compensation)
  • My calendar for today was unusually free of meetings and obligations.

So the decision was easy.  I fed the dogs, poured an extra cup of coffee, watched the second hour of the good morning news, and enjoyed this morning as if it were another Saturday morning.

As the morning went along, I found my symptoms gradually improved.  Buzzed by the caffeine boost, after an hour or two I got to some correspondence with a couple of online classes and then caught up with email from the office.

After such a productive mid-morning outburst, a while ago, as noon approached, I began reasoning:  “Maybe I should go in for the afternoon?”

But then I thought better of that idea.  Nope–If I’m gonna do this sick daze thing, at this point in my career, I’m gonna do it right.