It’s kind of great to be in a profession where you’re presence is necessary. That said, the absence of sick and snow days gets old every now and then. SO many days this winter I got the following email from Public Safety: “Normal University operations are suspended for <Insert Date> due to weather. Essential University staff and all Health System physicians and staff are required to report to work.” At least on my sub-I, when I was driving in at 5am on 12 inches of snow and ice, I was the only one on the roads.
Before this week, I took exactly four hours of sick time during clinics. I was like 36-37 weeks pregnant with Ari on my peds rotation fighting off some generic bug and clearly looking miserable, and I think my attending was just being kind since it was a day or two before the shelf exam. The general rule of thumb is that if you have a respiratory infection, you put on a procedure mask, try not to spew bodily secretions on anyone, and suck it up. I had pneumonia in January, and I only missed the last two hours of my rotation so I could be seen by my PCP. If you’re actively vomiting, then you’re asked to stay home.
Then this week happened. I’m in the NICU taking care of mostly frail little premies, and I’ve been slammed with a head cold. That’s all it is, truly. But I am dripping in snot and phlegm. The first day I was politely asked to just go home. The second day, clearly worse, I kept my distance. My third day, feeling a bit of renewed energy but have paroxysms of cough every 30-40 seconds or so, I was sent home again, this time with the threat, “If you get one of our kids sick, we will FAIL you.” I don’t think she was entirely joking. Nor should she be…jeez, I would fail myself.
So home I am, feeling pretty pathetic and sorry for myself because I’m too miserable to get any meaningful work done (though I’ve ploughed through most of the Hunger Games trilogy while hacking up a lung in the middle of the night) and fretting that I might end up failing a rotation I really enjoyed or, worse of course, giving some little 26-weeker rhinovirus on top of immature lungs (though I hardly stepped foot in the unit and certainly did not touch any babies).
And then there was the drama of waking up with my face caked with blood and my bedside tissue stash similarly saturated red. I truly love being pregnant (seriously), but blowing pounds of snot through my nostrils apparently exacerbates my daily nosebleeds.
Meanwhile, my partner in crime, love of my life, main squeeze (who shared this bug with me) is far, far away (on a glacier, in fact):
Come home. Come home come home come home!!!!!