When was the last time I wasn’t sick? Sometime before Christmas? One thing overlaps another. The head cold’s connected to the sore throat, the sore throat’s connected to the chest cold, the chest cold’s connected to the sore back, now do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about. When you’re self-employed, if you don’t work you don’t make money, there are no paid sick days. When you’re going to school, you don’t get a lot of wiggle room for missing lectures and turning in assignments late, not if you want to maintain your GPA and actually, you know, learn stuff.
I finally gave myself permission to be sick. Not “I’ll only do the bare minimum that I have to in order to get by” sick. Not “I can phone it in on this term paper, just this once” sick. Not “as soon as I make my daily word count, I’ll lay down for a while” sick. I gave myself permission to stay in bed until I felt like getting up. There are a few dishes in the sink that I’ll get to when I get to. There’s clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away. I have projects that need to be finished. I have a group project due, and for once I’m going to be the one that hands in something half-baked at the last possible minute. It can all wait. Life will go on.
Plenty of rest, plenty of fluids, plenty of fruits and vegetables, a lot of reading and television (although, to be fair, I can’t stoop to a steady diet of mindless television; I’ve been watching a lot of PBS, World, and Create). As much time away from screens as possible. Scribbling and sketching in composition books, but not on anything work- or school-related, just creativity for fun. It’s like being on vacation. It’s like being lazy. I don’t do down-time well.
The upside, which is how I convince myself to stay down, is that the short-term productivity hit is meant to fix the slow, simmering loss of productivity I’ve been suffering day after day, and will continue to suffer until I get rid of this annoying cough, the fuzzy-headedness created by medicine, this perpetual fatigue, the distracting body aches that started with the flu and was punctuated by the car’s hatch falling right across my lower back as I was unloading groceries. Stop. Reset. Reboot. Refresh. Begin again when I’m closer to full capacity.
No one likes being sick, but there reaches a point where you need to give yourself permission to stop working.