Andrea Rondeau column: Letting go when we’re sick

A couple hours in and I was disabused of the notion that I was ready for a full day in the office.

It’s been a while since I was as sick as I was last week.

Fortunately it wasn’t a stomach flu (I can think of few things as awful as that), but I’m still getting my energy back from the high fever that zapped me for days, leaving me restless, achy, with pins and needles over my entire body, sores in my mouth and on my lips and with a distinct lack of appetite. It’s a post-holidays weight loss regimen I don’t recommend to anyone, since you also lose your ability to do simple tasks without needing a nap in between.

The nature of the job saw me drag my sorry carcass into the office for a few hours several days last week despite feeling like I’d been run over by a bus — repeatedly. I stayed as far away from colleagues as possible and one of them kindly took disinfectant to my desk after I left.

I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m irreplaceable (who’d want to be? You’d never get to take a vacation!) but I had started on some things and it would have been more trouble than it was worth for someone new to try to take over in the middle. Not to mention that on at least one of those days I was overly optimistic about how much better I was feeling. A couple hours in and I was disabused of the notion that I was ready for a full day in the office.

We have to get rid of this idea that it’s heroic, somehow to go to work when you’re sick. I promise you, your co-workers are wishing they had gas masks so they could purify the air you’re breathing.

My recommendation: if you feel that bad, stay home. You really don’t want to pass it on. It only makes it more difficult for you when you get back.

My colleagues in the newsroom did an amazing job of picking up the slack, but there were still some things that didn’t get done while I was gone.

For instance, I’m still digging my way out from under the email. So if you sent something last week and it didn’t require immediate action (as in something was happening right then) I may just be getting to it this week. No need to send it six more times.

Likewise, if you sent in a letter to the editor, it probably didn’t get read. I’m working on getting the backlog into the system now. We weren’t ignoring you, really. And if you brought a letter in by hand that needs to be typed into the system, well, you may have to wait a little bit before you see it (I always suggest that you allow us to skip the typing step and send your letter in electronically if at all possible).

But I’m not complaining (too much). We always take our good health for granted until we experience what it’s like to be sick. This week is all about me being thankful in my recovery.

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