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Pulling a Sicky

There has been a really nasty flu-type virus doing the rounds over the last few weeks. He was really quite unwell with a chesty cough from middle December till about a week ago and eventually went to see the doctor and was prescribed steroids and antibiotics. I was a bit poorly with no voice and fatigue as the Christmas holidays began. Several colleagues have been off for up to 10days with a really nasty version of same virus.

And because the weather has been wet, windy and fairly non-committal, it wasn’t a great topic of conversation, but having flu or a cold was. And fair enough.

There are those who love the drama of a snuff and a sniffle and wear the martyr mantel at the earliest opportunity. They are seeking attention from all the wrong quarters and don’t deserve our energy.

Then there are those who stumble in full of bugs, viruses and a whole host of nasties and expect us to accommodate their sickness while they spread their illness. I have no time for this level of martyrdom either.

As life gets busier and more crowded, we have a responsibility to look after ourselves and those around us.

We all go through phases of worrying about sickness and health, lumps and bumps and changes in body functions. Some things will pass (literally) and we move on and forget about it, while other things are worth investigating.

I have had an odd lump on my jaw for a while and have had it checked. All is ok, but when I went for an ultrasound scan I was feeling quite anxious. The doctor was lovely and explained what she could see and her initial report was that I had nothing more than a lipoma. I have already had 2 lipoma removed from my body – one on my back and one on my stomach so this makes sense.

The point is that when I was called to go for my ultrasound by a nursing assistant, and shown into the room where the procedure would take place I was feeling a little apprehensive. The nursing assistant was lovely and made me feel very much at ease, chatting amiably, showing me where to lie and further explaining what would happen.

The procedure was exactly as had been described and the doctor treated me as an equal and talked through what she could see.

When she had finished, the nursing assistant came back into the room and asked if I was ok and what I was planning for the rest of the day. I replied that I would be going back to work. He replied “Really? If it was me, I’d play the sicky card and take the day off”. I was literally speechless: the ultrasound had taken less than 15 minutes and regardless of how long it took to get to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and back to work today nothing could justify a day off.

How many colleagues, friends, acquaintances are abusing the system and expecting us to cover their backs while they take a day off? Look aboot ye and offer support to those who deserve it. Pay no heed to the lurkers and shirkers.

Pulling a sicky – a poem

Cough, wheeze, splutter and phlegm,

its you or its me, its us or its them.

Blow your nose and pop a pill,

are you faking or really ill?

Stay at home when you know you must

don’t play the martyr – I’m just not fussed

to breathe in your germs and become unwell –

this could be heaven or this could be hell.

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