For the first time in what seems like years, I’ve fallen sick. It started off as a little tickle in my throat, then a couple of sneezes (at one point I sneezed so hard I started to taste blood in my velum and wondered aloud to Becca over the phone if I had blown something), and then by the end of the day it was an elephant in my throat that just couldn’t stop trumpeting: I was starting to get the ‘flu. So I rushed home to start downing Panadol and Augmentin so that I wouldn’t have to call in sick today, because that was a hassle I just couldn’t be stuffed going through.
Then this morning, just as I was waking up, my mom came into the room…
Mom: (putting her arm on my forehead) How are you feeling?
Me: I’m OK.
Mom: Are you able to go to work?
Me: Of course.
Mom: (pause) Maybe you should take the day off.
Me: What? No. I can’t. I have things to do.
Mom: (slightly indignant) Like what?
Me: I have two speeches to fix and the newsletter to finish. Besides, if I called in sick you’d have to write an MC for me and you don’t have those.
Mom: I’ll just go to the clinic and use one of theirs.
Me: No, I’m going to work. I’m better now.
Mom: Well, OK. Just bring the Panadol with you, and remember to take your antibiotics so you won’t be coughing up a lung.
When I was still in school, I was never allowed to call in sick or malinger, unless I was “dead or dying,” as my mom put it. She would pack me off to school armed with Panadol and antibiotics and a reminder to take them. So I was surprised when she suggested I call in sick today, and even more so when she said she would just bump a medical certificate off one of the general physicians, because apparently it’s beneath specialists to carry around a book of medical certificates to be doled out to malingerers, “like any old GP,” my mom once said.
Times have changed.