Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sick days

Okay, so I'm rewriting this because this stupid computer just ate my work, but that's another rant.

So I'm home sick, again. What it is about our culture ignoring the fact that people get sick? All thought history some people have been 'sickly'. In this day and age there is no such thing as sickly. All you need is more vitamins, better meals, more sanitary environments, ect. Unless you have a major problem along the lines of cancer, heart disease, or AIDs, being sick a lot is at best wimpy and at worse hypercondria. I'm sickly. I'm not a wimp, most of my sicknesses include high fevers. I'm not a hypochondriac, most of my sicknesses have included doctors, prescriptions, and obvious physical symptoms. Until I was about 15 I had 3-4 cases of strep throat a winter, 4-5 cases of the stomach flu, at least 1 case of the flu, usually 2 cases of a fever virus, and a general cold from early September to late March, sometimes April. After 15ish I stopped getting strep, finally, and my cases of the stomach flu went down. I haven't had a fever virus *just a high fever with no other symptoms for those of you who are healthier* since I was 16. But I still am plagued by colds, flues, sinus infections, random sicknesses, and the occasion stomach virus. For most of my 23 years I have had a flu shot, I always get the flu anyway. The past few years I haven't bothered to get one, why waste a flu shot on someone who is going to get the flu regardless when it could go to someone it might actually help? Heck, I even got the mumps. People don't get the mumps anymore, we had to get the encyclopedia out! I'm just sickly, and finally my doctor just admitted it saying that 'regardless of what we do some people just have poor immune systems.' Finally, some honesty. My parents still won't believe it, my mother just says 'you've got to get over being so sick' like she wasn't there when I was growing up being constantly sick regardless of what she did. I've taken vitamins, I've eaten well, I've washed my hands, my blankets, my pillowcase, I've downed handfulls of vitaims with a glass of orange juice, sucked on zinc tablets, and taken iron pills prescribed by a doctor to try to lessen my monthly bout with anemia *didn't work*. Nothing works. My point is why does this society ignore the fact that people get sick and in fact encourage the spread of illness. All through elementary and grade school I got sick because normally healthy kids would drag themselves to school on the one day they were really sick so they could get their attendance awards. They could have stayed home for one day and I wouldn't have been sick for two weeks. But the schools reward perfect attendance, regardless of weather or not the students are sick. In high school, even though they didn't give attendance awards anymore, students came to school obviously sick, and even ignored teacher's requests to go home, because they didn't want their parents to keep them from hanging out with their friends after school. Heaven forbid they miss whatever popular kids did after school for one day to get some sleep at home instead of spewing their germs all over school for kids like me to catch! Now I'm at work, and people show up sick because they either need the attendance bonus they receive for perfect attendance, or they don't have enough sick/vacation time to pay for a day off. During November I was very ill, which resulted in several days off from work, some of which were unpaid. And despite a verbal agreement with management I was given a written warning, withheld my bonus for the month *which I hit despite being out so much* and placed on probation. Thankfully this time I not only was sent home by management, apparently throwing up at work is sufficient to be sent home, but was also given a promise by upper management *technically he is the vice-president but its a fairly small company* that I would not be fired. Yippy for me. Until next time. While I don't know where I got this current sickness from, the sickness I had during November was caught from a coworker who was sick for a total of 3 days. I was sick for nearly a month with a cold/sinus infection/cough/situational asthma mess, well, actually I still have the cold so it has now been over a month. All likely to have been avoided if the sick employee had stayed home for a day or two. There was also another person in the office that caught it at the same time, she also ended up with a sinus infections. Thankfully for her she avoided the perpetual cough that kept me home from work, she also had a more normal run for the sickness, a total of 2 weeks before she was fully better. And for coming to work sick and causing several other employees to be sick *at least two others caught the cold but, like her, were minorly sick for only a few days* resulting in at least 5 sick days between myself and the other worker, this woman will be rewarded by the company with an attendance bonus.
This world is so insane, they reward behavior that causes sickness and then punishes those that dare to be sick! I plan on being a stay at home mom, a housewife. And its a good thing, because to last through the winter with a company take a lot of understanding. I'm constantly stressed that the next coworker who comes to work sick, or the store clerk who won't go home will be the one who knocks me off my feet for the next two weeks. I can't expect even the most considerate workplace to not fire me if I call in with a 102 temp and vomiting or extreme cough for two weeks, not how their handbooks are currently written. If I ever own a business my employee manual for sick leave will read as follows: employees who come to work visibly, audibly, or otherwise discernibly sick will be asked to leave the office until well. Sick pay will be provided. Any employee who calls in sick will be required to submit a doctor's note to be excused from work. Any copayment or expense derived from the required doctor's visit will be reimbursed by the company upon receipt of the doctor's note. Sick pay will be provided assuming a doctor's note stating the illness is remitted. Three unauthorized sick days will result in disciplinary action.
I am willing to bet that my employees would be happier, healthier, and less stressed. I also bet I'd pay out for less sick days than the average employer. And such a policy would allow for those of us that are 'sickly' to be more productive members of society. Can you imagine how much better life would be, and how much healthier we'd all be from kindergarten up if people just stayed home in bed when they were sick instead of spreading it? In this civilized world we come into contact with more people on a day to day basis that most people a hundred years ago would come into contact with in a month. Traditional knowledge said people got in bed and had chicken soup when they were sick, sometimes shops closed for a couple of days. Sometimes people had to wait an extra day to get a package or had to help a neighbor with chores. Life somehow continued at this slower pace. Life would be better if we all remembered we're humans, not perpetual motion machines, and that life doesn't need to run at Mach 5 all the time.


Blogger Meatpies said...

Good morning and I hope you feel better soon!

You know, I mostly blame the pharmacutical (sp?) companies with their "take this and you won't feel your illness! Then you can go about your day like nothing's wrong' tactics.

The problem with this is, when you're sick there IS something wrong. Why should you heed your body's warnings? Because it knows far better than you, what needs to be done.

If you run a fever, it's because your body is trying to kill the bacteria or virus invading your body. Why in the wide world of sports would you take a medication to stop this??? You're taking medication to keep you sick!! Let your body fight what it can! Stay home when you're sick so others don't get sick, and let your body do what it's designed to do.

Jes, take care and let me know if you need anything!



11:39 AM  
Blogger brad said...

I want to come work for you! Really, I am a migraine headache sufferer and believe me, I would rather be working, but with the sensitivity to light and floating blindness.. I can't do my job, but try explaining that to an employer!

11:06 AM  
Blogger RWNJ said...

I am a manager of about 32 people at a company that has a less than friendly attendance policy.

It pains me to think that my people have to come to work sick and miserable just so I can send them home sick. But that is the best that I can do. In my heart I know that these policies have come about because of the thoughless worms who take advantage of more acceptable attendance policies, but that doesn't make it any better when I have to put people on written performance warnings because they were sick. I can only hope that other employers care enough about their employees to do everything in their power to actually care and take care of their employees. Hope you feel better soon!!

11:35 PM  

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