How Do You Take a Sick Day when You’re Retired?

I’m terrible at being sick. Unless I’m too ill to get out of bed, I find it boring. I get twitchy and restless, wanting to get to my various to-do lists.

Right after spring break I got a dry, scratchy throat. Being Queen of Denial, I treated it with home remedies and went about my business. Wednesday of that week, we made a round-trip to Dallas for a funeral. I had to leave the chapel briefly to get cough drops, and sat off alone at the reception, and the drive home was miserable, but otherwise I kept on rocking. Thursday it moved into my head with lots of congestion and the dry cough became very, shall we say, productive.

Every day I swore I was a little better.

We had longtime plans for a weekend with friends in Houston, already postponed once, and the weather promised to be Houston’s best, probably only, spring weekend. Another week and it would be, well, Houston. And we really wanted to visit these friends. So with my piles of tissue, cough medicine and water bottles, off we went.

My favorite piece in an exhibit of Islamic art, and tiny jeweled jar for henna or perfume.

My favorite piece in an exhibit of Islamic art, a tiny jeweled jar for henna or perfume.

I had been sleeping in our guest room so my coughing wouldn’t disturb husband, and at our friends’ we had the guest room. I managed to get through the nights without waking him. We went to the Museum of Fine Arts and took an azalea tour of River Oaks, even a short neighborhood walk. I was chugging along. Had some nice chicken soup at a Denny’s on the drive home. Plugged away through Monday, again sleeping in our guest room.

By noon Tuesday the pressure headache told me it was time for a visit to the doctor. As I suspected: sinus infection. Antibiotics.

Three days later: The cough has abated, but my stomach and back hurt from coughing. My head is a phlegm farm and I drink water like I swallowed a sponge.

When I was working somebody had to do my job whether I was there or not–it didn’t wait. More than once I fielded calls from home and even sometimes gave my cell number to a trusted reporter.

So it’s weird that if nothing got done last week or this week, nobody cares. Basic meals are somehow being prepared and eaten. I shower and change clothes every day. I’ve done a little knitting, finishing the cotton scarf.

Finished and blocking. A light cotton spring wrap for a birthday present.

Finished and blocking. A light cotton spring wrap for a birthday present.

I’ve spent more time reading this week than usual, which I enjoy. But I still have to keep reminding myself it’s ok to sit and read a novel and get absolutely nothing done. And here I am updating my blog.

Not even trashy novels and magazines!

Not even trashy novels and magazines!


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