A couple weeks ago, I told y’all I woke up with half my face swollen from sinuses, bad teeth, and general lack of self care. The nurse-practitioner practically gagged at the state of affairs in my mouth; had she mumbled “Oh, my goodness” one more time while examining me, I probably would have gotten up and walked away.
Anyways, she admonished me to get to a freaking dentist (duh), and wrote me a script for penicillen. I bought some more ibuprofen, added a tab of tynenol, ate an early lunch, took my antibiotics, and proceeded to go back to work.
Why, you ask? Because I am a mother. And in America, nothing is so precious as paid sick days and personal days. I am definitely luckier than most in that my husband has a pretty flexible schedule (he can do day duty and I can do night duty) but my little cache of days off is pretty small: 12, to be exact. 10 sick days and 2 personal days–predicated, of course, on you regularly showing up to work. They are kind of like a payday loan or advanced credit. You do not just get them as a part of your package, you have to earn them, pay for them with your future service.
Anyways, I have already used 2 sick days (stomach virus), left early a couple days (trips back and forth to St. Louis), came late once or twice (sheer foolishness in traffic). Though being late is not my usual aesthetic, we are a one car family with 2 working adults and 2 children who attend schools on opposite sides of the city. This seriously constrains any movements outside of prescribed parameters. This also means that any emergency requiring a car will derail everybody’s day. My being sick at home is one thing–my being sick and needing to go to the urgent care clinic and then the pharmacy is another. Total chaos.Who would be dropped off first? Could Ashleigh make her bus? Would Haleigh need to eat breakfast at home? How late would she be? Was I still going to work afterwards? How would that effect Haleigh? Would someone be home to pick Ashleigh up?
So I went to work. Because that day was also homecoming day at my middle school, and I was supposed to work concessions and Haleigh was supergeeked about her first homecoming experience, I went to work. Tired, slightly drowsy, well medicated, and completely useless. But I was there, doing saline rinses and nodding off in the warm darkness of my office, prepared to take a couple of conference calls and thassit! Maybe review a spreadsheet or two or not.
Either way, sacrifices had to be made. And sacrificing myself is dang near a default position, so I guess sitting in my office half sleep is the payment for my daughter making it to school and enjoying her first homecoming experience. It is the payment for me making a decision to actually go to a doctor for a change!
It was a payment worth making, though.