Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting Sick

Over 2 weeks, end of September and beginning of October 2010. Ugh :(

Last year I NEVER got sick. I was pretty amazed--I mean, traveling to a new country, new school, drinking tap water (which locals never do! and foreigners are advised against!), working with kids who were getting sick all the time, under a lot of stress, single mom on my own for the first time, way-worse-than-freezing-cold weather.... You'd think that was a prime time for me to get sick! But I didn't. Except for a few times at the beginning, neither did Sophia.

Maybe it was all the juice I drank (I drank a lot... but I still do!) Maybe it was something in the water (ha, ha, I doubt it!) Maybe it was the Kazakh custom of everyone wearing masks when they think they might be sick (not sure if that works, because at least half the sick people don't wear their masks all the time, and sick kids are kids, pretty germy & good at spreading germs whether or not they're wearing masks). Maybe it was the Kazakh custom of keeping kids home for 10 days when they're sick. (Except... I can't believe that's the reason! You're most contagious before you really know you're sick, aren't you?)

Whatever the reason, I had a super-healthy year last year and fully expected another one.

When I got here, I got a runny nose & used up all my Mucinex-D, the medicine that works best for me on runny noses. I hadn't brought a lot.

Then, towards the end of September, I got an upset stomach. It came and went for a few days; one day I almost called in sick, but made it to work just half an hour late. Since we show up at 8 am, and the elementary classes don't start until 9 am, showing up a bit late was no problem.

Another teacher had a really bad stomach bug, so I was guessing I had something like him.

Monday, 27 September, my stomach felt fine but my throat felt like it was on fire, like it's never felt before. During the course of the morning it got better and I thought that this was the end!

Then Tuesday, I had to call in sick. I could barely leave my bed, and when I made it to the bathroom, I could barely leave the bathroom.

Always feeling guilty about calling in sick, when I started to feel better, I slowly got ready and Sophia and I went to school around noon. We could have stayed home and played the Wii, my important classes were already over, but I felt like I had to go into work.

At all previous schools I've worked at, I've felt guilty at calling in sick, and guilty that I wasn't sick enough. I felt pressure to go in, or to prove that I'm really sick. In South Carolina, of course, I had only so many sick days, so this was definitely a motivation to come in!

But here, when I showed up, other teachers & even the vice principal & principal were surprised. "You should have stayed home and gotten better!" was the universal reaction. They understood when I said I'd feel guilty staying at home, playing the Wii with Sophia, however, they said it'd be best for me to rest.

I've never gotten such a reaction. It makes sense, though, to rest thoroughly when you're sick so you can get better. But I've never worked for people who had that attitude towards their employees.

It was an awful rest of the day, as I didn't have a break (staff meeting after school!) and I had so many pieces to pick up from having missed the morning. I should have stayed home.

This sickness lasted like this--up and down--for over another week. But I didn't have to call in sick again. It slowly turned more into a runny nose and a mucus-filled throat, which was absolutely awful, and how I missed my Mucinex-D! But I waited it out, and eventually got my voice back so that I could sing with my students.

It went around the school and a lot of people got it. Sophia got sick for one day, towards the end of October. Not sure if it was the same thing.

Here's hoping, however, that that was my only time being sick this year!!

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