Category Archives: Health
Recently (meaning a couple months ago), NPR did a report featuring workers who go to work sick. For the majority, it was mainly older employees who tended to stay home when I’ll while the younger workers were more apt to push through their illness to not miss work. The major difference between these two groups were the ones who tended to stay home were those who had tenure and got paid sick time off or would otherwise not be punished for taking time off. This was the older set. Of those interviewed in the younger set, they told the reporter they almost always went to work sick because they did not have paid (or even unpaid) sick time that they were allowed to use. Illnesses ranged from painful migraines to colds, flu, and other contagious illnesses that involved vomiting and diarrhea at work. Those who went to work sick said they did so because they could not afford to lose the pay or their jobs.
I was reminded of this radio spot as I forced myself to go to work sick today out of the same fear. I’d called out the past two days with severe bronchitis but could not afford a write-up for missing any more time, so I stuck it out. I ended up getting worse throughout the day because I wasn’t able to rest or take the medications that I have been at work – they put me to sleep. Upon returning to work today, I also heard from several others that they’d had to call out sick this week too for the same thing and I know where it came from. One person who came in sick 2 weeks ago coughing up a storm and even bragging about having the flu and still working.
The question is: where does someone who lives paycheck to paycheck draw the line between going in sick and staying home for their own health and others? Is it worth losing money or even your job to keep others safe? How do you handle it? Comments are welcome.
In Response To: Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound Of Silence
In life, I am a very sound-sensitive individual. Certain pitches and volumes that would normally just annoy most people physically hurt at times. Too many differing sounds make me want to cover my ears and scream (perfect example: heavy metal music or a loud television with unpredictable shifts in volume).
Several years ago, when I was actively involved in meeting with my spiritual guide on the astral plane through meditation, I was sitting in my apartment one night about to crawl out of my skin. I ran to the back of the building to escape the noises of the air conditioner, the TV and the cars outside…
I closed my eyes and immediately sought my Guide who was waiting for me and he tells me, “Let me be your peace.” He takes me into his arms piece by piece, frequency by frequency, we shut out all the noise. In silence, he has me spiritually enter a tall, strong oak tree in my neighbor’s back yard and I become one with it. He tells me to hear the heartbeat of the tree.
I say: I know this tree.
He says: “You know because you feel . You feel because you are. Now, what do you feel?”
I say: I feel the heartbeat, which pulses once in a year. Once in a season. The roots swell with the rains and with the force of life which will push up into new leaves and blooms. I feel its slow strength. I feel its serenity. I feel every memory. I feel the cold earth surrounding my feet. I feel my arms reaching high in its branches toward the sun. I feel the energies it draws in and those it puts out. I feel the force of life ever flowing. I feel the dark stillness inside the heartwood. I feel the rush of the wind. I feel the complexity of its internal patterns. I feel its age. I feel it holding strong to its will to survive. I feel its faith. I feel its health and its dis-ease. I feel its healed scars. I feel its perseverance. I feel its slow pulse and the reason for its longevity. I feel its patience.
My Guide tells me: “In the end, what you feel is the secret of life. You truly are awakened. You know. This is your wisdom – the way to peace, to knowledge, to those things that you cannot learn from man. You are one with nature, and it is one with you. This tree has allowed you inside its very core. It knows you are of good will, and it knows you possess the Gift. The others will all feel the mark of its energies within you, now that you have joined it as one. You are indeed a very special, precious child. I told you in the beginning you were gifted. Now you understand… this is what I meant. This is why you are here, because all your senses are in tune with the nature that surrounds you. In silence, you can communicate with nearly everything. Many of us cannot. Many of us only possess a special connection with certain entities but you, my dear, you have the ability to hear the trees, the spirits of nature, the spirits of men, the spirits of all that surrounds you.”
My Guide continues: “I know that you have lost faith in men (people), but do not lose faith in nature, for that is what you are here to protect. Mankind has destroyed itself and now settles into its death. Nature… it will survive, but it will need to be healed and to be able to heal it, we must be able to understand its needs above what we can already see with our eyes. We must also apply our minds to the energies it gives us and decode its secrets with an understanding that very few have managed to achieve.”
From silence came wisdom and with wisdom, the ability to understand the world around me with closed eyes and an open mind. Sometimes after all, we must close our eyes to truly see.
Sunday night… I don’t know what it was that made me feel the urge to go outside but something unseen directed me to get up, go outside, look left. I can’t describe the sheer horror when I did go and saw the smoke pouring out the front door, window and wall of my next door neighbor’s apartment. Within seconds, the fire was also visible through the wall.
Within seconds, I was dialing 911 and running to wake my neighbors C. & B. on the other side of the fire. Those 2 minutes trying to wake them felt like forever. Once they were safely outside and substantially in shock, I ran back to my place and – still on the phone with 911 – and turned my hose on the fire (which was now clearly visible through the front wall and clear that the hot spot was a faulty electrical outlet) then onto my roof and outside wood walls and back onto the endangered apartment. B. then turned his hose on the area my water couldn’t reach and we held the fire back until the fire department arrived a full six minutes later.
I went to talk with B. and C. while the firemen took an axe to the burning front wall of I.’s apartment to expose the fire. The source was indeed a faulty outlet that blew with a power surge. B. & C. had reported these power surges to FPL and to the landlord repeatedly and neither had done anything about it. Now it became a real threat to life and property.
That night after the power was cut to that duplex and all was quiet, I was still too much of a nervous wreck to sleep. Monday morning, A. and his mom picked me up early and took me down to West Palm for the day to try to get my mind off everything. I almost had myself convinced that it was an isolated incident and that we were safe. That idea didn’t last long though as I spoke with C. that afternoon and she told me the landlord and the maintenance guy came out and did a “quick fix” by simply splicing a new outlet to the burned wire, replacing the front wall wood panels (only on the outside) and turning the breaker back on. This is a violation of fire code, it remains a fire risk and no inspection was done to ensure its safety, not to mention the maintenance guy is NOT a licensed electrician – Code Enforcement will have a field day on this C. promised to call CE this morning and I provided her the number last night. I called this afternoon (Tuesday) to follow up after learning that she had not called because she did not have her phone.
Monday night saw no sleep either. This event has really gotten to me mentally and emotionally and my nerves are frayed, so much so that Monday night I tried calling around for a 24-hour free counseling line to try to find a way to quell the fear and anxiety. The only place I could get was a Consult-A-Nurse line and all they did was tell me to go to the E.R. Well, I did. My blood pressure was spiking, my head was pounding, my stomach twisted in knots. I had been in a full-blown panic attack for a full 24 hours. The Triage nurse tried twice to get my BP but could not get a reading. He told me it was “too high for the machine to read.” He told me to relax (yeah, right) and they’d try again in a few minutes.
The next nurse who saw me briefly told me the chart said my BP was 117/20. Um – what? It’s never been that low – I have uncontrolled high blood pressure and no meds for it. I told her the guy who just tried to take it said it was so high he couldn’t get a reading. She said, “Oh, well it says here you’re normal,” and would not check it again to get a real reading. They falsified my chart! They refused to treat me for the anxiety or the BP and merely sent me home with a script for Vistaril which I wouldn’t be able to get until the next day anyway. I went in there because my pressure was so high it was making me sick and because I was in a panic attack too scared to sleep for 2 nights straight – and they refused to treat me. This is what hospitals do to people with no insurance – they leave them for dead. I almost wished I’d have had a stroke in the parking lot on the way out. Let them be accountable.
Now it is Tuesday night and I still have not been able to sleep. The landlord and his secretary and maintenance guy are trying to say someone threw a Maletov cocktail at the building. What a load of crap. Even fire and police reports state the cause of the fire was faulty wiring. Maintenance also tried to assure me the building is safe now and that my building is safe, stating mine was inspected “when it was all done,” whatever or whenever that means. I don’t feel safe.
Even today, my neighbors are calling me a hero. Yes I stopped a fire from spreading. Yes I got my neighbors out safely. But to be such a wreck afterward… Idunno… doesn’t feel very “heroic.” All I need is Valium.
I am going to have to read this post at least 47 more times to fully grasp it but it will be worth the brain-melt, I’m sure…
This is a perblog post because there is nothing else I am able to do at the moment. For the first time in three years, I ended up pulling my back out again. Hefting 500 20-pound bags of oyster shells to help build an artificial reef didn’t do it. Helping the neighbors move didn’t do it. No, it was bending over to pick up a piece of trash in my yard that sent a searing pain ripping across my lower back and just about dropped me. Barely made it back inside clinging to the wall for support and now I can’t stand up. Or turn. I hate my back 😦