Blog Archives

Working Sick: Where’s the Line?

​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 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.

Challenges never cease

Yesterday, I was looking forward to making the trip 2 1/2 hours south to go pick up my daughter who I haven’t seen in far too long. We miss each other terribly but its been nearly impossible to get up the money to get there as far behind as everything had fallen. Well, the thrill of having my daughter back has been taken away from me yet again as I have been in the hospital since Wednesday with a very sudden onset of right lower lobe pneumonia. I have been unresponsive to most of the breathing treatments, antibiotics and steroids that they have been pumping me with. I was in such respiratory distress yesterday that the doctor strongly suggested intubating me for 48 hours and waking me up after 2 days of ICU treatment. Of course I fought it tooth and nail. He diagnosed me with COPD. My blood pressure upon arrival was stroke level 236/120. My blood sugar is running in the 200’s so I’m shooting insulin three times a day. I’m an unholy trifecta of health problems right now. I had been praying for healing but certainly did not have to go through all this to achieve it. I think I was hoping for more of a miracle than missed child, missed work, missed home. I just hope to God my daughter understands that my being away is not by choice, that I want us together but that I am still financially destitute and severely ill. I still, after all the treatment, cannot get out of bed without taking ten minutes to catch my breath. I don’t know how long I will be in hospital, but I need to start responding NOW to treatment.

Tis the Season… For Colds and Flu

MYTH: Going out in the cold weather will give you a cold.

FACT: While not exactly accurate, cold weather can make colds and related viruses more apt to set in. It isn’t the cold that gives us the sniffles however. When our body temperature drops, so does our ability to fight the viruses that we commonly come in contact with. Cold viruses are all around us however a drop in temperature slows down our immune response to these tiny invaders and makes us more likely to suffer the symptoms of them as we fail to fight them off at first contact. It is difficult to avoid contact with any of the 200 plus viruses that cause common cold symptoms, but there are things we can do to minimize the probability of catching a cold or at the least minimize the symptoms and shorten them.

WASH your hands regularly! Hot water and soap are your first line of defense after coming in contact with a person showing symptoms, after touching door knobs, phones, anything someone else may have touched. Cold viruses can live up to 48 hours outside the body on non-porous surfaces and flu viruses can stick around even longer.

DISINFECT commonly touched home and office surfaces regularly with disinfectant sprays or wipes.

BOOST your intake of Vitamin C and Zinc. Both stimulate and strengthen the immune system, reducing or preventing symptoms of the viral invasion.

Oh, HONEY! Unfiltered, unprocessed RAW honey contains both antiviral and antibiotic properties, as well as a wealth of vitamins and minerals and positive health effects including strengthening the immune system. Raw, locally harvested honey also has the added benefit of containing small amounts of local pollens which, when ingested, begin to help the person taking it to build immunity to the local trees and plants that cause seasonal allergies (which can be just as miserable as a cold). Factory processed honey is heated to a point that most of these health benefits are lost – the difference in benefits between raw and pasteurized honey is substantial.

Remember, prevention is the best medicine. If you do have any serious health concerns – ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist first for advice on treatment!

Stay healthy this season!