I’m back to work again after having about the worst case of the flu I’ve ever encountered.
It all started the Thursday before last, I was feeling pretty blech upon coming home from work, I remember going to bed earlier than usual, but ended up sleeping almost 16 hours into the next day. Not all at once, mind you. I woke up after a full eight hours and just felt tired, and my body was achy. I mean, all over achy. I got up but didn’t stay up very long. Went back to bed and slept for another eight hours. Of course this sort of screwed up my sleep/eat/up schedule for the next workday, but I didn’t end up eating all that much anyway. My wife asked me what I wanted for dinner and after thinking about it, I said “waffles”. It’s quick, easy and I hadn’t had them for a while. Made the batter, got out the iron, and bing bam boom had them done in pretty short order. Now normally I can polish off two and be back for more, but that evening, I barely finished one. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t hungry.
At this point, my wife was concerned, but not so much that she thought I ought to call off of work for the next day. Which for me is a huge undertaking. I just don’t do that normally. I’ve gone to work with a broken toe before. Bad cold, feeling like death warmed over, doesn’t usually matter. The only things up to now that have kept me from work are my gallbladder surgery, kidney stones, and one hellacious tooth abscess.
I went to bed early and slept nearly nine hours. Got up for work and didn’t feel well at all. I certainly had more than one thought of “I really, really don’t want to go to work today.” but I couldn’t bring myself to call the store and beg off. It’s just not in my nature. Even writing this, after going through what I did, if I had the same symptoms tomorrow morning, I’d hesitate before picking up the phone. How weird is that? I have co-workers that don’t agonize about calling off from work, they just do it and take the day.
Upon arriving to work, I knew it was a mistake having gone. I tried, but after 30 minutes I knew I had to go back home. Which to me felt like a failure. But I could barely stay awake, let alone put in a full day of hard work. I told my supervisor, who, to his credit said what he always does when someone needs to go home for a medical issue “Do what you need to do for yourself.” That’s it. I went home and went back to bed. I would have called my Dr. for an appointment, but his office isn’t open on weekends. I didn’t feel it was so dire that a trip to the ER was necessary, or even Urgent Care. I figured more sleep would do the trick, even though it hadn’t up to that point.
Sleep didn’t work, except I was quickly becoming slept out. By Saturday evening, I was trying to justify going to work again. My wife was convinced that calling in was going to be the best option, and a good friend of mine was attempting to do the same when it came right down to it. I had a feeling if I called in, I was going to get the store manager, who wouldn’t be very understanding when it came to me asking for Sunday off. Of course, I was spot on. When I called the store and talked to him at 9:30, first he blew me off “Oh, come on…” and then when I attempted to explain, he muttered “Whatever” and hung up on me. Wonderful. Not only was I feeling physically ill, now I was feeling like a failure for calling in. That feeling didn’t go away for a while.
Sunday was a blur for the most part. Starting Saturday night, I was taking my vitals, beginning to think I might have COVID. I was wearing a mask around the house, trying to be circumspect around my wife and my cat, hoping that I wasn’t inadvertently infecting them with my very presence. Too, I wasn’t eating all that much, but I was drinking copious amounts of water, but I was cognizant that I was losing weight as well. Over the course of the weekend, I dropped ten pounds (4.5 kg). My vitals for the most part were normal, the only thing that was a little off was my pulse, which varied from 90-120 bpm. I think that was more due to nervousness and dread, but by Monday that came down. I was checking and re-checking the CDC and Mayo Clinic websites, looking for COVID symptoms and ticking off the ones I had (fatigue, body aches, dry cough) and the ones I didn’t (loss of taste or smell primarily).
My plan at this point was to call my Dr. on Monday for an appointment and get the answers I needed. Seeing as I called off on Sunday, and went home early on Saturday, it was possible that I required a Dr’s note to return to work on Tuesday. It just so happened that I had Monday scheduled off as we were having a washing machine delivered.
I called the Dr’s office in the morning and got an afternoon appointment. When I asked the nurse if I needed to tell her why I needed the appointment, she said no, I could tell the doctor when I arrived. A little odd, since usually they ask. In preparation, I sat down at my computer and typed out a synopsis of everything that had happened over the weekend so that he had a full accounting and I wouldn’t forget anything. Came in handy later on, I think.
At the Dr’s, I gave him the synopsis, he read it and then gave me a cursory exam, along with weighing me (confirmed that I had lost 20 lbs since the last time he saw me in May) and quizzing me about any other symptoms I might have forgotten. When he finished, he said he wasn’t positive, but he was pretty sure I had the flu. Even so, without my prompting, he gave me one of the ‘quickie’ COVID tests, the nasal swab ones that only take about 10 minutes to determine positive or negative. I had heard second-hand that the swab was the worst part of it, in that some people have reported that they ‘felt’ the swab tickle their amygdala when it was shoved up their nose. This wasn’t like that. It was a quick swabbing of both nostrils, and then in the swab went to its little home to percolate before it came to a conclusion.
Bottom line, it said I didn’t have the coronavirus. Which in one way was a relief, but in another, it gave me pause because I still felt like a truck had run over me in a bad way (is there a good way to have a truck run you over?). I asked him for a note for work, as well as one for possibly getting another day off for medical reasons. He gave me a generic one that said I had been seen in the office and allowed me Tuesday off, returning to work on Wednesday. Which was ok in my book since in my work schedule, I had Wednesday off. So by good fortune, I didn’t have to go back to work until Thursday.
The kicker? On Thursday, when I was back to work, the store manager said to me ‘Welcome Home!’ Eh? You dismissed me and then hung up on me you bastard! He then said “you never call in.” Duh, I know that!
Maybe he can have it.