The Post-Grad Burn Book: 17. Getting Sick

Fall is my favorite season, but it’s also the one time of the year I get sick. Between the fluctuating temperatures (shorts one day, jacket the next) and busy weekends, it’s the prime time to catch a cold… And when I do, it hits me. Big time.

The terrible feeling begin a few days in advance. My energy starts to tank and I get a scratchy feeling in your throat. I know I’m getting sick and there is nothing I can do about it. No matter how hard I try to prevent it, whatever I am coming down with will still hit me in full force.

More often than not, illnesses strike at the most inconvenient times. Prime example: I discovered I had mono two weeks before my fall semester exams freshman year of college. Illnesses also strike for the most ridiculous reasons. For instance, you get sick as a result of not getting enough sleep, too much stress, or raging just a little too hard.  The worst? Getting sick immediately after returning from vacation. It’s bad enough you have to come back to reality, but getting sick on top of it is just a slap in the face.

When we were little, getting sick wasn’t too bad. Mom and Dad took care of us and we got to skip school. Even trips to the doctor weren’t that bad. We got examined, prescribed antibiotics and never once had to deal with the hassle of filling out medical forms, dealing with insurance, and medical bills. Now, we are left to fend for ourselves. If we’re lucky, we might have a sympathetic roommate or boyfriend who might come to our aid, but mostly my friends just avoid me at all costs so they don’t contract whatever plague I have.

In addition to this, we have to somehow figure out how to get better. Now that we’re working, we can’t just stay home from school for an infinite amount of days. We are only given a small number of sick days to take, if any. Now if we haven’t used them all, here’s our chance… But do we really want to waste them all now? What if we get even more sick in the next couple of weeks or months? What if this is just the beginning of our illness? What if people don’t believe us and get mad that we’re not in? Oh and what if we have a project due or a huge meeting that day? Can we really afford to take a sick day? Not to mention, thanks to technology a lot of people can work from home now… so sick days don’t exactly exist anymore. Oh, you’re not feeling well? Can you at least sign on your email in bed and keep your laptop next to you while you rest? Really? How do you expect people to get better?

The fun doesn’t end after you’ve gotten over your illness either. Catching up on life after you get better is a task within itself. While your personal world might be put on hold for a week or so, the rest of the world doesn’t stop. Stuff to do for work or school doubles between playing catch up on what you missed and staying on top of upcoming assignments and projects. What’s worse is when you make a full recovery but still can’t drink because of whatever antibiotics you are still on. And props to you if you actually finish your 10 day anti-alcohol pill stint.

Needless to say, I will soon be stocking up on Emergen C, cold medicine, plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer. I love fall too much to let a few germs get in my way.

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