The sick-day dilemma


So, today I have another headache. And yes, it is a migraine. I can’t stand bright light, my ears are whooshing when I move around, and my appetite is gone. I feel awful. Yet, I am sitting here at work.

Why? Because I feel like I have to be here. I get migraines relatively frequently, although sometimes I can go a few weeks at a time without having one. But this current migraine came on yesterday afternoon, and seemed to ease up last night before bed because of medication. This morning, however, it was back. I can’t take my medication if I am going to drive, so I couldn’t take it if I was going to work. So I’m basically sitting here, miserable, unsure of what to do next.

I want to go home and sleep. That’s what makes my migraines go away: drinking about double the amount of water I normally do, and sleeping in a dark, quiet room. “Not moving” is key.

But I don’t have a lot of sick days. And I took one not that long ago– like two weeks ago. I don’t want to come off as someone who is milking the system or anything even close to that. I’m truly not milking anything. When I take a sick day, I have damn good reason. It just sucks that my reasons seem to be more frequent than the average office worker’s. I only have about a dozen hours of sick time built up, so I need to be very careful about when I use those hours. I never know when a day might come where I feel much worse than the day before.

So I drag my ass in here, all the time, when I’m not feeling good. I can’t stand the frequency of this. But, as those of you who suffer from migraines know, there isn’t a whole lot I can do when a migraine strikes. I don’t want to take preventative medications, and my doctor doesn’t want me to go that route yet, either, because my migraines are not predictable at all. Like I already said, I can go weeks without having one. And other times, I’ll get a couple in one week’s time. If they do start following a pattern, then I’ll consider preventative pills. For now, I am on enough brain-affecting pills as it is (I mean my Wellbutrin and Zoloft) to want to add more. Blehhh. It’s a tough call.

On the plus side, I don’t seem to catch as many random illnesses and viruses lately. So I think my immune system is doing pretty good, even though I have the weird pains and stuff in my abdomen and might have acid reflux (my dentist wants me to go to the doctor for tests b/c he thinks it could be AR that’s causing my tooth enamel to erode so much more than chewing alone could do), and then my lumbar spine and sciatic nerve are all jacked up… I’m not catching strep, flu, etc. as they make the rounds in my office. So that’s something good, anyway.

No, instead, I need to use my sick days for migraines, most of the time.

I don’t think I have a particularly high absentee rate, but it’s more than I want it to be. There are some people around here who never seem to be sick, and there are others who call out approximately once a week for some reason or another. I think I’m in the middle, someplace, but I worry. I worry so much that if I were to take the days off that I feel my body needs, I’ll get in trouble. Or at least perception of me will be affected. After the debacle that happened last year when I was out for two weeks and then telecommuted for another two, I can’t help it. I feel like I wouldn’t have been singled out if I hadn’t been out so much for the tailbone and wrist issues. (As you’ll recall, the real issue was the tailbone, since I couldn’t sit in my car seat or desk chair without severe pain.)

This just sucks. I wish there were an easy answer, or even a real solution. There isn’t. I just need to tough out as much as I can, and use the sick days when I absolutely can’t function. I guess I’m functioning today, since here I am. I’ve attended a meeting today and have been heavily-editing an article, and now, I’ve written this. Never mind that my eyes keep wanting to close and I’m lightheaded even just sitting here at my computer. I’m still doing stuff. Just barely, but still doing it.

I just wanted to vent. That’s all I needed. Now, back to whatever the hell I am supposed to be working on.


One response »

  1. I have the same problem. The days I get a migraine or I have my Super Cramps as I call them in conjunction with my visiting friend and I drag myself into work any way. Because my work frowns upon sick calls. That’s ANY sick calls. So I try never to call in. This can’t be good for job production but oh well. They make me feel guilty if I call in because someone has to cover for me. So I generally save my sick days for times I am hurling uncontrollably.

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