Couch potato

Another day, another early wake up. As I wrote yesterday 1) I have given up coffee – at least for a while – as I was suffering from unnecessary bouts of insomnia, and 2) I predicted that I might get sick. I was the last man standing for the last couple of days, but today it seemed that I was the one doing worst.

This morning, I – again – woke up at 4.30am. This time it wasn’t because my mind was racing, or that I couldn’t catch sleep because I was overly caffeinated. Nope. This time it was because my entire body hurt like hell. I just couldn’t find a comfortable position. I got out, tried some yoga, but I stopped that after two minutes, because it wasn’t going to work. My head was throbbing, probably caused by a combination of 1) and 2), but what was worse was that my entire body hurt like crazy. This is most certainly a result of 2).

I feel bloody miserable. I might as well call it what it is: I’m sick.

I wrote an early morning email to my employer, to let them know I would not be around for at least today, but maybe a few days more. I offered to listen in for a safety instruction that was planned for today via Zoom. I don’t do this because I have to, or because someone made me. I do it because I care about safety, and the safety of the people I work with. Yeah, I feel miserable, but there’s nothing wrong with my hearing, so I might as well kill time by listening. As a reward, I got a comment that I’m probably just pretending to be sick, because I had my camera turned off. I’m not sure what kind of moron pretends to be sick, but then dials in for what could pass as the most boring meeting ever. That’s crazy logic. It’s also a completely unnecessary thing to say to someone that shows up despite not feeling all too well. A stupid joke that I didn’t necessarily need to hear. I know I’ll stay away from boring meetings next time I’m sick, that’s for sure.

Perhaps you’re not supposed to do anything when you call in sick. But I am very, VERY bad at not doing anything. Not doing anything certainly is a worse punishment for me than doing something. I often hesitate when I’m sick – but not the half-dead kind of sick – whether I should call it that: sick. Because the reality is, when I’m sick and just stay in bed all day, I’ll have twice the work for tomorrow (or the coming days). No one takes over my duties when I’m sick. The tasks don’t dissolve into space, and the meetings of tomorrow will still be there. The longer I’m sick, the more stuff piles up. I hate stuff piling up. My easily-overwhelmed brain doesn’t cope with it very well. In practice, it often means that when I feel a bit sick, I stay at home (as not to infect others), but still work the necessary bits to keep things running, and minimize the hit that will come later.

I am aware that I am a terrible example. It’s not something to brag about – and certainly isn’t meant that way.

Today was different.

Today, I am a couch potato. I listened in to the Zoom thing, answered three emails, and that’s it, but all whilst lying on the couch. I could barely do other things. Standing up would hurt. All I do today is basically drink tea all day and hope for the best, because I want to get back to work asap.

Tomorrow is an important field work day. In the morning we’re propagating hundreds of clonal plants from field material, for my team’s summer experimental projects.

It’s not that I really need to be there. They’ll probably do just fine without me.

I want to be there. And most of all, I don’t want to be sick. What a complete waste of time.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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