Claire: The Ides of June

My productivity right now is very close to the zero point. After days of feeling under the weather, I took a turn for the worse late Sunday afternoon when my neck, which had been achy all week, started hurting so much that I could barely turn my head. I retired to bed, which only made it worse, and I only managed two hours of sleep. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to work on Monday. Driving myself to the doctor was a challenge as she is an hour away (don’t ask why), and she kept me for all of one minute before announcing that the virus going around was bad and it would probably last several weeks: I had bronchitis and sinusitis, and the neck spasms were separate entirely.

She seemed to want to get me out as soon as possible, so she acted a bit annoyed when I asked her to review my prescriptions with me. My history with drugs (prescribed, of course) involves an anaphylactic allergic response and a couple of serious reactions to pain meds, so I have a lot of anxiety when I have to take anything. She took offense to me asking her to review the options and directions (“do you really think I would prescribe you something you’re allergic to?) and then when tears started dripping down my cheeks, she asked, exasperated, “why are you crying?!”

“Because I’m exhausted and sick and don’t feel good” I responded, thinking to myself that it really should be the one time you’re allowed to be afraid and sad and childlike, as I admit to being when I’m sick, and then she threw on a big smile and reached out her hand to say goodbye and wish me a good afternoon.

I used to think the smile/handshake combo was a nice friendly aspect of her bedside manner, but now I just think it’s time for a new doctor.

I spent much of Monday and Tuesday drifting in and out of a painful sleep, and today I headed back to work. I left early–after my last class–arriving home and promptly sleeping for three hours. I can function, but I have nothing extra to give. I became impatient with one of my classes today, a group of students who meet in the afternoon and have lately settled into “get through the rest of the year with minimal effort” mode, and I called them on it by saying “if I can be here to help you review for your test when I all I want to do is be in bed, then the least you can do is meet me somewhere near halfway and participate once in a while.”

One kid, a jokester whom I generally like very much, threw back “yeah, you should have just stayed in bed.” In hindsight, I know he was doing what he always does: making a joke and testing the boundary of how far he can go and still get a laugh from me or his peers. He chose poor timing today today, however, and I gave him the stinkeye, a look that has generally been on vacation all year as I have had great freshmen classes. “That was not respectful; in fact, it was RUDE” was my response, and he apologized right away, participating eagerly for the rest of the class.

Sigh. It hurt my feelings. Yes, that’s right, teachers are not blank feeling-less robots, especially at the end of the year, especially when we’re sick. I blame the sick days and my students getting too much of a good thing; they’re not excited to have to come back to thinking about literature. We are all just trying to get through it right now. The only problem is, summer is still far away in our view: we are in school for almost three more weeks. It feels like an eternity, especially when it is all I can do to wake up and get through my classes, let alone do any grading or extra work. I haven’t run in a week, and my daughter is starting to show signs of extreme sensitivity to Mommy keeping her at arms’ length for so long. If she gets this virus, I think it will be the death of me, so it’s a tradeoff I can live with, but it’s hard to see all her preteen attitude flaring up at every turn, knowing I could just kiss and hug and tickle it out of her if my germs would just fly north for a season.

Summer will come soon, and everyone will envy me my time off and my job. If I could just see my way to making it there, I’d be ok. Meanwhile, I sleep when I can, and the rain falls down outside, which is good, because I don’t have the energy to water the garden just now.

KHP Art Below

KHP - More from Fairyland.  This image was drawn using all primitive shapes in Illustrator.  It is a series of ellipses.

KHP – More from Fairyland. This image was drawn using all primitive shapes in Illustrator. It is a series of ellipses.

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3 Responses to Claire: The Ides of June

  1. Kristen R. says:

    So many things! That virus sounds absolutely awful. I really hope you’re on the mend. Second, I have always said that everyone says how lucky teachers are to have summers off, but you’re squeezing 12 months of work into 9 months. Nothing easy about that. And, third, you guys have so much school left! I thought my Bean was getting out late (last day tomorrow) but three more weeks? Sorry – the end is near! You’ll make it. I promise.

  2. khpixler says:

    Ugh!!! The last three weeks are torture and with a horrid cold. You are getting out late! I think the latest I ever got out with teacher workdays, was June 22nd.
    The whole scene at your doctors office made me furious. All you need when you are feeling that run down in a hyper-sensitive, egotistical and condescending doctor.
    I hope your virus subsides soon and you can function better.

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