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Pauline Lerner

June 5, 2005 at 5:16 PM

Oh, no. I'm sick again, and I really don't like being sick. It's awful how many people, including doctors, believe that being sick is a willful act done to get sympathy and attention and/or to avoid doing work. I have chronic, intermittent illnesses (migraines, asthma), and this has always been a problem for me wherever I work. I do good work and I do it quickly. I have never missed a deadline, and I've worked in deadline-intense environments. Not many people can say that. However, I have trouble keeping regular hours, and many supervisors consider that more important than the quantity and quality of work I produce. Working freelance would be a good option for me, but it would be hard to earn enough money to live on and get benefits, including health insurance.

When I feel myself getting sick, the first thing I do is deny it, and the next thing I do is get uptight about losing my job, finding good medical care, paying the bills, etc. This time was no exception. When I started feeling crummy, I tried going to bed early and getting lots of sleep. When that didn¡¦t work, I tried working out at the gym. That made me feel better. Finally I realized what was happening. I had the same illness I had once before, years ago, and it was terrible. I was hospitalized for a couple of days and then spent a couple of weeks at home recuperating, only to relapse again. I got really uptight and started packing a bag to take to the hospital. I tried for a couple of hours to get in touch with my doctor. Finally, I spoke to a physician's assistant, and she was good. She told me that I could try taking an antibiotic at home and, if it worked, I wouldn't have to go to the hospital. Yippee! I have started taking the antibiotic and I'm getting better. Yippee!

Now I alternate between feeling good about getting better and feeling bad about still being sick and missing the things I can't do. The biggest disappointment is missing my orchestra's concert and the last few rehearsals. We only give two concerts a year, so missing one is missing a lot. The music we're playing is challenging and I've been practicing hard. At rehearsals the orchestra sounded pretty ragged. The last two rehearsals went very well and the orchestra sounded much better -- or so I'm told. I couldn't be there. :-( I missed the concert, too. :-( I'm so disappointed. I always have a big post concert letdown because we won't have regular rehearsals during the summer. The rehearsals are so much fun in so many ways. They are very important for keeping my spirits up. Another disappointment is missing a big folk festival here which is a gathering place for a lot of my friends who are musicians, singers, or music lovers. However, I know that, even if I weren't sick, I wouldn't be able to go to the festival because I don't have a car or any friends who would give me a ride. Next weekend, I'm scheduled to spend the whole weekend at a Celtic festival doing volunteer work. A friend who is leading some of the volunteer work got me some crash space at a hotel with her so that I can hang out with her and help all weekend long. I really, really hope that I can do that.

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