Monday, March 15, 2010


I have started work as a CNA at a nursing home and had two days of orientation, followed by two of training on the floor. I was off the weekend and began getting sick throughout the day on Saturday. Flu symptoms, just feeling crappy all around. Tired, lethargic, body aches, headache, sore throat, and awful cough, plus sneezing, runny nose/stuffy nose (yes, both), watery eyes and fever. When I stand up I am dizzy and all I want to do is lie down in bed - no appetite.

I knew I would not be able to get through an 8-hour work day today, so called in Sunday night. The man I spoke to gave me a hard time about calling off during my training. When I called again this morning to speak to the scheduling supervisor, she was more considerate. I told her I did not think I could work again tomorrow and was taken off the schedule. At this point I continue to feel lousy and am worried I'll need to take off Wednesday. The cough has moved into my chest. I got some severe cold medicine and that is helping but I just don't have any energy and can't stand for long periods.

Last night was one of those where the best I could do was pick up Wedny's for my youngest (my oldest ate with his girlfriend). I just couldn't sand at the stove to prepare the meal I'd planned and it was too complicated for my youngest to cook. I'm feeling a little bit needy and wishing for some TLC. But of course, the middle-aged widow is not likely to receive much of that from her self-centered teen boys.

I have been so lucky the past years to have really not gotten ill. The scheduling supervisor said it is common for people who haven't been working to get sick a number of times in the first month they start working at a nursing home. I'm not going to apologize for getting sick. And if I am sick I am not going to work. I know my body and my limitations. It is unfortunate that I've been hit early in my employment but it does no good for me to go in and be unproductive or possibly at risk to the elderly and weak I am in contact with.

I've been out of the work loop for awhile now. And now I remember all the crap that goes on with calling off. Did the employer believe that I was sick? Should I really work even when I'm unwell? I've reached a point in my life where I don't call off to gain some free time. If I call off I am legitimately sick. I absolutely refuse to work at an extremely physical job lifting and transferring elderly when I am lightheaded and under the weather.

Something I learned from my husband's death is that I will not play stupid games anymore or jeopardize my own health by going into work when I'm sick. I won't be intimidated or scared. If I'm sick I need to take off to care for myself. Sad to have to be physically ill before I take that time.

I blogged this post in bits and pieces, having to get up to drop off some paperwork at the school for my son's volleyball team and then to pick up the youngest. My youngest told me "You shouldn't even be up blogging, go to bed!" I would rather not have gone out anywhere today but had to muster up the strength to do - that happens a lot as an only parent. Sometimes there isn't a choice. You're the only one there, sick or not.

In closing, it is crummy being sick. This is when it would be the most helpful to have a loving spouse by my side. To soothe me with some TLC, to help with the boys. Our home space (I still have trouble saying apartment) is an absolute mess since I wasn't up to much over the weekend. And still I feel guilty. That is the clincher. To feel guilty for being sick. Guilty for not being able to keep up, to be unable to work. Is that one of the repercussions of widowhood? We widows with kids end up doing so much of everything on our own, 24/7. There is such a tremendous amount of responsibility resting on our shoulders. We can't afford a day off for any reason. All our organization and planning goes out the window when we fall sick. Our lives become discombobulated.

If anyone deserves some kindness, support and a break it would be for the widow who is sick. And yet because I've held myself up to some impossible standard all these years on my own I look at myself as weak because I've gotten sick. And I feel guilty besides. Guilty for wasting the hours in bed, guilty for not working when we so need this job. Widowhood sucks, getting sick sucks and the combination of the two ULTRA SUCKS!

Skipping grateful list today because I need to go back to bed and lie down.


  1. I feel for you; you have had some tough times. But can't the two teen-age boys help out with the housework? Congratulations on getting the job.

  2. I am so sorry you are sick!!! I have not been sick much (amazingly with all the stress) since becoming a widow, but last year I got very ill. I had all the same feelings and just wanted my husband here to take care of me, take care of the children, take care of the house, take care of everything! But as you said, we are it -- 24/7 and there is no one else to share the load.

    Give yourself some TLC and don't push yourself until you feel better completely. Will be thinking of you.

  3. You are quite right not to go into work--you don't want to be the one to contaminate an elderly person as the flu could very well kill them. If your supervisor doesn't understand that, then something is very wrong. Take care and hope you are well soon.

  4. Amen Sister!

    I couldn't agree more. But first, I must have missed something here. When did you get the job? Congratualtions!

    I am the worst about calling in when I am sick. I feel all the guilt, but also, realize that after having to get the kids up for school, drive them to school, and do all the other daily requirements, I may as well go to work. I sometimes get more rest there. It's crazy, I know.

    During these past two years I would not tell my family when I was sick. It didn't seem to matter. I still needed to take care of most things. After Michael's death I needed to return to work, but returned with no more sick leave left. Now, if I'm sick I call me supervisor and negotiate my day. Do you want me at the office sick, or are you willing to let me work at home?

    Take care of yourself. And, when you are able to get back to work, good luck. I'm really pleased that you found something.

  5. i must have been in the same area as Dan. i missed when you got a job. congratulations. i know how hard it is to work while you're sick. but if you go and then they send you home, they cannot get angry. i hope you feel better very soon so that the days are not so hard. again, congratulations. you must be so relieved.

  6. Oh yes, so true. First, I hope you feel better quickly. It is awful to feel so sick with so much pressing on you. I got sick last Wed and calling in for Thur and Fri was awful, even though my company is fine with me being out, I have sick time, etc. Just do not like making that call and the associative guilt.
    Congrats on the job and I am sure you will be back in no time and be offering some much needed care and compassion, and may large doses of that come right back to you!