Please Don’t Soldier On

I had to catch public transport in peak hour today. There’s no horror stories about people refusing to give up seats and the like, however, there was more than a few red-nosed sniffing types, otherwise known as (by cold and flu remedy companies) soldier-on-er-ers”.

I saw this boring, and I believe irresponsible advertisement dished out again last night, and it really annoys me! What else annoys me, but slightly less, is that it just took me around 20 minutes to think of the word “irresponsible”… Damn you swelled-up and overworked brain! My brain did have a big day at National Breast Cancer Foundation speaker training, which was the reason for my public transport crusade. It was a great day, but I digress.

Why is it that people feel the need to inflict their ailments on everyone else? Having a cold or flu is a rotten thing, so why would you want to spread it around? I understand that some people don’t get paid sick leave, that times are tough etc etc, but if you google “how to get rid of a cold fast”, both reputable and frankly mental sources say “STAY IN BED” as top results. Other sage advice included in these lists are drink plenty of fluids, scoff chicken soup, take vitamin C, and avoid decongestants and antibiotics, yes you read me AVOID CODRAL AND STAY IN BED! So why is it “Audrey” in the Codral ad thinks it’s a good idea to not only make a birthday cake but take it to a party with a stinking cold? Also, why is she to be applauded for being such a hero?

I had this attitude to contagions before I got cancer. I saw it from a productivity point of view, and the colleagues, myself included, with a sniffle or cold who stayed at home got better in days, while the martyrs we worked with, probably the ones that infected us, seemed to take weeks to get completely over their colds. I used to have a bit of martyr in me, mainly when it came to painkillers (I’ve been educated out of that silliness), but I can’t see any good reason other than pure self-absorption for being a martyr about your snotty cold. You leave the house with a cold and let it loose on an unsuspecting public, you are saying your health and time is more important than everyone else’s. Bluntly, it’s not. If part if the unsuspecting public happens to have cancer, an autoimmune illness or lung disease, your germs could put them in hospital, or even kill them. Do you expect everyone with chronic, non-contagious illnesses to lock themselves up just in case a person with a cold breathes near them?

I’m not suggesting we all go Asian-style, and wear surgical masks when we have to leave the house when we’re sick – yes people – the SICK wear the masks, not those trying to avoid getting sick – but if people can’t stay at home, maybe they should consider it. Maybe I should buy some masks and hand them out to the snifflers? I’d have to get too close to them to warrant the fun. Risk vs reward? It’s not adding up.

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Posted in Health Stuff, Life's ponderings
9 comments on “Please Don’t Soldier On
  1. Beau says:

    Well said Frances. The only person that thinks that particular sick person is tough or a hero, is themselves. Their manager doesn’t give a shit as long as they are in the office, they aren’t thinking “gee its great Jimmy came in and worked through it”, they either don’t think about it or think it musnt be that bad anyway.

    Then there’s people actively hating that person for being selfish. Everyone ends up sick, we’ve all been in an office when a cold goes around, sometimes multiple times!

    I was going to mention masks before I read on to that part – I think people should absolutely wear the masks if they really must be in public when sick. Or at the very least a t-shirt that says “Warning! Keep your distance! Jerk within.”

  2. christine says:

    You know that is really a hard one. When i was younger and worked as a dental nurse there is no way a common cold was an acceptable reason to stay home. Now i think about it the poor patients probably coped it BUT there was so much pressure not to take time off from other staff. If any of us took time off we were short handed and in the bad books. These days i have become very aware of people sniffling and coughing near me that i really would like to wear a mask to protect me. Its a hard one Frances. Have u thought of wearing a mask? if i have a scarf around my neck i very quickly start breathing into that!

    • francesmgill says:

      Some workplaces still have that archaic culture, and “soldiering on” was definitely how people operated in the past. Of course, we know how colds work a lot better these days. It’s common knowledge now that colds are viruses, that you catch them, not get them by getting wet or other such old wives tales.
      There’s no way in hell I’m wearing a mask unless I am contagious. I have enough paraphernalia to cart around without having to restrict my breathing unnecessarily.
      It gets harder when it gets to springtime. So many hayfever sufferers look like they have colds but they are not contagious at all. I hope I don’t give them any evil looks.

  3. Georgie Gill says:

    I can understand where you are coming from franny, I’m currently sick and have been for a while but I haven’t been able to take time off because I have to take advantage of the days at work that I’m given I know it’s not an excuse apart from they are aware I’m unwell & they know I’m about to start my 7th work day straight & they can’t give me the time off until another therapist becomes available or until I’m not required for a full days work but I do know that they are desperate for me to rest & keep giving me remedies to help & keep encouraging me & tell me I’m getting a week off next week when it is very quiet but realistically they keep booking treatments in for me, & the bills are due so every penny helps me considering I don’t get centre link or anything like that. I’m not soldiering & I’m no hero, I tell each client I’m sick but that’s not to say their immune system is any better than mine. I promise I won’t come visit without a mask though, love you xoxo

    • francesmgill says:

      I know its hard George. I must admit when I see sick people I either feel sorry for them, or a bit of loathing towards them. I don’t know how I make that judgement call (we all make instant judgements on people every time we see them!), possibly due to what it looks like they’re doing. Maybe she’s a poor uni student without a car on her way to the doctor, and she has no other way to get there. Maybe he’s a guy on this way to work who thinks taking the day off work is only for bludgers, and is about to infect the guy in the office who’s getting married next weekend.
      I bet you are sanitising your hands, and as you said, you’re informing and warning clients you’re sick. You’re also driving to work, not jumping on a packed train!
      I hope you get better soon and get your week off. xx

  4. Sick people should stay home and get better before coming in to work/school and sharing their germs. I was teaching a class the other day and several of the students were sniffling and sneezing throughout the class… sure enough 3 days later I was sniffling and had a sore throat. I used to be a soldier-onner (to a certain extent), but staying home and recovering makes me get better that much more quickly.

    On another note, I was having chemo just when swine flu was at its mega-hyped up peak. For a while, I had to wear a mask whenever I went out. One time I was at a major bus stop while waiting for a bus to take to me the hospital, and a bunch of young (11 – 13 year old) boys started making pig noises at me. I didn’t even have the energy to be annoyed. At least they kept their germy selves away from me. I should have chased them down the platform. 🙂

  5. Evad/David says:

    It really is part of our screwed up society. If Managers were smart. As soon as an infectious worker comes onto the floor the Manager should say. “Either Go Home and rest and don’t bring your stinking germs to work, or go and get a face mask If you feel you have to work.”

    It is the whole reason that sick leave started. Business did not originally give sick leave because they are nice people. The powers at be proved that they would get more productivity if they had a way to keep infectious workers away from their healthy workers.

  6. Evad/David says:

    The funny thing is that if the sick workers thought that their own health was important to them then as you point out they would be better off staying at home so that they get better sooner. You would probably find that there productivity overall would be better to. Cause I know when I am at work under the weather I cannot work as fast and I am more prone to mistakes.
    But as I said before it is part of our screwed up society. Managers/Bosses don’t like people being away from their desks no matter what the reason.
    We have this stupidity at work.
    When we were part of DHS they had a work life balance commitment. So working from home was not a big deal for shorter periods. They even took advantage of it and were trialling having the oncall person work from home. This covered several different disaster senarios.
    We come to CenITex and they are working in at least last cenertaries methods. The head of Operations requires that someone be at the desks fr each group from 7:30 to 6:00 even though we all have our desk phones diverting to our mobiles on no pickup. But no has to have someone at the desk.
    Just makes you shake your head and wonder when our current management will get with the times.

    • Sara Ingram says:

      I so hear you on this one! Drives me crazy working in retail & dealing with the lovely general public in cold season when they show absolutely no regard by coughing & spluttering without covering their mouths or worse still covering their mouths & then handing you money or card with said hand! Bring on Summer so we don’t have to deal with it!! Hope your latest results are encouraging xxox

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