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I am still very sick and the things happening in and around my head are still quite horrible. It is as these moments that I reflect on how lucky I am to not have a real job. It used to infuriate me when I had to decide between staying home, losing money, getting shit from my boss, but actually getting well and going in to work no matter how ill I was in order to save face, impress my boss and not impact my finances. People get sick. I never understood the vilification of illness in the average American workplace. Every real job I’ve ever had has viewed getting sick as a form of betrayal, a character flaw or a lack of commitment. I once got sick the first week of a new job. It was a 24 hour virus that my wife (then girlfriend) got at the same time. Unspeakable terrors were exploding out of all available evacuation points with little to no warning and we only had one bathroom. It was a god damn nightmare. When I came back to work the next day my new boss told me that he strongly considered firing me right then and there, and that I should have come to work, thrown up to prove I was sick, then been sent home. He turned out to be a heroin addict, so… hey, whatever.

COMMENTERS: What’s the worst state you ever forced yourself to go to work in despite your better judgement? What’s the best “playing hooky” that you’ve ever pulled? Have you ever tried so hard NOT to get sick that you made yourself ill? Once I felt a cold coming on so I started eating vitamin-C like TicTacs. I had a crazy adverse reaction to an overdose of the stuff and had to go to the hospital. Then it happened again a few years later when I didn’t realize the cough drops I was sucking down by the bag full each contained “100% of my daily recommended dose of vitamin-C.” Considering that each time my entire body began swelling up in a freak-show maroon rash, I am now deathly afraid of anything that has more than a standard amount of C. If I even see an orange in a grocery store, I set the entire building on fire. It’s the only way to be sure.

Good news for Chicago Fancy Bastards: It looks like I will be at C2E2 again this year with the Blind Ferret crew. That’s one of my favorite shows of the year. I’ll post more details when things are finalized.

 

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86 Comments

  1. Going into work the day after I'd gone the emergency room for possible pneumonia. Turned out just to be severe bronchitis. My boss actually said "what the hell are you doing. go home and don't come back for a week."

    And WOOOOO!!! about you coming to C2E2! It'll be great to see you again. Think you might have time to do an interview for one of my blogs?

    Reply
    • So, when I get sick, my back gets sensitive, I have trouble focusing, I can't see and I tend to zone out. I went to work with some sort of cold and fever, big mistake, even though I just had to walk 100 feet to the cvs pharmacy to get some meds.

      Reply
    • If you want to do an interview try to see me as early as possible. The closer to the end of the day/week the more my tired answers will make me seem like as asshole.

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  2. I once called in sick at the regional super market (Meijer for you mid west folk)and then proceeded to walk into the same store, buy tickets to Cedar Point (the best roller-coaster park in the world) and waved to my boss on the way out, who apparently cared less about his job then I did about mine cause he then quit a week later do to it being such a crap job.

    Also, Joel, you might want to think of pulling a Howie Mandel and just ware gloves and a surgical mask all the time, just throwing that out there

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    • I had a boss once that got the flu yet still came to work wearing a surgical mask.

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  3. Fun fact: When you lay on your back, it changes the pitch of your voice. Over the phone, it sounds as if you are sick.

    Use this as you will.

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  4. I attempted to commute to school while sick with what would later turn out to be Swine Flu (or "teh Hamthrax", as my friends called it). I got on the train near my house, fell asleep (or possibly passed out, not sure which), and woke up at the end of the line with no clue where the hell I was. That was more than a little terrifying.

    I have no memory of this, but according to my mother when she asked me if maybe she should take me to the emergency room, I told her, "The hospital is for people who want to live".

    Reply
    • Hamthrax is the name of my Nine Inch Nails polka cover band

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    • "The hospital is for people who want to live" is an awesome quote! I hope I get the chance to use it! it's right up there with "Oh no. Doctors make you better. Medics just comfort you while you die"

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      • I find myself having the good fortune to be friends with a surprising number of medics and EMTs. They have wonderful, if slightly odd, senses of humor. 😀

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        • You, and your friends, sound like fun people!

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      • I think the hospital is for people who enjoy sitting in a room and waiting for 8 hours. Seriously the last time I went to the hospital with a broken foot, I waited for 8 hours and except for the girl who had been burned with boiling water, no one looked worse off than me. Years before that when I went to emergency I actually sat convulsing with pain in front of the person who types you into the system, while she ignored me (Not even, a "I'll be right with you", she pretended I wasn't 1 1/2 feet away from her face and wouldn't look at me or acknowledge my existence). So after 10 minutes of this, I told my friend to deal with her while I moved to a couch and convulsed there. The people around me in the waiting room said "Why isn't a doctor seeing you? You look terrible!" I said "They're ignoring me at admissions and it's more comfortable to writhe here." Thanks Canadian medical system!

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  5. get that man some beer, STAT!

    Few things are worse than running out of alcohol. This becomes more true when you're a programmer and live off that Balmer Peak. Either way, making sure you have back ups (and back ups for your back ups) is a good idea. More so when you're stuck in a state like mine that only sells the hard stuff at liquor stores :\

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    • Just love how many people who read this comic also read xkcd. For those unfamiliar with the Ballmer (correct spelling) Peak, this is the relevant comic. http://xkcd.com/323/

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  6. Went back to work during the worst stomach flu that I had since I was a kid. It was coming out of both ends in Technicolor. After disappearing every 10 minutes for almost 3 hours, my boss sent me home.

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  7. Never did anything work related while sick… but this one time i raided ICC in WoW with a concussion… Heroic Putricide kills were serious buisness.

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  8. My past employers insisted employees ignore our health in direct inverse proportion to how much the job involved food. File clerk? Aw, heck, keep those sniffles at home, take a week.
    Cashier? Do try to come in, but if it's really contagious, well, we don't want to gross out the customers.
    Short-order cook? We don't car if you've got ebola! Hemorrhage your organs out AT WORK! Put on your apron, soldier! Customers need their ebola-burgers!

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    • I had the same experience at a call center. If you were on the phones there was NO EXCUSE for calling in sick. If you worked in some admin position they didnt care how long you were gone for.

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  9. Let's see. Probably a toss-up between the time I tried to go in to work with an INSANE stomach flu (seriously thought I was gonna die) and the co-worker turned around and took me home, despite it making them late, after we stopped to pick up another co-worker and I had to leap from the car to puke all over the sidewalk. In front of what ended up being the second co-worker's landlord. Oops. I did try, though!

    Or maybe it was the time I kept going to work even though I had a massive case of pneumonia? The dick boss wouldn't give me any time off, DESPITE ME WORKING WITH FOOD, despite notes from two different doctors, a copy of the x-ray report, and a phone call from one of the doctors telling him I really needed to be in the hospital, until the day I couldn't top throwing up at work. The manager didn't want to let me go home despite me having to abandon customers at the till to go puke until I told him that if he didn't let me leave RIGHT NOW, I was aiming for his shoes next time. At that point he decided theat yeah, maybe I should go home, at that. 😉

    Had another boss in the food industry, though, who was AWESOME. If you were sick, stay the hell home! How long did you want? How about you call in in three days and let him know if you were ready to come back? He, at least, was smart enough to know it was cheaper for him to schedule around ONE sick person than an entire staff-full.

    As for making yourself sick trying to not get sick, does it count when I discovered that I've recently developed an allergy to penicillin when I got a prescription for some to deal with a persistent sinus infection? Being itchy over every square inch of your body is less fun than it sounds. It ends up.

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    • That's a bad one. Mom went from itching to anaphylactic shock on the second dose. Highly recommend a Medic-Alert bracelet if you don't already have one.

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  10. This past Christmas Eve, I went in to work with something that was making me throw up at least once an hour, especially any time I put anything (including water) in my mouth. That's one of the busiest days of the year where I work (yay retail!) so I knew they wouldn't let me have the day off, and even if they did I'd lose my holiday pay as well as the money I'd normally make, so I just went in. Pretty miserable, but I survived.

    I did make myself sick so I could go to a concert once. I went to work, but then I kept thinking of gross things until I threw up, and after the third time they sent me home. I still felt nauseated for a few hours after that, though, so it wasn't really the best idea.

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  11. a few years ago I went to work with what I thought was a mild cough… the 102 fever kicked in roughly halfway through my shift. by the end of it I was hanging on to the counter for dear life. Another time I went to work with heatstroke, and little did I realize our windows faced west… for my 4-12 shift in mid-july. needless to say I needed a hospital that time.

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  12. "He turned out to be a heroine addict"

    Did he like tying himself to railway tracks?

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  13. I work as a cashier at the kind of retail (walmart) but luckily have a very supportive group of managers because I keep passing out for no reason.

    Reply
    • I didn't have that when I worked there. I went in sick then finally begged to go home. The manager said "aw, you can work." Finally did get to go home where I found out I had a 103 fever. My other half who worked at the same store gave that manager an effective guilt trip for that.

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  14. Hmmm… how about the entirety of last year? I already knew I was too sick to work full time, but part-time was a bitch too. I was so fatigued I couldn't concentrate on my work. I passed out in my cubicle during down time, and was lucky enough to not get caught (or at least not that anyone told me; there are some perks to being needed badly enough). Getting swept up in the mass layoffs (yes, again) was probably a mercy.

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    • …jesus…

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  15. I went to work once as a waitress with a giant thermos full of boiled ginger, lemon, and honey, after already missing 3 days I think, because I didn't think they would let me have any more time off. We were severely understaffed. But after listening to my racking cough (the ginger-lemon-honey was the only thing that would ease it for 5 minutes, not even codeine helped), they sent me home.

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  16. I'm a day camp counselor in Arlington (Texas), and last summer I went to work with a really bad case of the flu. I assumed that the aches were from pushing myself too hard the day before, that I felt overheated/dehydrated because it was Texas in the summer, and that I was coughing because my allergies were acting up. Then I got home and discovered that I had a 105 fever.

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  17. My best was probably being phoned up by my boss while my wife was in labour (with our first and only child) and being told I had to go in to the office. They got about two hours out of me, then I declared everything good enough to do and left for the hospital…

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    • I'd have set that office building on fire.

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      • Dude, no kidding. They made you go to work while your firstborn was coming out? Cold.

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  18. Wait, isn't Vitamin C water-soluble? You shouldn't be able to overdose on it – it just doesn't get absorbed and you pee the extra out. That's the only reason they can pack those cough drops so full of the stuff…it does sound unpleasant though.
    Wish I had a good sick-story to tell, but luckily I've been relatively healthy! *knock on wood*

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    • Actually, a C overdose gives you the massive runs.

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    • It might be an ingredient in the cough drops besides Vitamin C. I think I might have a problem with menthol in them! I once went to see a play at a local high school and I had a terrible cough from seasonal allergies, so I kept eating Halls… after I'd gone through two 10 packs and I started to feel REALLY nauseous, so I left the auditorium (to much glaring from parents) and started looking for the bathroom. Since it wasn't my school, I had no idea where I was going and I just kept wandering down halls… Eventually I decided I had to sit down, so I did that… and then I must have passed out because I woke up some indeterminate time later slumped over on the floor in a dark corridor. One of the scarier experiences of my life. At that point some of it must have worn off and I was ok to stand up and walk around, but the entire school was dark and the play had ended. I've avoided eating more than one cough drop at a time ever since…

      Reply
      • It was probably something besides the vitamin C that made you sick, because people don't get sick from eating too much fruit. Where as you can die from an overdose of iron. Polar bear livers are so full of iron that they are poisonous! Good to know in case you are starving, in the arctic, and craving liver.

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        • Eating a lot of fruit can certainly give you the runs…and vitamin C (and the fruit it's in) is acidic, so if you have a gastric disorder like an ulcer or hiatus hernia, then too much can probably make you unwell enough to vomit.

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          • I should add though that's very unlikely. The recommended dose of vit C in the UK is 60mg/day, which basically is derived from experiments which determined the minimum amount to stop a rat dying i.e. 60mg is very low…. In reality you can (and probably should) take a lot of vitamin C. A former room-mate used to have large quantities injected (seriously, by a professional) and he said it really made a difference.

            My gut feeling is that supplements are a con on suggestible sick people. Potato is a really good source of vitamin C, have lots of that instead.

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    • As some have mentioned, it might have been something else that was both in the vitamins and the cough drops that I reacted too. Not knowing what it was leaves me avoiding those types of things entirely. A doctor suggested that it caused a skin reaction because I was sweating the excess (whatever it was) out. I also have REALLY sensitive skin, so I dont expect this to be a common problem.

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  19. 2001 – It was a Saturday and I felt like Death. Decided to go to work anyway. Slept on desk all day. Slept all day Sunday. Went to Dr. on Monday to find out I had pneumonia and spent the rest of that week in the hospital. Fun stuff.

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    • I went to work in highschool one day and everyone was acting extremely weird around me. Asking if Id had a good weekend, if I was out partying, etc. No idea what was going on. I finally got called into the managers office and he made me look in a mirror. My eyes were bright red. I had pink eye, and they all thought I was high. Sent me home immediately and wouldnt let me return to work without a doctors "all clear" note.

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  20. When I was a kid I worked at 7-11, I tried to call in to work but my manager talked me into coming in by saying I could take anything I wanted off the shelf. I went home that night and started coughing up blood. The next day I was at the hospital and the doctor told me that I had pneumonia and if I had waited till the next day (which I had planned on because it was payday) I would have died. Now I call in whenever I feel less than 50%.

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    • I know someone who died from pneumonia, she had been sick for two weeks but refused to miss work, or see a doctor because she was too busy getting ready for her daughter's graduation. Her boss told her that she should see a doctor, but she was the office manager and said she was fine. Took the day off work to go to the graduation, and collapsed and died that day.

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  21. It's stories like these that make me happy about my work. Our sick policy is if you're sick, stay home. Yeah, you get a bonus at the end of the year if you don't call in sick, but no one holds it against you. I work in a zoo, and this policy not only prevents colds from sweeping through employees, but also keeps our animals healthy.

    Of course, the caveat to this is because of my job (i'm a veterinarian), I sometimes have to come in even if I'm sick. There's only 2 of us right now, and one of us has to be on grounds every day, and my boss travels frequently. That means if she's out of the country, and I'm sick, I have to come in unless I'm dying. I would shut myself in my office, but I would still be here.

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  22. A few years ago I had an eye exam where they dilated my eyes. It was around 3:00pm and I asked if my eyesight would go back to normal by my 7:00 shift at work. They were like, "Yeah, sure." So 6:30pm rolls around and I can barely make out the fingernails on the hand in front of my face.

    I work at a library.

    So I go in anyway (thank goodness I lived within walking distance), practically trip over one of the carts of books and my supervisor was like, "Are you okay?" I told her what had happened and she laughed and said, "Right, like you don't need to see the books to shelve them. Just go home."

    Reply
    • Same thing happened to me. I worked at a mortgage company. I broke my glasses and had to go for a new prescription at lunch. Didnt realize they were going to dilate my eyes. Came back unable to read my computer screen or anything else for that matter. Boss gave me a ton of shit, but begrudgingly let me go home.

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  23. Rant from the slightly-other-side of the coin:
    I'm a supervisor in a German callcenter, and I regularly send sick people home. In fact, it's company policy to stay home for a day or two if you feel a cold/flu/fever coming on, rather than coming in and infecting five more people. We get hit by waves of illnesses every other month, because the Moms and Dads carry in their kids' bugs from daycare or school, and the students bring in the germs from college, and everyone picks up a little something extra on the bus or underground. And on top of that, we get a certain amount abuse of our lenient system, which sucks extra hard since it a) puts even more stress on the people who do turn up, and b) ends up on *my* head. The Boss recently told us (the supervisors) to "do something" about the sick rate… What the hell does he think we can do about it? Do the full Silkwood? Make everyone gargle hand sanitizer (which the company provides, for free, as well as disinfectant wipes on every desk, vitamin tablets and fresh fruit every day)?
    I'm NOT gonna ask people to come in if they are sick, and anyone who asks me to come in when I am genuinely sick gets a hearty Fuck Off.

    Reply
    • I should add that it's illegal to fire someone for being sick here in Germany…

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      • and that sick days are always paid here, too.

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        • And, on the whole, Europe treats sick people a hell of a lot better than America does.

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  24. I find that being sick just proves how good my "autopilot" setting is.
    Well, being sick, being jetlagged, being not quite right, being distracted, etc.

    Drove the 33 miles to work. Worked 8 hours, had lunch in the middle. Drove 33 miles back home. Slept on the couch for 2 hours. Have no memories of doing any of that for at least 10 non-consecutive days in 2011.

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  25. I used to work in a juvenile detention center, so the place needed to be staffed 24/7. I had the bad luck to get food poisoning late Christmas Eve and had a shift that started the next afternoon. I was so explosively I'll, but I felt like I would get in so much trouble for calling in on Christmas. I worked for two hours before my constant presence in the bathroom and begging got to my supervisor. For three years after that higher ups were still giving me shit for "abandoning my post". Also, this place would change sick policies about twice a year, so that employees never knew how to handle being sick. For a while, the rule was that one had to get a dr note EVERY TIME they called in. So, if you had a cold and a fever you would still have to drag your ass to the doctor, pay your copay, wait in a waiting room with even more germs, and all for the privilege of a doctor telling you to go home and get some fluids and rest. They also tied a lot of merit incentives to just usage of sick time and nothing else.

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  26. Working the overnight shift in a Toll Booth in central FL I ended up getting what my friends and I call "The Crud" [illness that you cannot pin down that makes you sick,… excretions out of either end,..aches and pain,..etc,..]. I called into work about 2pm [my shift was to start at 9pm] and the supervisor told me I waited too long to call in I had not given her enough notice so I had to come in or lose my job. Told her I could go to Walk-In clinic and would have a note she replied it did not matter that I had not given enough notice. So sick as I was I went in figuring that on overnight shift in booth I would have little work to actually do and if I could get one of the onramp/offramp booths it would be even easier. When I get to work boss decided to put me in the busiest booth [booth closest to inner median also known as fastlane booth] and after an hr when she came to get my hourly drop I told her I was too sick I really needed to be home,..she refused. After next drop I asked again,..again she refused. When she came in for 3rd drop I asked again ,..she refused. As she counted the money from 3rd drop I felt the need to vomit so I tried to get past her to the bushes in median to do so and she would not get out of my way and began yelling at me for "pushing her" ,..I opened my mouth to tell her I needed to get outside and ended up getting sick all over her. The screwed up part is she tried to fire me for getting sick on her [big boss did not allow her to do that] but SHE went home that night and made me stay. When my shift was finally over [having been sick in bushes a few times] I walked into supervisors office and told the next shifts supervisor I would not be in that night I was sick and if this was not enough notice they would have to deal with it as they saw fit.

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  27. On the night before I was scheduled to take the Praxis (National Teachers Exam… the big 10-hour test that determined whether 6 years of college was going to be worth it), I got the stomach flu to end all stomach flus. I took a bucket to the test with me. I do not remember most of that day, but I must have done OK. I passed.

    Wish I could go back in time and stop myself from going. After all that, I ended up in journalism.

    Reply
    • Madam, I empathize. I got my degree in marketing. I'm a gadget blogger today.

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  28. When I worked retail in the mall when I was 18 or so, there was one time when I felt AWFUL but I had only had the job for about a month and didn't want to upset my supervisors. I had this god-awful headache (either a migraine or bordering on one) and felt nauseous every time I moved. I felt like that for about four hours before going in but I was determined to suck it up and make it to work. I got sent home after some 30 minutes because I kept running to the bathroom to dry-heave, and made it in the door (at home) with *just* enough time to run to the toilet and throw up. I ended up throwing up every 30-45 minutes for the next 5-6 hours, even when it was just bile. And then I slept for 16 hours. I STILL get paranoid whenever I get a bad headache combined with nausea.

    And then, of course, a few months later I called in at the same job (to a different supervisor) because I had strep throat and had been unable to sleep more than 3 hours the night before (this was an opening shift, so I was due in at 8 AM) since my fever was so high, the supervisor at the store gave me crap and told everyone I was faking it. Go figure.

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  29. Man, I really need to learn to stop pushing myself when I'm sick. One time during college I came down with a nasty bug around the same time that I had an overload of work. Result was that despite being so sick I could barely move, I didn't sleep for 48 hours. I was working two jobs at the time and when I went into one, a tutoring gig with elementary-aged kids, I started hallucinating that the words were flying off the page.

    "Miss Cassie? What's that word mean?"
    "You mean the one floating around your head?"

    I actually made it through two kids and a full hour before my boss noticed and made me go home. She even convinced a coworker who was getting off shift at the time to drive me back to campus so I didn't have to take the bus. (Stumbling around looking for my dorm was another matter.)

    The other job was at a call center and one time I tried to go in after having lost my voice. I was fine besides that, but my manager laughed me out of the room. I felt like an idiot once I realized.

    Reply
    • I once went in to work at a restaurant where I waited tables when I had laryngitis. I communicated to my boss that we should probably see if someone else could cover my shift. He was like, "Oh, are you feeling sick, too?" I had to write on a piece of paper, "No. I feel ok. But I can't speak. Do you really want me waiting tables?" He paused for a minute and was like "Oh. Oh yeah. Hmmm. Well yeah go home I guess."

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  30. I got a nasty virus a couple of years ago when I was working as a waitress. I called my boss at 7:00AM, well before before my 11:30 shift, because I was sick beyond all reason. On top of not being able to keep my food down, I could hardly talk because my throat was so sore and my ear (I'm deaf in my left one) was so muffled I could hardly hear anything. I skipped class and went in to see my doctor, who provided me with a note excusing me until I was well, because I knew this particular manager was known to refuse anyone sick days unless someone could cover the shift.

    Despite being overstaffed that day, and after giving him the note, he would not allow me to stay home, nor did he give me approval to switch shifts and leave early. I made it through my shift through sheer determination, and he still had the nerve to ask me if I could work a double!

    I reported him to upper management when I got home, and I'm sure it was a recurring complaint, because he was reprimanded and I believe demoted, considering his usual duties to train employees and determine their work schedules was delegated to another manager. I rarely had to work with him after that. It was awesome!

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  31. I got laryngitis while working at a collection agent (surprisingly not my #1 worst job). You had to be on the phone all day for that job, if you were off the phone for more than 3 minutes, you were in trouble. Breaks were the same time for everyone, and if you missed them or started them late, well too bad for you. I would call my own answering machine several times a day just to have a break.

    There was no sick day benefits, and the doctor told me it would take a week to get better if I didn't strain my voice. So it was going to be a week off without pay, which I couldn't afford, but I managed to convince the manager that I could organize the file room all week instead…even though I would not be making the office any money by getting payments in.

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  32. While working for a tech company, I was visiting a customer and got deathly ill on the plane. My coworker tried driving around to find a pharmacy, but we were stymied. We went ahead and did the visit, even though I was hacking/coughing like a freight train missing a few wheels. After I returned home, I found out I had given most of their team whatever hacking crud I had, and that I was hereby banned from ever returning. :)

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  33. I pretty much never get sick. I don't know what it is but my wife can get a horrible flu, "two exits, no waiting" we call it, that keeps her down for days and I'll just have an upset tummy for a day and be fine. I suspect it's because I got really sick as a kid a lot and that had the affect of leveling up my immune system somewhat. Until recently I hadn't thrown up for over 20 years, to give you an idea.

    Except for this one time a year ago. My wife had been sick so I wasn't surprised to be getting some stomach cramps, but they kept getting worse, much worse than I'm used to. I wasn't throwing up but I was to the point where I wished I would just to get it over with. Also my palms were itchy, wich was unusual. It was getting late so I took some pain medication and crawled into bed. Later that night I woke up all itchy.

    "I have hives." I said to my wife.
    "You don't have hives, you're just sweaty and itchy from the fever."
    "I had them when I was a kid, from allergies. I know what hives are. These are hives."
    "Ok, come into the bathroom and I'll take a look."

    I remember getting up unsteadily and making my way towards her in the light of the bathroom, and then I remember looking at the ceiling of the bathroom, from down on the floor, and hearing her panicked conversation with someone on the phone. Apparently I had blacked out and collapsed. And reportedly I asked her with some concern if there was something wrong with the dog.

    And then I was surrounded by big burly men in bright yellow plastic pants. Firemen and two EMT's it turned out. They carried me in a sling down our winding staircase and out into an ambulance which took me to the hospital. There they hooked me up to an IV and a bunch of wires attached to several different monitors, threw a towel over me and kept me for observation. After about half an hour I told my wife I was getting dizzy and had hives again. She went to get a doctor.

    "You don't have hives. You're just itchy from these cheap blankets." The doctor told me.
    "I know what hives are, I've had hives before. These are hives."
    "Let's have a look."
    So I lifted up my butt, the most itchy part, and showed him.
    "You have hives." He said, his eyes widening. "Nurse we need 200cc of diphenhydramine, stat."

    So anyway, it turns out I had a severe allergic reaction to the flu virus itself and went into anaphylactic shock. If my wife hadn't been there I might be dead.

    Yes, that's a thing. It's not enough to have the flu, you can be allergic to it as well. If your soft tissues start getting red and itchy take a histamine blocker (like Benadryl) and if it starts getting worse seek help.
    Before you get hives preferably.

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  34. "What’s the worst state you ever forced yourself to go to work in despite your better judgement?"

    I woke up one morning with what I thought was just a really bad case of the flu. But figured I could make it through the day. Around lunchtime I went into my boss's office to ask if I could go home. My boss saw how clearly sick I looked and asked if I was okay. I opened my mouth to speak and projectile vomited across his desk and on to the window behind it. I got the rest of the day off.

    "What’s the best “playing hooky” that you’ve ever pulled?"

    One Halloween my girlfriend at the time was throwing a theme party and had me dressed up as a corpse. She had her friend do the makeup and I really looked like a dead person. I ended up having to run out to the store for something or another and ran into my boss. He outright told me not to show up for work the next day, and that I should seriously get checked out by a doctor.

    The next time I showed up for work he'd put two and two together, "That was a Halloween costume wasn't it?"

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  35. I got sick my first year of college the week before spring break. Not wanting my professors to think I was skipping out early, I went on to class.

    I shivered my way through every class, sipping gatorade and trying not to leave too many puddles of sweat on my desks (there were literal puddles). Each teacher said the same thing: "I believe that you're not faking, for the love of god, go home."

    Spent the week before and of spring break laying on a fold-out couch, staring at the ceiling and trying not to vomit too often.

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  36. Last year, I went to work one morning (I work in a factory) feeling a little nauseous, but otherwise not too bad. I arrived at 6:30 for my shift to start at 7. By 6:59 I was going home. I felt sweaty, sick to my stomach, shaky, you name it. On top of that, I am diabetic. I went home and passed out for 3 hours, but not before vomiting up breakfast. After the nap, I was checking my blood sugars every 15 minutes, giving myself insulin to bring my numbers down, and throwing up the little bit of water I was drinking. After several hours of this, I had myself checked into the hospital. They told me I had diabetic ketoacidosis (basically my blood sugars were too high for too long) which I expected since I couldn't get my numbers to go down. They kept me until the weekend. When I went back to work, doctor's note from the HOSPITAL in hand, I still got a point against me for going home before my shift started the initial day.

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  37. I still remember a time when I was about 10 or so (I'm 55 now) and I threw up 13 times over night. I'm not sure why I decided to count them all but I clearly remember doing it. I also remember my mom's cool hand holding my forehead while "praying to the porcelain god". I mean, that's just what mothers do, right? I don't remember seeing that in the user's guide I received when my kids were born! Actually I never got a guide. It takes a special person to comfort someone else who's emptying their guts out right in front of you…

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  38. I had been procrastinating on a programming assignment for about two weeks; I had about four days until it was due and I hadn't done more than throw a few method templates together. I spent the night at the SO's place (she lived with her parents but they were out of town) and planned to head in to class the next day, then buckle down and get my shit done.
    I ended up forgetting to bring contact solution with me; luckily SO's mom wore contacts so she brought me a glass with solution in it. Next morning I put one contact in and immediately collapse in pain. The "contact solution" her mom used was a hydrogen peroxide solution that's essentially a detergent; it uses a special case with a catalyst to break down the hydrogen peroxide and really clean your lenses. Turns out having a hydrogen peroxide-soaked lens in your eyes for an hour (i thought it was out but it wasn't) can give you serious corneal burns. Who knew. I went in to class anyway, and spent the entire class with tears and pus dripping out of my left eye (which was nearly swollen shut). The professor came up to me during the break and said to go home and take an extra week or two for the project.

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  39. I LOL'd for actual real at "Terrible Pie," only because I screamed it in my mind.

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    • Left on the counter to decay
      I had to throw it all away
      it even had a butter glaze
      you've ruined everything!

      Its the B side single to The Perfect Truck (without you its not as much fun to pick up the pizza). I spent most of my 20's punning NIN. Oh wasted youth!

      Reply
  40. I went into my (retail) job on Black Friday this year despite knowing perfectly well that I had strep throat. Didn't really have an option. My boss is great, but HIS boss would have thrown an unholy fit if he'd found out anyone was out sick on Black Friday. And I can't blame him- it would have looked very suspicious.

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  41. Once in undergraduate I was running a 102 fever, but one of my professors had an absolutely absurd attendance policy and I had a group presentation to do that day. I got up in front of class, did my half of the presentation, and then told the professor I'd be answering questions while sitting down because if I didn't I'd end up passed out on the floor. After seeing the state I was in, he finally gave in and let me leave without consequences to my grade – after I finished fielding questions from my fellow students.

    I don't remember anything after that, including (apparently) running into my best friend and trying to stick around for the rest of my classes, until she dragged me to my car and made me drive home.

    Separate incident: In high school I gave blood for the first time my senior year. I went to the next class feeling fine and settled down to take a test. About 30 minutes into the test I started feeling woozy and blacking out in little 15 second bursts. Eventually I turned in the test and went to the library to wait until I felt well enough to drive myself home. When I called my mom to tell her what was going on she yelled at me for being stupid and ordered me to find some food before coming home.

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  42. The day before school let out for Thanksgiving this past fall, I was a great combination of sick with bronchitis and fatigued from having pulled an all-nighter.

    Attending class was by far the stupidest thing I could have done, because it entailed going to an elementary school to observe a classroom. Even if we're forgetting about my own well-being for a moment here, I exposed every kid in the same room as me to my germs just by existing near them. I only realized this fact later that day.

    So I get back from the elementary school and I still have a lecture and a band rehearsal between me and the end of my day, without so much as a moment between them to breathe in. I know that if I skip anything, it'll look like I'm just trying to get to Thanksgiving Break faster, so I just try to push through.

    By the time I got to the rehearsal, I must have looked like death incarnate, because my whole section told me to leave, and the director didn't even let me finish asking before he said I could go.

    Got back to my room and took my temperature: 102.
    Yep, shouldn't have gotten out of bed that day.

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    • Oh, and I would later find out that, even if you're otherwise feeling better, letting a bad enough cough go unchecked for too long will result in bruised ribs.

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  43. A buddy reminded me of one that I wasn't gonna share because it was sorta self-induced, but here goes.

    Shortly after turning 21 me and a group of friends went out and got absolutely shitfaced on a weekend. I should say we STARTED on the weekend, but I sobered up just in time for work on Tuesday morning. Feeling like death warmed over, I realized since I'd already missed one day with no excuse I'd better show up or risk losing my job.

    Yeah, construction in mid-June, nursing a hangover and feeling like my guts were gonna drop out of me with every step. Great way to start out the week.

    The foreman called about six guys together to help him unload supplies off the work truck, and joy of joys I was among them. Feeling a very familiar rumbling in my stomach I asked if I could hit the porto-potty first, but the look he gave me was answer enough.

    We had half of the stuff off the truck before the rumbling got worse, and by that I mean the guys around me kept asking if they were crazy for hearing a dog growling. Then I saw it, two long steel girders we'd have to haul off the truck and over to the site. I grit my teeth and used every muscle from the waist down in an effort to hold back the stemming tide.

    I bent down to pick up my end of the girder, and let's just say I made a sound that would've made an elephant proud.

    The foreman gave me a dirty look and said, "Go. Just go." pointing to the nearest porto-potty.

    My buddy trying to escape the miasma I'd left behind said, "Jesus, smells like he just did."

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  44. Jesus, I am so glad I don't live in the US. If I'm ill, I'm calling in sick and staying in bed, and while employers don't like it, they can't penalise me for it. How is it that you don't have employment rights laws that cover this?I rarely just take a sickie tho cos I know it's a pain for the rest of the people in my team. However, the best sickie I took was years ago when Friends was filming in London and I won tickets to be in the audience. No way was I missing that to sit doing filing!

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  45. I used to work at a Barnes & Noble in college, and I went to work for a week with what I thought was just a debilitating and rapidly worsening cold but turned out to be mono. And one time I got mild food poisoning, but stayed at my cafe instead of going home because I couldn't afford to take time off. Luckily one of our regular customers was a doctor and in a TOTALLY LEGAL turn of events, wrote me a prescription for one dose of this crazy powerful anti-nausea medication. It was the best tip I have ever received.

    Alternately, I once used the stage makeup skills I acquired in college (drama major) to make myself look super sick so I'd be sent home (which I *was*) so that I could go drunken caroling with my friends.

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  46. One of my co-workers turned up to work looking like a casket volunteer rather than his usual self. He couldn't concentrate and had problems logging onto his computer his shakes were that bad, not that he got much done better toilet rushes.
    I said he should call in sick, because they still pay him and the workload was tight but manageable. He didn't want to go because he actually cared about getting the job done, and customers depending on him.
    A frustrating half-hour later I managed to convince him to take a day off "because I sure as hell don't want to catch what you've got!". He end up in bed for three days on doctors orders.

    Another manager chap did same heroic effort (different company) and a co-worker saw how bad he looked and manager showed him his sore leg, with an abcess and a black line that had started growing from it that morning. The co-worker rushed him to emergency, got him admitted immediately! Apparently he had like a couple of hours to live if he had stayed at work. The Sepsis almost took his liver; it started halfway up his calf, and was midthigh at admittance.

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  47. A school colleague during our final exams tended to get stressed. She passed out during the maths exam, she said it was a really hard exam because she couldn't do the problems because all the numbers were running around the the paper and she had to pin them down with her pencil to keep them still enough to read (I was next to her and watching her, just moving to grab her/call for help from exam supervisor who was sitting staring at her, when she was stabbing her pad frantically)

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  48. I work two different retail positions in Canada atm, and things are the same here. Calling in sick is a major offense, unless you can prove it, and even then it's iffy. I remember one time though, I was working at a pizza place, and I had what was either a seizure (I'm epileptic), or my blood sugar plummeted (I'm also Hypo-Glycemic) and I could barely see. Standing at the till. Hand writing orders. It was hell. I also used to work for Burger King, and I had to go there several times VERY ill. The one location, my boss actually thanked me for coming in and sent me home. My co-worker, another assistant manager started complaining that he wanted to go home….because his child was sick. His wife was home, I could barely stand, and he wanted to go home. My boss bitched him out, and sent me home. Another time, another location, and I was so sick I could barely move from a garbage can. I couldn't leave the back of the store, I just sat at the desk at the back and threw up every 10 minutes. That time it turned out I had a bad stomach infection, I had just travelled and my doctor spent a month telling me it was me just adjusting from the trip…I dropped 20lbs because I couldn't eat….I ended up quitting BK eventually, partly because of shitty treatment, and partially because the level of stress was so bad my doctor recommended strongly that I find another job..

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  49. I'm actually sick at work right now. Headache, muscle fatigue, shortness of breath, and I have it coming out of both ends (there's a visual for you). Unfortunately in the military, if you call in sick they say "prove it." They don't have "sick call" anymore so if you're uber-sick, you have to see a doctor and if you're too sick to work they'll put you on quarters, which means you can't leave your house except to see the doctor. Since I only have food posioning and I'm not contagious, they wouldn't even let me go home early.

    The worst I've ever been sick at work, though, I had bronchitis and raging hemorrhoids at the same time. I had a coworker who had terminal cancer and I felt bad calling in sick because, well, at least I didn't have cancer.

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  50. I know this comic is old but I once forced myself back to college when I was very sick because I already missed a week of school. I was there for maybe half an hour before the teacher sent me home. Over the next two months, my illness took out 1/3 of the school and staff (of a school of 500 people), one teacher had to be out for a month. All from coming in sick for 30 minutes!

    Now I stay home, I don't care what my boss says.

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  51. I forgot I worked and was on an all night LSD binge thinking it'd be ok, got a call at 10 am asking where I was. I told my boss I was tripping. She called me in anyway.

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  52. Used to work for a supermarket in the Northeast US(A&P, for you NJ/Connecticut/Mass peeps). Didn't feel so hot driving to work, and that turned into a full-blown stomach catastrophe(every available orifice, people). They would NOT let me go home, bar none. "It's Christmas Eve! We're too busy…" I puked 5 times(once I almost didn't make it). The 6th run to the bathroom they looked at me and said "…just go." Thanks, guys! For the next 4 days, I was at Death's door. So thanks A&P!

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  53. I've usually just gone in to work full-on sick out of my mind, then let my boss call it herself in disgust, i.e. "ugh, you look like Swamp Thing, go home!"

    Best hooky: I drove all night to California, arrived at my uncle's house about sunrise, then got out and called work right there in his driveway. "I don't feel very good" I said (which was SO SO TRUE), and my supe said "You don't sound very good" (which was also unquestionably true). I spent the long weekend in Cali.

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  54. I caught a case of Flu of Doom my freshman year in college that began the day after Thanksgiving and quickly turned into walking pneumonia just in time for exams. I kept thinking "I'll get over it" and made myself keep going to all my classes and work – it finally hit me that I was sicker than I thought when I was in one of the last sessions of my art class. I was sitting on a drawing bench, charcoal in hand, when I woke up from a Theraflu-enduced coma-like state, totally baffled as to why I was sitting in a dimly lit room, staring at a guy posing with a balalaika in the buff, drawing his package.
    Even better – two years later, I was at a local RenFaire when I walked into a tent where a "gypsy band" was performing and thought "I recognize that guy with the balalaika from somewhere…" – five minutes later it hit me. You can't un-see a balalaika player's dong.

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  55. I walk to work, since getting in a head on collision with an uninsured Canadian motorist left me without a vehicle (my uninsured motorist coverage basically covered the hospital bills, well, most of it).
    I got hit by a hit and run driver on the way to work, and knocked on my ass. I limped the last mile to work, thinking I had a sprained ankle. I work retail, so limped about all day helping customers. Did not go to the emergency room until two days later (the next day,t he pain was excruciating, telling me I might have something a bit worse than a sprain).
    At the ER I still had to get up and walk over to admissions, walk to get my X-Ray and everything else. By walk, I mean limp. Finally, I am called once again, and this time, the woman doing the calling is freaking out because I am walking. I had a broken ankle on whichI had been walking for two days. Fun.

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