A day just for me (and my headache)

This morning I was hit with one of the meanest headaches that I’ve ever had –  a side effect of a certain female monthly event  that hits me every once in a while (sorry for the TMI).
It felt like I had some screws being tightened on my brain, making it ready to pop. Pair that with some abdominal cramps, backache, and heaviness of the legs and you’ll understand why I was ready to pull the blanket over my head and just sleep the day away.

I called emailed in sick.

I never call in sick. I mean, you just cannot call in sick for a effin’ headache in this country. I am really not an oversensitive person and I do believe that sometimes you should just get over yourself and go to work. However, it’s kind of disturbing to me that for example in spite of a back injury, my boss has been coming to work on painkillers for the last, .. oh just 10 months or so.
And I am staying home with ‘just’ a headache (and some minor other pains). What’s wrong with me?

No, actually, I seriously ask you:  What’s wrong with you?

Why are you coming to work when you should be staying home, letting heal whatever needs healing?

I can’t for the live of me understand why being sick is – obviously – considered something that you can “plan in advance” (what with the numbered sick days per year).
It strikes me – and my European mind – as odd that people that are sick or not feeling well are not encouraged to fully recover before they come back to work.

I seriously contemplated a) if I should just get over it and go to work and b) if this was a legitimate reason to stay at home. This is what a few years in this country will do to you.
Then my European part of the brain took over and told me: Hell yes, this is a reason to stay home. How productive do you think you’re going to be today? Are you going to waste your employer’s time and money by showing up at work feeling completely miserable and achieving close to nothing during this work day? You don’t have many days off as it is (ok, I had yesterday off and that was nice, but I was planning to make up for it by working tomorrow, which I’m still planning to do! And anyway, who could have known that I was going to feel so horrible today – as aforementioned, you can’t plan when you’re going to feel sick), so just take this day for yourself and get some rest.

Believe me, I am the last person on this planet that would call (pre)menstrual symptoms a sickness, but I dare all of you who never had (P)MS to ridicule the pain and agony that can go along with the monthly hormonal changes.
I just couldn’t go to work today. And I shouldn’t feel bad for staying at home. I honestly think my boss should stay at home, too. His back will only get better if he gives it some rest (and maybe some physical therapy), not if he moves around all day just masking the pain with the painkillers.
Don’t you agree?

In Germany, you can take up to 6 weeks (that is, 30 days) of sick time per year, before your salary is being impacted (not cut!). This means you’ll be paid your full salary for the 6 weeks that you’re sick.  Your health insurance picks up 70% of your salary, if you’re sick for longer than the 6 weeks.

I mean, seriously. What a relief. This alone makes me want to move back to Germany immediately. The last thing you want (or should) worry about when you’re seriously sick (besides getting well) is how you’re going to pay for rent, food, and such, let alone the medical bills that will inevitably pile up in your mailbox.

I am sorry, I am going off on a tangent  here (and as you might have guessed, I could write about my bother with the US health care system all day)… how did I get here again? Oh yes, my (P)MS… my “petty” splitting headache.
I am feeling slightly better by now, thanks for asking.
I just know, I needed this day off and I won’t let anybody tell me that I can’t stay at home when I feel miserable like that. Period.

  1. I have always felt that there was not enough sick time set aside here.
    Sorry you aren’t feeling up to normal. Hope you feel better soon!
    .-= Maribeth´s last blog ..Sleep! =-.

  2. Hope you’re feeling much better soon!
    You are so right – the health care system is not really a health care system. How can you take care of yourself and your body if you have always to think how to pay the bills?
    Take care!
    .-= Tanja´s last blog ..Dago, 6 Wochen alt / Dago, six weeks old =-.

  3. I would like to move to Germany now! Why did the US get the short end on the whole vacation/time off thing? Ughh..it’s annoying!
    But…I DO hope you feel better. Headaches are just awful!!
    .-= Carolina´s last blog ..EIGHT =-.

  4. I LOVE your post. Seriously, I was gonna bog about the same thing pretty soon. By the way, I woke up with cramps today and I feel like s***
    Thanks for your post. It made me feel so much better :)
    .-= Tinka´s last blog .. =-.

  5. Oh, I hope you wake up feeling much better today! I couldn’t agree more with you! Because how much would you actually get done if you’re feeling that bad?

    Here in Sweden you are not paid for the first sick days at all and then you get 80% of your salary. The result is that people drag themselves to the office with a flue and then spread the germs so that everybody gets sick. They say that the introduction of Karenz was necessary because people that weren’t actually sick stayed at home (during moose-hunting season for instance). But I believe the total economic effect of Karenz should be worse. So b**l! But afterall the situation here is still much better than in the US nevertheless iriitating if you know that Germany can do so much better!

    Big hugs to you and feel better!
    .-= Antje´s last blog ..HOME ALONE =-.

  6. Aww…hope you feel better soon…PMS is so not fun!

    As for the health Care System, I would never complain about the German System, it’s sooo much better then whatever System there is in the USA. Only problem here is the 10 Euros you have to pay for your visit, even if it is just a cold or flu and even if you come in without an appointment and therefore have to spend 2 hours waiting for only 5 minutes with the doc for him to say “ah, usual flu, it’s the season, go get some meds and drink lots of fluids” Which means a lot of people (including my hubby – and we had a lot of discussions about it) would rather save the money, go to the pharmacy, spend like 4 Euros on flu meds and go to work drugged up on them anyways. Also not an ideal situation…

  7. Hope you feel better! And I’m so with you on the whole benefits issue.

  8. Sorry you aren’t feeling well!

    You are right – I have felt forced to go to work very sick because I need to save my sick days to use in case my son gets sick. There’s only so much sick leave to be used….you have to ration it.
    And you are right -it is an absolute waste of money for my employer to have me sitting at my desk feeling so ill I can barely keep my eyes open, much less do real work. And I’m infecting everyone else in the meantime. What a waste…very inefficient.
    .-= kaylen´s last blog ..Generic Bloggers Unite!! =-.

  9. Great post. I am American born and raised, but I really get upset about the supposed “work ethic” of some companies. I have worked at companies where I thought I would be let go if I took any sick days at all. And, it wasn’t like I had life-or-death responsibilities or was making much money, either. Ugh.

    You shouldn’t feel bad about staying home. When you feel good you do better work! :)

  10. I stayed home today with a migraine even though I am way over my vacation and sick leave – which at my company is combined – ridiculous. I liked it so much better when I was working in Switzerland where they didn’t count sick days unless it was over 3 days and then you needed a doctor’s note. If you are sick more than 3 days you probably need to see a doctor anyway. In the U.S. it is so terrible!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Trulogy.com =-.

  11. I feel exactly the same way. We’re not helping ourselves by giving ourselves or others guilt trips for taking sick time. Usually it will just make you more sick and then you operate at less than your full potential whereas you could have just spent a few days at home getting better. My husband’s best friend married a Swedish woman over the summer and it was amazing to hear her stories of sick time and maternity leave and just plain leave. It opened my eyes. Americans might know how to work hard, but Europeans have us beat because they know how to work hard, AND how to enjoy the time and money they earn by working so hard!
    .-= Terra´s last blog ..An ethical dilemma (or, trusting the internets to give me answers) =-.

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