I remember being in the 3rd or 4th grade when I attended my school's end-of-the-year-pep rally. Well, it wasn't really a pep rally, but more of an awards ceremony/talent show. Each grade of students would receive certifications for their work during the year, and the "ceremonies" were interchanged with some musical and choir performances.
Anyway, one of the awards was for "Attendance," and was given to the students who went through the entire school year (180 days!) without a sick day. Only a few students accomplished this huge feat and I was overwhelmingly impressed by their commitment to learning. Since that time I have always worked very hard at maintaining a blemish-free attendance at school and my places of employment.
Last week was the beginning of my five-day work stretch (50 hours in five days). At the start of my first day, I knew something was coming on. My throat was scratching and my head pounding (very atypical for me). I made it through the first two work days with barely any overt symptoms, but on that second evening I began coughing, sweating and my head swelled into this mucus plug of secretions. Naaa-sty.
As I lay awake that whole night (who could sleep with symptoms like that?), I thought about my attendance at work. I had never called in sick in more than 13 months of full-time employment. But even though I wanted to maintain my attendance record, I knew it wasn't safe for me to possibly infect my patients or coworkers. By the time morning rolled around, I knew it wasn't physically possible for me to go to work considering how hard I was coughing and how miserable I felt.
So, I called in sick. It was very hard for me to do. I don't feel like a good employee when I call in sick. After two days of recuperating on my couch I was back to work and feeling pretty good. I'll be back to exercising in no time.
And to finish the story - I received the award for "Excellent Attendance" as a fifth grader.