There are often times when you feel like every clock is ticking off the seconds specifically toward something. It could be good, like a birthday (if you like getting older) or Christmas Eve (if you're waiting for Santa). But sometimes, it feels like its heading to something bigger, something terrible, something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Like the ominous music on Jaws, every minute feels like your heart is going to stop while waiting for that other shoe to drop. Wondering what terrible thing I'm waiting for? Two words: stomach flu.
As a teacher, I am obviously exposed to many, many, MANY germs. I've become almost compulsive about hand washing and I appear to be a downright cold and soulless teacher because I refuse to have physical contact with children at school because I am so obsessed with NOT getting sick. Shake their hands at an awards ceremony? I think not. Pat them on the back for reaching their math goal? No freaking way. I've seen how well they wash their hands while standing at the next sink, and that's the girls. Can you even imagine 10 year old boys and their hand washing hygiene? Ew. So now, when I know there's nasty stuff going around, I'm even worse. I want to channel a bit of our speech teacher in 9th grade and put a masking tape square around my desk area and make it off limits. I want to go beyond that and wear gloves and a face mask to prevent rogue germs that may cross that tape barrier from entering my personal body space.
When it gets right down to it, I would rather have a 104 fever, a stuffed up nose, a throat so sore I can't swallow even a sip of water, and sore stomach muscles from coughing my lungs up, than get what is going around. And believe me, it's going around. What's even worse, not only do I definitely not want it, I don't want my 3 year old to get it either. That, my friends, would be the living definition of H-E-double hockey stick.
In my 4.5 years of teaching, I've only used 1 sick day. It was my very first year, it was the day before Christmas vacation began, and it was the very sickness I'm diligently trying to avoid. Not that I'm superstitious (ok, maybe a little) but I can't help but feel doomed, like history is going to repeat itself. Now, every time another kid or teacher goes down, it's like I can see a giant hand marking off a hit list that's working its way down to my name at the bottom. Then I start imagining I don't feel good and then I start feeling crazy. Am I really getting sick or am I having a psychological breakdown? It's all just too much to handle sometimes. I guess there is nothing to do but sit around, waiting for the ax to fall. I tell you though, this is not going to end well. I'm starting to think there isn't enough Germ-X in the world to protect me from this fate.