The day after effect

Getting back to real life the day after a sick day, or a vacation day, or even a snow day, is the worst.

That day off is never enough.

Think back to elementary school sick days (in fact Lauren just talked about this yesterday)–you spent the whole day camped out on the couch, watching cartoons, The Price is Right, and maybe a couple of movies.  Your parental units pumped you so full of orange juice, water and/or gingerale, depending on your particular ailment, that you were up on every commercial break to pee.  You ate soup and took naps and swallowed whatever grape flavored medicine you were given (I used to LOVE Dimetapp) and then, shortly after dinner, you sensed it.  The thermometer was on the counter and you knew that if your fever had broken you’d be on that big yellow bus first thing in the morning.  And you panicked.  You didn’t want to go back there.  Oh sure, you were fine.  You weren’t technically contagious and were barely sniffling anymore but by the time you realized it was back to school or back to back episodes of Doug, you knew what you had to do.

You started whining.  Complaining about your head hurting and your stomach hurting and your little pinky toe hurting–anything you could think of to buy another day at home.  As long as you had a parent’s note, what could your teachers do?  A whole lot of nothing, that’s what.  As you got older you started to really understand the “illnesses”–started to calculate how to play the days off.  If you spent Thursday at home, did you REALLY want to take Friday too?  Sure, it would be wise to not push yourself and to take another day to recover, but if you did that, could you go out Saturday night?

The day after effect is felt on non-sick days as well.  You know that dread you feel Sunday nights?  That “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I have to set an alarm…and actually get out of bed when it goes off!” feeling? Try it on a Monday.  Most of us spent this past Monday sleeping in, shopping, watching The O.C. on SoapNet–doing anything but things that could fall under the category of “productive.”  And then around 5 you started to notice how dusty your bookshelves were.  So you got out your Swiffer and fixed that.  Then you took out the trash.  And you finally put away the jeans that had been sitting on the floor since you threw them there after work on Friday.  And you realized that CRAP!  you could have been cleaning this whole time!  You could have done something useful with your day.  So you go into hyper-drive.  You de-clutter, disenfect and generally get down and dirty cleaning.

And suddenly it’s 9:30 and you’re as wired as if you just chased a No-Doze with an espresso.  And the day after effect hits.  The thought of re-entering the real world freaks you out.  You start to dread having to be awake at 7.  You think you can’t possibly fall asleep.  You pout when you realize that now you’ll NEVER see the episode where Seth and Summer finally get together after he gets dumped by Anna.

Currently Rachel is at home with a strep-like something or other.  After today, she’s no longer contagious.  But then, tonight, it’s going to strike.  The day after effect is going to hit her like a ton of bricks and she’s going to start thinking that, well, maybe one more day won’t hurt.  Maybe it would be safer not to push herself.  To just sleep in and wake up naturally and play it by ear, and just see how she feels.

Unfortunately for Rachel…and for all of us…the only way to break the day after effect is to just power through it.  To wake up when that alarm goes off, jump in the shower and then get the biggest, baddest coffee we can find.

But…if we aren’t ready…I mean, one more day won’t hurt us, right?  Just to be safe?  Isn’t one day now better than 2 days later if we get sick again?

Yeah…that’s what I thought.  What time is the Price is Right on again?

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10 thoughts on “The day after effect

  1. Oh man, this gave me flashbacks. That dreaded morning after when you know you feel better, but you so don’t want to, and then that final thermometer test that you’re so afraid to pass.

  2. Have you seen the price is right lately? Drew Carey kind of sucks.

    I mean, I like him… he just kind of sucks at being a game show host.

  3. I remember one sick day in particular. I think I was 6 or 7. I had tonsilitis or something equally as evil. I was dying over the weekend and missed Monday, but Tuesday my mother(the RN) deemed me well, and I was FORCED to go back to school.

    Around lunchtime I had to pee. I went, washed my hands, hung out for a little while and then got an idea. I’d put my head under the hand dryer-go to the office complaining of a fever and get sent home!

    And it worked! I even really had a temp. Sweet victory.

  4. I never took sick days in school. I was always too nervous I’d miss something important or I’d have twice the amount of homework another night because I was a day behind.

    I’m a big nerd.

  5. Hearing you talk about this makes me feel bad… My mum pretty much NEVER let me have a sick day from school.

    This was to the point where I felt like I DESERVED sick days, and tried to fake illness… Usually to little success! I am still bitter. :p

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