Friday, December 7, 2007

Emerging from the dark place

In the past few weeks, I've been to places I hope to never revisit.
My month-long bout with mononucleosis started with garden-variety symptoms that turned inexplicable and harsh: 3 days of non-stop hiccups, a "can't swallow" sore throat, 12 days of not being able to keep food down and daily nausea.
A virus beat me into the fetal position.
Emerging from the darkened bedroom, I long for work and a return to my routine. Fantasies of eating fried chicken or a hamburger are doused by a prescription of bland foods for recovery. Water crackers have been a staple. Interestingly, Raisin Bran has eased my upset stomach along with that diet.
I expect to get back to the December grind next week.
This is a particularly challenging month at many newspapers. The Christmas rush coverage coincides with a flurry of vacations. We are closing a few major 2007 projects alongside preparations for 2008. Independence Bowl coverage and LSU's national championship bid loom. We have a few special news projects to fit into the paper before the end of the year.
It is work we love, but it is daunting piled against the tug and pull of the holidays. My desk has mounds of unanswered mail among other things. Take much of that away, and December still seems a bear.
It happens to many of us every year, rushing to get a month's worth of work completed in only a few weeks. Any vacation plans loom like a cloud of pressure against an intense timeline. We try to squeeze a day off here and there for shopping, too.
Before you know it, HOLIDAY STRESS hits hard (nerves frayed, loved ones shortchanged and loss of sleep). That can be a place you don't want to go, yet we somehow end up there too often.
Resolving not to return to the darkness of my ill retreat and resolving not to end up a holiday mess requires the same focus.
We have to pace ourselves.

1 comment:

Kathryn Usher said...

Glad you're feeling better.

Many folks in the American work world wouldn't have been able to be as sick as you were and keep their jobs.

In the local casino industry, for example, miss a day of work and you're given a "point." Miss a weekend day and you get two "points." If you collect 10 points in a rolling 12 month period, you're fired. There are no sick days or personal days.

I'm sure that's not the only industry where folks are forced to climb out of sick beds so they can keep a roof over their heads. Paid sick leave for all workers in America would be amazing but some folks would just like to be able to call in sick without being penalized.