Sick and missing Nalukataaq.


Three weeks isn’t so quick

For avoiding the germs there’s no trick

     If you know one, please wire us

    To prevent a bad virus

Even the doctor gets sick.

I’m frequently asked, “How do you doctors keep from catching all those germs you’re exposed to?” 

The answer is that we don’t.

Over the last two weeks I’ve been seeing a lot of patients with cough, sore throat, myalgias (=muscle aches), with or without fever.

Hand washing is important, but only so many hundreds of patients can cough in your face till you catch something.

Symptoms started about a week ago with runny nose and a dry cough.  Three days ago the cough got worse.  At band practice day yesterday I was losing my voice.  Overnight I ran a low fever but had terrible aching, with a severe sore throat in the neighborhood of my thyroid, not up by my tonsils.  When I woke up I didn’t have a voice.

If I can’t talk, I can’t work.  Most of the time if I just feel lousy I’ll tough it out and go to work.  I won’t work if I’ll endanger my patients or if I have a fever.  Five years ago I had my gallbladder out on a Friday and I was back seeing patients on Monday.

 At the same time I’m losing my sense of indispensability I’m starting to be kinder to myself in the workplace.  I took the day off and spent most of it sleeping and hydrating.  I made sure I got up and went to the cafeteria to get lunch and supper, even though my appetite is down.

But I also missed the last day of Nalukataaq (see my posts earlier this week). Though last night I got as far as suiting up (38F and 20 MPH winds) I didn’t go.  Tonight I just didn’t want to go out

My boss was very understanding, and even brought me some Tylenol (=acetaminophen).  Right now my aches are gone and I’m feeling better. 

The experience gives me both more and less sympathy for my patients.  Yes, the aching is significant.  No, it doesn’t need narcotics.

Not surprisingly, I started getting sick twenty-one days after my arrival here.  The three-week rule still applies.


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