One strange hope I had during the Year Off was that I’d come back healthier and more energized, and less prone to getting sick.
Yeah, that didn’t work out so much.
Things were good at first. I had dropped some weight, I was in decent shape after walking everywhere. Came home, tried to get into a running habit, and promptly got plantar fasciitis. Six months later I’m still limping around. And I’m growing more sideways than I would like.
I’m six weeks into the school year, and I’ve been sick twice. First time I figured it was allergies; everyone had it back in early September when there was a lot of ragweed and mold in the air. This new bout gave me a 102 degree fever last week and I’m on Day 12 suffering with a congested chest. I know I should have gone to the doctor, but honestly I think it’s nothing serious. These things usually stay with me for a couple of weeks and then go away.
Plus I really don’t feel like racking up any medical bills right now. I’m not exactly flush with cash. But no need to get into that. At least I’ve got health insurance and a real salary again.
What’s really frustrating is the fact that I never really got sick during the Year Off. The only time was a 4-5 day chest cold, and that was while I was back in the states for a wedding and a funeral. Even when I subbed for a few months, and I was around different kids and different germs every single day? Nope. Nothing. Not even the sniffles.
So what does that mean? Why do I get sick all the time in this job? Is it my habit of high-fiving too many kids? I don’t really do the whole hand sanitizer thing; I tend to believe that it does more harm than good. (This is probably one step on the road to me becoming Ron Swanson.)
Maybe the job just takes too much out of me. Two years ago I stepped down from my other job, and one that I loved dearly, because I kept getting sick just as the summer season would start up. My current students ask me what percent of Mr. Fauth they’re getting today, and it hasn’t been 100% Mr. Fauth for a while. I can’t sleep most nights, at least on Sundays and most Mondays, so there goes half the week. I’m lucky to get two-three days at work where I’m the teacher they know and (hopefully) enjoy, the manic preacher of Vikings, Hobbits, and Funny Voices. Most of the time I’m just exhausted.
So what’s the answer? Don’t tell me I need to exercise and eat like a caveman, or take some miracle drug, or “just relax, Brian!” I am fully aware that I need to exercise and eat and sleep better. And I would love to relax, but the job is always there. It’s never-ending, and when I finally put it down for the day there’s always the nagging list in my head of All That Needs To Get Done.
Sometimes I’m afraid that the only way I’m going to stay healthy is if I stop teaching altogether. But that’s pretty unlikely. It’s a job I’m born to do, apparently, and I’m still dedicated to it. And it’s not like I can just up and do something else. Our society is pretty good at keeping you in your place. Once you do something for a while, it’s awfully hard to try and break out into something else. Believe me.
I’ll try and rest up again this weekend and hope that I wake up next Monday with a clear chest and a full battery. My students deserve nothing less than 100% Mr. Fauth.