Bad Luck Brian

October 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

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.

2 responses to Bad Luck Brian


    You make me laugh every day I enter into your classroom. Making me laugh is not an easy task to accomplish. When I was a child, I hated math, the logic of it just didn’t compute. As I sit in your class as your TA, I am now understanding what I never learned when I was a 5 th grader. Though you haven’t been feeling well, you have won the hearts of your students and have made forget about the pain I feel every day. Keep up the great work Mr. Fauth!!


    OK dear Brian you’re pulling my “mother” AND my social worker strings! But before I begin, know that 50% of Brian Fauth is as good as 95% of your average teacher. Yes, you’re that good, so relax. And remember, I spent my career walking into teacher’s classrooms. OK, that thing in your chest might very well need an antibiotic to go away. I got it EVERY school year. My doc always told me it was “microplasma.” I called it the “creeping crud in my chest.” It will linger forever, sapping all your energy and making you generally feel like crap all the time. If neglected it can actually turn into walking pneumonia. (I’m not making this up.) Do something about it – the copay for an office visit can’t be all THAT bad. Next; one of my clients got plantar fasciitis – he was wearing cheap shoes that didn’t support his feet. His treatment was the following and it GOT BETTER after not too much time. Per his doctor, he wore a plantar fasciitis brace from Walgreens while sleeping. He stood on an incline board (just make a ramp with a board and a brick) which helped stretch it out. He rolled his foot back and forth over a frozen water bottle. I’d gotten these and a few other exercises for him by just doing a search – I found a simple video I had him watch showing each stretch/exercise. One involved a chair, I forget the details. OK, so maybe you’re almost through all of your plantar fasciitis pain by now. But the last tip hopefully you’ve already checked off. Invest in a very GOOD pair of supportive shoes. SAAS has decent looking shoes that provide extra support and you CAN find a style that doesn’t look “orthopedic” (some do). Yes you’re going to drop a cool $150+ on them but they’ll last you a long time and be a treat for your feet. OK. That’s the “mother” part – do forgive me, dear old friend. The SW part – (I always had difficulty Sunday and Monday nights too…) I know you already know this so bear with me. Turn off any screens an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Don’t plan social activities for Sunday nights – I always felt more secure hunkering down at my home from meal time onwards on Sunday nights just to regroup and prepare myself mentally. Put a pad of paper and pen next to your bed so when your brains doing the mental “to-do and to-worry” thing, sit up write them down. There’s something about the physical action of taking it from your brain to paper that can let you relax a little about it. It’s written down you won’t forget. Warm milk (ok, just milk) yes can help. If your style is getting to work earlier than you have to to prepare and feel “set,” you’re probably doing it (I never could no matter how much I tried and wanted to…) Lastly, no, I don’t believe the job is taking too much out of you and I don’t think you should change careers. It energizes you and you have so many gifts still to give these young minds. Wash your hands more often, or change your hand sanitizer philosophy. Don’t stop high-fiving. Teachers are exposed to more germs, we all know that. Make sure you’re “eating right” and getting enough sleep (yes we all know that is SOOO important..) I know, easier said than done, that was how it was with me. The job IS never-ending. That is so so very true. But I wonder if you would feel “filled up” if you weren’t teaching? Have “duty-free” lunches where you only laugh and don’t talk work/kids. Remember how we used to say “duty free lunch?” sometimes when approached? (Ok well we weren’t always good at saying it…) Keep a life going outside of the school building. Go for walks in forest preserves etc. Laugh with friends. Laugh with friends a lot. Visit family. Cut yourself some slack and realize how good 50%, or 75%, really is. Yes, that is true for you, wise friend.

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