Valarie's Blog

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Am I going to make it through the last 6 weeks of school?

Personal Note: Thanks to everybody for their kind thoughts while I've been sick for the past few days. I never thought something so simple would run me down quite so badly, but it did. I'm just starting to feel back to normal this afternoon. Hopefully this is a good sign that my medicine is really doing its job. I slept 11 hours last night, if you don't count all the times someone or something woke me up.

  • My sister called me at about 7:30 am wanting advice for a friend sick with food poisoning - what should they do? Anything they should take? (I've had it about 3 times... and NO, it wasn't MY OWN COOKING that did it! Always someone else's!) I suggested saltine crackers, clear liquids, and jello that won't look nasty when it gets barfed back up.

Do NOT eat blue jello. Ever ever ever! (Okay, maybe that's my own fear of blueberry since I got sick back in kindergarten after eating BooBerry cereal. I'm sure it wasn't the cereal that did it, but you don't want to see what that stuff looks like after ... I did eat blue jello last March when I caught that bug that gave me a nasty case of gastroenteritis and a permanent gash-scar across my nose... ) And it still looks bad, even if it's just jello coming back.

  • That being said, I told her that there would be cold clammy sweats, and I was most comfortable on the cold bathroom floor, as flat as I could be. Preferably a tile floor, but my bathroom doesn't have tile. It's also not enough space to really stretch out on, which means Terra comes in to sniff around, checking to see if I'm okay. Giving me a case of the screaming heebie jeebies because my skin hurts too much to be touched at that point. Oh, and there's that thought that goes around in your brain that's almost a guarantee that it's food poisoning: the sure knowledge that you're about to die. Okay, so I haven't died yet, but I was convinced I would every time, and I was hoping it would happen before I got sick again. I also told her that maybe it would be a better idea for her friend to just go to the emergency room at the hospital, because real food poisoning is too dangerous to fool around with.

But if there's nobody around to see that you're really in danger, and you can't drive yourself or even drag yourself to a phone to call for help, then you have to deal with the fact that you have to take care of yourself (making the jello and all), and possibly die alone if it turns out that you have a fatal case of food poisoning or the complications do something nasty to you, like dehydrate you to death or your heart stops or something. Honestly, though, when I'm that sick I try not to dwell on just how many ways I could die from it.

  • Terra woke me up wanting to be let out at about 8, just after I'd gotten back to sleeping really well.
  • Somebody came knocking on the door wanting to sell something or other. When they didn't get an answer at the kitchen door, they went to the front of the house and started pounding on the wood door. I would like to tell them, if somebody doesn't answer ONE door, don't anger them by pounding on another door. You just might be aggravating a sick person who really needs her rest, and this is the ONLY day she can get it.

Of course I haven't dug up all the monkey grass and thinned it out. Of course I didn't get any priming done in the kitchen. Of course I haven't conquered the mountain of laundry. :( Those WERE my plans for the three day weekend, but when I get time off work, something always comes up so that I can't do what I should be doing.

I don't mean that as a whine. It's just an example of Murphy's Law. Actually, I think I'm gonna call what happens to me "Valarie's Law": When you have time off work, something always happens to keep you from doing what you really NEED to be doing. In this case, it's a double whammy of my original complaint plus a lovely sore throat that I woke up with yesterday morning. Both, of course, happened because I am "run down" right now and needing rest I should have gotten over spring break, but didn't because I wanted to help someone else.

For a middle school teacher who is constantly exposed to all sorts of icky germs because her attempts to teach students manners fall on deaf ears, I'm doing remarkably well at not catching stuff from them. That bottle of Germ-X behind my desk probably helped a lot this year. DEFINITELY going to keep using it.

The difference in how I use the Germ-X and how the kids use it:

  • Every time I go to the bathroom, I wash my hands with soap and water. I know there's "icky stuff" on my hands from touching their papers that I'd really like to get off my skin as much as possible. I also try to make a stop to wash my hands before lunch. I always squirt the Germ-X on my hands as I'm telling the kids to line up for lunch, for some extra insurance. And when I feel like I've touched something icky and can't run right to the bathroom, I use the Germ-X. (I used to not be so compulsive about cleaning my hands, but it couldn't hurt...)
  • The kids think that if they use Germ-X on their way to lunch, that takes care of everything. They don't believe me when I try to tell them that it doesn't actually remove dirt or any other icky items from their hands. They think it's a cure-all, and that it is TRULY a substitute for washing their hands... Even after they've just come out of the bathroom... The hand washing area of our bathrooms is open to the hallway, so we can see when they do or don't wash their hands... and we always nag them to wash whenever we can.

Well, I've only got to make it about 6 more weeks until school will be out. But I can predict right now that I'll be sick with allergy problems that cause me to just about lose my voice the last 2 or 3 days of the school year. It's happened the last two years, and it always coincides with our faculty end-of-year dinner. But it gets me out of singing karaoke in front of people who will make fun of me forever. No singing because I'd be coughing all over them. LOL

Drinking lots of water for my now more-dry-than-sore throat, and it seems to be helping. While I was seeing the doctor, they swabbed my throat to test for strep, and it came back negative, so it's just your average garden-variety sore throat for a teacher who talked way too much in the last week, trying to prepare her students for the state tests coming up week after next.

Want to know something truly funny? The kids have been asking me what we're going to do after those tests, as if I'll be at a loss for teaching material and I'm supposed to find some way to simply entertain them until May 26th. LOL I told them, "We're going to have class, just like we always do. You don't really think you've finished all of the 8th grade material, do you?" hehehe

Apparently they've had teachers in the past who just let them play for the last month of school after the tests are over. The teachers on my team have never felt that was a good idea. Toss 10% of the school year out the window when they still have so much to learn? No way! Yes, it does sound heavenly to just do my own thing and relax for the last month of school while they do their own thing and don't learn anything (I can think of so many fun things I could do other than my JOB), but I really think that's irresponsible of any teacher who does that. We're there to teach them, and I'll be teaching them until they're out of my sight. Hopefully, they'll still be learning from what I taught them, even after they're long gone from my sight. Isn't that the point?


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