Confessions of a Teenage Columnist: Sick Days

Sometimes a sick day is all you need, and some old movies and Ramen to go along with it.

You wake up one morning with a stuffy nose, and the stress hits you all at once. Am I getting sick? Will I have to miss school? What about my next game, or that meeting I have before school? All of these worries are slowly drowned out by a pounding headache, and next thing you know you’re still in bed by the time the 7:30 bell has rung at Oakmont. 

While you may be laying in bed cursing your cold, I’ll be on the couch catching up on Gilmore Girls. There is nothing I appreciate more than a sick day, where I get a free pass to lounge and act like I’m an 80 year old in retirement.

But I am still sick – even if just a little bit. So, as the day drags on and the episodes of Gilmore Girls begin to blend together, I begin to wonder what happens when I’m usually at school all day. As I reach for the remote, will I catch a glimpse of what my mailman looks like in the window? Does my cat really sleep all day or will she wake up and start doing pushups? Only time will tell.

As my boredom begins to peak, my stomach growls. To wash away the antiseptic taste of medicinal cough drops, I need something to nourish my body . . . and my soul. But the usual breakfast cravings have been lost in the pile of tissues at my bedside. What better way to fill the gaping hole in my stomach than some slimy, salty Ramen. It simply tastes best as it’s travelling down my scratchy throat. And no- that was not sarcastic.

When I was little, I seemed to get sick every other week. My mom would stay home from work to take care of me, and wait on me hand and foot all day. What could be better than reverting back to your childhood days of eating Ramen and drinking chocolate milk (don’t try them together) while watching reruns of Scooby Doo. 

I think it’s important to mention that while some days we really do need to stay home to cure our colds and aches (and watch Gilmore Girls), there is a mental health aspect to it as well. Being able to stay home for a day and somewhat ignore your responsibilities is really refreshing. This is why ‘mental health days’ have become more common for adults and teenagers my age. Although my emails might be piling up, and the spoons are screaming to be emptied from the dishwasher, I think there’s a positive to it. Sure, I might be falling behind in class for a day, but I am trying to catch up in life, taking in the serenity of ignoring those piling emails.

Not to get serious, but I do think that mental health days are important, and should be validated by employers or school admins. I feel no shame. So what, maybe I do want to stay home just to watch tv, but I secretly also need a day to myself. Living through a pandemic as a teenager isn’t as seamless as it may appear, and neither is the Ramen I try to cook when I’m sick home alone. Actually, I should probably go check on that Ramen, I think I smell something burning in the kitchen… Too bad I’m stuck to the couch!