So I figured I'd break up the political posts with something everyone can relate to at this time of year: being sick. I write this from home, where I was sent to take care of myself by my labmates. Funny thing is, in comparison to the way I was feeling on New Years day, I feel great. Until they said something about it, it would never have occurred to me to take today off. This got me thinking: what do we owe ourselves and others to do when we're not feeling well?
When it comes to ourselves, the majority of my friends and I are workaholics to some degree or another: we invest time into our professions because we somewhat enjoy them and enjoy the feeling of productivity in general. So when it comes to ourselves, we often fight to work through whatever currently ails us to make progress on the never-ending to-do lists. For me personally, I tend to set the threshold of a sick day at when the sickness actually impedes my ability to do work, which is very rarely. The downside to setting a threshold so high is that it inevitably takes me longer to fight off the disease when I'm running constantly.
The other unintentional side effect is our ability to transmit the disease to others. Obviously no one wants to make their friends/co-workers ill, but often our desire to "tough it out" increases our risk of transmission. When I first started feeling sick in new york last week, it didn't even occur to me not to stay with friends and family I had come to visit. Now looking back on it, should I have? What is the ethical and responsible behavior choice here? Should we remove ourselves from all social activity while we are sick, or is there some middle ground?