I did something this morning that I last did in June 2003. I rang in sick. Six and a half years ago, the phone call was about my back problem and I ended up off work for 3 months. Since then, of course, my boss has been me - on the days I'm unwell, I usually juggle stuff so I can have extra naps to sleep off a lurgy or a fit. If I have a cold, I work in my PJs and dressing gown, turn up the heating a notch and just get on with it - no worrying about infecting other colleagues as there's no one to pass my germs onto.
It felt very weird ringing in to say I wouldn't be turning up this morning. I'd been up half the night, throwing up, and as soon as I mentioned this my lovely new boss said: "Stay right where you are! Don't even think about coming in." He's right - it's possible I just ate something that disagreed with me, but it's the season for norovirus, a highly contagious bug also known as the winter vomiting disease. And the last thing I want to do is fell an entire newsroom if I have it. I probably don't - my stomach has been calm since 4am and I'm just resting up now. Sorry if that's TMI.
I offered to work from home but the truth is I'm really missing the buzz of the newsroom today. I never thought I'd say that - I've become so used to the calm and quietness of working alone that I dreaded returning to the bustle of a busy workplace. I thought my eardrums would burst on my first few days there - the TV screens (at least 2 different channels) competing for volume with the radio station, the ringing phones, the chatter... I felt quite ill from it all and was relieved to retreat into silence on my return home at night.
Today, I feel like I've been cut off. The quiet here feels oppressive and right now I'm missing the Monday editorial meeting to plan the week ahead. I'm also missing all the chit-chat and I don't know quite what to do with myself here. On the plus side, I was able to listen to all of the show I'm currently working on - usually I only hear snatches of it between phone calls and conversations or intense concentration. I'd set up several of the slots for today so it was a relief to hear all my guests had not only turned up but also gave good radio.
I'm going to flop on the sofa now and watch DVDs. And hope I'll be well enough to go into the office tomorrow. And I never thought I'd be saying that again!