Since about July 23rd, I've been battling sinus infections, coughs, a sore throat, and an incredible raspy voice. I've been on three rounds of antibiotics and have been to my family practice doctor three times since the end of July. Last week I was running a fever again and just felt crappy--not that this was an out of the ordinary feeling since it's been ongoing for about 8 weeks now--but my doctor finally referred me to an ENT. Yesterday I had the "pleasure" of experiencing a throat scope. They first tried to stick a giant tube and camera down my throat (after they numbed it of course), and though the doc ensured me the numbing medicine would soften my gag reflex, the minute she stuck it part way down my throat, I gagged and nearly vomited all over her. The back up plan was the scope through the nose and down into the throat. She tried my right nostril first, but it was too swollen from my sinus infections. Finally, she got a good look through my left nostril and concluded that I have severe laryngitis. She mentioned there has been some recent bleeding on one of my vocal chords due to the excessive coughing I've had in the last 8 weeks. She prescribed me three different medicines, gave my probiotics to help my digestive system return to somewhat of a normal balance, and then issued a blow: no talking or running for five days (after I run my coughing is just nasty).
"But I teach," I responded.
"No talking," she retorted. "Starting now."
"But I have a 4 year old," I persisted.
With a smile of empathy, she simply replied, "stop talking" and handed me a letter that stated I couldn't return to work until Tuesday.
So here I am. 8:30 AM on a Thursday in my pajamas, writing. While it's a pain in the backside to miss school (luckily tomorrow is a staff development day), I have to admit that I felt a little relieved when she handed me that letter. This school year has been exhausting. This week in particular I've been swamped with grading and feel like I just cannot catch up (guess what I'll be doing during my time off?!). I often catch myself wondering what it would be like had I followed through with my original plan to sub and work at the Writing Center...it's a fantasy, really. No grading. No pressure. More time with my husband and little man. I'm sure it wouldn't be as perfect as my mind has created it to be, and I know that my current position allows me to make a bigger impact on kids since I'm consistently around them; the consistent pay check is nice especially as we consider planning a vacation to Colorado this summer so little man can experience the mountains. I just get myself so worked up and wrapped into my job. I confess that I've (dare I say it) cared too much about my job--I'd even say I've made my job an idol. And because that's been my habit for 5 years, it's difficult to break. It's true that little man's mere presence forces me to invest less in my job, but there is an anxiety and a guilt that come with this. I feel anxious that I'm not as prepared as I should be. I feel like I'm not doing enough for my students. I try not to work when little dude is awake, but I suck at that...especially on the weekends. I use every minute of my planning period and my before and after school time, and when little guy goes down for bed, it's off to work I go, but I still feel behind. I think that's just the curse of an English teacher...especially a type A English teacher. Life would be easier if I could be more laid back and just learn to chill out. But that's just not me...and it drives me to the point where my body just shuts down and gives me a big "f-you."
I wonder if I'll ever be able to find a balance between teaching and parenting/marriage/personal life (what's a personal life?!?). Teaching is one of my passions, but I don't want that passion to be number one in my life anymore. I know that I need to work less, I just don't know how to do it. If you have the answers to this, feel free to send them my way; I'm all ears.