Friday, January 22, 2010

Sick Role

I'm not going to teach you very much about sickness behaviour here. There's plenty written by wiser and cleverer folks than I. Try Susan Sontag.

Anyway, as I understand it, and remember that it will actually be considerably more complex than this, the sick role is a sort of contract between individual and society. It identifies the unwell and allows us to treat them aptly, both in making allowances, and in preventing the spread of contagion.

Different people and different cultures have different ideas of what the sick role means. Some people delight in having the way they feel medicalised, so that they have both an explanation, and, if you're a bit cynical, an excuse to act in a certain way.

When I first qualified, the NHS in which I worked had very clear ideas as to what the sick role was. Either you're in hospital, or you're in hospital. This attitude has changed, not only because we're much more touchy-feely these days, but also with a realisation that we could be making others ill.

I don't like being ill, like most men.

In eleven years, I have taken one clinical day off sick. Mostly because I've been lucky enough not to be ill, but also because I resent having to cover for people who are ill, so don't wish to inflict the same inconvenience on others.

However, the last few days have seen me 'forcibly' signed off. And it appears, it doesn't take much for me to slide into the sick role, moping about and generally doing nothing. It's a bit too easy.

So, I'm on a mission to get my shit together. While it's true I don't feel 100%, I've got to stop wallowing.

Wish me luck

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