Katty Kay: Sick and feeling guilty in a busy news week

Woman blowing nose Image copyright iStock

I'm sick. I have shards of glass where my throat used to be. There are hot skewers in my ears (my husband says this is not true; he lies).

Getting out of bed to refill my water glass takes more physical effort than I usually exert in a week. My bed has disappeared under a pile of disgusting used tissues.

I look, feel and sound revolting. I am revolting. My doctor says I have bronchitis, or flu and bronchitis, or flu and an infection.

That sounds mild compared to what I feel. And I confess I was hoping for a more spectacular diagnosis, if only to relieve my guilt.

I should be at work this week. Tillerson is being grilled. Obama is tearful. Strange sexual allegations are trending.

There's a lot going on.

I've always prided myself on embracing the concept that almost no-one is indispensible, certainly not a news reporter.

And yet I can't help feeling guilty about being sick.

It's a ridiculous function of modern work life that we can't just be sick, we then have to beat ourselves up about being sick.

After all, people get sick. We are human beings, it's part of the condition. Maybe that's why robots are desirable.

Image caption A busy week to be sidelined by illness

It's not even as if I have something really serious. Bronchitis, that's pathetic. I'm lucky, I know this will pass.

And, as my 10-year-old daughter reminded me when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, it's not as if I'm sick and a refugee, or sick and in a war zone, or sick and homeless, or sick and going to get fired for taking time off, or sick and.... you get the gist.

Yet I can't help wondering: Do my colleagues all think I'm a fraud? That I'm lazy? That I'm not sufficiently committed to the job?

Insidious thoughts that pop up and can't be popped back. I'm not a medic, but it's hard to believe this speeds recovery.

I'm willing to bet millions of working people recognise this. It should be a modern syndrome, the psychopathology of taking sick leave.

Talking of which it's time for me to go back to sleep.

That's my energy burst for the day. I will be back on air next week. Fully recovered and guilt-free.

PS I really am sick.

PPS Honest.

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