As an editor, there have come times in my career when I have had to edit while my body is sick or in pain. The last couple of weeks have been such times.
I currently have bronchitis (although it’s not as bad now, thanks to the antibiotics) and bronchitis can last for months. Hence, I have been doing an awful lot of coughing lately. So how can an editor focus when she is coughing up a storm every half hour or so?
First, I need to remember that the world does not grind to a halt because I am sick (unless my illness has me bedridden, which is another whole ball game).
Second, I assess what over-the-counter remedies I need to keep me functioning, purchase them if needed, and take them according to the directions on the container. They keep me focused and functioning—as long as the container does not say “May cause drowsiness.” If I see those words, I run!
With bronchitis, I have to figure out how bad my cough is at the moment. If I cough for just five seconds or so, I brush it off and keep working. If, however, it’s one of those can’t–breathe, ten–second–long, red–in–the–face coughing fits, it is worth it to stop my timer and get up from the computer to catch my breath (and make a doctor’s appointment). By the way, the latter kind of cough is extremely distressing, but despite this, I can continue to work soon afterwards as long as I do not also have a fever (as I did two weeks ago).
If you are about to ask me what I would do if I had COVID, the answer is, “I’ve never had it, so I don’t know how bad my symptoms would be. If I could get up and walk around without feeling horrific, I would continue to work. If I had a high fever or could not get out of bed, however, I would rest and send my husband to buy some meds for my symptoms. And in either case, I would keep testing myself and waiting for only one line to appear on the test strip.”
It’s all basically a judgment call.