Monday, January 25, 2010

Sick Day

Friday night, our son had an overnight party. We went to bed, and aside from the thumping and laughing and general bedlam of adolescent boys, all was well.

The next morning, I woke up with a fever and a wicked cough. Then came chills and the signs of flu. My wife made me run to the doctor even before the boys' parents came to pick up their charges. It was a long wait at the doctor, and while I wheezed and hacked, and huddled in my winter coat to stave off the chills, I had to do so wearing a face mask. Coughing patients have to do that these days.

The cure for flu these days, if you catch it early, isn't exactly a cure. Unlike antibiotics which kill the bacteria outright, antivirals (you've heard of Tamiflu, perhaps), interrupt the reproduction process of the virus so that it can't regenerate. That shortens its duration and severity, but it takes a couple of days to really notice a difference.

Problem was, this was Saturday, and the next day was Sunday - my big gig of the week. I had my sermon half done already, but I just couldn't focus to finish it. Already I knew there was no way I'd be in church, not with all the precautions the church is taking about flu these days, but I figured my deacon (who was going to cover for me) could just read it.

Never happened. Most of the rest of Saturday, I just slept. And that evening when he called to ask where the sermon was, I could only say I'd try to get it to him. He said to forget it and sleep. Which I did.

That's okay. This sermon would have been a two-part thing anyway. The gospel for this Sunday and next Sunday should have been put together from the outset since they are one story. So, I'll just preach them as if they were one. It'll work.

But I have to say, sitting on the sofa watching Scrubs (actually, a whole Scrubs marathon on DVD) while all the parishioners are gathering next door for church is a little unnerving. You see them. You know they're wondering, "What's wrong with him?" And you think, "Maybe I can still get dressed and get there before the second service..."

That's when a coughing fit smacks you -- okay, me -- back to reality.

I don't know if this is the first Sunday I've called in sick, but there aren't many. Good thing. I belong up at the altar and in the aisle preaching. That's who I am. Maybe I needed this sick day, it's good to know I'll be back in the saddle next week.