I lost my voice. I am not trying to contaminate you.

I feel the need to vent, but I don’t feel this is pitworthy.

I had a cold over the weekend. It was a nasty, rotten, perfectly ordinary head cold. I caught it on Saturday. On Sunday I wished to die. On Monday, feeling human again, I went to work.

Every time I get a head cold I lose my voice. I can’t convince myself to shut up long enough for it to return, so it’s typically out for a day or two or sometimes three. This happens *after * I’ve had the cold/misery/contagious period. In fact usually by the time my voice is out I’m feeling much better. Everyone around me is horrified by how “terrible” I sound. I explain to them, in a hoarce whisper, that it’s just vocal cord inflamation and that I’m really feeling much better, thank you.

I have small children at home. They are very cute vectors of disease. They’re still learning to wash their hands, and to cover the mouths when they sneeze/cough, and to please not rub snot on my pants leg. This is why I’ve caught two colds this month, which is usually my quota for an entire year.

Now for the angry part:
I work in a laboratory. It is large and pleasantly roomy, divided down the middle. On the left half of the lab I have two labmates with whom I do not work directly (they belong to a different group). One of the labmates was out yesterday to attend to her father in the hospital. When she came it today and heard me with my voice gone, she got visibly angry with me. I told her I had a cold over the weekend, but was much better today and promised to stay on my side of the lab. She said, “Well you can just keep that to yourself because I don’t get paid sick days like you do and I can’t afford to be out sick because I have a mortgage to pay!”

Later I saw her in a tete a tete with my direct supervisor, most likely compaining about my presence here at work.

I found an opportunity in a later conversation to reemphasize that I AM NO LONGER INFECTED. Just because I sound like I’ve been chain smoking Camels for the past two weeks does NOT mean that I’m going to go spewing sputum at you. I have been washing my hands constantly and coughing into the crook of my elbow like a good citizen. I am a firm believer in keeping viruses to myself by taking sick days when necessary (as I did three weeks ago) so as not to infect my coworkers. I can’t stay home forever. (I phrased it much more politely, of course)

She admitted that she was worried because I already had a cold three weeks ago and that if I had a normal immune system that I should already have gotten rid of that so how could I possibly be sick again unless it was with a different cold. :confused:
Why this matters I have no idea.

If I were capable of shouting, I would do so. What I would say is this:
Also, may the hypersensitive Chicken Little in the left half of my laboratory go shove snot-filled kleenex up her arse.

Wow, I would have lost it with her. Your immune system (or lack thereof) is none of her business and she should be disciplined for that kind of comment. I don’t take umbrage at much, but her getting pissy and commenting about your immune system? Eff that.

The same thing happens to my voice when I get colds. I thought I was maybe the only one, because people are always surprised! “Really, I feel much better, I just can’t talk…no, I’m not spreading germs at you…” Annoying, isn’t it? I understand your coworker being worried about germs, but not her being bitchy and not believing you about how your colds go. And why is the state of your immune system (as in how many colds you get) her business anyway?

See I don’t get this at all, because people who have lost their voices are Sitting Ducks for all kinds of comedy. The field for deliberately misunderstanding them when they can’t defend themselves is rich. I don’t see why everyone doesn’t understand and enjoy this.

And IIRC, you are most infectious to others the day before you even develop symptoms. When you don’t know you have it is when you are most likely to spread it.

As long as someone who is sick is being courteous (washing hands, covering their mouth, etc.) I don’t see the big freakin’ deal. For everybody who gets pissed off that a sick person is at work, there’s somebody else who’s pissed that they have to cover the work of somebody who “called in because they have a stupid COLD!”

Ya just can’t win.

My children are thoroughly confused and keep whispering back to me. I’ve told them fiftyeleven times that they are allowed to talk normally. Mostly they just look at me funny. Have you ever tried to yell at a kid when you can’t yell? It’s pathetic.

My coworkers keep calling me on the phone. Those conversations are a comedy of errors. They’ve yet to figure out that they’re better of sticking to e-mail.

My husband, I believe, is secretly very grateful.

Anyway, thanks for the commiseration, all. It’s been a frustrating couple of days, and Chicken Little was not helping.