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When I was at primary school, I don’t remember ever taking a day off school because I was sick. If I wasn’t hospitalised, I went to school. When my parents visited northern Victoria for a week during the school term, I had a week off from my school, but I went to the local primary school in Robinvale for a week. So I still claim I didn’t have a day off school just for the hell of it.
When I was in high school, I remember having three days off school. One was when I had an ingrown toenail operated on and I stayed home for two days, mostly because I couldn’t wear a shoe on that foot. Another time, I had stepped on a carpet needle and had to have emergency surgery to have it removed, as it went through a joint in my foot and broke off. Unbelievably, my mother sent me to school the day after the operation (on crutches) and was called by the principal to come and get me. I stayed home for a week that time.
The final time I remember having a day off was in Year 11, in December after all our exams were done. My friends and I convinced our mothers to write us a note each for one day off sick. We all went to the movies and to Luna Park for the day. It was awesome. No-one ever questioned why all nine of us were sick on the same day.
This habit of not taking sick days just because I felt like it has carried through to my work life. I take a day off if I have a migraine, mostly because the work bathroom is too far from my desk when I need to throw up, or if I have a really bad cold (or anything more serious, obviously. Like when I was 23 and had a stroke. I needed a month off then). As a result of this dedication to actually getting out of bed every morning, I have so many sick leave hours banked up that I could take four months off at once if I needed to.
Hopefully I never need to.