Stage 1: Realization
You're sitting at your desk when something starts to feel funny — your sinuses feel like they're getting acupuncture; your throat is turning into sandpaper; you don't know if what's in your stomach is coming up or going down. Whatever it is, it ain't gonna end pretty. Is it too late to take some preventative Emergen-C or some type of fish oil-infused hippie tincture?
Well, if you have to ask, it's too late. You're getting sick.
Stage 2: Anger
"Are you kidding me? Am I really going have to take a sick day for this bullshit?"
Your anger stems from your refusal to take a sick day at work because everyone knows that sick days are for golf outings and bachelor parties. No one wants to sit at home all day scrolling infomercials and early-2000s sitcom reruns.
You angrily go through your mental rolodex of problem-avoiding questions: Am I sick enough to go home from work? Can I hide my sickness from my colleagues so no one forces me to take the day off? Are people going to shun me and start wearing SARS masks?
Stage 3: Acceptance
The anger phase has come and gone because the majority of your physical and emotional strength needs to be dedicated to to figuring out a solution to this potentially life-threatening (read: weekend-threatening) disease. You go from spewing hate at your sickness to strategizing the measures needed in order to salvage your health (and PTO days).
NyQuil, DayQuil, Pepto Bismol, nasal sprays, decongestants, Kombucha, lemon water, black tea, witch doctors, whatever. If an internet commenter has pitched it, it's on the table. All hands on deck.
Stage 4: Death
You're exhausted. You can't taste anything. You haven't slept with your mouth closed in five days. Your lips are chapped on an "Did I just climb Everest?" level. Your sheets smell like a combination of fever sweats and chicken noodle soup. The Panic Room officially turns from a safe haven into a quarantine.
You can't return texts, you can't change the channel, and hell, you can barely even lift your head off the pillow. The feeling is on par with waking up the Monday after bendering out a Labor Day Weekend. But unlike a hangover that only lasts one day (or maybe two, if you're over the age of 25), there's no end in sight. All you can do is keep mixing a potent cocktail of meds in hopes of reaching the promise land.
Stage 5: Reprieve
What the hell is going on? Why isn't the pillowcase covered in sweat? What's this new found energy? Yeah, you smell awful because you haven't showered in days, but on the bright side, you can smell again. You can see clearly now, the rain is gone. You can see all obstacles in your way. Gone are the dark clouds that had you blind. It's gonna be a bright and sunshiny day.
So, alright — when's happy hour?